Thursday, March 31, 2016

Sprouting

Sprouting
“Put the brush down, and back away from the canvas!” For me, it is always an interesting challenge to paint in a representational style while maintaining my own touch. The difficult part of the challenge is deciding when to stop ‘tweaking’ my work. I think many, if not most, artists know the difficulty.

Sometime during the last few harried weeks, I painted this reminder that spring will, in fact, eventually be here! We have a maple tree outside our picture window, and the red, blurry buds bursting open against the pale periwinkle sky almost always surprise me. Catching the still chilly weather with the blossom of promise was the goal of this representational work.

12” x 16” acrylic on 1.5” deep canvas, painted edges
SOLD
 
In my reading in the Old Testament this morning, I read how GOD chose to settle the grumbling of HIS people. They thought they should decide how and when they approached HIM – how and when to act as HIS people. They wanted to name themselves as leaders, rather than acknowledge Moses and Aaron, as GOD had said. So HE had each family chief bring in a rod – a bare branch - and promised to cause the rod to indicate HIS choice.

Numbers 17:5 “And it will come about that the rod of the man whom I choose will sprout. Thus I shall lessen from upon Myself the grumblings of the sons of Israel, who are grumbling against you.”

I was so amused at what followed. Did Aaron’s rod sprout? Numbers 17:8 “… and behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms and it bore ripe almonds.”  So there!


When my world outlook looks bleak and chilly, I want to acknowledge the leading of GOD in my own life and circumstances. I want to see the sprout, bud, blossom, and fruit of HIS hand! 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

HE IS RISEN INDEED!

RISEN INDEED
“Good morning,” whispered my husband. “HE IS RISEN!” “He is risen,” I croaked back, not wanting to be awake yet. It has been an emotional and taxing couple of days since Good Friday. “Are you going to get up and paint?”

I have already been thinking and dreaming about my painting, it feels like for all night long. “Not yet…”

How does one paint EASTER? The most important day ever in all of history? Especially how does one with my level of experience and proficiency paint such an event? I don’t know if it is possible. Still, the images I have seen in my imagination while my eyes have been closed; there are ideas to start with there.

HE IS RISEN! I roll over, kiss my husband, and say, “I am going to paint.” I can imagine him smiling in the dark. “Have fun…” he says. Oh, I will!

My palette is clean and white. My brushes and water are clean. I choose a color wheel of paints, including all my favorite shades and hues, and a couple that remind me of Good Friday’s painting, and the GraySabbath painting. “Because,” I think to myself, “everything is included and significant. There is nothing that is not touched by His resurrection.”



Bruce starts the coffee while I paint the first layer. I put out frozen dough last night for rolls this morning. “If they are ris… “ Oh. Risen. GOD is doing it again! HE is filling my morning with tangible things that bring me to my knees in worship. “If they are RISEN,” I start again,” (“I get it,” he says.) “then preheat the oven and bake for about 20 minutes.”


While we wait for the first layer of the painting to dry, we have our morning ‘couch time’. We love to sit on the couch together before he leaves for work and I go to the studio, and today we sit as we prepare for Easter services. We have coffee together. Sometimes we are both looking at our phones, and sometimes we are discussing important things. This morning, there is a bit of both, but that is ok, because HE IS RISEN. I read him a couple of poems* I found yesterday, and say how much I love them because “there seems to be so much meaning. I mean, there are kind of layers of…”   Oh. Just like great paintings, these great poems have layers of meaning.



After prayer, I get up from the couch and return to the studio with an idea of what to do next. “It won’t be a great painting,” I think, “but that’s ok, because HE IS RISEN!’ As I am partway done with this layer, I glance over my shoulder, out the window of my studio. Wow! The sun is rising. There is an intense and beautiful glow coming through the dark… the dark trees. Yes. The bright glory of the Son is shining through the dark, too! What beauty. I just sit and watch for a few minutes, regardless of the paint drying on my brush. It takes my breath away, and I can’t ignore it.

