Cowork community in downtown Kansas City & Chicago


Resolutions – New Works by Rachel Brown


The original piece that inspired this series was created out of a need for a catharsis, or cleansing on my part. I was feeling weighed down by the messiness of my world at that particular point in my life. I had just ended a relationship and started a new one, without a chance to grieve the previous one. I was working in the bar scene, and was scared that it was becoming a part of who I was. I felt as though I was just EXISTING, and not really using my gifts or talents to make any positive contribution to the world. Although everything looked okay from the outside, I was feeling empty. Looking back, I don’t think I ever shared these feelings to anyone around me, but I was feeling pretty disgusted with myself for giving in, yet again, to the worldly pleasures that never fail to seduce me. During this time, I kept hearing the song “Mess of Me” by Switchfoot, playing on the radio. The lyrics spoke to me, and expressed exactly how I was feeling at that time:
I am my own affliction
I am my own disease
There ain´t no cure they could sell
Ah, there ain´t no drug to make me well
There ain´t no drug
There ain´t no drug
There ain´t no drug
It´s not enough
The sickness is myself
I made a mess of me I wanna get back the rest of me
I made a mess of me I wanna spend the rest of my life alive
I made a mess of me I wanna reverse this tragedy
I made a mess of me I wanna spend the rest of my life alive
The rest of my life alive
We lock our souls in cages
We hide inside our shells
It´s hard to free the ones you love
Oh when you can´t forgive yourself
One Tuesday night, I got a shift covered at work, cleared out some space on my living room floor, and went to town on some old canvases I had stored in a closet. I hadn’t painted in three years. I blared “Mess of Me” on repeat and regurgitated all of the stuff that had been brewing inside of me onto the canvas. With each stroke and splash, I felt the load getting lighter and lighter. When the canvas was filled (and my apartment deposit successfully depleted- ha!) I stepped back and took in what had poured out of me. It was dark, messy, and yet strangely seductive at the same time. When I woke up the next morning, I felt as though I had been washed clean. I decided to add one final layer. The white paint that is running across the surface and washing over the fiery mess, represents what happens when I cry out and ask God to cleanse my heart. He washes over me, and fills me with peace and contentment, time and time again… even when I don’t deserve it. The original painting in this series now hangs in my living room, as a daily reminder of hope and encouragement. Until now, no one has heard the story behind that painting, but for one reason or another, it has always been a favorite. I could never part with this painting, because it serves as a visual Resolution with myself, and a clean slate… a fresh start to life. At the start of January, it is human nature to begin to think about what the upcoming New Year will bring. All of the paintings in this series represent a clean start. An old life that is left behind for something even better. I hope and pray that these paintings will inspire and encourage you on your beautiful, though sometimes messy, life journey.
- Rachel
  • Anne

    That's really beautiful Rachel. Thanks for sharing your story. – Anne