Dawn Grider

My love for art was encouraged by my grandmother who was a self-taught artist and my mother who supported her children’s desires by encouraging us to pursue our talents. So, at a young age, I pursued art and I fell in love with it. My faith in God and my art became an identity that I grabbed hold of throughout elementary, juniodawn-portraitr high and high school. At a young age, I spoke of becoming an art teacher and knew that one day I would.

At the young age of 18, I was on my own because I chose to move out and remove myself from the dysfunctional environmental caused by my father’s alcoholism. With the help and guidance of my two older sisters and good friends, I moved out and learned to live on my own. At nineteen I became a manicurist to pay the bills. Then two years later I got married. During my 12 years as a manicurist, my husband and I worked with youth groups at 2 separate churches and participated in many missionary trips to mexico. By 1994, the desire to get my degree in Art Education returned, so I went back to school, sold my manicuring business in 1998 and completed my degree. I began teaching art and loved it. It was stressful but I tried to cope with the long hours and demands that come with teaching in the public classroom. But my dream job as an art teacher was clouded by feeling tired all of the time and I began feeling symptoms that left the doctors stumped. They would explain that my symptoms were brought on by depression. I went through a gamut of tests including thyroid, MS, lupus and many others. At first, a Rheumatologist diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia.

10 years later, my unexplained ailments were making it difficult for me to function. Then in 2010, after the school year ended, I was taken to the emergency ward several times and then hospitalized for 3 days. After being misdiagnosed with GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease), I was sent home with medication, but my symptoms worsened. Finally, I was diagnosed with a fungal infection and colitis. This information turned my world upside down and I became very discouraged, but God put a desire in my husband and my heart to pursue further help and seek answers. So, we searched and finally found an awesome Nurse Practitioner that works out of her own office. After ordering very specific tests, she informed me that I had severe food allergies that compromised my immune system. So, I was told to remove gluten and dairy from my diet and I had to follow a very strict diet to support and allow the healing to occur.

Good Changes but, a huge adjustment.

The hardest part of all the changes in my life was being pulled away from things that kept me busy. Now that I look back on it, I was too busy. But, I thought that was what I needed to do. The world celebrates and reveres the busy person and the teaching professing is quite guilty of just that. At first, it felt like a burden of time as I waited for the healing to occur. I felt useless, anxious, worthless and a burden to my husband. But, what I did not expect was the healing that occurred in my heart, soul, and mind while body healed. Things that I held onto so dearly, God was showing me were not important and were actually hurting me. So, now I see my life change as a gift from God. It’s not easy, but time is a gift. Ephesians 5:15 says, “Be very careful, then, how you live —not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”

Having as attitude of Thankfulness and gratitude allows joy to fill my heart. I have to make a choice everyday to walk in an attitude pleasing to God. I still battle with fatigue, body aches and a finicky digestive tract, but I start each day by saying “Good Morning, Lord.” He is my strength.

So, I keep my hands busy by painting, drawing, crocheting, jewelry making, repurposing furniture and found objects and teaching art, which is a passion for me. I have also completed and self-published a book called Sermon Illustrations.

http://www.lulu.com/shop/dawn-grider/sermon-illustrations/paperback/product-20729991.html

You can view a few of the 50 drawings under Illustrations on this blog. It is a collection of drawings and writing inspired by God.

My focus as an artist.

As an artist I am driven to create and work with my hands. I work in spiritually themed ink drawings inspired by quiet times with God. My work is an overflowing of my love for God and his creation. These drawings are a physical manifestation of my time with God and what he reveals to me.

My favorite thing to draw and paint are trees. Trees represent strength, protection and time. The strength of the roots that allow the tree to stretch out and up in awe-inspiring height and size are symbolic of what happens when we learn and apply God’s teachings. The variety of colors, shapes and changes fascinate me. The privacy and protection that is organically represented in the outstretched limbs that shade the world underneath is inviting. And finally, the representation of time weathered beauty that has seen a multitude of seasons is a perfect metaphor for life as a whole. The seasons we as human beings go through; times of growth, rest, storing up, enduring the storms and difficulty that strengthen the roots, trunk and limbs make our life complete in the same way.