Saturday, December 31, 2011

Plein Air Painting with Dad

Dad and I had some time this morning to go out and paint "plein air" (outside and on location) near his house.  It was a lovely spot in the sun with the trees and blue sky.  We had 30 degree weather this morning that's why I'm in a cap but it warmed up to the 70's.  Really beautiful day.

My Dad is the one who really taught me to paint.  I always say he is really the true artist in the family.  He just naturally can put a landscape together in a very pleasing way.  As a small child I would sit and watch him paint.  One day he got out this little canvas and said, "Come on up here and do one too!"  I remember how much I loved it from the very beginning. 

Not a bad way to start the new year...getting to be outside, see some nature and enjoy some time with Dad.

Here was mine:

8x10, Oil on Canvas

I still need to work on some details.  ;) 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Top Books of 2011

Oh yeah.  It's time for me to share some of my favorite reads of 2011.  I kinda look forward to this every year.  You'll notice that I don't have 10.  It's not that I didn't read 10 books (right!) it's that I just couldn't say that the others I read this year were unforgettable.  In order to make the list they had to be felt, haunting, truth-telling and just hard to put down.

O.k. let's get to the list already! (and I used the images from Amazon so sorry for the click to look inside stuff)...

1.  Andrew Wyeth, A Secret Life by Richard Meryman. 
He is one of my favorite artists.  His work is melancholy, barren, stark and full of feeling.  How many of us have looked at "Christina's World" and been pulled in by the story that is spoken in every stroke?  His work is not only real and gritty it's woven with vulnerability.  You are led through a life of a young child growing up with the famous father, N.C. Wyeth.  From the very beginning you see the pull on N.C.'s life between wanting to do art (the "big" painting) and trying to support a family with his illustrating jobs.  Andrew grows up seeing this tug and lives his life putting everything second to his art: his wife, children, even his own pleasures.  You also see into his thinking as Meryman uses a great deal of interviews with Andrew.

Andrew Wyeth's great loves: his father, his wife Betsy and primarily his art interweave to show a deep vulnerability with his own self.  You see a man who is capable of seeing real beauty in families that lived for generations on the land: their lives shaped by brutality and silences.  You also see a man who puts himself above anybody who loved him, who giggled at practical jokes and had the sense of humor of an adolescent school boy. 

2.  The Art of Emily Carr by Doris Shadbolt
If you are interested in the Pacific Northwest it's peoples and it's forests than Emily Carr is your artist.  A contemporary of Georgia O'Keeffe (the met only once) yet was lesser known as she lived in British Columbia and worked in a very solitary world.  Her work hits me on a very spiritual level.  I felt most affinity to her art (which is how I liked her first) but was also pulled into her writing (she wrote several books).  She fell in love with nature and even was influenced by artists who thought Christianity a "dead" religion.  Later in her life she would return to Christianity as it was the only one that made sense to her.  She is a profound example of an independent woman who loved the Native peoples and the land in which they lived and died.  She would spend the rest of her lonely life helping us see into the moving, breathing forests. 
This book has many beautiful reproductions of her work.  Taken as whole you see the power and sensitivity in her heart.

3. Radical by David Platt
Platt makes you look at the American dream and see what a blindness it has caused us.  If we pursue happiness than are we really pursuing God?  Many of us would say that God brings us true happiness and I believe that but if we have been given His Spirit in us then why do we need to pursue it?  Platt calls us to live a radical life in pursuit of God's design for us.  We are all called to missions because we must love people no matter where they are.  We are all called to help the poor.  We are to live in a world with less attachments to stuff and more heart for the discipleship of all nations.  This book made me cry, get mad, have long talks with Kendrick and pray like never before.  I've seen my art have more meaning by looking through the lens of letting go of what the world says, thinks, wants and waking up to what's important.  I believe this is the best book on missions that I have read in a long, long time.

