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Why Sophie is Obsessed with Her Art Project and How I recreated it.

Sophie is quite the artist!

And she’s obsessed with her art project in Renewed Hope.

Why? Because Sophie is a victim of domestic violence and abuse. She got help and got out, but not everyone does.

You see, the art project helped her heal from her sister’s death. Her sister, Bria, was also a victim of domestic violence. Unfortunately, remaining in a violent relationship cost Bria her life.

Sophie chose an old telegram because she wants to become an advocate for Domestic Violence (DV) and Abuse Awareness. She wants to send a message to victims that there is help, hope, and healing. Even second chances with love.

The Mission Mountains in northern Montana backdrop the painting. Sophie sees them every day. And every day she and the families of those who have lost loved ones cry. That’s why there are so many tears. Purple mixes with blue because purple is the color of DV awareness.

According to an article on DomesticShelters.org, the decision to use purple to symbolize the cause of domestic violence can be traced back to the early 1900s. Rose M. Garrity, president of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), said the women’s suffrage movement utilized purple, white, and gold because those were the colors of the National Women’s Party. She said these colors originated in England and symbolized “purity, hope and loyalty.”

Why the red hand print (which normally covers the mouth), the faceless woman, and the red dress?

The ribbon dress is a contemporary expression of First American culture. The red hand print is a symbol for the missing “stolen sisters” whose voices are not heard, and the faceless woman and the red dress are symbols of the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women.

Sophie’s heart breaks for them all. As does mine.

This art project has a depth of meaning for Sophie and her family.

And, yes, Sophie is one talented artist.

Way better than I am.

However, with the help of my friend Tina Tolliver Matney, I learned how to paint with watercolors so I could bring Sophie’s art project in Renewed Hope to life. My project with Tina was a bear. A simple project with watercolor paint.

I had so much fun, I bought watercolor pencils, the correct watercolor paper, and brushes and painted with two of my granddaughters. Learning new things is exciting!

For Sophie’s art project, I chose the traditional ledger art style of painting. 

Ledger art is a traditional First American method of artwork. It was originally practiced by Plains Indian artists beginning in the 1800s.

Ledger artists used, and still use, discarded ledger paper—banking book paper, account books, certificates, bonds, currency, or telegram paper to draw on.

The resulting art is a unique and vivid blend of text, color, and figures.

Images of Ledger Art

Like Sophie, I chose an old telegram because this book deals with Domestic Violence (DV) and Abuse Awareness. Like, Sophie, I’m trying to get the word out to as many as I can because I don’t want anyone to go through the trauma our family went through when my niece passed from DV.

After a quick search on eBay, I found a set of three telegrams for a great price and ordered them. At this point, I had no idea how I’d put this all together. 

After a busy year of launching two books and fleshing out an entire new series, time was closing in.

I was busy.

My friend Tina was busy.

And this art project needed to get done.

So I fished out photos from my time in Montana, chose a few photos of the Mission Mountains, grabbed my sketch of Sophie’s art project, book notes, and art supplies, then settled at my kitchen table and went to work. 

Yes, I prayed first because I figured I had one chance to get it right.

By the end of the day, Sophie’s art project had come to life. Or was recreated, anyhow. Almost. I finished the painting, but it wasn’t on the ledger paper.

I prayed more.

Then God gave me an answer I didn’t expect.

When creating memes for my books, I often use Canva. Could I use my BeFunky photo program to pull out layers and place them in a Canva document?

Oh, would it work?

A mixture of angst and excitement surged through me.

Over the years I learned that if God brings it to me, He will bring me through it.

The next step was to take a photo of the painting and the ledger art and layer everything together.

So I got busy. Once the eight layers were situated, it was time to download my masterpiece. And true to form, it wouldn’t download! Worse, I needed to leave for a granddaughter’s middle school basketball game.


I left frustrated, hoping when I returned everything would work out.

Pause. Breathe. Pray. Regroup.

When I returned home, I restarted my computer and thankfully, the image downloaded. What a relief.

I printed out a few different sizes and they turned out better than I thought they would.

Thank you, Jesus!

It was one long day.

This art project has been a labor of love, sweat, and tears.

It represents so many emotions we’ve had to endure through our family tragedy.

Here’s to Sophie, Bria, my niece, and the women who suffer at the hands of abuse and domestic violence.

May God give you the courage to get help so you can get out (if needed).

May He guide your path and give you a hope and a future full of healing and love.

What do you think about this art project? Drop your thoughts in the comments for a chance to win one of the postcards and a signed copy of Renewed Hope.

*Due to postage US Only. Outside of the US, the winner can receive a PDF and Digital Copy of the Postcard.

**Names will be randomly drawn on Friday and posted in the comments.

Stay tuned…next week you’ll learn about where I set Renewed Hope and why.

Grab Your Copy of Renewed Hope!

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One Comment

  1. Super job with the art project!!