Monday, December 23, 2013

"To the Lowest Place" 48x60 Oil on Canvas

"To the Lowest Place" 48x60, Oil on Canvas
This is my final piece before the two woman show at Mary Tomas Gallery in January. I am so grateful that this big painting went so smoothly. I had asked for prayers to do my best and I truly felt them. Thank you!
As I worked on this painting I couldn't help but think of Christmas and the Incarnation. I read this and loved it, "Love treats everyone as they would want to be treated but to love much gladly takes the lower place as Jesus did in coming to earth." Holiness found the lowest place and loved there. I find myself coming back to these images of rocks and water and find that there is still something there I want to touch on.  The grace, the beauty, the hard against the soft. The way water runs in the lowest crevices and cracks. His grace spilled into the darkest parts.
One of my favorite Christmas hymns is "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus." I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas. I want you to see the lavish grace God has bestowed on us. This tiny baby, our sweet gift of hope. I leave you with these wonderful words penned by Charles Wesley:

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee. 
Israel's strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne

Saturday, December 7, 2013

"Smoke on the Mountain" 12x48, Oil on Canvas

"Smoke on the Mountain" 12x48, Oil on Canvas
We've had ice pass through Dallas these past few days leaving road conditions very hazardous and some homes without electricity. It has given me time to rest, be with the kids and paint. I know some people in Dallas are grumbling at the loss of good shopping days but I'm so thankful. I am grateful for the time to be quiet (yes, even with three restless kids!) with nothing we HAVE to do.
Yesterday I spent several hours outside looking at the ice and the trees. It was so fun. I will try to share more about that later. After I got back I knew I wanted to make my painting feel cold and almost like you can't really see it very clearly for the mist.  I spent a year of my life in Colorado and my Dad was raised in New Mexico. Both places have views of hills that overlap in carpets of trees. I always loved imagining myself hiking through the ridge lines seeing to the next layer.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"Tendrils" 36x60, Oil on Canvas

"Tendrils" 36x60, Oil on Canvas
With all that has been going on I have been so thankful that my time in the studio has still been productive! Praise God for that. 
I love the way clouds curl and thicken in spots and thin in others. I get excited painting back lit clouds as they either keep the light filtered or they make little openings for the light to come through.  With this painting I wanted to keep the blue a true blue for the sky and so I mixed Ultramarine (which is a usually purple blue) with Cerulean blue (a light blue).  With the foreground clouds I went with Paynes Grey mixed with the Ultramarine and a little Cerulean.  I liked that it looked like tendrils curling in a valley of cloud. Layers of cloud with layers of wind movement.
Please come out to Mary Tomas Gallery in January to see this up close.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Into the Quiet" 12x48 on Canvas

"Into the Quiet" 12x48, Oil on Canvas
Getting some works done for the show in January at Mary Tomas Gallery.  The show will be called, "Into the Quiet." I love that inspiration to create into. 
Lately I've been reading a book called, The Table of Inwardness by Calvin Miller. I really needed to read this. It has helped me over the past weeks to get silent before God and let Him in.  To confess to you I just need to do it more often. Regularly. I find myself always needing music on (and I mostly love instrumental stuff) but even that isn't truly being silent.  I think I'm realizing that part of prayer isn't just talking TO God but actually listening BEFORE God.
These past weeks and months have literally been some of the most stressful of the year. Some of it is good stress some of it has to do with being a Mom and just watching your kid get hurt by other kids. At some point along the way I figured out that I am helpless. Truly helpless to stop the world. Duh. The only thing I can do it talk to God about it and then listen to Him as He shapes me, my daughter, and the world around me.
I laid in the bed with my daughter last night as she cried herself to sleep. There is no pain like hearing your kid say, "Why don't they like me Mom?" As if something were wrong with her.  My heart breaking in a million places but I also know that God loves her. Fiercely and with all that He is. I hold onto that as I pray with her for friends. I tell her that she is loved by her family and by God but right now her world is school and I pray God will provide in that place too.
I find my heart longs for quiet as I would long for beauty. I need it. I find it teaches me to wait. Hold out my fears and hopes and remember I'm the weak one.  He's creating something in that place that is beautiful in the pain.  For me. For my daughter.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Thank you all!

Dad, DeAnn, Mom and Me
Thought you all might get a chuckle out of seeing this old picture of my sweet family. I think DeAnn and I are wearing curtains...or we're about to go to choir practice. 
I just want to say a HUGE Thank You to everyone who contributed to the relief efforts for Tacloban. 
Today I ordered 186 prints that will be printing and then coming to my house for signing and checking before they go out to your homes.  It has literally been an amazing 7 days just to watch what God can do!
I would like to thank each one of you personally but as the orders started to come in I realized that it would be impossible to do.  Even this post with its typed words seems inadequate to me and so impersonal as everything about this process has been deeply personal.  However inadequate it is though I just want to take this opportunity to thank you so much for your generous hearts.  You have played a great part in making my 5 loaves and 2 fish into something that multiplied right before my eyes. I recall in the story that no one said, “What a great boy!” When they thought of the feeding of the 5,000 they KNEW the great one was Jesus.  I have been so aware of that these past few days as I have seen His beautiful love played out.