4. A Natural History of Western Trees by Donaold Culross Peattie
A thick book on the Western trees of North America.  It is informative as well as interesting.  It shares the natural length of their lives, where they live and scientific information as well as interesting history (how man came to know it)  of each tree type.  You may be thinking, "Oh man.  Yawn!" but this book really is well done.  It gives you a glimpse of some of the most important parts of the landscape of  Western North America: it's trees.

5. Why, O God Edited by Larry Waters and Roy Zuck
I realize that I helped with this one but it is a profoundly moving book.  The chapters are written by authors who know what they are talking about when they approach the theme of suffering.  One is written by a husband ("The Rolling Throne") who is taking care of his wife in a wheelchair. Another chapter is written by a great Biblical scholar, Ron Allen, who came from a home life where his father had been disabled. It put a great strain on his young life yet also shaped the way he saw God.  The book does not try to answer the suffering it tries to come down and be present in it.  I kept thinking about how God can write our stories on our own hurts and pains and how He was doing that so well through this book.  I was honored to be among the pages of these men and women.  They taught me so much about our good God.

6.  At Home by Bill Bryson

No other writer could make our everyday home so interesting and full of wit and wisdom.  Bryson takes his house room by room (study, kitchen, hallway, stairs, bedroom etc) and guides us on a history lesson in how these rooms came about.  Our everyday lives are full of wars, engineering marvels and stories of great men and women.  You'll even find yourself laughing about doorknobs. 

7.  Full Bloom by Hunter Drohojowski-Philp

Georgia O'Keeffe is without a doubt my favorite artist of all time.  I read every biography that comes out on her life.  This one is particularly good in that Drohjowski-Philp takes a careful study of her life with all it's faults, pains and heartaches along with the wonderful successes.  She does not leave us with a myth or the "lone artist in the desert" but instead with a living, breathing woman who had her heart broken, who suffered with selfishness and pride and saw her life divided by Alfred Steiglitz.  It's a hard book to read and not feel your own heart break a little through the pages.  One thing I see in her that I truly admired was her relentless eye to beauty. 

With all the artists I read about this year the one thing I saw so true to their lives was how hard they worked.  It wasn't an hour here and there it was long hours.  They also had a great ability to ask the right questions at crucial times in their lives or were around people that could ask them.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Framed Print of "Misty Mountain" Oil Painting

Print of Misty Mountain

I also had a quality print made of "Misty Mountain" since I am also receiving many emails about this particular piece.  The original is still available but many of you have expressed a desire to have something that is not as expensive.

It comes with museum quality glass, Ice Blue Mat and a black frame.

Detail of mat and frame

Piece is $200 + shipping

Framed Print of "Tree of Life" Painting

Quality Print with frame 25x30

Since this painting has become one of my most popular pieces I thought I'd have some prints available for purchase for those of you who keep contacting me about this particular one.  It is a large print with a museum quality glass.  It comes with a burnished mat and frame.  I have included the frame color and mat here for those of you who would like an idea of the color.

Detail of frame and mat
The Print and frame is $300 + shipping

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Wait on the Lord" Graphite Drawing, 16x20

16x20, Graphite on Clay Panel

I finished it today!  Wow, it's been about 6 weeks of work.

I wanted to show a moment in time where the child and father are in a hospital hallway.  We don't know who is hurt or sick all we know is that they are having to wait behind shut doors.  I had the little girl put her head on her Daddy's arm as she faces towards the viewer so that we see her face during her waiting.  She is in a quiet prayer.

What does it mean to "mount up with wings like eagles" while we are waiting?  I wanted to show that even though the little girl and Father are waiting, motionless the Spirit around them is moving and at work.  Almost like a active waiting.  When we lean on God He promises to be there.

If your like me you get tired of waiting.  Waiting to get your groceries checked out, waiting for the ATM, waiting at red lights...

"But then there are the harder waits: a childless couple waiting for a child; a single person waiting for marriage; an addict waiting for deliverance; a spouse waiting for a kind and gentle word; a worried patient waiting for a diagnosis from a doctor.

