Story Behind the Art: Silhouettes in Grief

Silhouettes in Grief, 2018
Acrylic on Canvas, 18×24
By Nanci Stoeffler, Stoeffler Art Studio

This painting speaks to me of the beauty, movement and motion of grief on the human soul. It is to our detriment when we do not allow our soul-self the necessary and poignant opportunity to grieve – whether it’s the loss of a loved one, or a move to another state, or the unexpected loss of a job, or the loss of what we expected our lives to be.

Nanci Stoeffler-Silhouettes in Grief 2018 more detailScripture tells us that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). When we gloss over the painful, difficult and sorrowful parts of life we actually are not living life to the fullest. For all of the negative emotions and the loss that comes with them, have their unique and intended purposes in our lives.

Jesus is called the “man of sorrows, acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). As I look throughout my own life of all the sorrows I’ve been through, within each one I could find the Silhouette of the Man of Sorrows, Jesus Himself holding me, caring for me and grieving with me – bringing meaning, comfort and much needed companionship in my times of grief.

So as you view this painting, I encourage you to allow yourself the space and expanse to search your soul and grieve things that you’ve pushed back and hidden. No longer fearing sorrow but becoming comfortable with its meaning, purpose and release. And I encourage you to open the door of your heart to this Man of Sorrows – Jesus Himself and ask Him to lead you through the maze of grief until you come to the place of wholeness, healing and restored joy.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep & a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones
and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and
a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Birthing Dance

In all of us, there is a dance — a movement of celebration and freedom, that we were created to inhabit. Or, that was meant to inhabit us.

Often as children — we were free, uninhibited, child-like in our expressions of who we were, what we liked and what we felt. And some children, because of unhealthy circumstances were never able to enjoy this kind of freedom and joy.  And as we’ve grown up, we feel that we must grow out of child-likeness. May we all come to understand: there is a difference between being Nanci Stoeffler-Birthing Dance 2017childish and child-like.

My prayer as an artist is that I would encourage and inspire a place in your life to partner with the God of Creation to restored childlikeness…to embrace the freedom of dance — whatever that looks like — unafraid of risk (for without risk, you do not have growth) unafraid of failure (for without failure, you do not become successful) and unafraid of rejection (for without rejection you do not become a Victor).

Come, Breath of God, and birth the dance of freedom, celebration and restored child-likeness to all who stop by to visit this painting and read it’s story.

Nanci Stoeffler
Stoeffler Art Studio
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Email: stoefflerartstudio@gmail.com