It All Started With a Dream


In 2007 I was working at a health food store in South Central PA and loving it. I was learning about nutrition and working on a certificate in Nutritional Counseling. But in the course of a weekend the direction of my life took a dramatic turn. Some amazing things happened that weekend. I fell on my tail bone, visited a chiropractor, had an art booth at a wine tasting event, had a vivid dream and the direction of my life went from nutrition to painting for God. And I’ve been painting ever since. What started with a dream has turned into a full time career.

It was raining when I came home from work with an arm full of groceries. I slipped and fell hard on my tail bone. My daughter Sophia heard me scream in pain from our house. She came running to see if I was ok. I could get up but I was in pain. The next day I went to see a chiropractor.  On a whim I had registered to display some artwork of mine at a wine tasting event in Hanover, PA where I lived. As I filled out the paperwork in her office I wrote down my concern about sitting for hours at my art booth. She was intrigued with my “being an artist”. I explained that I wasn’t a professional artist and that I was just doing it for fun. But she planted a seed that grew over that weekend. I was surprised how well received my art was at the event. Several people paid for pencil portraits I drew for them. I sold several prints and a $250 acrylic original. And then I had the dream. In my dream I was with my father and my Aunt Elisa. We were in some kind of retail place where there was a glass case with jewelry in it. Another women started talking to me. In real life this woman had given me a hair analysis to let me know what nutrients my body was needing. She said to me, “You have the ability to fly.” “Oh, I don’t think I can fly.” My father said, “Oh, you can’t fly.”  My Aunt said, “Oh, you can’t fly.” But the woman said to me, “Yes you can. The way that a fish swims in the ocean, you can fly in the air.” I said, “Well, I’ll give it a try.” So I stretched my arms out like wings and jumped up. To my great surprise, I was flying above my Dad and Aunt. There was no ceiling. I looked down at them and shouted, “I can fly!” And then I woke up. I knew exactly what this dream was about. It was about my ability to fly with my art. All my life I had loved to draw and paint but lacked the confidence to pursue it seriously. The reason…. I never thought I was good enough. After this dream, which I knew came from God, I began to pray. As I prayed, I sensed God telling me that He wanted me to paint. But from now on, He wanted me to paint for Him. He didn’t want me to paint to please anyone else but Him. So, I said yes to God because I knew I could paint for Him. It wasn’t about being successful or good enough. It was about fulfilling the dream He had given me. It was about flying. And according to God, flying came naturally for me. Over the years I have pondered this dream in my heart. And I have seen God open doors for me that no one else could open up. This painting called “Dream Come True” speaks of me taking off with my art and painting and flying for God. It has been an amazing journey. And in so many ways the journey is just beginning. On December 2, 2013 I said goodbye to my part-time job as a counselor for four years and am now working full-time as an artist. Since 2007 I have painted over 230 paintings and sold about 80 original paintings, several hundred cards and prints. In this blog I will share the stories that go with my paintings. I will talk about the process I use when I paint. And yes, I do paint while listening to music.

You have the ability to fly

“Dream Come True”


About strawbalenell

I'm a fulltime artist who paints primarily on Yupo paper. I use acrylic inks, acrylic paint and gouache. I've been painting on and off since I was eight years old. In 2007 I began taking my art seriously after a dream and a set of circumstances. I paint intuitively and don't know ahead of time what I'm going to paint. I choose some colors and listen to Christian worship music as I paint. The paper I use, Yupo paper does not absorb the paint into the paper. The paint evaporates. That's how it dries. When it is wet, the paint will move on the paper and gives you lots of interesting textures. I eventually see an image in the paint and then further define it. I depend on the leading of the Holy Spirit to guide me. If an image does not work, I simply wipe it off and start over.

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