colours of hope

Finding My Way Out Of The Dark

Life doesn’t always go how we plan. Last year had been a rather difficult season for me. The breakdown of my marriage had ended in divorce and I was embarrassed by this failure. I was overcome with grief and I cut most my friends off Facebook. Previously moving to another country made starting over again much easier, but I had lost hope. I had been running a business / ministry called Colours of Hope, but this I packed up, closed down and deleted, because I had no hope left. I was so discouraged and disappointed with life itself. Things just had not gone the way I had planned, I just wanted to crawl under my bed and stay there.

It was during this stint under my bed, that an email came about a possible painting commission. A friend of a friend contacted me about creating a painting as a gift for her friend's birthday. This friend had helped her tremendously through a difficult season and she wanted to acknowledge the importance of this love through the creation of a painting. She had a set budget, but no restrictions other than that. The commission was entirely left up to my own interpretation and creation. The only thing was, I didn't think I could paint like that again. Didn’t she know I had given up on hope?

I didn't think I could encourage anyone with anything. My paintings had become quite dark and I didn’t think I had any hope. But something within me wanted to find my way out of the dark and I thought I may at least try. I started the painting commission and as it had been some time since I had painted with this particular style of application, I forgot one of the vital steps in the process. The whole painting cracked, a complete failure, entirely. I stormed around the house, mad and fuming. I knew I couldn't do it, I knew there was no hope.

By nature, I am not good at giving up. I considered the painting brief, the way the person had felt about her friend. The love and faithfulness she had been shown and I decided to try again. This time I would start two paintings, then I would have more chance of one being successful. I looked back through photos of my paintings over the years and realised that all my favourite ones were a particular colour palette. All the paintings that represented hope to me, were similar in colour. So I decided to start with what was obviously MY colours of hope.

I set out all the colours that represented hope to me and tried again and this time the painting was just beautiful. Feeling encouraged from the colour and beauty of my painting and the feeling it was radiating, I created another one. The person commissioning the painting could then choose which one she preferred and I would then have one in my house to encourage me.

Faithfulness  acrylic on linen, 61 x 61cm  The painting commission

Faithfulness acrylic on linen, 61 x 61cm
The painting commission

This is the message that goes with the painting - Sometimes the roads we travel are rough, the path becomes hindered by obstacles and we feel we can never get through, but the faithfulness of friendship endures through all things. It is the love from fellow travellers that keeps us going. 'Love puts up with anything, trusts God always, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end’ (1 Cor 13:7 Msg). Love wins, faithfulness is the currency.

Finding Faith  acrylic on linen, 61 x 61cm

Finding Faith acrylic on linen, 61 x 61cm

This is the second painting I created, ‘Finding Faith’. Creating this painting helped me to find myself again and to find my way out of the dark. But I really had to push through all the self doubt and heartache that I was feeling, especially when the first attempt failed so miserably. The lesson I learned is to just not give up! Some seasons in life can really be devastating, but you have to find within yourself, the faith, the strength and the hope to not give up, to keep believing that things will get better and to reach out to friends.

We all struggle, but we have to help each other to keep getting up. We have to celebrate each other's lives. Tomorrow could be better, you were created to be successful and your success could be the catalyst to inspire someone else, just don't give up!

Much love & strength to you
Kia Kaha
Cheers Froyle

Part 14: The Colours of Hope

'Hope' acrylic on linen, 100 x 100cm

'Hope' acrylic on linen, 100 x 100cm

This is my colour of hope. I painted it on a Monday, during a difficult few weeks. I was tired, out of art supplies and discouraged, but I had to paint. I had to find from within myself the strength to believe that things would get better. The composition came together as I emptied pots of paint and squeezed out the last remnants of colour. It is beautiful. Though we fall, we will yet arise, hope keeps believing. This painting, ‘Hope’ is a visual expression of what can be found within our own hearts when we trust God is who He says He is. 

Three years before mum & I headed back to New Zealand, we were running a business / ministry called Colours of Hope. I was creating richly saturated paintings of beautiful colours and mum was making art cushions to match. We were running workshops, selling things and giving things away. It was all about encouraging people, it was a revolution to inspire hope through colour & beauty, in the face of global despair.

