One Year Later – Soul Graffiti Art Studio

logo_highres_whitebackground

I still have a hard time believing I own and operate an art studio. Soul Graffiti opened for business and creative ventures October 1, 2013.

The past 12 months have been a time of rapid growth for me. As an artist, as a business owner, as a believer, and as a dreamer.

I’ve cried, laughed, and yelled. I’ve experienced the amazing community of local artists who have supported me and loved me. I’ve been doubted, questioned, and looked down upon. I’ve been supported, loved, and encouraged.

People I barely knew one year ago have supported Soul Graffiti in ways I could have never predicted. People I’ve known for decades don’t even know Soul Graffiti exists…is this even possible with social media?!?!

IMG_1066

I’ve washed more paintbrushes than I care to think about. I’ve learned to appreciate mason jars in a whole new way. Acrylic paint may be permanently embedded beneath my fingernails.

Michael, Jerry, and Mr. AC Moore know me by name and my checking account number.

I’ve painted my rear end off. I taught more than 60 classes. I’ve partnered with other amazing artists. My work has received criticism and made divisive waves. Received accolades and gotten raves.

I’ve shipped paintings to towns I’ve never visited. The Soul Graffiti Art Studio FB page has almost {we’re so stinkin’ close!} 500 LIKES. I’ve been commissioned to create gifts for birthdays, weddings, and new babies.

All this and I’m still in disbelief…walking on water. The waves are always beating against my feet, but my eyes have to stay on Jesus, the architect of my faith.

Faith, the evidence of things hoped for, but not seen. Soul Graffiti Art Studio was a massive leap of faith. I had no idea what was even possible. I started paying rent on a 400 square foot space and didn’t have the first class scheduled. I even thought it was a little bit cray cray myself.

My husband and my kids believed in me. From inception. From the moment I met a complete stranger turned soul sister Andrea Noles and she spoke life into my soul…”Lizzie, you need a place to land”.

IMG_0877

Her aptly spoken words fanned a spark in me that ignited my inner artist and turned into a flame. Now that flame burns with fervor and energy that’s palpable. Before last summer, I never even knew owning an art studio was a possibility.

But…I’ve seen some of what’s possible in the past year, and I believe we have only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible when people have a place to create soulful masterpieces. A place to express and put on a canvas the graffiti that is written on their very souls.

Even with all I’ve mentioned, you know what makes me cry and smile at the same time? Artists who’ve landed at Soul Graffiti. Precious souls to me. People who took a risk. Dear souls who chose to show up. To play with paint. To share little pieces of themselves on a stretched canvas.

They took a huge risk and showed up. That’s what life is all about. That’s all I did when I opened the doors to Soul Graffiti one year ago.

So, one year later, how do I measure success? It’s not my checking account. Or the number of canvases I’ve painted. Or the accolades. All of those things are incomparable to the smiles, and aha’s, and tears, and “wow, I did that!” comments that I get to hear every week.

That’s how I measure success. One soul at a time. One artist who takes a risk and shows up at Soul Graffiti. That’s all God asked of me one year ago and that’s all I ask of the artists who take a risk at Soul Graffiti. And of myself. Success is showing up.

Hope you show up at Soul Graffiti Art Studio very soon!

1003612_10152293099955943_315887286_n

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior.

 

 

 

You see art with your heart: Day 3 of 31 days

From day-to-day, I have no idea what I am writing for this series.

But, God does.

I took Branch Academy to the library today to stock up on books for the next two weeks. I had no idea God had a precious gift waiting for me.

I was helping Callie look for specific books when my eyes landed on this:

avi.theendofthebeginning 

I started reading it as soon as we got in the car and had to end up pulling off the road to park and finish it. Wow. Unbelievable.

How do you find the art in your heart? This is what I was supposed to write about today:

“You see, Avon, it all depends on you. If you want it to be different, it will be different. Don’t look at the world with your eyes, but with your heart.” (page 70)

Yes, my friends and fellow artists, art begins in your heart when you begin to see the world with your heart, not your eyes.

