There Has To Be More...

Posted by Michelle Owenby on

I could be totally off base on this but, I think if you asked almost anyone in my life to describe me you would likely hear them say things like “she’s helpful”, “she’s organized”, “she does what she says”, “she gets things done” and hopefully you would also hear “she’s kind” or “she’s patient” or better yet, “she’s loving”. I would graciously take ANY of those compliments. But what I know about ALL those descriptors is that ultimately I’m an over-achieving people-pleaser who is really good at following to-do lists + directions. Doesn’t sound so flattering from that side, does it? Trust me, I’m working on it!!

I’ve come to realize that I have spent most of my life doing those two things: wanting approval + acceptance from others + following the outline + rules of the world. I reasoned that this was a good path, I thought that I would eventually be satisfied if I just stayed the course. I thought to myself, “I’m a good + giving person, my heart + intentions are in the right place, I’m doing things right”.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:1

It wasn’t until I began revisiting my creativity that I started seeing the trouble with that train of thought. I was so focused on pouring my energy into the world that I had gotten lost from what my own heart was telling me. Because I placed all my hope + expectations in the wrong places, I often felt exhausted, disappointed, sometimes jilted + jaded. I had come to expect my satisfaction would arrive from all my efforts in following the ways of the world + constantly trying to help + please people. Listen, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with helping people or making them happy, I think it becomes wrong when you have expectations tied to it!

 By creating + stepping away from my habits + patterns, I slowly opened up space for the Lord to speak, to reveal Himself to me + all I was missing! Little by little, He dripped sweet, lasting truths + satisfaction into my life; showing me where I had gone wrong + all I misunderstood. Now, make no mistake, HE orchestrated me returning to my creativity, I give Him all the glory but, that is a whole other story! He moved me from one place to another, from confusion to clarity, from striving to rest, from dissatisfaction to soul-filling contentment. He did all of that by placing my eyes + heart on Him. He freed me from my prison of pleasing + striving in the world to a warm, inviting haven of simply receiving His love + approval.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” – Colossians 3:23

Can you relate? Are you working + striving + competing for the right things? Are they satisfying you? Many of us spend our entire lives trying to “become”: become successful, become recognized, become needed, become loved, become more…but, the lucky ones, the ones who seek true enlightenment, find out there is so much more beyond “becoming”. They find out that Jesus is the only source of lasting contentment + satisfaction. He is the only one that deserves all our efforts to please. He is our model for “becoming”. He is more!

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My Library

Posted by Michelle Owenby on

I spent the last 11 months, along with 5 other amazing ladies, on a beautiful journey called Titus 2 Mentoring Women.  It was a time of intense introspection, radical transformation + the greatest adventure I have ever been on in my life! 

I have started a lovely library with some invaluable resources that I am compelled to share with you.  Perhaps they will bring you as much growth + enlightenment as they did me.  If you ever want to chat about them, I would just love it!

My entire mentoring library can be found here along with some other really great finds.

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The Year of Tears

Posted by Michelle Owenby on

I wish I had a better way to describe what 2018 looked like for me other than The Year of Tears.  Let me also quickly tell you that it was THE MOST beautiful year + I would gladly shed every one of those tears again + again.
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Sullivan's Summer

Posted by Michelle Owenby on

Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina made me astutely aware of nature + the beauty of all Creation. I have now lived on the coast almost as long as I lived there + I would be hard-pressed to choose between the two!! Luckily, I am still able to spend time in both these beautiful + majestic landscapes! Both places, among many others, speak directly into the inspiration for my work which brings us to my most recent release of the Sullivan’s Summer Collection.

I’m partial of course, but the Carolinas (both North + South) have some pretty amazing scenery to choose from for inspiration + exploration. Now, living on a tiny barrier island off the coast of South Carolina, I’m as enthralled by the Lowcountry as I am by the mountains. Although I love the beach front, the lush green marsh + high tides as evening approaches are my MOST favorite + inspirational scenes. The way everything seems to recognize that nightfall is approaching + slows its heartbeat to match the pace of the sunset. When all the animals seem to be taking one final relaxing glance around just to bask in the beauty of their home. And the breeze gently pushes the last breath of warm air against every living thing. THAT is the moment that melts me; so much serenity + harmony in those few short moments that it always overwhelms me! Everything seems so perfectly timed + simple + carefree.

