Saturday, April 29, 2017

Beyer Trail Landscape

Beyer Trail Landscape
Makoto Fujimura has written an excellent book called Culture Care, and I have really enjoyed reading it! I currently have a lot of highlighting and bracketing in my copy. 

$175.00 plus $10.00 shipping and handling

9 x 12" painted with the finest quality acrylic heavy-body paint on canvas

Here are some quotes that I have particularly enjoyed:

"An encounter with beauty can show us what could be, and can make us rightly dissatisfied with the way things are." pp. 55-56

"Art is ultimately not "useful". It serves no practical function. This is why it is indispensable, especially in the modern age." p.81

"I am not a Christian artist. I am a Christian, yes, and an artist. I dare not treat the powerful presence of Christ in my life as an adjective. I want Christ to be my whole being." p. 84

With a couple of chapters to go, I look forward to finishing the book. I cannot tell you how many pages of underlining I have in my copy. I would encourage you to read it too!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Gomer's Wilderness (now revised)

Gomer's Wilderness
"Which comes first, the inspiration or the painting?" This is probably the most common question I get when people talk to me about my paintings, and it is not always easy to answer. I am not sure how to explain exactly when the inspiration kicks in on some paintings, but on some, the concept is there before I even choose what size my painting will be.  

Today's painting is one where the concept 'sneaked up on me'. I think that once in a while the subconscious thoughts on my mind just start to present themselves on my canvas. 

I decided to make some changes to this painting. Find the new image here

I have been reading in the Old Testament for quite a few months now. (I like to read through the Bible in order, and then return and start over from the beginning when I finish.) I reached the remarkable story of Hosea and Gomer, and I was struck with a particular verse. GOD was using the relationship of the prophet, Hosea, and his promiscuous wife, Gomer to illustrate GOD's relationship with His people, Israel, who continually turned away from Him to worship idols. In this verse, GOD says He will take Israel back yet again, and charm her away from false loves that harm her. 

Hosea 2:14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
    and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her."

Could it be that the current struggle I have been slogging through (medical issues) could be something He is using to wean me from something that is not helpful to me? These thoughts were in the back of my mind as I started to rework an old, failed painting. 

I love the colors in this one, and I like the landscape-y feel. The gold leaf represents the presence of GOD, in my mind. It feels lush and growing, yet a bit unsteady - unfamiliar - like being in a wilderness might feel. Though I am not sure I could say "The concept came first" with this piece, I suspect that my thoughts painted themselves through my eyes and brush anyway!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Last Supper

Last Supper
“What did Jesus do on Thursday?” I asked my Beloved Husband this morning, as he gave my shoulders a good massage. “Friday was the crucifixion, and last Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday, so what was HE doing on Thursday?” We agreed that it would have been the day for the Last Supper with HIS disciples, and that we would have to go to the Bible to brush up on a more precise timeline of HIS last week.

After my BH headed off to work, I did get my Bible and read, both a New Testament account of the last week, and a section in the Old Testament where I have been reading each day. On Tuesday or Wednesday, the costly perfume was lavished on Jesus. The alabaster jar that was expensive, and was broken and completely spent on HIM was evidently the last straw for HIS follower, Judas Iscariot. Judas was responsible for the money for the group of Jesus and HIS followers, and it must have seemed just beyond reason to spend that much in such an impractical way!

I read about the bread and the cup offered at the Passover meal – the Last Supper. “Remember Me.” HE talked to them, served them, washed their feet, and prepared them with such great love.

$500.00 plus $40.00 shipping and handling
30" x 30" painted with the finest quality heavy-body 
acrylic paint on 1.5" deep, gallery wrapped  canvas

On my walk today, the weather was very gray. Very gray. It seemed slightly misty, and slightly breezy, and slightly cool, but just – gray. I was thinking as I walked about how Jesus must have felt on this day. HE wanted to share the Passover meal with HIS friends, but I have to think the human dread of what HE knew was coming had to hang over HIM like a heavy grayness. I would think HIS heart must have raced with panic at the knowledge of what was coming. It must have been hard to concentrate, and hard to breathe at times. It felt hard for me to breathe as I thought about it. I realized, too, that HE knew that two of HIS friends would deny and betray HIM. Oh, how that must have added to the burden!

