The Valley Project
The Valley Project is a unfinished gallery of works by different artists in response to the valleys in human life, the low points and prolonged moments of darkness and despair. The idea is fundamentally based on the fact that the valleys in our lives are the exact same places that lead to higher platforms of perspective, that teach us valuable lessons, humble us and purify our vision for what really matters. In a radical way, it even teaches us to view the whole mountain range and behold the fact that the darker parts maybe were the cracks that finally let the light in. It all started with the definition of The Valley in the book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy:
VALLEY. Depression; meekness; darkness.
“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” (Psalm xxiii. 4.)
Though the way is dark in mortal sense, divine Life and Love illumine it, destroy the unrest of mortal thought, the fear of death, and the supposed reality of error. Christian Science, contradicting sense, maketh the valley to bud and blossom as the rose.
Art speaks to us in ways that can remind us of hope and light when there is none in the current circumstances. These pieces of artwork are all meant to represent this essential process of seeing our lives being turned into blossoming and thriving spaces by Grace and surrender. The core of the latter definition is the fact that the valley through the higher perspective (from the mountaintop) becomes an entirely new terrain, maybe a training ground, maybe just a part of the mountain range that render a new clarity and sharpness to the lens through which we understand ourselves.
As the piece begins, we start our journey with light, small steps not knowing where to go. Not seeing much, not knowing where to go, and yet courageous enough to keep going. Sometimes we find places of light and sometimes of darkness. Until our inner landscape changes, fear and discomfort surround us. When we start running and stumbling away from this dark place we find only more darkness. A deep dark valley that we stumble into and we don't know how to escape. Then, we turn, we try to climb the walls but fall down. But when we look deeply there are sparkles of light, that transform our experience into something different. Like a drop of water in a crack where a seed waits to emerge, we must plunge into the valley to find light at its deepest point. Even though we are stumbling towards it, and sometimes lose it again, we can keep going because now that we have seen it, we don't lose our direction anymore. We can discover the beautiful patterns of light and darkness on the walls of the valleys until we finally end our journey with light, small steps, having seen all the depth of life.
Gouache on Paper
"Valley of Light"
Hand-painted paper figures photographed
Creativity is my guiding light through valleys of despair. It gives me direction when I lose my bearings. It allows me to be introspective in a world full of distractions. It teaches me to embrace my shortcomings in a society built on perfectionism. To be patient when we are wired for instant gratification. It gives a sense of adventure in a complacent daily routine. To think outside the box when we are told to stay in our lane. Our lives are endless valleys in some shape or form, but they don’t have to feel that way. Perspective can change how you experience the world. You just have to create it.
"The Valley Blossoms"
Acrylic on Paper
The valleys of our lives can seem dark and unrelenting, surrounded by steep hills and mountains, and often collecting clouds and heavy rain in the midst of it; however, as we keep trusting, and surrendering to a higher perspective the sun will eventually come out and the valley will spring into a bed of flowers and life, having been nourished by the rain and been protected by the mountains so it’s soil retains the water and nutrients. We have the mountains to explore and widen our horizon. Thus, the higher perspective always informs the lower, even when it still seems dark. I started painting this definition as I often do when I seek to understand something more deeply. To all the valleys in our lives that are enroute to „bud and blossom as the rose.”
(From Album "Lessons from the Valley")
I found Rob's music this year through a podcast and immediately fell in love with his deep, connecting, reflective and life-affirming lyrics and tunes. After starting the Valley Project, this song popped up and I was just amazed at the timing. I contacted him and he happily gave me permission to post his song to the gallery. Enjoy this song and all of his other music. Its one of a kind!