The focal point in this painting is in the center. That is not the ‘right place’ for it, but it is the right place for My Redeemer’s resurrection. There are circles at the very ends of the cross. They represent the scars that will remain for eternity in His hands and feet. The dark and the blood are on the cross, but so is the iridescent gold – a representation of GOD HIMSELF.

HE IS RISEN.

Say it with me. HE IS RISEN INDEED!





* ‘Sepulchre’ by George Hebert; ‘Resurrection’ by John Donne

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Gray Sabbath

Gray Sabbath
So, as it turns out, it doesn’t really matter how I open up this dumb canvas panel. Just get the stupid plastic out of the way. What difference does it make? Really, what difference does anything make.

DOESN’T ANYBODY REMEMBER YESTERDAY?

They are all out there in the cold sunshine, heading to Wal-Mart to buy plastic eggs and plastic grass and shiny white little girl shoes. And bunny suits and candy. Tons of candy.

WHAT ABOUT THORNS AND NAILS AND BODY BAGS?

If He is really dead – DEAD – then what is the point? My whole life makes no sense at all. Why did I even wake up this morning? I am going to mix paint and paint the whole thing gray. Blah. Lifeless. I just keep on seeing that cross… everywhere.

I need some more caffeine.


Green and red are the colors that I mixed to make my dead gray. Doesn’t that seem ironic to anyone else? Christmas colors? As if that birth, all that time ago, means anything whatsoever if He is dead. Dead. I need to go rinse my brush in that dirty water.


Yep. So there is my painting. It’s done. Like it? (HA HA HA!) 


(Oh, my dear reader, I cannot leave you here! You have to also see THIS! Romans 10:8-10 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

Good Friday.

As I walked out to empty my dirty paint water, I thought about this painting I have to paint. I don’t know. I didn’t even think I could paint it as I did my quiet time this morning. But then, I think I need to.

So I am walking out to empty the dirty bucket of water – full from painting a portrait of my beloved daughter. As I pour the pigment laden water in my gravel driveway, I think, “It is like preparing for the worst job in the world. What would that be? Maybe telling someone that their loved one has been killed in an accident? Maybe having to put a pet to sleep?” I came back toward the house with my inverted bucket, with my eyes on the ground, thinking.

I moved the large things out of the way so that I could paint, and started to gather my thoughts about exactly which paint I would choose for this awful assignment. I took a panel from the shelf, and turned it to the back to cut off the protective plastic layer. “No,” I thought. “It is the front. I have to cut on the front, and leave the scars.” I have never cut on the front of my substrate before.

My underlayer will be green – the greens that I don’t like, that would be shockingly hideous in skin or organs. The most uncomfortable color with the red that I will have to use. As the first brush full of green spread across the surface, the realization spread across my mind. “It is like preparing to sacrifice an animal. A lamb.” Yes. That is it. Selah


The next layer is a rough dark section. It contains a molding paste, so it holds a lot of texture. It is applied with a knife. A knife. I wipe my blade; I must wait for the drying, so it will be seasoned enough to proceed with the next part of the painting.

My journal entry today was written with tears running down my face. : “I don’t think I can paint this. It is dark – black and red and deep. A dark black background with unrelenting red drips and runs. It is heavy and terrible.

Ought I to paint it? Is it a remembrance? There is no redeeming lightness or delight… Good Friday.

There was torn flesh. Dark wounds. Probably flies. Dripping and thickening. And suffering. Such suffering. Did the scorn and defiance hurt like additional wounds? What about the fear… each wound – each drip from Your hand or back or forehead or feet – brought You closer to death;  the horrible enemy.

Hours. It lasted for hours and hours. Slivers. Thorns. Caked blood, dirt, and sweat. Bugs that You could not shoo. Thirst. Spikes. And oh, the deep hopelessness. There would be no miraculous release. They gambled for Your clothes. There was no hope that You would get a reprieve and reclaim them.