It began when my cousin Evana went through the horrific ordeal of breast cancer. She had a double mastectomy and all the treatment that aligns with this procedure. Mum decided to head over to Perth, Western Australia, to help Evana’s husband and four children cope with the illness. Mum loved them, served them and looked after the household while Evana had her treatments. When it was time for her to come home, Evana wanted something to remember the experience she had spent with Aunty Helen and so she decided to buy one of my paintings called ‘Grace’.

Art is spiritual, it carries the intention for which it has been created. My art is intentional, I definitely have an agenda, I want to give people an encounter with the presence of God. I want to release peace, joy, love, into people’s lives through art. There is a world full of heartbreak. I want my art to inspire hope through colour, beauty and the Spirit from which I create.

Evana with her 'Grace' painting

Evana with her 'Grace' painting

The painting ‘Grace’ was inspired by Psalm 23 and it is an expression of the rest, provision and peace of God. 

'You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I'm not afraid when you walk at my side, Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life’ (Message Bible).

This is the revelation of God’s nature that Evana needed to experience at that moment and it made me think; What if I could take the painting off the canvas and literally wrap her in the art? All the colour, beauty and purpose could physically surround her. It is this pursuit that birthed the Colours of Hope Collection.

Art as a cushion

Art as a cushion

We literally took my richly coloured paintings off the canvas and printed them onto fabric, which was then made into beautiful art cushions. It was art as a cushion and the material was soft, luxurious and of the highest quality. Each cushion had been handmade, a beautiful original artwork and often a one off creation. They were created to inspire - with such intention (and titles), as Hope, Grace, Freedom and Furious Love.

Why Cushions? I had someone ask me why were we making cushions and what did that have to do with hope? Cushions are soft and comfortable, they can be squeezed, laid on, cuddled and they look beautiful. We hold them to our chest in an embrace, or we lay on them, releasing the Spirit filled intention to our head or our heart. Colour is healing. Surrounding ourselves with beautiful things makes us feel better, makes us happy and this makes us hopeful. What you surround yourself with will create an atmosphere in your home and lives, so choose to surround yourself with hope. The art cushions were unique, handmade and beautiful, but my original vision was for material that would make the perfect scarf.

Me & Mum

Me & Mum

Then, we finally found it, the perfect scarf material! It was so very soft, it printed sharp and clean and bled through to the back side. Finally we had the very thing that started the whole pursuit. We could literally wrap people in my art.

I had it in my hands, my first 'Hope' scarf, printed with perfection, beautiful, soft, truly glorious. Mum had cut the fabric in two pieces, hemmed the edges and added the 'care instructions', I thought this was going to be the item that out sold all of the cushions, purses and bags; but then I received the messages.

Two of them, the very next morning. One from a friend whose sister was going into surgery with a brain tumour and one from another friend, whose friend they knew, was given only weeks to live - dirty cancer.  How could I not respond when the need was so great, the pain so deep and life so valuable. This is not right, all this suffering and pain. So I decided to send the two scarfs on assignment. Freely sent, with love, prayer and hope. It was not a big thing, but it was something. It was what I had in my hands.

scarf postcard front.jpg

In Acts 19:12, the scripture says that fabric touched Paul and the anointing of God was transferred onto the scarves and hankies, and as the disciples sent out the fabric it healed the sick. I believe in this miracle working God, I know that all things are possible (Matt 19:26).

Those two messages changed everything, we just kept making scarfs and sending them. Two, then six, twelve and by the end of the first month, we had sent out thirty scarfs full of hope - free. The requests just found their way in and my friends started to sponsor the vision, so we kept buying the fabric and we continued to send scarfs on assignment. Filled with hope and prayers for healing, we sent out scarfs to people in need. We did not sell them, not one, we sent them on assignment, because sometimes there are things worth more than money.

Some people sponsored the vision and the project continued mostly by word of mouth. We got requests from people wanting to send a scarf to their sick and often dying friends and family members. When we received a request, we sent a scarf, anywhere, everywhere, all over the world. Beautiful, soft, saturated in colour and hope and it arrived in the post to be a blessing and a comfort. It made people feel loved and valued. It was inspiring hope.

For nearly three years we sent scarfs on assignment, hundreds of them, all over the world. We heard amazing testimonies of what a simple act of kindness could do. But then my world fell apart again, not long after I got to Palmy, my second marriage disintegrated and I was devastated. After 23 years, Andrew chose another lifestyle. I shut down the Colours of Hope, I could no longer believe that anything was possible and it was time to get a real job.