Project 16/50.4

Featured photo:
Laurel’s Jubilee Bouquet
8 x 8 Acrylic on canvas
© 2017 – Hazel Breitkreutz (all rights reserved)

Project 16/50 is a creative project to help me consider the threshold of turning 50 years old.  15 friends joined with me, so there were a total of 16  considering the creative prompt: Old Growth Reaching, New Growth Rooting (See Feeling Fiftyfor a more complete explanation)

In this fourth post I will highlight three participants, Hazel, Shelley and Ken.

1. Visual Artist Hazel Breitkreutz

Her painting is pictured above as the feature image.  About her process, Hazel writes:

I struggled with what to prepare for the theme “Old growth Reaching – New Growth Rooting.”  I just couldn’t stay ‘underground’ so to speak.  As I prayed and sought to find my painting path I kept hearing and envisioning God’s grace and joys in the midst of pain disappointment and struggle.  I began with darks upon a sunny rich background of brilliant sunshine.  This is what emerged!  A Jubilee bouquet – Laurel’s Jubilee Bouquet.

To really make a piece of Art ‘sing’ we need the darkest darks against the lightest lights and the play of warm and cool creating movement – a kind of dance as it were.  
Laurel my prayer for you is that you would feel the under-girding of hope and the outflow of joy as you embark upon this new exciting decade. 

2. Poet Shelley McDonald-Lin

Here’s what Shelley had to say about the process of writing her poem of blessing:

I have recently been reflecting upon/praying John O’Donnohue’s “Blessing for a Leader” in To Bless the Space Between Us .  It is beautiful and rich.  With this in my heart these days, I decided to try my hand at writing a blessing. I tried to follow the rule, Laurel, about this piece not being about you.  In truth, I did have you in mind as I wrote this as I think you’ll see.  But I hope that what I have written is general enough to speak to a broader audience and hopefully resonate with anyone 50ish. As I was grappling with what to write, an illustration in one of my favourite children’s book, Toot and Puddle, came to mind.  It is below.  When Puddle jumps in the pond, he shouts Olé!” To me, it speaks of such freedom and joy.   Laurel, I see such joy in you.  And, Laurel, I know that your life (like all of ours I suppose) has been one of strength and struggle.  It is part of your beauty, and truly your beauty has been to me a road sign to hope.  

A Blessing for a Friend on her Fiftieth Birthday

May you have eyes to continually re-see the worn paths of past journeys, to recognize the hand that led, the strength that sustained, and the heartbeat of Love’s faithful presence.

May you plant new flowers in the same-old garden.

May you face fear with gut-courage, jump into new waters and shout, “Olé!”

May you embrace your beauty, carved by years of strength and struggle. To others in need of encouragement, may this beauty be a road sign towards hope.

May your mouth be filled with laughter; humour a balm when sorrow is your cup.

May creativity continue to be your midwife, coaching you in labor until you behold the beautiful newborn word, the image, the song.

May you cultivate the art of slow.  Make the turtle your mascot and old growth trees your tutor.

May bread and wine be as abundant as the friends around your table.

May you receive the days ahead, resting in being found, holding hands with Goodness and Mercy that will surely walk with you all the days of your life.
© 2017 – Shelley McDonald-Lin (all rights reserved)
picture inset credit: Toot and Puddle, Author, Illustrator: Holly Hobbie

3. Visual artist Ken Kutney.

Here’s what Ken wrote about his process:

For quite some time I have been on long term disability due to a chronic autoimmune disease. Last year about this time I was hospitalized. Doctors removed my painfully enlarged spleen and discovered I had cancer (lymphoma). After the many rounds of toxic chemo (ironically to save my life), I was longing for a time of recovery and renewal. 
With the ultimate goal of book-writing, I discovered Art Therapy through counseling as a way to deal with trauma and refresh my creative energies. Now that I have set up a studio in my office and am consistently focused on various art projects, I may never leave it!
Just recently the car I was driving was suddenly t-boned in an intersection and totaled. I emerged bruised but not broken. However, having to drive again soon after for my family, I realized my hyper-vigilance of every car around me. Reflecting on my fragile state, I felt like I couldn’t cope if one more thing were to happen to us. We’ve been through so much. I won’t list it all here. 
Then in my mind’s eye I imagined a light coming over me like a protective force field. I saw that we are not alone nor ever abandoned on this journey. With gratitude I began to celebrate not being in the hospital yet again; every moment, every day that went ‘right’ a gift of protection and grace. Thus, I was motivated to create this artwork (also inspired by Laurel’s great pics). 
We are Watched Over
© 2017 – Ken Kutney (all rights reserved)
What joined these three pieces together for me was the way they incorporated blessing — that overarching intention for goodness to touch us and others.  A bouquet’s beauty blesses everyone who is near, word’s spoken with intention are gold and silver to the one who hears them, God’s good intention that overshadows and protects blesses — it produces the kind of freedom shouted with spirit – ‘Ole!’
Thank you again friends,

2 thoughts on “Project 16/50.4

  1. Laurel, these posts are wonder-ful! Your very special birthday continues to unfold through the love and creativity of your friends celebrating you. Thank you for sharing your gifts with the rest of us. We get to be blessed too!! Happy, Happy 50th!!

    1. Yes , I agree — it has been a fabulous project. So glad you are enjoying them too.

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