Art = Vulnerability

February 11, 2014


Five of InSpero’s artists (Amy Grimes, Gina Hurry, Melanie Morris, Sally Powell, and Tricia Robinson) dreamed and created art together around the theme: BraveHearts: Become Who You Already Are. The show will be displayed at West Elmat the Summit with the grand opening party on Thursday, February 13, 4-8:30 p.m. Their work will be displayed (and for sale) for the next month. Come and see their enchanting and powerful paintings. But don’t come and think, “Wow! Beautiful. Glad it’s so ‘easy’ for them. I couldn’t do that.” Nothing about this show was easy for these artists.

Journeys often start naively. Gina dreamed of creating together with this group of artists. I (Nancy) came along as a spiritual shepherd and encourager. The six of us met several times to consider what it meant to be women finding their voices and creating together.

The first theme we chose exposed one artist’s deepest woundings. We regrouped and changed directions. Another artist was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks into the process.  She wanted to drop out, not knowing what would come. We wouldn’t let her. There were surprise attacks on faith. Health struggles. Family pressures. Toxic fumes (literally). And Snowmaggedon I and II.


Those were not the biggest struggles these artists faced—or that you face. The biggest battles are inside, where no one else sees. For you it may not be creating art, but it is about showing up and giving the world or those around you the deepest part of who you are. These are some of the internal battles these artists faced:

Fear. Facing the empty canvas. Can I do this? Past success doesn’t matter. Only the blank slate and a silent heart. Waiting for the “muse” to come. Where do you fear you will not be able to come through?

Full-out exposure. Art=Vulnerability. As you look at a piece of art, you are seeing into the artist’s (often super-sensitive) soul. With each painting, they risk rejection, misunderstanding, or the worst, indifference. Where are you feeling exposed?

Comparison.  The artist faces the strange conflict of feeling the pressure to be unique and to be compared to the “norm.” When you start the comparing game, you will never be enough.  Where are you battling feeling that you’ll never measure up?


Being a “BraveHeart” means facing the voices in your head (and from the people around you) and still putting yourself out there. Here are some of the struggles captured in email communications between the five artists and me as they brought their art to West Elm:

“I’m battling not-enough-ness.”

“I picture myself as a much more FREE and daring artist.”

“Rescue me from self condemnation and shame! Why is it so hard to communicate by way of painting?”

“I feel like I wore the wrong dress to the ball and I am not beautiful enough.”

“As I brought my art, I battled feeling insignificant, that no one would see and ‘hear’ my paintings. I wore the dress I was meant to, but what if no one likes me, what if they think I'm a nobody?”

“I always feel like a fake. I know it is insecurity and the evil one trying to stop me from expressing God's creation.”

“I felt this major critic in my head the whole time.”

“Why has it been so hard?  I want to say so much more about being free in my paintings! I see in my mind what I want to go for and then I fall short.”

“I feel like everyone will roll their eyes at the dress I chose.”


So as you look at these beautiful paintings, think about the courage behind them.  Beautiful. Brave. Not easy.

Why are we are drawn to watching the Olympics? Those "BraveHeart" athletes put themselves out there for the whole world to see. One slip, and it's over. No one sees all the work, the failure, the falling, the sacrifice. BraveHearts go full-out with all they have, and failure is only a brushstroke away. But they are out there.  Where is it that you long to be out there?

Hear the voice of truth: Therefore there is no condemnation. There is no comparison. Hear God whisper to you as he did to his son: You are my beloved in whom I am well pleased.

God sees your courage as you offer back to the world what he has given you.

Ann Voskamp says, “The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world.”

You have worn the perfect dress to the ball. Don't let the stepsisters in your head force you off the ballroom floor. Get out there and dance. For whatever battle you are facing, hear this:  You are brave. You are beautiful. You are enough. You are bringing light to the world.

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