Moments like those remind me of riding NC country roads with my Dad on Saturday mornings, his arm hung out the window, my feet on the dash + hair flapping in the wind, having just made a stop at the Ice Service Store for a Peppermint Pattie + hearing the radio stations signature tune, “Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the Morning!” As a kid, this was a ritual of pleasure + simplicity in a meager lifestyle that felt like an indulgence; much like viewing the marsh at sunset. It makes me wonder if it’s the scenery + landscape that brings the inspiration or if it’s the memories we associate to those moments that elicits it. Either way, I never tire of those fleeting moments when all seems perfectly right in the world!

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you.  Which of all of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?  In his hands is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”

These are the things that brought forth Sullivan’s Summer. An attempt to capture those feelings + moments of a summer spent simply seeking the beauty of the Lowcountry coast.

Oh, by the way, the stunning image above of our island town taken by fellow artist Jason Ogden of Station 28.5 Photography, captured all the colors that make that moment so special. From there, I tweaked the colors for my palette to my liking. You can see part of my process below + more of Jason’s imagery here.

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Spring Came...And Went!

Posted by Michelle Owenby on

I’m sitting here stunned that it is already June!!  I always start revving up big projects + making plans in the Spring + year after year, without fail, I blink my eye + the blur of May begins.  I had full intentions of having a new collection ready by the end of May but it has evaded me.  There has been a flurry of activity around here that has been pulling me in lots of directions so I’ve been spread a bit thin.  I’m excited to share with you some of the high points that I have assembled as an excuse for not having my new collection ready to debut! But, take heart, I will be announcing new work before you know it!

In February, I had my first showing with my partners at Straight To Art at The Schoolhouse in West Ashley.  I debuted my Surrender series that evening + it was warmly received.  I was overwhelmed at how many of you came out to to the newly renovated venue + showed such loving support of me + my work.  What an amazingly successful evening shared with friends!  Thank you!!!

Since then, I’ve attended about a bazillion youth basketball games + tournaments,  joined friends at multiple Titus 2 Women’s Mentoring meetings + weekend retreat, had a studio photo shoot, recorded a short film + accompanying blog interview, completed several commissions, had a MRI to diagnose a tennis injury to my back + resulting PT appointments, traveled with my family out of the country, visited family out of state, went on 2 fly-fishing expeditions, saw a couple of concerts, celebrated Mother’s Day, participated in 2 other art shows + basically tried to keep my head above water!!! Whew!  I knew it was a lot, but writing it down always makes things more clear + manageable for me.  Soooooo, I’m already starting to feel better about missing my deadline!!

One of the more exciting things that has developed over the last couple of months is my new professional affiliation with Minted an online marketplace of independent artists + designers.  Last November, I entered one of their design challenges + 2 of my submitted works were chosen as winners + 1 of them has already been offered for sale in their brand new Wall Murals collection.  Each of them will soon be offered as Large Scale Reproductions in sizes up to 48″ x 70″ and in multiple colorways!  How exciting, right??!!  I honestly was shocked + humbled to be chosen out of the almost 6000 submissions!  I also want to say “Thank You!” for all the amazing support + encouragement that each of you gave to me as this challenge unfolded; it made all the difference in the world!  I am hopeful + excited to see what new opportunities this will bring!  I will be sure to update you as soon as these products go “live” on my Artist Store on Minted’s website  I’d love for you to take a sneak peek on the progress + become one of my “Fans” there!

In my family life, both of my boys closed out their school years with much anticipation + relief.  Noah is excited to have graduated from elementary school this year +  for the changes that will come as a middle-schooler.  Nate showed incredible stamina + dedication, closing out his 7th grade year as an all A Honors student + I couldn’t be more proud of both of them!  I never dreamed the amount of joy, worry, pride + honor that would come with raising two boys but I’m so grateful to be called their mom.  Darrell + I vie for every opportunity to spend time with them while they are still willing, while each running our own businesses + squeezing in as much music + fishing as possible.

My personal spiritual journey has been profound to say the least.  It has taken me to some of the highest highs + presented challenges for change.  Any major transformation comes with both victory + adversity and I know that this just means He is working on me + for me!  Sometimes our weakness, along with our strengths, need to be exposed so that we can grow, become fruitful + strengthen our resolve.  I am willing to weather any storm for that soul-filling satisfaction that only He can provide.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

-James 1:2-4

xoxo, Michelle
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