I used to be quite the liar. Over the years, I’ve developed a deep desire to be honest and those that know me well would attest to my honestly. I felt honored to work in the financial industry for nearly twenty years: I wanted to be worthy of the trust of those who trusted me with their money and I was. Also, I want to be trustworthy for any who confide in me.
That’s why I was literally shocked when I realized I had been blatantly lying about my middle name for years! It started when I was young. I didn’t like my middle name, so I simply said–for decades–that I didn’t have one. I never put it on any of my records, so it didn’t exist, right? One night I had a stirring that couldn’t be placated. The thought came to my mind, “Names mean something; I wonder what my middle name means?” I couldn’t wait to look up what my nonexistent name meant. When I read the definition, I couldn’t believe what it said. I cried an ugly cry because it spoke of who I am. The name fit me to a T.
Hello, my name is Angel and my middle name is Dean. I was named after my first cousin, Michael Dean. He was six months older than me. I loved him dearly. But, Dean is a man’s name, so it was great for him, but I am a girl. Now, it doesn’t matter because it is my name. And I know the truth of my middle name Dean–it means valley!
Valleys are low places: they are fertile ground for growth. While I love the exuberance of spiritual mountain-top experiences, I have often lived emotionally in the valleys. The valleys have been my greatest teacher. As much as I’d love to be on top of the world all the time, that hasn’t been my earthly reality.
The artworks you see are based on mountains and valleys, and the acts of (often painful) surrender–placing things on the altar. Highs. Lows. Surrender. When we surrender, there is something profoundly beautiful that happens, freedom. And beyond freedom, blessings! I freely admit I lied about my middle name. I let go of the lie. Now, there is a preciousness about the name my parents gave to me. It helped me to embrace my sensitive-nature prone to emotional battles.
I’ve found it mind-bending that some of the greatest surrenders of all, were on mountaintops. Jesus. Abe and Ike, the same mountaintop. There was a lot of effort to get there. Once the surrender was complete, there was freedom and blessings.
My struggles are worked out in paint and I hope to encourage others along their journeys, by the beauty that has come through my valley experiences.
Show opened November 3rd, 2017 as a part of the Around the Corner's 17th Year Art Walk in conjunction with the DBA's November's First Fridays Autumn Art Walk. Contact me to view work or purchase.