The Wonder of Color

Have you ever wondered at the wonder of color? The bright, the bold, the muted and soft. The endless hues that make up the color wheel. The variations you get mixing them. The creativity, chemistry, and math. I wonder at the wonder of colors.

My favorite huge is forest green. The deepness of it. The peaceful emotions it evokes when I see it. The smell of crushed pine needles. What would the world be without forest green? What about yours?

Imagine if your favourite hue just disappeared.
I think I would weep.

Have you ever thought about the power colors have to influence your mood? Dose a sunny yellow brighten your day? Dose a deep blue calm you? How about a playful pink, or a shimmer of silver?

Color wouldn’t be without light. That electromagnetic radiation bouncing around our word, being absorbed or rejected by objects and our eyes. The way it all works together, or doesn’t, to give us the thing called color. Mesmerizing madness are the words that come when it’s all described. Magic! But also science, this wonder that is color.

I have dreamed of a world that lacked light before. A world of blackness, of touch, feel, smell, hesitation, question. A world where everything has a home, or it disappears. A world where the human senses are all enhanced by our blindness. What a different world ours would be without light, without color.

Colors tell stories. We know that red checks mean something. Fever? Cold? Embarrassment? A flush of Joy? Too much wine? Shades of red tell so many stories. Some beautiful, some uncomfortable, some painful. Red, the color of love, and blood.

Blue is the hue of cold. Dose it send chills down your spine? Or darken it to royal and it tells a story of lush luxury and poise. Darken in to navy and it reminds me of strength. Lighten it and its baby blue is like a child’s light-hearted giggle.

What color gives you warmth? Is it a burst of yellow? Yellow tells the story of present sunshine and wildflowers. The kiss of honey on bread, the smell of mead. In reverse it whispers of sickness, soiled garments, wasting age. All these are yellow, and yellows are these things.

Primary in their existence, the blues, the reds, the yellows. Mix them? The world explodes with color.

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

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Christmas Crystals

With dampness in the air they cling
to just about everything.
Every limb is painted white,
making night a bit more bright.

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

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Six Word Stories (7)

This is my family’s first winter in the south. Our original home is Northwestern, Ontario. This Will be my children’s first green Christmas.

The little bits of snow we have had have been a joy for them. It’s like they have never seen the stuff before despite living in it up to our ears for the last 10 years.

Who knew little snowmen could be so pure.

Have you ever been fascinated by the pealing of paint? As a child I used to dream of what lived inside the walls to make them peal like that.

Pour On

Despite the storms,
despite the norms,
the roll of life pours on.

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

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December Night

Mantle of lights above my head
fixed on a map of midnight blue
shining silver blue and red
so close, yet eons over head.

They only wink with my own blink
a steady stream of glistening
shining bright, yet light, I see
is all ancient history.

A vastness more than mind can hold
yet I behold December’s night
stand on my globe of living rock
that spins with the celestial clock.

Count the numbers, multiply,
as the universe flies by,
here I stand a single speck
in heaven’s sum.

December night clear, bright,
gifted glimpse of creations might
never a doubt in my mind
stargazing, meant to remind.

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

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My Journey With God/Believable Books

Early last week Ericka Clay from Believable Books reached out and asked if I would contribute a gest post for her website. I was honoured to be asked, and this morning the post has gone live. If you wish to read it, please visit Believable Books via This Link.

Check out the rest of the Believable book’s website as well, and the submissions page.

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Christmas Orange Collection

1
Sent permeates air
citrus juices flow and squirt
orange is happiness

2
Skin is pealed off
the tearing releases sun
morning just began

3
Lingering perfume
clings to fingertips soaked
glow without a light

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

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When Creativity Holds Darkness

Anyone in the habit of communicating their creativity has had moments where their work is tinged with shadow. Some artist thrive in that dark place. Are you one of them? I walk the line on how dark the words I write are, and don’t believe in denying the sad, angry, or even ugly emotions and experiences we all carry. I choose to hold them, look at them, learn from them, then try to let them go.


But what to do when that darkness overshadows all other emotions when you create?


First, decide if it’s something you want to happen. Is the ugliness necessary to YOU? Is it something the world needs to see?


These are extremely personal questions. I will tell no one the way you express your creativity is wrong, or invalid, unless you are hurting other people. I will probably choose to not view your work if it’s overly dark for my own mental health. But that doesn’t invalidate it. Your art can still teach the world if you choose to share, and people decide it’s something they like. Make sure you tread that line carefully.


What if you answer no? No, you don’t want this darkness. Then you should ask is where is it coming from.
During the year I lived in The Netherlands, my boyfriend, now husband, took me to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. It was a great visit, but it also haunts me.

The Corpses of the De Witt Brothers is a c.1672-75 oil on canvas painting by the Dutch Golden Age painter Jan de Baen. 69.5 cm × 56 cm (27.4 in × 22 in)
Jan de Baen’s painting is the piece I will never forget. I almost walked right by it, the last small painting on the wall. It still stopped me dead in my tracks. I didn’t linger long, because it disturbed me. But I had to look closer to understand what it was. Then came the questions.


“What is that painting about?”
“What is the story behind it?”
“How could people do that to each other?”


The history behind the painting is pretty complicated, I will let you decide whether you want to look it up. The short answer is the two brothers depicted in the painting, were killed for political reasons.


As I remember viewing the painting for the first time, I ask myself, what was the artist thinking? Though the painting is attributed to Jan de Baen, it might be the work of an unknown artist. The exact reasons for its creation are not known for sure. Regardless, it’s a gruesome reminder of historical events. Which brings us back to what must the artist have been thinking?