What we wait for, however, is far less important than what God is doing while we wait. In such times He works in us to develop those hard-to-achieve spiritual virtues of meekness, kindness, and patience with others. But more important, we learn to lean on God alone."  (taken from Commentary on the Old Testament by Walvoord and Zuck).

I like to think that "mounting up with wings like eagles" means that we are given the emotional and spiritual support to live free lives in Him.  We know that all things may not be good but we have a God who loves us in that place, who seeks after us, who revives us to life. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"With Wings of Eagles" drawing on clayboard

16x20, Graphite on Clayboard

You might be wondering why it took me so long to get back to blogging.  I've been swamped.  It seems like once the holidays get here everything goes into super speed, "Warp 10 Mr. Crusher!"  Geez.

At any rate I've been working on a drawing that has to do with Isaiah 40: 31, "But those that wait on the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."  It is a well known verse and one that I always wondered about, what does it mean to mount up with wings like eagles when I am waiting and hoping in God's deliverance?  What does God mean here?

I won't share all of what I've been praying as the piece is not finished yet.  I thought I would share just a part.  I used my oldest daughter as my model as I am having her wait with her head on her Daddy's arm.

This year has absolutely been one of the best years of my life as a Mom.  I got to see Myla trust Jesus to be her loving Savior.  Kendrick and I feel like we could soar we are so thrilled.  Nothing can break it and nothing can stand against His awesome love for her.

I think about all the trusting and waiting I do as a Mom (and I don't even have teenagers yet! ha!).  From the very moment of their fragile life all that is in me is trembling at the precious charge I've been given.  Me?  A Mom?  What??!!  Then I go back to the roots, the strong rock, the hand in which I place mine.  God.  He will give me the strength, the ability, the know-how to do this job.  I've got to remember that as I run around trying to bake cookies, wrap presents, sing songs, rinse, repeat.  I remember that it's in the waiting and hoping and the being still that God is showing me His great power.  Stop and lay my head on His arm and just remember that I can't do this without Him.

Monday, November 7, 2011

"Burnished" Oil Painting

6x6, Oil on Canvas

Maybe it's because fall is upon us but I wanted to try these trees with a burned, dry feel in the colors.  It seems with just the right amount of dust and atmosphere we can see the whites become almost yellow and the darks a deep brown.

Happy fall.  Hope your enjoying watching your trees turn into beautiful monuments to the cycle of life.  So many of our trees in Texas have had a hard summer.  They are falling fast this Autumn. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Deep Woods" Oil Painting

4x6, Oil on Canvas

I like the wetness of the atmosphere I get with the colors.  It makes me feel like I'm walking out of a deep wood into a clear air that has just stopped raining.

The two dark trees in the foreground really frame the work so that the viewer is forced to move "into" the middle of the piece.  Or at least that was the idea behind it.  Ha!

I'm getting ready for Lakewood next weekend.  It's all wiring, varnishing and packing up for me this week.  I'm looking forward to it and looking forward to having some serious studio time for a few months. 

"Snow Mist" Oil Painting

4x6, Oil on Canvas

I keep going back to the same image of trees on a misty hill.  I like the feel of it and tried lightening up the blue, grey and green even more.  I thought it gave a quiet, soft feel to the piece.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Artists of Texas: "Spirit of Texas" Art Show at Dutch Gallery

The Dutch Art Gallery is hosting the annual Artists of Texas show. This year the theme is: "The Spirit of Texas." Come on out and enjoy some really wonderful art from some of the best of Texas. The Reception will be this Saturday at 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. at Dutch Art Gallery, 10233 E. Northwest Highway, Dallas, TX 75238. Show runs from November 5th - December 31st.
I have three pieces in the show. "Wall Cloud," below, as well as "God's Light" and "White Lightning." All Texas skies.

"Wall Cloud" 18x36, Oil on Canvas

Some artists to look out for are: Cecy Turner (well known all over the country), Debbie Lincoln (some really beautiful equine art), Barbara Mason (for realism in flowers and fruit), Tempy Berg-Gilbert (for still life) and Niki Gulley (for vibrant landscapes done in impressionism).

