One Year In

There were a handful of ways I could have began this. A myriad of statements of victories and defeats, broken paths and restored visions. A year ago this week I walked out onto my balcony of my first apartment in Austin, Texas and quietly sobbed like a baby. In that moment, I felt the immense weight of what I had just done. Both painfully fearful and hopeful that I hadn’t just made the biggest mistake of my life.

For three years I had waited for the truth placed on my heart to come to fruition. I saved up my money, packed up my car, left my life in California because “God was leading me to Texas”. That’s all I had. As insane as it sounded (& still sounds to most). No job, no school pursuits, no relationship, nothing but a nagging, hope-filled promise that He won’t lead me somewhere that He cannot be found.

Forgive me if the curated social media posts of words and images made it look like leaving and settling has been easy. The growing pains have been real. So very real. I’ve cried a bit since then. I’ve distrusted my intuition many times over just to stand even stronger on it. The ugly head of anxiety found its home in me. Some days I coped well, some days I did not. It’s been lonely and my heart has ached over dinners for one. But to be reminded that God is not only God, but Father and friend, protector and confidant has been so very vital to my journey out here.

I’ve said yes to dance partners (I’ve got so much to learn, y’all), dates, coffee meet ups with strangers I met on Instagram (clearly, I’m still alive), solo exploring, nights out with coworkers and new friends, kayaking on the Colorado River, art shows, music concerts, food trucks, live painting as ministry. I’ve been able to share my space and cook a meal for a friend and I’ve lived off money that was supposed to be used for laundry because life is like that sometimes. With relief I no longer call myself a graphic designer, but an artist -a painter, an entrepreneur, a boss babe. I say “y’all”.

I’ve tried my best to keep up with loved ones in the west while attempting to cultivate my new friendships down south. To both large audiences and one-on-ones I’ve spoken about the heart behind what I do and the who that led me here. I’m learning intentional intimacy.

And for someone who initially thought she would just be an observer of the art scene in Austin, I never thought I’d build this much or have this much support in the last 365 days. I’m still begging for more. More connection in my work and the people I meet because of it. More boldness, the realization of my worth and the unfathomable things God can do through me. My heart grows for this city and the people in it everyday.

I’ve felt hopeful and hopeless, confident boldness and crippling insecurity. I’m learning to be comfortably uncomfortable on a daily basis. I’ve got more mosquito bite scars than I can count and I’ve prayed more prayers than I have uttered in years. There are times where I’ve never felt so very close to God and moments where I didn’t think I could feel so far apart from Him.

And yet, I never stop hearing, “I love you. I know you. I see you. I believe you can do this. I know you can do this. I’ve got you covered. Victory, victory, victory.”

This is just the beginning for me and I am so ready.

 

Feel free to keep up with my art practice through my newsletter at www.arielle-austin.com, on Instagram or Facebook.

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Sometimes I get a sense of guilt wash over me because I haven’t fully focused on the same words that brought me to start this blog over two years ago. (!!!) I’ve definitely grown miles emotionally, mentally and spiritually since the start and I’m so grateful for all of your love, support and mere curiosity. At the start of this year I decided to focus on my fine art to help the healing in other areas of my life and it’s definitely been a ride. I’ll save the yearly recap to the close of the year (who knows what surprises are left in store in the next 3 1/2 months?), but I wanted to let you all know where my progress could be found.

For those of you a part of the crazy world of Instagram, you’re welcome to follow my art account where I post my processes, inspirations, finished artwork and more. @arielle_austin

You can also follow the journey on Facebook & Pinterest

And don’t worry, the words in my head and heart haven’t completely left me! They’re just competing a bit with shapes and colors. ;)

Until then,

Arielle

Overlapping Memories

In the spring of 2012 I started and finished a 40 by 30 inch canvas for a Painting II final assignment. The subject matter was up to the student and I was excited to have the free reign. I’ve always been intrigued by the juxtaposition and layering of beautiful images in both art and design, so I decided to take a shot of my own.

I began with a photograph I shot in my first semester photography class and a handful of dried and pressed flowers I had so thoughtfully received a few months prior. After scanning both subjects together I got to work. The process was long, tedious and, at times, physically painful. But I fell in love with painting on a much larger scale than I was use to and the finished result of combining two separate loves and painting mediums made my heart full.

