Love & Loss in Pursuit of The Light

Recently I took on the adventure of a new painting commission, it was requested by my boss at Westerman Property Solutions. She had seen the transformation of Palmy 31 and the impact my original paintings were having on the atmosphere of the facility. So Yvonne had decided their office at Turangi needed some of our creative input.

Mum and I set off on our way home from visiting Taupo, to investigate this space that needed our attention. The building itself is very contemporary and the other side, where the sales office is, has very impressive interior styling. The Westerman’s office, however, was a little behind in terms of creative design, although it did have great potential, with a colour scheme that included, black, red and silver. We could definitely work with this.

‘Before The Light of Day’ (Part 1)

‘Before The Light of Day’ (Part 1)

For the longest of time, I have been fascinated with the depiction of the spiritual realm through visual art. It has been some what of a life time obsession with my art and as I had recently found my cultural heritage, I thought this was a great opportunity to be inspired by the Māori creation narrative. I had studied this subject through a Tikanga (customs & protocol) course at Massey Uni last semester. Although there is some debate with the different iwi (tribes) about exact details, there is a general story that is mostly agreed on.

It all starts in the void, the emptiness before the genesis of time, the empty nothing-ness of Te Kore. This darkness, however, is full of possibility, the realm of potential being. Into then, the period of Te Pō, the darkness of becoming and it was during this stage that the Sky-Father Ranginui and the Earth-Mother Papatūānuku, self generated into being.

‘Before The Light of Day’ (Part 2)

‘Before The Light of Day’ (Part 2)

The Sky-Father Ranginui, looked upon the beauty of the Earth-Mother Papatūānuku and took her to be his wife. Within their loving embrace the forces of creation took form. The Earth wed the Sky and began the love affair to create all of the physical realm through their numerous children.

However, the children of Rangi and Papa were discontent living in the darkness, within the folds of their parents embrace and they desperately sought the light.

They formed a plan to separate their primeval parents and to allow the light into their world. Tumatauenga, the most savage of the brothers, wanted to kill his parents, but the others would not consent and Tāne proposed to separate their parents by pushing Rangi into the distance. All the brothers tried in vain, but it was Tāne-mahuta (the god of the forest), who was successful. He planted his feet firmly on the Earth and with his hands pressed against the Sky, hurled Ranginui far away into the distance.

‘Before The Light of Day’ (part 3)

‘Before The Light of Day’ (part 3)

Forcing them apart, blood flowed from the tearing of their limbs during the course of their separation.

The separation of Ranginui and Papatūānuku ushered in the realm of light, Te Ao Mārama, the light of day. The blood of their separation soaking into the body of the Earth-Mother, creating the sacred red clay.

I love the drama of this story, the visual impact of the love and loss in pursuit of the light. As we look at the dawn of each new day, we see the sky separate from the earth and this picture is an expression of hope.

Each new dawn enables us to embrace new knowledge, to be inspired by the possibilities that await us with every new day.

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The Westerman office at Turangi with the new paintings and our beautiful bespoke art cushions to match. We transformed the space into a place of beauty, hospitality and an atmosphere of hope.

I hope you enjoyed the story,
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.

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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.