For more information please go to:  You may also browse through the artists and their artwork.  Really some incredible talent.  I am so honored to be among them.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Softening" Oil Painting

6x9, Oil on Canvas

Finished this little plein aire study yesterday.  I had gotten the shot of these trees on Monday when a beautiful blue mist came through our neighborhood.  It softened everything from the grass to the trees and the morning light.  In some ways it's hard for me to just leave things alone and not try to intensify or put more detail into pieces. This was good practice for me to work towards that subtle light and form.  So much beauty in just those hints.

I finished it off yesterday looking at those trees in the stark afternoon light.  It's amazing how with the soft filtering of the mist how I looked at the bending and reaching of the limbs more carefully than if I had just seen them in the full light.  Another thing that these subtleties bring: being more clear on what you DO see.

I'm working on getting a few little works done for the upcoming show at the Lakewood Home Tour and Market.  In the meantime the temperatures have dropped a little and it's just too beautiful to be inside.  I'm trying to get out and paint more.  Yes, even when I have to help little girls climb trees and collect dirt.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Trip to New Mexico, Georgia O'Keeffe Land

For my 10 year anniversary we decided to take a trip to Santa Fe and do some hiking.  It was marvelous.  I can truly tell you that the land really is something spiritual to behold.  Everything has a blue tint to it with these big New Mexico skies.

We drove up to Abiquiu where Georgia O'Keeffe has a home that is now a tourist spot for those who want to see the home and gardens she kept.  We didn't get a reservation in time (I was disappointed) but my husband said, "Why don't we go up there and just look at the landscape that she loved?"  So we did.

This was just a little ways from her home.  A beautiful Cottonwood that had turned bright yellow against that fresh blue sky.
Her home was tucked away in these blue hills that grew thorns and Sage Brush.  It was not a forgiving place but had a haunting beauty even in the cheery sunlight.

From Abiquiu we went to Ghost Ranch where Georgia O'Keeffe first visited and would stay for several months in the summertime to paint the landscape.  Later, after Alfred Steglitz had died she would move to Abiquiu permanently.

She loved The Pedernal (this beautiful mountain with a flat top) and would paint it over and over (always in hues of blue and purple).  I thought she was taking some liberties with the colors (as she did sometimes) but the day we saw it The Pedernal was really blue.  She loved to paint The Pedernal against the sky and bones.  She said that she thought God would give her the mountain if she painted it enough.  After her death her ashes were spread across The Pedernal.  In some ways I think she gave herself to the land as the land could never be owned.

The Pedernal in the distance

We ate some beef stew (that had green chili's in them so we drank a lot too!) and then set off on our hike up Chimney Rock Trail.
Chimney Rock
We kept stopping to take pictures and read our trail guide that talked about the different plants and animals.  The day was just perfect, sunny and clear but cool.

Juniper Tree
I love the twists and turns of this tree.  Much like the Bristle Cone Pine it grows in these rocky, dry conditions.  Look at the shades of color just in the bark alone.  I also liked seeing it against that blue sky.

We made it!

Such a wonderful time with my husband.  We have always loved hiking together and it was great to get to do it again.

Abiquiu River that feeds into Abiquiu Lake
I love the juxtaposed colors in this one.  The reddish rocks with the bright yellow trees mixed with that deep blue and sparkling water.  Doesn't get more rich than that!  Truly, an amazing place.

Black Mesa
My Dad grew up in Northern New Mexico so we would visit this area whenever we were in the U.S. for a time.  I always loved Black Mesa.  It's so stark and moving.  My Dad has painted it several times.  I took this shot for him.

This was the next day on our way to Bandelier State Park.  There had been a bad forest fire during the summer (the worst in New Mexico history) so they were shuttling people down to the valley.  I read that the fire started by a tree falling over on a powerline.

