June 07, 2016

Giving His Beauty to Our World -- Ramona Heikel

Every day before my 8th grade music class began, a classmate sat down at the piano and played a haunting melody. I'd stand behind her, mesmerised, watching her fingers and listening in amazement. It was the most beautiful song I'd ever heard. I simply had to learn to play it. Although I hadn't taken piano lessons, I found out the name of the song and went home and asked my mom to help me with it. Later, when she heard that same tune over and over, for years, she probably regretted it!

Around that same time, I was doing a lot of babysitting.  Often, after the children went to bed, I got bored and looked for something to do. Once, while thumbing through a Sports Illustrated magazine, I came across a picture of baseball player Hank Aaron, and was inspired by the joy that filled his face. I found paper and pencil and drew his portrait. On another evening at the Rosenblum household, I drew the dazzling smile of a woman in the swimsuit edition.

In grade 12, I received my first camera, an instamatic with a cartridge of 24-exposure film (which produced the photos below). As I snapped pictures of anything and everything, my dad started to hand down his expensive Pentax cameras to me and trained me to use all the settings. He'd taught photography in the Air Force, and my maternal grandfather had supported his family as a photograher in a mountainous tourist town in Germany, so I suppose cameras were in my genes!

When I look in my old file folder of piano music-- James Taylor's "You've Got a Friend", the "Theme from Love Story", Hagood Hardy's "The Homecoming"--I see where I got my motivation to practice playing the piano: they're some of the most beautiful songs ever--tune and lyrics. I noticed that whether I drew strangers or friends, they had one thing in common: joy shining on their face.  Same with photos. And living in places of natural beauty turned my camera viewfinder to creation's artistry.

I found that I could use my artistic tendencies to bring joy to other people, which I am sure was what God intended in the first place!  My mom would ask me to play some of her favorite songs while she cooked dinner. Friends asked me to draw their portrait, or the portrait of someone special, or I gave my drawings to the people who inspired them.  I donated a pile of matted photographs to raise money for a good cause; many others over the years have become greeting cards, boxed gift sets of blank cards, or presents of framed pictures. Now I also make some available in public domain to "give back", and to show my gratitude toward other generous photographers.

But for many years I left something important out of the equation:  the true origin of these creations.  Whatever artistic talents I have are not mine, they are a gift to me from the greatest artist, God himself. He loaned me the ability to discover beauty:  to play music, draw, or capture photographs of his incredible creation.

I believe He uses our gifts to bring beauty to our world, so we will all, ultimately, look up to Him.  When the world stands in awe of His magnificent artistry, music and words, it will see that He is beautiful, and He is good.

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 A challenge!  This drawing on the right was a high school project I did years before I focused on literature and writing. I didn't know who this woman was, exactly, I was just looking for an interesting face for inspiration.  Now I feel like it was serendipity, and I know her as one of my most admired novelists.  Do you know who she is?

(If the link to the song doesn`t work, you can paste this link in your browser:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zO_xjzHzHZ0 )

Posted by Ramona


  1. You are so inspiring! I feel as if we are kindred spirits, as Anne would say. The portraits are stunning, by the way. and no, I don't know the woman in the portrait... please do tell!

  2. I am thankful for your talents, or "gifts from God," Ramona. I like how you say, "(God) loaned me the ability to discover beauty: to play music, draw, or capture photographs of his incredible creation." And God also loaned you the ability to share the stories he has laid on your heart. "To God be the glory." Amen

  3. Ramona,
    Thanks for sharing your joy with us :) How wonderful that God has given you so many ways to share with others. I can relate to many - writing, music, and photographs. (Fur Elise is a song I am often asked to teach my students ;) I haven't really had the opportunity to explore drawing or painting, but have two daughters who love to draw pictures for other people.

  4. Tracy, Sharon and Ruth, I love how we share and connect in these hobbies and joys :). I think writers are artists who just happen to be wearing the word-art hat at the moment, but their other forms of creativity refuse to stay hidden away for very long. This month's theme is one of my favorites as we discover more about each other! Oh, and the last drawing was of the author of Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell :).

  5. Oh Ramona, I so enjoyed reading your post, learning about your interesting artistic roots. I loved learning how it was the joy in people's faces that drew you to draw them.

    Lovely... Thank you!


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