What is your heart saying to you? God’s word powerfully illuminates this for us in Proverbs 4:23:

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

As followers of Jesus, our hearts are made of flesh, not of stone and we are exhorted to guard our hearts ABOVE ALL ELSE! Before anything else, not after you finish everything else.

Why? Because from our hearts, our HEARTS, friends, LIFE FLOWS!!!!!!

YES and AMEN!

Listen to your heart. Listen to what God is telling you. There you will find life flowing rich and free. I can only imagine all the amazing things He is whispering to you.

Go and create, my friends. I believe it’s fair to say your very life depends on it. Let that life flow right into the canvas of your life.

{{{Much love.}}} I am signing off to go paint at the studio. See you there very soon!

 

I am an ARTIST: Day 2 of 31 Days

art in your heart

“Creativity takes courage. ” Henri Matisse

How do you find the art in your heart, you might ask. Several years ago, I felt a stirring in my heart. Or more like an uneasiness in my spirit. Something was off kilter. Everything felt like work and fun was not a word in my vocabulary.

During this season of questioning,I was on the other end of a health crisis where I took deep inventory of my life. One of the questions I pondered was: if I were to die, what would I want to leave behind. My answer?

Beauty. Beautiful reminders and memories of a life well lived. 

Not the anxiety riddled to do lists and accomplishments that would go with me to the grave.

This stirring created a vast galaxy of new awareness for me. Forever.Life.Changing.

I now know that God was stirring my soul, causing me to become fully aware of a lie I believed since Kindergarten.

This lie wore many masks: I am not creative. I am not an artist. Artists are weird {okay, this one seemed to fit me already}. If I have fun with creativity, I will get in trouble.

Oh my, that last one. That’s how this lie started. I got in trouble for being creative. For playing with the entire box of 8 colorful crayons. And this lie stuck for 34 years.

I painted my first canvas at the age of 34:

IMG_1372[1]

Yes, black and white. This canvas will forever remind me of a very timid and almost embarrassed artist who took a chance. Who leaped off the cliff. Who chose to be brave and put some paint on a canvas. It makes me tear up to think about all that has transpired in the past 3 years.

Fast forward to now. God planted a seed in my heart long ago to have a space to create, but I didn’t know it was buried there until recently. After many years of lying dormant, that seed is growing and bearing fruit.

Now, I am free. Free to play with paint and color and different mediums. Free to be me. Free to call myself an artist. And live in wide open spaces with room to grow and change!

I am an artist.

So are you.

What is lying dormant inside of you? Who has God called you to be and what lies are you believing about this calling? Are you ready to step into a new space, a place to land?

I encourage you to take some time to ponder these questions. Journal your answers. Paint your answers. Talk about someone in confidence about your ponderings. YOU have what it takes! Choose to believe the truth over the lies. YOU are an artist and capable of creating beauty. I know it. I want YOU to know it, too!

Chefs create. Moms and dads create. Engineers create. Cashiers create. Pastors create. Teachers create. Nurses create. Plumbers create. EVERYONE creates! You may not paint, but you may draw. You may not draw, but you may cook. You may not cook, but you may encourage creatively.

WE are made in the image of THE Creator. Therefore, we create.

I am praying for you. For me. For all of us as we journey to our hearts and discover the art that is already there.

The beginning to finding the art in your heart starts with you saying and believing:

I am an artist.

I believe in you. And I want to help you. This is what the studio is all about.

Let’s find the art in our hearts together! Stay tuned for more ways to find the art in our hearts tomorrow. Until then, create with every color in your box! I know I will!

 

Is This Really Happening??

“Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.” Brené Brown 

 

IMG_1063 IMG_1067IMG_1066

Friends,

It is a really really big week. I have keys to my studio and I can start moving in and decorating on Tuesday, October 1st. I am thrilled and nervous. I know with my heart this is right. The right time. The right space. The right person. The right calling.