This was at the site of the ruins of the Ancient Pueblo People.  This was so fascinating.  They lived in these structures but also in the rock walls that had openings in the volcanic rock.  Such amazing people as they learned to make soap out of a Yucca Plant.  They also learned to plant corn, beans and squash along with catching turkeys to make blankets.  We learned that their lifespan was about 35 years.  As I hiked up the valley I kept thinking what it would be like to carry crops along the way or a baby on my back.  They were incredible people.

One of the many Aspens along the valley floor lit up by the sunlight.

We spent several hours touring the sites of the Ancient Pueblo People.  After lunch we hiked up the valley to the top of the Long House (the volcanic rock that was like a home to many of the people).  It was a bit nerve wracking for me as I am scared of heights!  I kept having to look at the rock wall and not out at the valley.  This was something else I realized: The Ancient Pueblo People were great climbers and were not afraid of heights!
The Trail is like a switchback going up the valley.  You can see the tiny staircase at the bottom.

I have so much inspiration.  I can't wait to get to painting.

Friday, September 23, 2011

"Rain on the Land" Oil Painting

20x20 Oil on Canvas

This will be my final piece until after Cottonwood.  I've got so much wiring and packing up to do.  I did want to have some new skies as well as trees for the show and it looks like over 50% of my booth will be all new work.  I praise God for the things He's been showing me and the things that have been quickening my heart.

I love the way rain looks from a distance (I like to be in the rain too).  We sure have needed it here in Texas.  It's been a terrible summer for the farmers and ranchers.  These past few weeks we've had more than sprinkles we've been getting some good soaks.  We could use some more of them too.  Say a prayer for Texas and while you at it say a prayer for America.  Living God, rain down on all of us.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"Oak in the Rain" Oil Painting

10x10 Oil on Canvas

I've been sitting in Psalm 40 lately.  It begins, "I waited patiently for the Lord and He turned to me and heard my cry."  I have a hard time being patient in storms.  I want them to be done.  I want to learn my "lesson" and then move on.  I've been thinking about the dialog in this verse that doesn't even use words.  As I wait He is turning to me already.  He heard me as I just STARTED to cry.  Not while the storm was pummeling me and I cried out for mercy.  As the tears started to well up in my eyes He heard me. 

Throughout this Psalm David is reminding God of his ordeal, his situation, his struggle and pleading with God to not be forgotten or silent.  Ever felt like that?  Ever heard the sound of a strong rain and been able to cry so loudly that no one else in the whole house could hear you?  Sometimes those storms can sound so big that they drown out everything else.  I keep reminding myself that God likes to use the quiet of our hearts, the still voice, the whisper to communicate.  I think being patient means being still and listening with "tears" in our ears.  

I think of an oak tree.  How still it is throughout it's life.  Yes, it sways in the wind and bends but it doesn't go anywhere.  It doesn't have a path to chart or somewhere else to be.  It remains fixed to it's spot especially if the roots are sure and held fast.  I love the symbolism in that.  We are given circumstances throughout our life that pummel us and seek to rip us apart with the fury of the storm.  Yet, if we have our roots sure we can be still.  We can bend to the wind but not yield.  We can wait patiently on the Lord even when the world is whipping and thrashing all around.  We can be held in place by a God who turned to face us, so He could hear us and whisper, "I've got you."

Friday, September 16, 2011

"Blue Mist" Oil Painting

10x10 Oil on Canvas

Finished this little piece today.  I like the Evergreens standing like sentinels in the mist.

My palette was Ultramarine Blue, Paynes Grey and Titanium White.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"The Fading Evergreens" Oil Painting

6x6 Oil on Canvas

I liked the idea of a wind swept snow through the Evergreens.  Some of the trees are just showing the tips and some are fading.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Eternal Descent" Oil Painting

16x40, Oil on Canvas

After finishing, "White Cascade" I wanted to do another one but more in stages.  My actual thought was to have a waterfall that looked like tree branches but I'm not sure I got that.  It's hard to paint things that are just in your mind as if in a dream.

