Wednesday, March 21, 2007

One of my reader's sent questions about the painted shoe box:
1) Why did you paint a shoe box?
2) What will you do with it, now that it's painted?
3) What does it look like? Pictures, please?

I painted my first shoe box several years ago when I began experimenting with acrylic paint. Since the medium is so versatile and will adhere to a variety of surfaces, and since I enjoy decorating 3-dimensional objects, the lowly shoe box presented itself one day as the perfect candidate for practice of different designs and techniques. I had lots of empty shoe boxes (what pack rat doesn't?), and they were free. I gave the first one to my sister, she took it to school and showed the art instructor, who used the idea in her class. I painted several more before my enthusiasm waned. (Nothing holds my interest very long.) But I continued to collect shoe boxes.

When my artistic muse returned on Monday and put my paintbrushes back in my hand, I immediately remembered the boxes I'd been saving for just this occasion. So after tiring of the single surface a canvas offers, I picked up one of the boxes. It's hard to describe how something so simple can be the source of such deep soul satisfying activity. It's like painting six different canvases at once. While one part dries, the next side is ready and begging for embellishment.

At some point, the idea of the God box came to mind. The only time I've encountered a God box was at a 12-step retreat when we were encouraged to write out our concerns and deposit them in a cedar box as an exercise in "letting go and letting God." It's a form of prayer, something intangible made tangible.

As I began to contemplate that idea, I realized my box was a good illustration of how different people have different views of God. No matter what angle we're looking from, it's impossible to see all the sides at once. Three is the most that can be seen at once. And every side is different. I haven't fully developed this idea, but it has possibilities, especially as a teaching tool for children and young people.

Whether this is an original concept or not, I don't know. I did a search on Google for The God Box and got several hits, but none that mentioned the same idea as mine. Pictures to follow...
I should have warned you - this is no sophisticated art form. Basically, it's the child in me playing with paint when I do this.

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