Perhaps he had been asked to record what happened for the sake of history. Perhaps it was done for more political reasons. Was it a seen he has viewed himself? If so, was he releasing trauma? Witnessing violence like that would leave any human mind scared. We can’t know the answers to these questions, because we can’t ask the artist.


No matter what the motives and emotions behind the piece where, it’s important. Do I hate it? Yes. But I would argue it’s necessary. A necessary ugliness, a necessary reminder of human crimes. There are many works of art like this all around the world. Their darkness will not let us forget the mistakes of the past.
So what do you do when your own work haunts you? Do you have a story that needs to be told? Is its ugliness necessary? I would urge bravery and prayer.


It may be a darkness that you need to express and then release. Or it may be a darkness the word needs to acknowledge. But be kind to yourself. Be careful with your spirit, and if you need help with your journey of creativity mixed with shadow, reach out to a fellow creative who can support you. Or a mental health expert who can guide you.


Some people will disagree with me. They will recite things like Philippians 4:8 NIV. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. In reply, I would say, these works of art hold truth. Though the truth is ugly, it’s not something we should turn away from.


As a Christian, I often wear a cross. The tinny silver emblem of my faith is a work of art that holds darkness. It is a reminder of injustice, torture, and death. But is also my hope, the hope of this world. Should I turn away from the darkness of Christ’s death on the cross? Never.


Some artwork is created only for the enjoyment of morbidity. Again, I will say as long as you are not breaking any laws, or hurting other human beings, I don’t believe in forbidding you that kind of creativity. If this is you, I would like to ask you a question. Do you know your why? Is there something deep inside you might be neglected, that is the reason you enjoy dark art? Is it something you need to deal with?


For those of us who do not purposely seek dark works of art, may we be brave to telling the stories that beg to be told. May we be strong and not be trapped in darkness, but be able to let it go.

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

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Six Word Stories (6)

Empty. Slowly I am learning it is not something I need to be afraid of. It offers the choice, “What will I fill myself with?”

The last 5 years have also seen my need for silence grow. It whispers to me, “Come and simply be.”

In that silence, in my emptiness, I glimpse things that I never had the time to understand before. The goodness, the glory, the magnificence, the creativity of the God I love.

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

Photos sourced from Unsplash.com

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Oneness All Our Own

Warmth of oneness all our own,
a wealth neither has ever known.

Together in a permanent
state under the firmament.

A oneness more than touch alone.
A choice made as love we hone.

Cultivate sustainable,
believing it attainable.

Our oneness growing, building, on,
as closer, we are being drawn.

Uniquely us, yet made to fit
together as our lives are knit.

As with knots, it’s never straight.
Oneness is our guarding gate.

No other two could ever be
quite like this oneness of you and me.

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020

When Creativity Hurts

Does being creative ever hurt you? Does the stroke of a paintbrush, the writing of words, or the blink of a camera shutter bring on tears?


Honestly, sometimes for me creativity hurts. But I don’t think creativity itself causes my pain. I believe when I dig deep and stirs things I have bottled inside, that stirring up reminds me I am in pain. Because let’s be honest, when we live with wounds sometimes we get used to the pain. We forget they haven’t healed yet.


I also ask myself, is it worth this hurt? I always came back to the answer, yes. Creativity is worth every tear. Why? Because it can help me heal, if I let it.


Will I let it? Will you let it? Will we all let creativity work its cauterizing powers on our emotional and spiritual wounds? Is your head spinning yet? Mine is and I’m the writer, but hold on with me here.


Why does it have to hurt? It’s TRUE not all healing creativity is painful. Most often it soothes, releases and even washes away anxiety, depression, fear, and loneliness. But sometimes it makes you stare at the things hurting you, and that pinches. It makes you relive trauma. That’s worse. It makes you examine, probe, and even reopen wounds. That is excruciating. Have you ever been there?


On 2015, November 11th, I started writing a poem that would go further and deeper than anything I had ever written before. It took me four years and two-ish weeks to write over a thousand words. No, I will not post it. Why bring it up? For the example of my creativity hurting me. There is no way I could count the tears spilt while writing it.


I often asked God why he gave it to me, but he never answered that question. He said write it. There were times I walked away from the project for months on end, but he always brought my attention back.


“Mary, write.”
“But I don’t want to.”
“Mary, write the poem.”
“But I DON’T WANT TO!”


Then he would be silent as I sat my butt down to write a few lines, or fixed a word. Or just read it over and over again, and cried.
See, I believe God made every human being creative, whether we use that creativity or choose not to. When he gave it to us, he gave us one of our most powerful attributes. He gave us part of his very self. That is why the act of creativity, in its many forms, can heal.


I am learning to lean in to my creativity when it hurts. The act is difficult, and I test the waters with my toes before committing to the journey of those experiences. I find my brain is far more receptive to learning while it’s hurting, if the hurt involves being creative.


Also important, remember that if you start a journey of healing with creativity, you don’t have to share it with anyone. It’s yours. The pain, the healing, the experience is YOURS. The art you make is yours for you. If you want to share it, that’s beautiful. If you want to burn it after creating it, do it. If you need to store it away in a dark closet under 100 blankets, that is just fine too. It’s the doing that is important. When you reach a place where the doing doesn’t hurt, and feels more like living, you still don’t have to share it.


I pray God blesses you through your doing this week.

©Mary Grace van der Kroef 2020