I am named after a "French" anti-perspirant (yep- you read that correctly), "Mistelle", found in a grocery store aisle of my small West Texas hometown. My mom, the teacher, worked her phonetic (umm...not so much) magic on the original spelling and ended up with "Mystele", which most people now fail to pronounce correctly, leaving me with the life-long addendum, "It rhymes with Michelle." To top off the whole name thing, I married a guy from Illinois with Norwegian heritage...Needless to say, I now have to pronounce and spell my entire name all. the. time. HAH! This guy and I have two beautiful works of art in the form of teenage and tween-age boys. 

So what about art? Well, one day, after a very, very, very long (years) struggle with the deep darks of depression and a final melt-down that sucked all creative life out of me, I found myself waking up to life again, and I said a little prayer: "God, I feel like I need to be creative again. What should I do?"  Well, His answer should be obvious to ya!! And I am so incredibly thankful to be an artist. I mean, who knew? I sure didn't! 

Inspired by:

  1. the raw expression & time-worn appeal of folk art in combination with cheerful, vintage inspired colors (red + pink + aqua= LOVE)
  2. the landscape and culture of Northwest Texas where I grew up (riding horses with my dad, the stories from my mom's childhood and her love of antiques and vintage goodies, both of my grandmothers' humble homes and good cooking, Miss Rosie's catfish and Aunt Mary Jane's peach cobbler)
  3. what happens between the beginning and the end of a painting or creative project- totally smitten. There is so much "space" to learn and listen during the act of creating...Man! The wonder of it all fuels my soul for miles and miles. 
  4. life with Jesus, everyday life from world events to daily tasks, the people I love

PS. (My nickname is Myste- also not phonetic- pronounced "Mi-stee".)

I began teaching myself to paint in 2008. I've never looked back...well, mostly! Along the way, I've created ridiculous expectations and entertained lies about my worth/identity.

No matter what my internal dialogue is for the moment, painting is my method of processing my world and documenting how I am being unmade and remade by a wild and beautiful Creator. What a ride.

I am knit together to encourage- to give courage, that is, to help others THRIVE.

And, I'm knit together to create.

When I am be-ing who I'm meant to be, I am more alive to God, more present in life, than in any other daily occupation. I've always been creative- pretending, playing piano, singing, writing, performing, nesting, making, but it took an honest admittal of on-going depression to unearth the painter in me.

Once I hit the wall with depression, I lost all desire to create and essentially hid from the world as much as possible. Around the beginning of February 2008, I began to come out of the constant haze and felt the creative urge resurfacing, too. One day I found myself rather nonchalantly asking God what I should do next, and He said, "Why don't you try sketching?"

And so it began. Sketching led to painting, and painting flung open a waiting world of brilliant color and texture that I've experimented with over the days and months since 2008. 

 

 

 

Today, I find myself in the midst of a most beautiful awakening. Don't get me wrong- I still struggle with depression, but it doesn't define who I am. Painting has become my favorite way to mark down just how God carries me out of my Egypts so that my soul can well up more fully every day with delight in Him!

Day after day, I am amazed at what I've been given to give away...little glimpses of wonder, joy, courage and Life.

All the play- filled paths I've followed since 2008 have led me to my own way of painting and seeing that I originally called "gut art" and now tend to call "Mystele Paint"- my way of creating. Upon closer inspection, you can see playful layer upon layer of story-telling in the backgrounds, and it's these layers that eventually yield the quirk-ily beautiful characters and scenes that make you stop long enough to smile, to think, to remember, to laugh, to feel life in all of its bitter-sweetness, and to take heart in the midst of it all. My prayer is that the art that comes out of my life will renew your sense of wonder in the midst of a world that has so many dark places.
 

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows, but take heart [be encouraged!!!], because I have overcome the world.
~Jesus, John 16:33 NLT

Shhh!!! I have a creative, little secret. I am enamored with the creative process!! Smitten. Bewitched. Transfixed. Painting after painting, I am mesmerized by the artistic excursions that begin with the simple, elemental building blocks we call "marks". The simple act of making a mark, whether with line, color, or collage, helps shine a light on what captivates our hearts and minds, giving voice to our stories. I just can't get enough!!

I abstract my subjects from what may seem like an unruly, dissonant mess of marks, color and texture, but, to me, it's the most fantastic playground of imagination and sight.

And for someone like me who never expected to be an artist, these playgrounds are always my

ღ wonder works ღ.

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Paintings are really my passion, but, from time to time, I need to stretch my wonder-seeking wings in fresh ways. So, I create other mixed media works that I call "make-ings", such as 3D works, fabric creations, jewelry and journals.

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Wonder [wun-duhr], noun: A deep seated awe arising from any life experience that [whether profoundly simple, once-in-a-lifetime thrilling or somewhere inbetween] causes a person to look beyond the realm of self and press in for a closer look at the "Other" [the Creator and origin of wonder Himself]

The Dictionary of Soul Language by Mystele 😘