Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, Have You Any Wool!
This creative journey actually started in June of 2011. At the time, I was working for a Baptist church that was home to four unique ministries. The ministries included the French-speaking Congolese, dozens upon dozens of Chinese disciples, Farsi speaking Christians, and the host church which was mainly comprised of Baptists of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and maybe a few Southern Baptists, too. Working at that particular church was eye-opening for me. I carefully observed how each flock interacted with one another collectively and among themselves – culturally speaking and religiously as a whole. I was struck by the unique way each congregation fellowshipped, worshipped and served the Lord. The common denominator being each one was unique, celebrated and appreciated because of the unifying thread of the Holy Spirit. They were different but of the same fold.
I had worked at the church for over three years; I had several stories to tell about my journey there with each shepherd and their flocks. The idea of doing a painting about sheep in the fold turned around and around and around in my head. These were sheep in a fold I kept thinking. I was working out the details as to how, who and what to paint. Should I begin with the awesome Iranian shepherd (pastor) whose testimony includes facing genuine religious persecution in his home country of Iran because of his Christian beliefs? He can never return home; imagine that. His united congregation is awesome and so is his ministry. I always enjoyed fellowshipping with his disciples because they were especially close, were easy to be around, and the pastor was/is a great preacher and teacher.
The Chinese shepherd is a woman. Her congregation was composed of college professors, IBM professionals, etc., but they were great people, strong, full of faith, welcoming, and fun. Just you wait until I blog about my beach retreat trip in a van full of Chinese women, and the story about the tilapia; it’s quite amusing! The Chinese pastor shared with me many stories of her journey to become a pastor; starting with challenges in seminary. She is courageous, confident, thoughtful (and I think she reads Vogue Magazine because she is aways stylin’. I’ve got pictures of her somewhere when she visited my home church during a ladies’ luncheon and actually joined in the fashion show). She is also an influential reason why a significant part of the series will focus on Womankind as Shepherd. Women senior pastors was rarely heard of when I was growing up. I look forward to interviewing all of the women pastors I’ve encountered since I started thinking about this project. I have their business cards and I sense they would love to tell their story through art. Can’t wait to get started!
The paintings are accumulating in my mind and a project has emerged. At its concept, I didn’t know how was I going to get it done? My film student son is the one who told me about a website called Kickstarter.com that could help me fund the project. I really did not believe that such a site existed and initially brushed it aside. In May of 2012, I attended a workshop for artists at the Visual Art Exchange in downtown Raleigh, NC, and met an artist who shared her story about how crowd-funding made it possible to complete an artistic venture to South Africa. I volunteered to share what I wanted to do and just about everyone in attendance reacted with enthusiasm about the project. Just about everywhere I go, the enthusiasm is the same. People want to see this project come to life. So here we are today, finally. I just know I will reach my Kickstarter goal and my project 4 Ewe & You & U will more than reach its goals! Thanks, and here’s to some great art coming your way! – Carrie 🙂