what you know”.
My nature remains curious.
"Katie…”You are my first-born, my child of wonder and adventure….as an infant you were most content when you were near a window and could see the movement of light and shadow. I should have known right then that you would be an artist…”
Words penned by my mother that bear witness to the foundation on which my life and passion grows. True to this core, my nature remains curious…to how things move and fit (and don’t fit) together. This is why I choose a mixed media approach to my work. My camera is my first paintbrush laying down a photograph as the rough sketch to my concept. Typography and graphic digital effects provide the second layer of virtual canvas. The vision is completed on gallery-wrapped canvas that I freely hand-embellish in pigments of acrylic paint. I see that I am drawn to certain colors and patterns and therefore, will occasionally (and deliberately) move outside the favorites in my crayon box. Just to read this out loud makes me smile…you can only image my joy as I continually stir my favorite ingredients. When people see my work, whether they agree or not, I want them to see and taste that emotion.
Mom, an artist herself, also taught me to “paint what you know”. The inspirations for the core concept of using scripture in much of my work, comes from a faith and “Father” that formed me and ministered to me my entire life; that carried me through a very tragic event on the course of my journey and continues to love and guide me today. All art is subjective and therefore seems widely tolerated. Especially when I use scripture in my work, I don’t expect all to agree with or believe my work’s perspective. I just want viewers to walk away inspired in knowing that I do. :0)
— Seth Godin
"Everyone has a testimony...I'm still in the middle of mine."
It's always perplexed me as to how to go about giving my testimony. Mostly because it hasn't ended. Jesus IS my testimony and He isn't finished doing a work in me yet. But I can begin by explaining what's brought me to this stage in my life, especially how it relates to my prints.
The handsome man you see to the right is my husband, Fred David Kenney, Jr., student of Biblical Studies and Christian recording artist extraordinaire a.k.a. Ted. (O.K. Im a little biased but God has given him an awesome talent check out his website! All right my marketing hat is now off). I'll speak more about our marriage later. I wanted to mention him so you know that this story has new life and a continued love... God's.
I was married once before to another wonderful man named Freddie, a.k.a. Buddy. (Yeah...two "Fred's" with aliases...interesting Lord.) Anyway, I was BEYOND happy, in a marriage for 14 months with a Christian man I was collectively with for five and a half years and with whom I taught Sunday school. We were attempting to have a baby and in a brand newly built home for 3 weeks when the rug was pulled out from under me and my husband died. Prior, I felt as though I had finally arrived; Bud and I read scripture together nearly every morning and tithed regularly. The Lord DID allow a connection with my husband when he was dying and although I wasn't by his side when he took his last breathe, I felt him go and experienced a peace I know won't be duplicated until I too make that journey home.
As I think back on my life, I can remember so many God moments through all of that. The little things that couldn't possibly be coincidence but the loving fingerprint of a Creator weeping with me; carrying me through what would prove to be the beginning of an extraordinary journey.
I was living in Florida during that passage. My folks came down from New Jersey to stay with me for a while. Mom always equated the experience to that of being in a train wreck: no visible scars but the internal damage was immense. Both my parents helped me to focus and handle the minor things we all take for granted like just being able to put two feet on the floor and get out of bed. About four months after Buddy died, I knew the time was coming for my parents to head back to Jersey and once again it was going to be just the Lord and me.
So before my parents left, and at my mom's encouragement, I decided to take some positive steps of my own. I had always loved photography and decided to take a class. I think I just wanted to be able to accomplish something to try to gain some of my confidence back. It was probably one of the most difficult things I tried to do at the time. Talk about having to focus (literally)! I finished my final assignment; barely even made it to the end of the class in order to present it. It was fairly simple in the respect of what we had to show in our book: fast/slow shutter speed, panning, still life, self-portrait etc. But somehow it turned into an assignment in healing. I added verse and commentary to each of my photos depicting just how I was feeling at the time. By the time I had finished presenting, the only sounds audible were a few sniffles in the dimly lit classroom.
Years later, that self-portrait became an integral piece in the birth of my inspirational prints. In my pain I found a hunger to help. I learned that our hurts are for someone else's healing. 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 teaches us: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
Never underestimate someone in pain; even someone hurting has something to offer. When Jesus heard of His good friend John the Baptist's death, He went away to be alone with His Father and then came back to minister to a multitude of people. Seemed like a good example to me. So that's what I set out to do.
Three years after the death of my first husband, God introduced me to another one of His works in progress; another soldier walking through the wilderness. The dialogue between God and me exactly 3 DAYS before I met my future husband was interesting. I had since decided that I was going to do things His way from now on. On this particular day, I almost dared Him to find someone who would put up with a life of chastity until marriage. Little did I know He'd bring me together with someone who would not only put up with it but who had made the very same commitment. On Valentines Day, 2004, Ted and I shared our very FIRST kiss AFTER we were pronounced husband and wife.
See, Christianity isn't about giving things up. Look what you gain when you give the keys back to the One who should be driving in the first place. There are so many more ways God is filtering His plan through our lives. We have no idea where God is leading us or what He's preparing us for. But we have made the commitment to walk according to His will, not our own. Luke 21:19 states that By standing firm you will gain life. We live by that promise and so many more that our Father has made to us. Yes, there are tough times... moments of doubt... occasions when we fall short and actually entertain the lies whispered in our ears by the enemy. But we both accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior and He picks us up and dusts us off every time we stumble. It may be difficult to understand but there is such a freedom that comes with that.
There is so much more I could tell you. Guess you'll have to wait for the book to get the rest. In the meantime open HIS Book. Through it He will speak to you and guide you and love you through anything."
Peace and blessings...Katie!