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Artist joins mission to Africa

She was asked to paint in front of her congregation at Eastern Hills Bible Church at 4500 Pewter Lane in Manlius. Sounds easy enough?

Well, first consider that every artist has a process. A process they have found through a lot of hard work and discovery. A pattern of operating that makes their work flow, which makes it less like work and more like play. Alison's process was to work alone in her studio, on a flat work surface, manipulating the paint on watercolor paper.

Here she was asked to join two other artists (Mark Noble and Mary Francis Cliff) in front of their congregation of perhaps a 1000 people. She was to paint onto a canvas on an upright easel. Not her process, but okay, she could do this. But maybe she would create a sketch, a study to work from because you can blow it in a nano-second. Her husband said, you can't do that.

"You can't get up in front of people and really talk about your faith and not jump in the water," he said.

Alison and Jim, like many couples, challenge each other in a positive way. Jim was right.

"Okay, I can do this, I can do a landscape vertically," she reasoned, which was the form she was most comfortable with, but upon arrival she learned the canvas would only fit horizontally on the easel. Then of course the canvas would require a larger brush than she was used to using with paper, she was nervous.

"Everything was a step of faith," Alison said.

So, with EHBC's Worship Band playing, she stepped forward and started painting and what came forth was an absolutely beautiful painting.

"The sermon was about taking whatever gift you have and doing it as a form of worship," she said.

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