I thought about the throne of God as the River of Life is said to pour from it.  I liked the feeling that there is no end and no beginning (just as He is that way).  The mist lends itself to a mystery just through the water.  I also thought of evergreens being a symbol of eternal life.

My palette was Ultramarine Blue, Titanium White, Paynes Grey and a hint of Sap Green.

"The Still and Quiet Wood" Oil Painting

20x20 Oil on Canvas

I've done this one in a 6x6 and a 8x10 (they all differ but the mood is the same).  I thought I'd get even bigger with it and make the blue a more grey-blue (a mixture of Pthalo Blue and Paynes Grey).

I've got about 7 pieces to finish before Cottonwood in three weeks.  Say a prayer.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"Nellva and Pete" Oil painting

5x7, Oil on Canvas

I know a couple that has been a blessing to so many people at our church.  They give of their time, energy and really all they have to see people loved on.  They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this weekend and I wanted to paint them something.

As I was thinking "what kind of tree would the Underwoods be?"  I asked the Lord to direct me to a beautiful, unique tree that grows in the south (since you all are from Texas. It also grows all the way up to
Canada so it is very diverse) and hopefully had red leaves in fall (sorry Pete, I went with Nellva's favorite color). I picked the Sassafrass Tree and this is why:

It has a unique leaf shape and so can be recognized easily (three lobed in maturity and I thought of the Lord, Nellva and Pete) and mitten shaped before it reaches maturity (and I thought of all the service you all have
brought to the church and to so many lives we don't even know about). It also is a very fragrant tree known for it's oils and soap uses. I thought about how they have become a sweet scent for the Lord. Both of them help others see truth and live in that way. Sassafrass root is used to make root beer. I thought about how much they love to welcome and disciple others and how they bring that friendship to so many. The tree is also known for attracting butterflies (particularly swallowtails because of it's leaf shape) and it helps feed deer, rabbits, black bear and many birds. I guess I thought this was a neat analogy of they give of themselves to nurture, guide and teach others. Everything about this tree is really for others as I feel their lives have been to serve our Lord and give to others from that love. I have a two trunked tree as both serve in different ways but from the same root and for the same purpose.  Their are three trees staggered behind the foreground tree to symbolize their three grown children.
This may be corny but I hope it shares how loved they are by our amazing God. He truly makes all things beautiful when they are lived for Him. Nellva and Pete, thanks for doing that right before our eyes, for showing us how it's done.
Hebrews 6:10 says, "God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them."

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"White Cascade" Oil Painting

30x30 Oil on Canvas

I was literally scared while painting this as I didn't know what I was going to do until I got to that certain spot.  I still am sitting with it and feel I might go back and darken some areas.  But it is like a prayer: breathed, spoken and finally out.  I am so glad!  I couldn't shake the idea out of my head until I painted it.

I hope it feels like it's another world...almost towards heaven.  I got to thinking about what C.S. Lewis wrote about heaven in "The Last Battle."  He described it as, "farther up and farther in."  Meaning once you are in heaven you never fully explore it as each level is a new and greater beauty, grace and adventure.  I like that.  I hope we also go farther up and farther in to knowing our precious God.  Up to the Living Water, Eternal and Beautiful Savior.

Friday, August 12, 2011

"Misty Mountain" 30x30, Oil Painting

30x30, Oil on Canvas

I had done a little 6x6 of this image and bought a 30x30 to do one larger.  I stared at this blank box for a few days thinking, "Oh, that's big."  I wondered if I could actually do the same thing again only bigger. 

I have to tell you that I just prayed and felt a great joy while doing this painting.  I do believe that trees speak to us and now have found a way to incorporate "clouds" in with the trees.  Well, I love it.  If your like me you feel a sense of fear sometimes in doing something that's "new ground."  Can I just share that I think God loves for us to call upon Him in those times.  He loves to be ASKED into our world.

