Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The In-betweeness of Life

Untitled  by Crystal Neubauer
It seems impossible that I've been home from Seattle for something like 2 1/2 weeks now, I blinked, and my time there was over and now on this end of it looking back I can hardly find the words to describe the experience. And so I've waited to write. and waited to write. and waited to write. But still the words would not come.

So I'm pasting bits and pieces from private emails, conversations and posts elsewhere, creating a virtual collage with my own words...

May Day  by Crystal Neubauer
....I've been obsessed with buying coffee mugs lately. I had a sudden desire to replace every white mug in the cabinet with color, deep rich earthy color, and now the cabinet is overflowing.

And I've started seeking out hand crafted tea cup sized mugs- artist made- to display in a cabinet I don't own yet.

And pillows. And pottery. American art vases- the McCoy's and the Haggar's and some pretty squat vases. The affordable names, not the expensive brands. Not that I don't covet those.

I guess I've been nesting. After a year in this house without my own things, I have this deep urgent need to make it my own, to put my stamp on it and sink in my roots.

By and By  by Crystal Neubauer
Oh, and art supplies. I came home from the trip and ordered some things I wanted to use with the neighborhood kids. And then I walked through Blick and picked up more things I didn't really need, but really wanted. And then I came home and ordered more. I bought ten tubes of milk paint. Beautiful rich matte colors- Shiva Caseins. Somewhere I saw somebody using matte paint with collage and I ached inside. I don't even know what the other artist was using, but I stumbled on these and I knew I had to have them. There are pictures burning a hole in my mind and pressing in me to be birthed, but I'm not there yet. 

I had an appointment at a fine art gallery in Pioneer Square on my last day in Seattle, Gallery IMA, where I picked up representation. Walking in to that beautiful space, I felt an ache deep inside. A fluttering of recognition stirred my soul. This is something I knew God placed in me- this desire to create art and see it hanging in such a beautiful place. He spoke to me about it last year, just after leaving the house with the mold, just before moving to this new home- the ministry house, as it is referred to in this neighborhood. Yet in the waiting place, I allowed myself to doubt, just a little bit, that I heard Him correctly.
Earnestly I Seek You  by Crystal Neubauer
I came home from my trip bursting with inspiration, nearly two weeks of solid creative stimulation will do that to you. I could not wait to get home and get started. To get all these pictures out of my head and onto the canvas. Yet somewhere between arriving home and taking care of what needed to be done before I could get to the studio it disappeared. The inspiration, the images, the words. Only the ache remained.
Untitled  by Crystal Neubauer
This is the in-betweeness of my life. This is the type of year it has been. Between homelessness and finding my true home. Between finally coming into my own voice as an artist and suddenly feeling that raw passionate need to create something new. Between familiar old relationships and a new community. This is the life God has led me to. The step-by-step journey He has had me on. Between learning that I can fully trust Him in it, yet still being in awe when what He promises comes true. I settle into this room and gaze at a few carefully placed objects and relish in His goodness because of it. Finally knowing He is okay with me and that my life is in these in-between days, not at some distant place of which I have yet to arrive.


  1. I still have not written about our time together. If I speak about it, will it poof, vanish. It was so big, so tangible. And somewhere inside me it is waiting to burst forth.
    Your words are nourishment.

  2. Wow. I felt every word of that. Deep in my soul. It felt familiar and oh so good. Thank you for sharing. Your art, your words, your spirit.

  3. so awesome God would lead you to the ministry house...know you are blessed indeed! ;D

  4. Transitions, blessed times to trust more fully. Your words have resonated with me. Thanks, H.

  5. Crystal, as I read your words I could literally feel my heart expanding with excitement, anticipation and confirmation. You, especially, were such an inspiration to me at e-camp...your deep heartfelt sharing of that inner knowing, the listening, the hearing, the trust in creating, so touched and resonated with me. Your work and your words are so beautifully moving, and that ache, yes, that ache that increases as we move through the in-between, closer to ourselves.

  6. Dear Crystal...these are very lovely and spoke to me ...I am living in between spaces in my life with my beloved husband...he is going through chemo and radiation treatments. I have moved my studio to our cabin...and we have bought a very small home near our daughter and her family. There will be less time on the driving... and he will be able to have time with the grands and more rest. Beautiful works. Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart