FAIRMONT - In 2006, Danielle Freitag-DeWar came out of treatment determined to turn her life around.
Wracked with guilt and shame stemming from previous lifestyle choices, the Fairmont native turned to the Christian teaching of her youth for strength and direction. And she found her rekindled relationship with Christ was best expressed through artwork.
Freitag-DeWar is the artist of the month at Red Rock Center for the Arts in Fairmont.
Red Rock Center for the Arts artist of the month, Danielle Freitag-DeWar, pauses while hanging her artwork.
"I didn't create these pieces until I got out of treatment and got sober," Freitag said of the 16 works of mixed media on canvas that she is showing.
Freitag-DeWar speaks of her work as acts of worship, tangible evidence of time spent in prayer and reading her Bible.
"When I am creating, it is with the Holy Spirit," she said. "It is part of my journey, creating my pieces. They weren't really intended for other people, but it has turned out that way."
One piece in particular mixes words and figures from Proverbs 31, offering a message to others about a woman's value.
"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." Proverbs 31: 30-31
"It is about knowing who I truly am," she said. "A daughter of God. ... It is a message to women about what true beauty is."
Freitag-DeWar used the media as both expression of her love for God and as therapy.
"It is therapeutic, absolutely," she said. "It has been therapeutic with some of the healing process with getting out of a destructive lifestyle."
Freitag-DeWar said she has always been interested in the arts, although it was performance art that she learned as a child through piano and dance.
Her artist's biography describes her transformation.
"[Freitag-DeWar] understands there was a time in her life in which artistic decisions were manifested out of a broken and deceptive nature," she wrote. "Now, the artist seeks to manifest the movement and beauty of what the Holy Spirit communicates during times of intimacy with a loving God."
Freitag-DeWar, who works as a chemical dependency counselor at Fountain Center in Fairmont, paints when she is moved to do so, sometimes working furiously to finish a piece, and other times slowly adding to something she started as inspiration comes.
Some of the work on display at Red Rock is for sale, although not all. Those interested in a piece should see the center's director, Sonja Fortune, for prices.
"It is not just a painting," Freitag-DeWar said, "it is worship. There is a lot of prayer sewn into this."
An artist reception will be held 3-5 p.m. Sunday at Red Rock Center.