I don’t think I have ever thought of myself as stronger than Peter was when he denied Jesus. I think I have often prayed that I would never betray HIM like Judas did. But I felt distant today as I contemplated betrayal and denial. Cool and distant.

Thinking about what to paint, I thought of betrayal over and over, to my chagrin.  “Do You really want me to paint THAT, Lord?” I asked HIM? “Well, at least can I do it on a small canvas? Who would ever want to buy a painting about betrayal?” I thought about composition and color and began to plan to paint this work that I did not want to paint. “Purple and gold, for the triumphal entry, and for the bread and the wine. And they will mix to a gray, since they are complements.” But who would want to buy that?

Jesus’ great sacrifice for me brought thankfulness to my heart as I kept walking. “Kneel.” What Lord? “Kneel.” I kneel in prayer at home when I think HE is calling me to kneel – on carpet, with a chair to lean on and something to support me as I get back up. And with no one watching. Looking at a bench along the path, I glanced up the boardwalk and saw a woman coming. “I will just walk past this and kneel over there. I would hate to have her worried that I was unwell. I would hate to bother her.” As she passed me, and I headed to the steps where I could kneel, I recognized what had just happened. I had just denied HIM. Betrayed HIM. Surely I could have told her I was just praying. She would just have thought me odd. But I didn’t. I glanced up in a tree, and a red-winged blackbird was there. He looked at me, shrugged his musty wings, and called three times. Not even kidding.

What a reminder for me! HE loves and forgives me because of the sacrifice of Jesus, I know, but what a powerful experience and illustration HE served me. He prepared me to paint betrayal with my own experience. He lovingly ‘washed my feet’. 

Luke 22:14-18 "When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him.  And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

When the Morning Stars Sang

When the Morning Stars Sang
"Have I ever shown you this on Google Maps before?" asked my Beloved Husband. "If you zoom way out, you can see the stars and the milky way, and even the sun!" He and I were (as is our usual morning routine) on the couch with our coffee going over schedules, prayer requests, and general conversation. I was really struck with how there is no 'right side up' when I am looking at the image of the earth hanging in space. No poles, no lines of latitude and longitude, and no oval orbit paths. Just a sphere. You can navigate all the way around the sphere on the map, and if you didn't know what you were looking at, there would be no way of picking up what the order, boundaries, and patterns are for this planet. 
$2,000.00 plus $50.00 shipping and handling

48" x 48" painted with the finest quality heavy-body 
acrylic paint on 1.5" deep canvas

The painting is done with several shades of blue, and I have used gold leaf on part of the work, too. To me, gold leaf - or any shiny or iridescent color - often represents GOD. The squares are laid out at an angle which reminds me that the framework and direction of our world are completely decided by the Creator. There may not be a grid that I can find in outer space, but HE has made one and established this little planet on it. 

I was especially caught up with the map my husband was showing me because of this large painting I have been working on. The theme behind this work is from the Old Testament book of Job, where GOD answers all of the questions and arguments that have been put forth by Job and his friends by saying, in essence, who do you think you are? Where were you when I created all of this? 

Chapters 38 - 40 of this book are full of breathtaking poetry that just begs to be heard and seen. Here are a few examples from these chapters:
38:4-7 "“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
    Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
    Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
    or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"

38:16 - 18 "Have you traveled to the sources of the sea
or walked in the depths of the oceans?
Have the gates of death been revealed to you?
Have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
Have you comprehended the extent of the earth?
Tell Me, if you know all this."

38:19-20 "“Where is the way to the dwelling of light?
And darkness, where is its place,
That you may take it to its territory
And that you may discern the paths to its home?"

39:26-27 "Does the hawk take flight by your understanding
and spread its wings to the south?
Does the eagle soar at your command and make its nest on high?"

40:1-4 "The Lord answered Job:
Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?
Let him who argues with God give an answer.
Then Job answered the Lord:
I am so insignificant. How can I answer You?
I place my hand over my mouth."