Through the painting I went back and put in more trees than it's little twin 6x6.  I also liked leaving it sparse with just the feeling of the trees in the mist.  I like the mystery that mist conveys the haunting and yet softness of it.

Well, now I'm wanting to get some more 30x30 canvases...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

"Woods in Fog" Oil Painting

6x6, Oil on Canvas

I like the gradation of colors you can find in a mist or fog.  This was a good study in darkening the same color of green as it came forward.  I also have a hard time leaving things loose.  I like the background trees as I really tried to let them go into the white instead of sharpening them against the light.

What I'm trying to get at really is a feeling.  The feeling of being in a wet fog with the trees looming all around and the magical feel of it all around you.

My palette was: Ultramarine Blue, Titanium White, Olive Green, Burnt Umber and Paynes Grey. 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

"Wall Cloud" Oil Painting

18x36, Oil on Canvas

Finished this large sky today.  I like the way that the clouds bleed into the atmosphere.  I was telling my husband that for some reason that is my absolute favorite part of painting a sky.  There is something very tender in that place.

I also love what water in the atmosphere does to the color.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Tree of Dreams" Oil Painting

10x10, Oil on Canvas

I've had this little white tree in my mind for a while now.  Mostly it was a tree with a wispy white top and it sat here in the studio for over four months just looking at me like, "Are you ever going to finish what you started to say?" 

It's really a surreal painting in that it is like a dream, something that was stuck in my mind and had to get out. 

These past few weeks have been some really sweet times with God.  I've felt like He's been chiseling away at me and getting me to see my sins more clearly.  Things like my pride and my need to be "liked" by people have really been apparent to me.  I see how I can think more in a day about my thoughts, my feelings, my desires than asking what are God's thoughts, God's feelings, God's desires.  Don't get me wrong.  I don't think it's evil of me to paint or be passionate about something He has put in me to do.  I do think it becomes a wooden "god" when it becomes so much about the audience instead of the Master.  How does an artist get out of the way of herself?

I wrestled with this so much I even wrote Makoto Fujimura (a renowned artist who is a great thinker but more importantly a great lover of God and mankind).  I have to say I truly thought, "I'm just getting this out.  He won't write me.  He doesn't even really know me." 

This is a little of what I wrote:  "I take great delight in painting and also delight in having a piece sold to someone who enjoys it. I wonder if that entire time I have been feeding myself though. Have my thoughts ever strayed to someone else during that time? I find myself thinking about my work, my thoughts, my feelings throughout the day. The people I admire most, David Brainerd, Lilias Trotter, C.S. Lewis all seemed to understand how to give up their delights and man's acclaim to really pursue something real and wonderful. And when they wrote about God it was as if they had touched the hem of his clothes. You could almost see Him."

That same day he wrote me back!  He pointed me to Romans 7 and 8 and reminded me that the most important thing in life was love.  He pushed me to live in the knowledge that I am a daughter of the King.  Romans 7 talks about how Paul struggles with the things he doesn't want to do but does them. The things he most wants to do he cannot do.  I started to weep reading it as I thought about my struggle.  I got to Romans 8 and it says we can cry out and say, "Abba, Father!"  I thought about being in the dark and how as a small child we could cry out, "Daddy!  Daddy!" and He will come running.  That's how He sees us.  As His own.
I will share one of Makoto's paragraphs with you all as it touched me:
"The most important thing is to love. And love is creative; love takes risks. Do not create out of fear, but create through your fears until you find your dreams matching with the great needs of the world. Then you will find yourself "liberated from bondage to decay," and leading others to do the same. Your life will then become God's artwork."
In this painting I have the tree "liberating" itself.  It has become so beautiful and in that beauty (the pure white leaves) they are flying off the tree as if to give them to the world and ultimately back to God.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Hills of Mist" Oil Painting

6x6, Oil on Canvas

Just got finished watching, "Ansel Adams" on PBS' American Experience.  This particular one was done by Ric Burns.  He has done some of my favorite documentaries ("Civil War," "New York" and "The Donnor Party" are just some of his work).  I had the pleasure of getting to hear Ric Burns speak at the Eisemann Center about making his documentaries.  I had to go by myself but it was so enjoyable.  He spoke on how Americans love documentaries to see things "as they are."

