Artist, writer, and teacher Kirsten Beitler. Originals and prints available. Deep thoughts on the blog. Teaching studio is currently closed.

Thoughts On Palm Sunday

April 2, 2023

Some thoughts on this Palm Sunday 2019

Today the Christian world commemorates the entering of Jesus into Jerusalem. In fulfillment of prophecy, Jesus entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, was hailed as a king, and honored with the laying of palm fronds along his path.

Now, Jesus wasn't dumb. He knew what was really coming. He didn't get caught up in the adulation. He didn't tally up the palm fronds and equate the number to his self worth. He knew what his worth was. He was the Son of God, come to be the Savior of the World. Just not the way the world had hoped.

But me, I'm no Jesus.  It's so easy for me to get caught up in adulation. It's so easy for me to equate my worth with likes, swipes, show acceptances, painting sales, etc.

It's hard when I am disappointed in life, love, and art. I want to say, " But you liked this, you liked me, I was important, I felt like a queen and now I'm nothing!" It's hard for me to remember that oftentimes the triumphal entry is not the end of the story, but a precursor to the beginning of a deeper and more difficult task ahead that will probably look nothing like the world expects it to.

The work is gritty, un-pretty, unsettling, fierce, and painful. It's not glamorous. It makes the people around me uncomfortable. It's make ME uncomfortable!

I want to get to heaven without having to go through my figurative Gethsemanes first! Gethsemanes are not ego stroking experiences. They crush the ego. But the breaking lets  the light in. I'm not sure how many Gethsemanes I need to go through before I become more like Jesus, but I know one thing. I'm committed to keep going.

It's hard and I don't like it. I want to be on the donkey's back with people cheering me on, but right now I just feel like the.....donkey (see how I didn't swear there?)

It hurts.

So I am grateful to know that this is not the end, that there is more to the story, and that at the end of the garden and the grave there is the REAL triumph. I'm looking forward to that.

(Painting by Jerry Williams)

Hosannas and Hallelujahs

I wanted to add some thoughts about the space between the hosannas and the hallelujahs.

Hosanna is a plea for God to save. Hallelujah is a praise to the Lord for the hope of salvation and exaltation. And in between, there is work to do that is very difficult and uncomfortable. For example, if you're using the butterfly as an allegory for growth; the caterpillar goes from worm to cocoon to butterfly, but in the cocoon, the caterpillar actually turns to goo. Goo. She doesn't just metamorphosize gracefully. She actually turns to a mass of goo. Her between is the goo stage. She is completely undone. That sounds pretty uncomfortable.

Right now the whole world is in that in-between space. I have been in and out of that space in micro-cycles for many years now, moving in and out of small and large what I'll optimistically call "growth opportunities", waiting for what I assumed would be the big and final hallelujah. Some mythical event that I had in my mind that would be the end to my sadness and the beginning of my joy. I'm not sure where I got this idea, but it was there. What are some of your hallelujahs? Getting married? Having a child? Getting that job? Buying that car? Being done with cancer treatments? Achieving your PR in a marathon?

I thought I was there a few weeks ago when, after searching for a house to buy for several months, I finally found one. It was a treasure box of vintage adorableness that made my soul sing! Hard to find in Southern Utah. Surely I was led to it and there were other miracles around the process that I won't talk about here. I put my money down and began to move forward with boldness and certainty, feeling pretty proud of myself.

But then, I didn't feel okay about it. I tried to push through the feelings, sure it was just the discomfort of stepping into something unknown, but my discomfort grew to a level of spiritual panic and body reaction that I have learned to not dismiss. So I withdrew my offer. It broke my heart. I didn't and don't understand it. All I knew is that the moment I withdrew the offer, my body and spirit were at peace.

I was hoping that that house would take me from hosanna to hallelujah. But it didn't and now the whole world has changed and I don't know what's going to happen or if I should even keep looking for a house.

And you know what? I'm so done looking for events or people to take me to the hallelujah. I'm done.

I know there are lots of people in pain and fear right now. I know people are worried. Some people can't even get to the hosanna let alone through the space between hosanna to a hallelujah.

I just want to offer this in case it might help someone. I don't think life is as linear as we wish it to be. I've been in a place with no hosanna. I've also had hallelujahs. I don't know where I am right now. I seem to be simultaneously holding all those spaces inside myself. And I think that's okay. I think it's okay to give ourselves permission to be doubting Thomas AND grieving Mary AND rejoicing Peter all at once.

It's okay to have hope that everything and everyone will be okay AND be terrified that it won't. It's okay to be grateful I still have a job AND worried that because of that job I will bring home a virus that could kill my family. It's okay to love your people AND love yourself more even though it feels selfish. And all those other dualities and discomforts of life that we wish away but are actually an integral part of existence.

I think it's okay to gather up your palm fronds of hope and fear and wave them around the best you can and hope that it will be enough. I'm going to give myself permission to go to the mythical land of hallelujah whenever I feel it bubble up inside me. I'll do my own internal hosanna shout whenever I feel it. I'll shout hallelujah every time I wake up and I'm in my body and I'm feeling all my feelings and it's a victory over past trauma. I'll hug my kids and enjoy my friends and paint and laugh, cry when I need to, and hope for guidance on house buying and other concerns. And it will have to be enough.