But my head tries to mess it all up and tell me all the many reasons why I’m crazy. I like to know outcomes before they happen. You know, I like to know that everything is going to be okay. I am a peacemaker at heart. But, I have no idea what the next year will hold.

Don’t get me wrong. I have big dreams. Dreams that scare the poop out of me. But, these dreams need to fly and I can’t hold onto them anymore. It is time. Pray with me, please? I will post a schedule of events for the studio for October and November by the end of the week. And someone pinch me? Is this really happening? I think so.

 

“One Heart at a Time”

There’s so much static.

It tries to drown out the whispers:

“Build a platform.”
“Increase your numbers.”
“Make sure you follow all the right people.”
“You have to sell yourself.”

But it all feels so foreign, empty, and exhausting.

I get up early. Sit on the porch.

And realign my heart with His:

“Listen to Me.”
“I have called you.”
“You have a message to share.”
“Go boldly and with confidence.”
“Build connection and community.”
“One heart at a time.”

And it feels right.

Deep down. Soulfully sweet.

The whispers become my mantra.

My main focus.

Rest comes as my body releases.

This is it.

The beginning of something way bigger than any dream I’ve ever had.

May God bless it and grow it.

May His light shine on Main Street.

But, may it start in my heart.

New Beginnings: FOR RENT

Do you remember how you felt on the first day of school as a Kindergartener? Or what it felt like to jump off the high dive the very first time? Or what about when the game was on the line and the ball was in your hands?

I am feeling exactly like that. Right now. And this is why:

IMG_1068

 

Y’all know I can be a little long-winded. I know I have the gift of gab, so I will attempt to keep it short and awfully sweet to keep your attention. Here’s the background:

I went to a little conference in July called She Speaks.

I had no expectations and prayed for God’s guidance.

Boy did He ever deliver.

You see, I met a soul sister. Here we are:

IMG_0877

God used her to birth a seedling, a dream that had been in my heart for a long time.

The instant I met her, I knew her. I knew her.

I shared my heart.

She shared hers.

I told her that I didn’t want a platform where I stood on a stage and spoke to thousands of people.

I told her I wanted deep connection and community.

She smiled and nodded her head.

She listened. To my heart. And said these powerful life changing words:

“You need a place to land.”

I responded with, “what?”.

She repeated herself, “you know, a place where you can share your talents, gifts, and connect with other people. Like a studio where you do your group coaching and teach art classes.”

The red sea parted.

My racing heart couldn’t grasp all that she was saying.

But, my mind couldn’t let it go! I raced back to the hotel that night after we soul danced and told Anthony all about the dream God was birthing.

He smiled in his cute way and said, “Go for it. I know you will be successful. You get people. You are a people connector.”

I told him about my soul sister and he said, “she’s probably a lot like you”.

My man is soulfully smart.

By the way, her name is Andrea and you can find her here and here on Facebook. She is a delight. Someone who leaves a little shimmer and light everywhere she goes. And I am so grateful that our Father soul connected us.

SO!!! What does all this have to do with a FOR RENT sign?

I am renting a studio space in downtown Clayton, NC that will be multi-purposeful. God has confirmed this in so many ways, but I’ll save that for another post. I am already past being long-winded! Here is a tentative list of what I will offer:

Coaching Groups
Bible/book studies
Art classes for all ages
Tutoring for school aged children
Themed birthday parties and other celebrations
Open studio time for local artists to create
and much more!

To say I am excited would be an understatement. Along with excitement comes some fear. But, I know beyond anything that I have to do this. This is more than a fling…it is a calling. A compulsion. And I am answering the call! Compelled to obey my Father’s call.

Stay tuned to my website and my business Facebook page for more updates and class listings. Classes will begin in October. I am booking now for children’s themed birthday parties and tutoring appointments. Pass the word around! And pray for me? Hope to see you at the Studio very soon!