I have always been in awe of Ansel Adams photographs.  There is such clarity and power in the nature that he loved to share.  I saw that in the interviews with him and in his personal work in the video.  One thing I also saw was this determination to just do work no matter the cost to personal life (i.e. children, wife etc). 

I truly believe that Adams was in love with the American Wilderness.  He passionately saw and felt Yosemite in particular as he would travel from San Francisco to Yosemite throughout his life.  I know I am no Ansel Adams but I found his words to be something that I have said in that he was trying to capture the "feeling of the place."  I tell people that I try to capture in my skies and trees this feeling that can't be said in words no matter how hard I try.

Adams said, "Art is both the taking and giving of beauty; the turning out to the light the inner folds of the awareness of the spirit. It is the recreation on another plane of the realities of the world; the tragic and wonderful realities of earth and men, and of all the inter-relations of these." 

Even though he did not know Christ he did admit that there was a spirit in the world that was real as he had felt it there many times in beauty.  I like to think that is one of the most powerful ways in which God does speak to us: through beauty.  We take it in as we gaze on a lovely face, a beautiful sunset, a grand vista.  We have no words except to realize the smallness of us and the greatness of that beauty.  Ansel says, "art is both the taking and giving of beauty."  I pray that our lives also give it freely.  That when people see us they see Jesus.  Our beautiful Savior who is the Master Artist.

I finished this little 6x6 on Saturday and like the quietness of it.  I've really gotten into mist lately and want to do more.  So if your sick of it then...well...too bad!  ha!  I like the mystery it communicates as well as the incredible light it filters.  There is so much beauty in this world and I truly love to paint the skies and trees that fascinate me and stir my heart to Him.

Friday, July 15, 2011

"Misty Mountains" Oil Painting

6x6, Oil on Canvas

I'm in love with mist and what it does in nature.  Makes me think of a quiet morning on the mountains.  You could almost smell the evergreens.

Want to do this one bigger but tried it small first.

It's just four colors: Titanium White, Paynes Grey, Ultramarine Blue and Olive Green.

"Narnia" Oil Painting (final, I hope!)

Oil on Canvas, 22x28

O.k. so I should stop saying, "final" when I keep going back to this painting with ONE more idea!  But, I do think it's finally finished.  I woke up this morning thinking of making snowflakes with a toothbrush and knife (to flick the toothbrush bristles with) and then coming back and putting some larger flakes in.  I liked the feel of it and then realized, "uh-oh.  The tree branches would have some snow on them..." so went back in there and put some snow on them.  Yikes this painting has so many layers to it...

I wanted it to be like it had just started snowing on already unbroken snow.  Anyway, I hope it makes for cool thoughts.  Maybe this was what Lucy saw when she came out of the wardrobe.  Now where is Mr. Tumnus?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Wall Cloud" Oil Painting

18x36, Oil on Canvas

Just laid down the base colors today.  I will try to go in this week and add the detail (maybe even next week too). 

After driving through Illinois and seeing that beautiful farmland that went on and on for miles I got inspired to paint it with a Wall Cloud.

Palette colors are:  Pthalo Blue, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Yellow Light, Titanium White and Paynes Grey.  I just mixed for the green.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"Narnia" Oil Painting

I know, I said "Winter Twilight" was done but I got the idea to put some thin layers of white across the whole thing and I like it better.

You also may be wondering why this one is called, "Narnia" and not, "Winter Twilight."  Well, I blame it on my artist friend Tempy Berg-Gilbert.  She thought of Narnia when she saw it and I liked that.  I guess I need a lamp post in there somewhere...

Anyway, I felt the thing layers help distance the trees more.  After a few weeks of drying I will varnish and that should help the layers look like a whole.  Another reason I like varnish.