Everyone, this is my last guest post for the Summer of Bloggerly Love. Next week I’ll be doing a special wrap-up post, with a few surprises! This has been one of the most fun blog projects I’ve ever done! I want to thank everyone who swapped posts with me throughout the summer–I have the most fantastic blog buddies anyone could ever ask for.
And today’s guest post is by someone who I am privileged to be friends with in “real life”. Martha and I are knitting and reiki and brainstorming buddies. She illustrated Hope, April’s First Sunday Short Fiction offering. Today I’m on her blog talking about knitting love; when you’ve read Martha’s post, mosey on over and check out mine! And now here’s Martha:
So now I am left in the unpleasant position of needing to fill this page with lines that form words instead of pictures. I’m not hesitant with writing, usually, but the topic of this blog is love, and though I work to welcome love into my daily life as well as my art, I’m not especially articulate about this decision.
For the past seven years I’ve been relearning to be tender and gentle, to myself as well as the rest of the world. It has been a long road. My love is naturally fierce, tough and demanding… but I have been seeking a deeper connection with God, friends, family, art and life that I can only find by embracing a gentle love.
The process of changing my actions, my words, and even my thoughts is slow and requires a lot of forgiveness. Old ideas and expressions sneak in and hide. I have to be vigilant and locate them for gentle removal or reform. This is not a practice that can be forced.
My artwork has always mirrored my emotional life, and so my slow transformation finds its most obvious expression in my drawings. My artwork used to be angry, dark and bitter. It was always sincere, but my characters looked lost, afraid, furious or desperate. I’d include some images, but I had a moment a few years ago and burnt everything. It was WORTH IT! but that’s another story about expectation and paralysis.
I know (because WordPress tells me so) that I get more views when I draw skulls, but its the hearts that fill my sketchbooks, my notes at work, my tattoo plans and my blog. When I draw the hearts I am reminding myself that I choose to embrace all forms of love. It’s a daily affirmation of my decision and it fills me with contentment. I adore this practice.
But let me be clear! I draw fierce hearts because its another valuable aspect of love. And I am still fierce, tough and demanding. I have zero intention of removing or supplanting these traits. I love them and I’m proud of them. But they are pretty well rooted and don’t seem to need as much help as tenderness and gentleness.
My drawings are the visual expression of my journey to welcome all forms of divine love: tender, fierce, gentle, tough, demanding, forgiving, and unconditional. Each heart that I draw is a prayer and an offering. I share them with the world, because that is how love is best appreciated.
Martha Steele is a graphic artist with a BFA in Printmaking. She lives in Portland, Oregon and spends her time planning her next great project, knitting feverishly, playing BioWare games, reading fantasy novels, petting her cat, and yes, drawing hearts. She can drink tea faster than a Cricket player, and can wrangle chickens like a pro. You can learn more about Martha at her blog, Martha Mouse.