Lady in red: On art and being difficult

It’s ‘Five minute Friday’ time, joining with Lisa-Jo Baker.

She gives us 1 word,

we write for 5 minutes flat – no backtracking or editing, throwing caution to the wind.

Check out others’ five-minute offerings by clicking on the button below.

This is my best five minutes on ‘Beyond’.

Sometimes I get a bit paranoid about the fact that I have a blog that is mainly about suffering and difficult things. I read other people’s positive blogs on encouraging topics, and I worry that I focus too much on the topics that people find it painful to look at.

We’re all short of time and energy – why on earth would people want to read a post where they are made to feel uncomfortable rather than uplifted?  I am frequently discomforting, I know.

I am difficult. I am high-maintenance. I am demanding.


We have two paintings at home. They are Art with a capital A.

One is a fluid, fun picture of our local town, and people look at it, and say, ‘that’s nice’. Another is a huge canvas with swirling colour all over it.  It is passionate and chaotic and loud.

People look at it, puzzled. Then we say, ‘it’s called Lady in Red’, and they look again, and they say, ‘oh’ – and they start to make sense of the image a bit more as they see the lady in red at the centre of the picture, and see the energy that surrounds it. They stare at it for longer.

Some people still don’t like it. But for those who stop and look beyond their initial impression, most find it more rewarding than the universally-appealing, instantly-accessible landscape. It’s more demanding, but more rewarding.

This is the ‘art’ that I seek to make, and I humbly  thank you, dear reader, for ‘getting’ it. It means a lot.

I am demanding. I earnestly hope to be rewarding.


As I write this, I realise that this also describes the person that I hope to be. For those of you who experience my demanding loud-ness and moments of swirling chaos and see in the midst of it the lonely lady in red and the passion and glimpses of beauty in the picture – I thank you.

Over to you:

  • If you were a painting, what kind of art would you be (or like to be)?
  • If you are a writer or artist, what characterises your art?

This week my Five-minute-Friday was inspired by a brilliant post by another Five-minute-Friday-er, Amy in Wanderland. Her blog is brilliant. Check out ‘The trouble with ugly art’

It was also inspired by this fantastic article, written by the instantly-accessible, universally-appealing, yet still thought-provoking Jeff Goins. Check out ‘Art helps us deal with suffering’ 


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25 Responses to Lady in red: On art and being difficult

  1. Stephanie 26th May, 2013 at 9:52 am #

    I find your blog to be a safe haven. You acknowledge the realities and challenges of living with chronic illness, but always with hope and grace.

    • Tanya 27th May, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

      Thank you, Stephanie!

  2. April Bonda 22nd November, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Sorry, I didn’t realize this comment page went to Girls, Inc. Please ignore my previous comment, I found Caleb’s email address.

  3. karin 14th October, 2012 at 7:52 pm #

    Hi Tanya
    A quick catch up to say that have have just after 16 very tough months been diagnosed with ME. It is hard as a christian as fact and faith constantly verse one another. See that you too have been on 5 minutes Friday. I love art and have started a healing journal using art and text and run a class once a month with 10 ladies (this has been a real challenge and work of faith) in the community and offer healing through art. It is quiet amazing as sometimes drag myself there and find as i lean into Him He just takes over. anyway, do not want to waffle on but have sent you a link to my blog (which started well then went through a low stage but am really claiming my healing and feel loads better on some days). Post loads of my work on there as it is a form healing that God has led me to use at this time.

    • Tanya 15th October, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

      Thanks so much for stopping by! Your comment was temporarily caught in the spam, but I managed to fish it out… It’s fab to hear how art has helped you in your journey, and I really enjoyed visiting your site and seeing your art. It’s so full of life!

  4. ed cyzewski 30th July, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    Thanks for writing about the hard stuff. We all hit rough patches or seasons of suffering, and we benefit when we learn how others are persevering and growing.

    • Tanya 31st July, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      Thanks so much for your encouragement – it means a lot!

  5. Alice 29th July, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    Your writing never makes me gloomy – in the discomfort you somehow bring hope and create an uplifting mood. This can only be a gift from God – I’m struggling to even explain how you manage to make reading difficult subject matter restorative without being light or glib or false. Amazing.

    I love it!

    • Tanya 30th July, 2012 at 9:55 am #

      thank you, lovely Alice. I’m kinda surprised that i somehow bring hope to you as you read – I agree, that must be a gift from God, cos most of the time i just feel like i’m moaning! 🙂 Thank you for your encouragement.

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