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Christy Catherine Marshall

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March 4, 2008

A few weeks ago, I wrote that my one goal for this new year is to bring more beauty into my world. I think my soul is truly starving for beauty. Even though I’m surrounded by God’s creation, I haven’t been actively pursuing it as a way of life.

Since writing that goal here, I’ve somehow found the courage to do something I’ve always wanted to do, but been afraid. I’ve signed up for a beginner watercolor painting class for adults!

We met for the first time last week, and I had so much fun. It was all I could do to keep my mouth shut and stop interviewing the teacher and other students! They’re people like me, stepping out to try something new, something scary. Yet even our teacher admitted that she began painting in her adult years, as a way to work through a period of grief in her life.

I remember many years ago, my mom came to visit me while I was teaching in Japan, and we spent a wonderful day hiking on the island of Miyajima, off the coast of Hiroshima. It was a gorgeous April day, and the pink cherry blossoms were in full bloom, looking like puffs of cotton candy dotted throughout the island. As we sat down on a bench near a temple, we noticed a lady dabbing watercolors onto small, postcard-size art paper.

When we remarked on the beauty of her paintings, she smiled and said, “I give them to you.” And she did! She gave us several of her lovely scenes, which I’ve always treasured. The red of the temple, pink of the cherry blossoms, and blue of the sea are now forever etched in my memory.

Lately, I’ve been overwhelmed by the beauty of white church steeples set against the pine trees and sunsets. Our yellow jonquils are blooming like mad all over our front yard. Yesterday, I was driving my kids to school and I almost had to pull off the road when I saw several rows of yellow jonquils set against the backdrop of a bright red barn. The scene was so gorgeous I could hardly breathe!

I’m not really sure what I hope to accomplish in taking this painting class. (Mainly, it’s just an opportunity to give myself a break from housework!) Yet, already I’m finding myself more aware of color, of details and shadows. Maybe this will someday work its way into my writing.

An artist looks for a story to paint with color; a writer looks for a story to paint with words.

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