Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Symbolism: The use of symbols to represent things such as ideas or emotions. A symbol is something such as an object, picture, written word, sound, or particular mark that represents something else by association, or resemblance, or convention.
Using personal imagery or symbolism in the art pieces I make is a visual language for what rests at the seat of my soul. Sometimes the use of symbolism is intentional and others it is done subconsciously, but, I immediately recognize it after the fact. I am often surprised at what my hands create at the direction of my heart, at how this type of art validates what I am thinking, experiencing, have experienced, or want to affirm. It can even aid in a painful healing process.

Often, the symbols I use are intensely personal, private, obscure, or ambiguous references that only I would recognize the depth of meaning attached to them. The casual onlooker might just see a gathering of objects that are pleasingly arranged in collage or assemblage fashion and nothing more. Most of the time I give a nod to my core beliefs of faith in Christ, other times I use the symbols to process thoughts and feelings or to work through things of the past, much as a writer might use their pen and words or a painter their brush and strokes to convey a message, hidden or otherwise.
I don't always employ this method in creating an art piece, sometimes an object or element is what it is and nothing more. My most recent symbolic work of art was a small collage/assemblage project. It did not start out as anything other than a desire to have a decorative art piece for a vacant space on a shelf where I had recently rearranged things, nothing more and nothing less. This was one of those surprise projects where my heart was conveying a message to my hands as I worked.

It wasn't until I was
seeking out words to string together for some sort of quote that fit the bird theme that I stumbled upon this combination of words, "There is no confusion in the notes of his song, as to be heard above every other sound.", that I suddenly "saw" the messages in the piece before me.St. John 10:3-5 instantly sprang to mind. The connection between there being no confusion about the notes of his song and the ability to hear it above every other sound solidified what I knew to be true in Scripture - I hear His voice, I know it, it guides me, I follow it without confusion. It is distinct above every other sound and there is no mistaking it.From there on, I was very intentional about the elements I chose to complete the piece from the background to the foreground and everything in between. Each layer, when dissected, acknowledges a spiritual truth that I hold to be true.
The background paper is an old store receipt that reminds me that I was bought and paid for with a great price, His life for mine. (John 10:11, 1 Corinthians 7:23)

The receipt is from Shafer 's Cash Store, which represents a family name, only ours is spelled a little different, reminds me that I am a part of the family of God. (Romans 8:16)
The watchful mother bird on the nest of eggs reminds me that I can nestle comfortably in the safety of my Heavenly Fathers attentive care. (Job 11:18)

The woven nest of natural fibers, twigs, moss, string, and paper bits remind me that I have a purpose in being here on this earth, my creation was intentional, I was woven and knit together in my mother womb, fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:13-15)

The eggs resting in the nest symbolize rebirth and the transforming cycle of new life, being a new creation in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
The feathers are a symbol of being covered with His protective wings. (Psalm 91:4)

The bound together budding twigs remind me that He is the vine and I am the branch, I am to abide in Him, together we can bring forth much fruit, apart I can do nothing. (John 15:5)

The music notes entwined among the twigs represent my praise to Him, He is my strength and my song. (Exodus 15:2)
His words are inscribed on a tag hanging from the twig branch. (John 10:3-5) The Scripture bound to the branch with twine represents the binding of the Bible's words to my heart, a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. (Deuteronomy 11:18, Proverbs 6: 21-22, Psalm 119:105)The stained gauze and tattered cheese cloth bound up by a button and twine remind me that life can sometimes get messy. I may get wounded along the way. I may feel tattered and scattered but He is always there to bind up any wounds I might receive, to gather up any tattered pieces and turn them into beautiful accents that embellish my life story and bring Him glory. (Psalm 147:3, Isaiah 61:1-3)Symbolism in art, whether it be painting, literature, prose or poetry, theater, music, or any other visual art form has been used by artists through the ages to convey a personal message that was meaningful to the artist. The next time you view a piece of art, look a little deeper and you might just get a glimpse of something greater, the seat of an artist soul.

Miss Sandy


Vee said...

Okay, that's it...look for an email. This is beyond exquisitely is a truly inspired piece. God breeze all over it. Thank you for sharing it so clearly. I just love the music trailing up through the branches.

sjmcdowell said...

Sandi....Sometimes there are no words..human words to discribe how the Lord moves in our lives. He has spoken loud and clear to you and may God bless you for sharing
His word with us.
Beautiful beyond comprehension.
Thank you Sandi.
Love, Susan

The Feathered Nest said...

Such a gorgeous work or art dear Sandy and even more beautiful are the meanings of each and every element ~ I love that your art "speaks" of the Lord's love for us truly are so sweet dear friend, I received an adorable little package today filled with the sweetest painted "eggs" THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I love them all...and love even more that they were painted by you. Hugs and love, Dawn

SharDon Exclusives said...

Sandy, what an absolutely gorgeous post. So many truths are woven within the beautiful words and the lovely creation you have made. I love each word, each symbol, each thought. Thank you for sharing your faith and your talents.

kathy said...

SAndy -- Thank you for sharing your beautiful art -- the words are sweet as honeycomb -- and so speaks to my heart , I love your explanation of your art -- and always looked on
nest and birds as symbols of God's beautiful creation - and so enjoy creating them over and over in different ways and mediums Thank you for taking it deeper still i willl not look on those elements in the same way -- Thank you for a blessing of the eye and heart -- I will share this with a friend who will love this -- Kathy - ga ♥

Robin said...

Your art and your words are absolutely beautiful! You have a beautiful blog and I had to sign on as a follower....I'm off to check out your older posts, so much beauty here.

vikki said...

~♥~ Hi Ms Sandy~ it! How gorgeous! the collage is soo lovely, but the meaning & love is just beautiful... thank*U for sharing & caring... LOVE the way GOD speaks & shows thru nature & art... we only need to listen & you did! LOVE. your art! hugs & blessings, vikki ~♥~

Dorthe said...

Such a very beautifull post, -your art piece, so beautifull wowen with the words you write,-and the meaning behind, being explained in this way, makes your post a beautifull thing, to bring with me, today and alwayes.

Barbara Jean said...

This is wonderful!

Thanks for telling us what it means to you.


barbara jean

Ash said...

reading your post was my devotional for the morning! we have been studying the book of john in our women's bible study at church and i'm going to email this to the other girls in my group. thanks for taking the time and space to find deeper meaning and connections to scripture as you create. that is a true offering of your talents in worship. ~ash

Unknown said...

Vee said that I would be inspired, and so I am. I love everything you have done here. Each symbol sings His praise. Lovely.

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