My name is Wendy, but I have chosen the signature Wendoww to both protect my privacy and to use an easy name to remember. Although I have worked in art some form or another (even professionally for quite some time), most of my life I rarely would call myself an artist nor did I feel like one. Sound strange? Well let me tell you just a small part of my story.
At a very early age, I decided to be extra creative one day. A very stifling teacher did not appreciate my creativity and publicly punished and disgraced me for coloring outside the lines. For a very shy and sensitive child this was devastating. This one act caused one little child to never go outside the lines again. For the next 45 years I stayed within the confines and safety of the box. I worked for many years in the commercial art industry. From there I got married and had children so I became a stay at home mom. From there I would do art on the side but always in the safety and wishes of my clients. I put forth my best but was consistently restless, discontent, and still refused to call myself an artist. I also felt that I had little or no creativity. It was not until I was 50 years old that I began to understand why I felt this way.
You see at that time I was working hard running a small motel for some people who ended up being very dishonest and crooked. After working for them for a year and a half getting only about 4 hours of sleep a night the owners brought in some friends from Florida to run the motel and put us out on the street. This was in the cold months of January and I was jobless and homeless. (I’d lived in a house that accompanied the business). I had no where to go, no income, one week to get out and consequently ended up having to move to what I called the “dog box.”
This was an old, abandoned, beat-up trailer which had never been occupied by humans. It had only been used as a dog kennel for raising of puppies. I was nonetheless still grateful for it was warm and dry in the middle of the cold winter. I had become so rehabilitated by this point because of the workload I’d carried and because I battle Lymes disease I could not work and had to take time to recover. God spoke to me in that “dog box” and told me to only concern myself with three things. Spend time with Him, home school my son, and PAINT!! Just two months before this a friend had bought me for the first time in my life, oil paints, brushes and an easel. I had not been able to work in oils in 25 years and it was always my favorite medium.
As I began to paint amidst some pretty adverse circumstances I could actually hear the Lord's voice over my shoulder like a master learning over His student. He would say, "Start with the sky...anything goes with the sky." That day in the beat-up metal box an artist began to finally "come out of the box." I was finally free. No more stifling, quenching, or being boxed in. Consequently, I began to paint as I never had been able to before. After 50 years, I finally understood why I'd been such a frustrated artist. There had been so much locked inside me that was never able to come out. In the 7 months that I had to live in that broken down box, I painted happily and freely 17 paintings. Like an unquenchable fire I could not stop painting and found that my style had emerged to an impressionistic style.
I'd never felt so alive in my art before. I felt so free, so fulfilled, and content as an artist. I would have also felt quite satisfied to just keep all of this between myself and the Lord and, my heart had always been more about making art than a name for myself. The Lord's gentle urgings and signs kept telling me to share my art. My goal had always been to uplift, bless and encourage others. I began to get out there with my work. As I did this I began to experience innumerable rejections everywhere I went and even had my work stolen at one point. I then moved to a lovely little nautical town on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. I there painted 17 more paintings. What is it with the #17?? :) At the time, I was working as a dulcen for a local museum and between my job and the multitude of rejections I became too discouraged and stopped painting for several years. I could not see the sense in sharing my work when no one anywhere would receive my work.
A few years ago, a series of very tragic events began to bombard myself and my family hard. I lost five very significant people in my life in a 9 month time period, four of which were very tragic and prematurely. After all of these tragedies, I moved back to the place I called home for many many years. I was living there for only five months trying to make a more livable home for myself and my three sons when tragedy struck AGAIN!!! On a morning in early April, my eldest son and I woke to find our home engulfed in smoke and flames burning to the ground around us. Whether it be the amount of time we were asleep in the fire, the amount of thick black smoke & flame that filled the house, or the fact that we were still in such a sleep-stupor, we were both trapped and could not find our way out of this house. Amazingly, in almost the same moment and on our very last breaths my son and I found doors and escaped the fire. My son fortunately did not suffer quite as much smoke inhalation as myself nor was he burned like I was. (although he did lose his favorite dog in the fire)
I was put into a semi-coma and intubated for days to remove the smoke from my lungs. I had second degree burns on my face, arms and feet. My feet were like wearing a sock of blisters. Through the loving and meticulous care of my daughter and God's healing power (especially), I recovered well. Though I lost most everything in that fire I am so grateful each and every day to have our lives, to still have a face, and to still have the things that really matter. Tragically I lost almost all of the 34 paintings that I had poured my heart and love into. After almost 50 years of struggling with art and struggling with becoming a real artist I prolifically created 34 paintings and now they were gone. Burned to a crisp. Only 2 survived but with lots of soot and some burn spots. My paintings, my son's musical equipment and all my children's childhood memories and history was gone.
After a 2 year recovery period I am finally getting back on my feet like a fire burning within my soul and I am painting with fervor. The amazing thing is because I'd given so many prints of my old paintings to friends I was able to get some of the prints back to make prints of prints! Praise God! Out of the 32 paintings I lost I was able to retrieve 29 prints. Some of the very prints you see available on my website are taken from those paintings that are now burned in the fire. Some are new designs which I have painted within the last year. Though I continue to go through a share of rejections I am still pressing forward to carry out a dream of artistry that God has put in my heart. I have wanted to share with all of those who are blessed by them prints of my work through the internet. Another reason I chose to sell prints rather than original paintings (though on occasion I will make a few original paints available for sale) is because I have always firmly believed that art should be accessible & affordable for everyone, not just the wealthy.
So this is a small part of my story, my art, and I give all the glory to God for His help in enabling me to hold on and press through the trials. I have not given up! In our ever darkening and discouraging world where we are continuously bombarded with images and information I felt it important to get out there and offer positive, encouraging and truth-filled pictures. If I could sum it up to all of you out there (especially young budding fellow artists) I would say, "Don't ever box God in and let no one box you in." :) Take it from someone who knows a good bit about boxes!!! Be blessed.
P.s. Sometimes and with no premeditation angels do appear in my paintings. I feel inadequate and feel it is virtually impossible for any of us to be able to portray angels, His Kingdom, and other wonderful spiritual entities with much accuracy. I only try to remind the world in a very meager way of these wonderful things. I was also weary of seeing angels portrayed as babies with wings or pretty women in pretty dresses...aren't you? My intent is only to remind and encourage others that there is a King, He has a Kingdom and He and His angels will come for us one fine day!!!!