I'm pretty sure Christ will make it enough. I don't know what that enough looks like, but I'm open to finding out.

Happy Palm Sunday, 2020. HOSANNA AND HALLELUJAH.


Uncomfortable Truths

January 16, 2022

We cannot change what we do not acknowledge. I am by no means an expert on race or history. I am just someone who didn’t know what I didn’t know until I needed to know it. Because it is my honor to be the mother of children of a different race than mine, placed into my hands by their first-mothers and through our open adoption arrangement, it is my privilege to have my eyes are opened on a daily basis. When I share things about race, it’s not out of a desire to be performative, to shame...

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It's Not Just About The Lump

December 2, 2021
I wasn't planning on publicly sharing this, but after watching a variety of different types of posts on social media yesterday (which was International Women's Day for whatever that means and whoever made that up and whatever that's supposed to fix) I decided to go ahead and share this experience I just walked through. I think it encapsulates a lot about what it's like to be a woman and I don't share it to get sympathy or attention, but because I feel like I can and most women that go through...

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Paintings from the show...In the Eye of the Beholder

April 14, 2020

In the Eye of the Beholder, 2012

Oil and gold leaf on panel

14” x 18”

I did this piece when I first found out I had the degenerative eye disease called keratoconus.

I was full of fear.

Losing my eyesight had always been one of my great terrors, and now it looked like having serious vision challenges was going to be a part of my life forever.

This painting began a series of works that turned into my first solo show, Beauty in the Eye, which was all about vision loss and eye diseases.

My family...

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Paintings from the show....What He Threw Away

April 14, 2020

That's me as a first time bride in 1995.

And that's me, divorced, in 1997 and standing next to the only time I ever showed this painting of my first ex-husband, Doug, until showing it in my solo show, Couch to Canvas.

I called it What He Threw Away.

It was an assignment in class in the style of another artist (Klimt).

I remember when I did this painting I was only a month or so out from my separation from Doug and in the middle of big pain and complete confusion. I now see how this work, even the...

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Paintings from the show....Kitty Hawk

April 14, 2020

Kitty Hawk (assemblage version), 2018

Watercolor and paper

24” x 30”

This is a portrait of Nora. Nora is a spitfire of a girl whose personality reached out to me so strongly, that I could feel it over the internet. She stands boldly in her body and I felt it was appropriate to juxtapose her in front of the hill at Kitty Hawk, which holds deep personal meaning for me as a place of bravery and discovery.

It is also an homage to all the brave girls and women who must learn to fly in the conte...

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Paintings from the show....Finding Out I'm the Sister-of-Jared (or Tight Like a Dish)

April 14, 2020

Finding Out I’m the Sister-of-Jared (or Tight Like a Dish), 2019

Oil on panel

18” x 36”

Here what it's about.

One day I was lamenting to my therapist about how I didn’t think I could take anymore, go any further; how I was feeling abandoned and broken beyond fixing.

Right in the middle of processing these feelings I had a very forceful memory come to mind of a talk I had listened to months earlier. The talk was When My Prayers Feel Unanswered, which people commonly refer to as the “fo...

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Paintings from the show....The Fire Inside Her Burned Brighter

April 14, 2020

The Fire Inside Her Burned Brighter, 1998

Oil on panel

12” x 20”

This is the oldest piece I had hanging in my solo show Couch to Canvas.

In 1997 I had returned to SUU after separating from my first husband to finish my degree in Illustration. Waiting for me there was a new art teacher, Brian Hoover, who was a visual storyteller, and the medium of oil paint which I had not previously explored much. I had originally come to school with the intent of being a teacher, children's book illustrat...

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Paintings from the show...The Process of Laying It Down and Picking It Back Up

April 14, 2020

The Process of Laying It Down and Picking It Back Up (assemblage version), 2019

Oil on panel

24” x 30”

This piece started out as a series of small watercolor studies that I did to try and reclaim and heal something.

I knew I was going to do the piece, but I wasn't sure if I would show it to anybody.
One of the scariest (and coolest) things about art is that you can't control what happens in the mind of the viewer after you put it out there. I had a very personal and specific meaning for this...

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Post Couch to Canvas Show Musings

April 14, 2020
The show is not what I originally had planned. I signed up to do it early last fall when I was feeling really good about my life, like I had the energy to execute my vision. I had solid recent works I was proud of and ideas for five new pieces in my head.
Then things got super messy again and I was in survival mode from the end of 2018 through the summer of 2019.
You know what happens when you're in survival mode? Not much. So there I was, two months out and only two of the new works done beyon...

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A Little Introduction...

Kirsten Beitler I am an florist, artist, teacher, and single mom of four boys, not necessarily in that order depending on the day! This blog is about all the things that interest me; art, relationships, friends, kids, teaching, adoption, being a Mormon, chickens, divorce, therapy, essential oils, know,totally normal stuff.
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All text and images on this blog are my property unless otherwise noted. Please, be respectful.   © Kirsten Beitler


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