Discussion Questions for Lanecia Rouse Tinsley: When Hope Seems Lost

Listen to the conversation between Kate & Lanecia, here.

1. Lanecia Rouse Tinsley is an abstract artist who makes visible the invisible by using texture, layering, and color. If you had to choose a texture, layer, or color that makes visible the invisible within you right now, what would it be and why?

2. Lanecia is often surprised by her art. She says, “I learn so much about myself as an artist, about my material and practice, through just this engagement of allowing things to become and not forcing.” What in your life could benefit from this kind of wonder, curiosity, and play?

3. For Lanecia to make the kind of art she does now, she had to unlearn the idea that you could “think your way through pain.” How have you learned to move through pain? What are you unlearning, relearning, or learning fresh about it now?

4. When Lanecia was commissioned to make a piece of art bigger than she’d ever made before, a shop manager gave her sage advice: “The canvas is big enough to hold all of your energy and all of your truth. So just let it out.” Who or what is big enough to hold all of your energy and truth?

5. One of the great griefs of Lanecia’s life was loving and losing her newborn daughter, A.J., after only two hours of life. After A.J.’s death, Lanecia decided that she would need certain things to get through the storm: honesty, self-love, other people’s presence. When you’re in the storm, what do you need on the life raft to survive?

6. Some spiritual stuff was helpful for Lanecia’s grief and some wasn’t. For example, attending church was filled with landmines. But the practice of Visio Divina, or holy looking, provided her with a keen sense of trust. What spiritual resources are most life-giving to you when death is near?

7. Looking back over her life, Lanecia can see how her mom and dad helped her name racism, sexism, and other systems of oppression while also teaching her to see the good in humanity. Who helps you live in the precarious place between reality and possibility?

8. Lanecia believes that creating is a form of resistance—whether that’s creating through our activism, in our loving, in our art making, or in how we shape our days and the choices that we make.” What are you creating right now to resist the death stealing things of life?

9.“Every time we approach a blank canvas there is an element of hope,” Lanecia says. “That I will create something out of the materials that I have. Like this blank canvas won’t be blank forever.” What blank canvas are you approaching? Now, imagine, what will be your first mark of hope?

10. Lanecia is in the process of painting over her pre-pandemic canvases. She is listening. She is not resisting. She is reimagining what they might become. In other words, she is allowing herself the freedom of re-creation. What will you re-create in this moment of becoming?

Bonus: After listening to this week’s podcast, what part of Kate & Lanecia’s conversation resonated with you most? What insight will you carry with you?

Discussion Questions written by author, editor, and facilitator Erin S. Lane.

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