You couldn’t get a breath. Just little sips of air – probably with stench and gnats mixed in.

Did my sin sit on your chest?  Did I hang from Your arms and increase the weight – the tearing and fiery pain?

Good Friday. Black Friday. Horrible Friday.”

I return to my easel, but that layer is not dry yet. This painting is going to take ALL D… oh. right. It is going to take all day.

Matthew 27
Mark 15
Luke 23
John 19



Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Offering

Offering
"Do you think we will be able to be ready if I get up and spend some time in the studio this morning?" I asked my beloved husband on the morning of our Art Show and Open House. I just HAD to paint. I had a painting starting in my head, and it had been way too long since I had a brush in my hand. I headed into the studio, put a big canvas on my easel, and grabbed a favorite dark paint, dioxazine purple, some medium, and a huge palette knife. I knew what I wanted to say, and it was just pure joy getting started! 

$600.00, $40.00 S & H
30 x 40  acrylic on 1.5" deep gallery wrapped canvas



2 Samuel 24:24 (NASB) However, the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price, for I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.


Matthew 6:19-21 (NASB) “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

My heart was what I wanted to paint. I am not sure how to express it, exactly, except by a couple of verses, and another little drawing that I share from time to time. It is a doll that has torn her heart from her body, and is offering it to the Heavenly Father. It is both offering one of my most significant joys to GOD, and also knowing that my deepest and best treasures are safest in His keeping. That day, I offered my husband and kids who were coming to participate in the open house, my home, my paintings, and my personality, to some extent. It was costly, but it was safe in HIS hands. 

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Every Good Gift

Every Good Gift
Another of the paintings done for my Art Show and Open House, 'Every Good Gift' is  much more subtle than many of my paintings. In some sense, I want to portray how many of our daily, multifaceted opportunities and responsibilities are gifts from GOD. Even though they may not seem splashy or have a powerful impact, these things make life beautiful. 

$150.00, $10.00 S & H
10 x 10 acrylic on watercolor paper, mounted on cradled panel


The small circles falling from the top of the painting are not in a high contrast color, either. I am just thinking today about how often I do not appreciate the beauty of the daily things - I can breathe clean air without assistance, I have a place to live and plenty to eat, I have a family that I am crazy about, I have GOD's actual words that I can read, and so MANY, MANY more things. I want to make an effort more often to enjoy these days, that may someday be 'the good old days'. I want to thank the Giver of all good things.

James 1:17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Abstract 025

Abstract 025
I am going to play 'catch up' for a few days, and post some work I did before my show. This little 6 x 6 abstract is one I really liked, and it sold at the show! 

I have an idea of meaning in this piece, and it is the concept of standing alone, standing firm in difficult times. 

SOLD
6 x 6  acrylic on watercolor paper

Here are the verses that go with this one. 


I Kings 19:10 ... And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

Eph 6:13-14 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm,  Stand firm therefore...

Thursday, March 17, 2016

BIG NEWS

In Peace
First off, I just have to tell you my big news that I learned on Tuesday: I have been chosen as a 2016 Hoosier Women Artists, um, Artist. (Not sure how to word that!) This painting, In Peace, will hang in government offices for a year! I really could barely stay on my feet when I got the notification in my email. I am just so excited about it!

Sold at our Open House
Second, thank you to all who made it to my Art Show and Open House on Saturday. It was very successful in our eyes, and we really enjoyed seeing so many people. Here is a collage of some of the work that sold. 







And now, I am eager to get back to the painting that is on my easel - it is calling my name, I think! I just need to do a little more paperwork and a few more chores first, and... 


John 3:30-31 He must increase, but I must decrease. “He who comes from above is above all, he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all".

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Just a few more days...

Husband building a shelf

We have been feverishly preparing for an Art Show/Open House at our home for the last several weeks, and it is now "crunch time"! 

Our event is scheduled for this Saturday, and there is SO much to get accomplished! I am so very thankful for my husband's help. 

Gotta go do more hanging and framing and tagging and...