Overlapping Memories, #1
Fast forward to my post grad fine art venture this year and the reawakening of my desire to continue with a whole series of beautifully painful, layered memories. Each piece is an acrylic painted rendering of a photograph of a woman from my life, past or present. Atop the acrylic, I oil painted scattered petals given to me from past loves, family and friends. Though all nine have their own personal story to tell, I’m sure the viewer can insert their own lover, mother, friend, or sister overlapped in the rest of life’s memories.

Overlapping Memories 1 & 3

It’s been a labor of love and great diligence creating these pieces over the last 6 months. I’ve loved the challenge, both in creating and remaining faithful to the vision of my heart. Here’s to hoping you can find some love in them as well.

Overlapping Memories
She wore her past like layers of a rose,
anxious and patient
loving and true
budding and blooming
with each given season
Leaving remnants of her memories overlapped on the ground.

You can view the full series on my site arielle-austin.com or in my Storenvy shop.
You’re also welcome to follow a bit of my process on Facebook.

Overlapping Memories #5

Arielle Austin | Overlapping Memories #5

“People are like cities: We all have alleys and gardens and secret rooftops and places where daisies sprout between the sidewalk cracks, but most of the time all we let each other see is is a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a polished square. Love lets you find those hidden places in another person, even the ones they didn’t know were there, even the ones they wouldn’t have thought to call beautiful themselves.”

Hilary J. Smith, Wild Awake

 

Arielle Austin | Overlapping Memories #5

Since my show in March I’ve been quietly working on commissioned work and a group of works titled, “Overlapping Memories”.

Unknowingly, I started the first in this series during an undergrad painting class in 2012. I loved and hated the process so much I picked it up and continued with it this year.

Loosely, each piece portrays a photograph rendering of a particular woman in my life, past and present. Atop the rendering are scattered pressed and dried flowers I’ve received from loved ones over the past 2-3 years. Overlapping love, captured memories, alive or bereft of life; and still, so very beautiful in all its stages.

AAustin | OM5

(Overlapping Memories, #5. Acrylic and Oil on 44×44″ Canvas)

Arielle Austin | Storenvy

The start of this week almost had me beat. I know I’m not the only one who can feel like there’s never enough hours in a day, or days in a week. I’m finding that it can be incredibly easy for life’s reality to cloud your own personal dreams. A little fear and discouragement were wrestling in me this week, questioning whether I should put my love on hold. There will never be enough time, enough money, enough inspiration, enough growth, enough freedom. will never be enough. My God is, however. And what a relief that is. It’s not time to give up.

I’m thankful for the people in my life who can give me some “real talk” and help kick my booty back into gear. As much as it hurts to hear that I’ve got some refining to do, I can’t deny that I’m not grateful for the correction. The growth. The challenge. The love.

Oh, and by the way, I am now selling a small collection of originals by way of Storenvy. Take a look! www.arielleaustin.storenvy.comArielle Austin |Storenvy

Closeness

To Define Divine (4)
A week ago I took part in my first solo art show. A collection the size of a room. That room filled with years of paintings, stories, memories, and details. Encompassing fragments of every life season dating back to the end of 2011 to the present. Along with each season’s stroke carried a bit of the people or persons that played a significant part in my life since then.
Sometime during the night I was asked to tell the story behind a particular piece. Now, for a while, I never took my place as an artist too seriously in regards to the context of my work. I never thought I was quite deserving. There was no extravagant or seemingly obnoxious explanation behind what I created. So, how could I be a real artist? I thought. Was I, so-called, “challenging” social norms or defying the political agendas of today? What was I trying to say? Am I saying anything at all?
But the more I created, the more I have been  pushing through the boundaries of self expression. I found a bit of myself, my voice, in everything I did. I found that I often create with layers, details and textures in mind. Having all of these elements compel the viewer to take a closer look. To become intimate with the piece. Kind of resembling human nature and desire, if you will. Intimate in the way that makes known the unspoken, observes the corners, wonders of technique, yearns to touch textures, dissect its layers. An intimacy that sees what’s in front of it for all it truly is, and yet, continues to hold a cherished appreciation. Even more so than when the viewer was first drawn in.
And that’s all we really want, right? That one human connection and attempt at understanding. To be seen at more than a distance away, but up close.
“The supreme happiness in life is the conviction that we are loved-loved for ourselves, or rather loved in spite of ourselves.”
-Victor Hugo

Faithful

faithful adj. 1. keeping faith; maintaining allegiance to someone or something; constant; loyal. 2. having or showing a strong sense of duty or responsibility.
-the faithful 1. the loyal adherents

The idea, effort, and execution of this word has been a running lesson for me in the last 8 months or so. It’s been testing everything I am. With lack and with gain. With brimming schedules and breakable self-made obligations. With art and surprise opportunities to stifling office jobs and disappointments.

I’ve had several months of having to sit at a dinner table with overgrown plates of vegetables I, frankly, don’t want to eat. Even though this plate will be of benefit to my body, character, witness, faith, future; it doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.

But, I eat. One slow, dragged out bite at a time, praying to God that His patience will run out on me and He’ll give in to giving me what I truly want. Dessert. But, to my discomfort, He doesn’t quite work that way. I hear that’s called mercy and grace. You know, being withheld of the things that you think you deserve, yet knowing you are entitled to nothing, but still, have been given so much. They go hand in hand.

I’ll admit, some moments I’m really poor at wearing the cloak of joy and patience in regards to doing what I don’t want to do. And there are some days where even doing the things I love can bring just as much doubt, uncertainty and insecurity. It’s a daily, hourly, by the minute tug of war between being human and being called. Then I shut myself up and re-align my heart once more.

And I’m here, continuing to fork along, knowing that it pleases the God who has called me to be diligent and faithful to all that is given to me.

“But God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to trust Him so completely that we are unafraid to put ourselves in situations where we will be in trouble if He doesn’t come through.”

–       Francis Chan, Crazy Love

I will finish this plate as if I’m finishing my race. Knowing full well I’ve never regretted trusting Him before. Knowing that even though foresight currently seems nearsighted, hindsight is always 20/20. Knowing that I am more than equipped in seeing this beautiful life through. One day at a time.

As for you. You who may be waiting for the next turn of life’s page, a confirmation, or a breakthrough, I’m right there with you. Keep hopeful anticipation. Stay diligent. Stay faithful. This, whatever it is, is here to solidify your loyalty and prove His loving faithfulness. This will not be in vain.

But, Maybe

nov72013_aaustin

I remember that I almost didn’t write that last line back in November. I don’t even think I believed it then, actually. Yet, there was still a drop of hope in me, it seems. And the only way to let something grow is to nurture it. “Even when you don’t see the harvest, keep planting…”

It took a while for me to believe the right words I tried to tell myself. The words of truth and victory and hope. Yet, “No one who hopes in You will ever be put to shame,…” (Pslam 25:3). And that is something I can never forget.

So, as I’m preparing for my first little solo gallery show at the end of this month in a tiny local shop here in the city I was dying to run from a few months ago, I’m finding that my hopes are being realized. Not just by the One who has the power to bring them to life, but also by the one who has the choice to carry them with open hands. Me.

The Call

grace-&-glory

As of late, I’ve had to ask myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. To step back every now and then and realign my head and my heart to my call (or, what I think it to be). With so many roads of marketing, branding oneself, being seen and exposed, the fine line of motivation in chasing one’s dream can become hazy real quick. Struggling with the excitement of the journey and the fear of entangling too much of me in what I feel called to do. Riding the wave of the hype of instant gratification versus maintaining the quality of work I wish to produce. It can be so easy to lose one’s authenticity and truth in the process. Allowing superficial fame to be prized over real life impact.

Writer/blogger Mandy Dobbelmann of Forte E Bello just recently wrote about the very thing that has been itching my veins.

My prayer is that in this age of social media we will not lose sight of our first call. That we will remember what moved us to create in the first place; a desire to capture and share the glimpses of greater realities and to share in those realities ourselves. To see more clearly. To learn. To grow. To love. To inspire. To draw others closer to their Creator. This is true beauty. And this is why we were created to create. -Mandy Dobbelmann

You can read the rest of Mandy’s post here.

I only hope to be faithful to what I’ve been given and to the One who has given it all to me.