You have, to date, help to raise $3,125 for the victims of the super typhoon that recently hit the Philippines.  ALL the money will be going to World Vision (please go to: to learn more about this wonderful organization) relief efforts for the Philippines.  I have had orders from Iceland, UK, US, Norway, and Scotland.  I know that is of God as many of you are perfect strangers to me and yet God brought you to this website and you gave.

Today, November 18th I made the orders for your prints.  It will take about 4-5 days for the order to be finished and mailed.  Once I get them I can eyeball them, sign and mail them to you.  Please give me 10-12 days.  My hope is to have it to you before Thanksgiving or the first part of December.

Please continue to pray for the people who are suffering greatly in the Philippines.  I believe the words of David when he writes in Psalm 22:24, “For He has not turned away from the suffering of the one in pain or trouble.  He has not hidden His face from him. But He has heard his cry for help.” Thank you for hearing and giving.  Now as we give our bit may He grow it even more into love made tangible.

Philip Yancey writes in his book, Prayer: “I used to spend a lot of time asking God questions. Why must poverty persist…? Why does one continent, Africa, absorb like a sponge so many of the world’s disasters? When will “peace on earth” ever arrive? Ultimately, I came to see these questions as God’s interrogations of us.  Jesus made clear God’s will for the planet – what part am I playing to help fulfill that will?” I asked myself that recently and all I can say is it’s been a JOY, even in the midst of this terrible tragedy, to see what God can do. Thank you for playing a part in God’s story.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Art for Tacloban (The Philippines)

Philippine Flag
Many of you have been reading about the super typhoon that hit the Philippines.  The main brunt of it hit Tacloban a city located on the Northern end of the island of Leyte (yes, that same Leyte where MacArthur landed in fulfillment of those famous words, "I shall return.").  The pictures are beyond description.  Just complete devastation.  What was once row after row of cement houses is completely flattened. Where life with trees, animals and street vendors once were thriving there is nothing.  It reminds me of a picture after a tornado has ripped through.  Just debris and ground zero silence.
I was born and raised on the northern island of Luzon in the Philippines.  I have never been to Leyte.  But after reading the stories I could not help but think, "They are my people.  I must do something...what?"  After praying about it I have come to the conclusion that I wanted to do more than just send money I wanted to make this personal because it IS personal to me.  The Filipino people helped to raise me. They shared their meals, homes and laughter with me.  They became my window into a wider world.  A world I feel so honored to have known.
When I looked for a map I couldn't help but notice how close Cebu city was from Tacloban.  My parents, when they came to be missionaries (they were missionaries for 27 years in the Philippines), first came to Cebu.  It sits in the middle of the Islands of the Philippines.  My mom was pregnant with my brother, Devin, on the way over to the Philippines. They had never seen the islands before and at every port (they took a ship) my Mom said she would ask God, "Will it look like this?" She said that when she got to the Philippines it wasn't like any place she had ever seen before in her life.  And their adventure began with heartbreak and with joy.

Cebu and Tacloban
My sister was 3 years old when Devin was born in Cebu (the first of our family to be born in the Philippines).  A month later my parents would bury him.  Our family marker. The place we all know on a map by our hearts.  It was soon after that my parents moved to the Northern island of Luzon and started a church in Naga.  This would become the place where God would work through them.  This was where I was born and although I began life with the same sickness as my brother, I lived.
The Philippines sees on average about 19-20 typhoons a year. Storms are nothing new to this part of the world.  One of the most striking childhood memories I have is of a typhoon that was coming through Naga and how my mother was literally yelling at the top of her lungs for me to get out of bed and I could not hear her. That is how much the wind was screaming. I was frozen in fear at the sound of it and her voice finally grabbed me and put me back into reality.  I can still remember looking outside at the trees as they were sideways, literally sideways in the wind.  I felt the power of that storm in my chest and I have never forgotten it.
I think of the children and graves left by this super typhoon.  The markers for their families only they don't even have a body to bury.  I think about my fear at the sound of the storm and try to imagine the fear that must be thick over the island of Leyte.  Even today some will ask, "Will I live? Will I have something to eat? Will I find my loved ones?"
After praying and asking God what I could do I felt Him telling me to offer the 5 loaves and 2 fish that I have.  My art.
I have three of the most popular pieces (some are older and some are more recent).  All of them will be 8x8 (square shape). I kept them small so that the prices were lower.  One print will be $25 and for all three it will be $50.  This is on archival paper and will be signed by me (and eyeballed) before shipping.  ALL proceeds will go to World Vision disaster relief for Leyte.
"Tree of Protection" will be available in 8x8
"Redemption" will be available in 8x8
"Aslan is Coming" will be available in 8x8
I confess I feel a bit nervous putting this out there and not knowing if anyone will even order but I KNOW God's heart for the Filipinos. I know He has put that love in my heart and that He spurred me on to this idea.  I know He will be faithful.  My part is to just put it out there.  So here I am doing that.  If you can't give then please pray for the Philippines.  Pray for the precious ones that are suffering.  Pray for God's good hand of protection on the most vulnerable that they won't be exploited further.  Pray for hope and His church to rise and love.
Paypay buttons were taken down on 12/9/13. All prints were sent out and by the grace of God we were able to raise $3,583.25. Check to World Vision was sent out 12/9/13.  Thank you all!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

"Autumn in the Wind" 48x36, Oil on Canvas

"Autumn in the Wind" 48x36, Oil on Canvas
Finished this big painting today after several weeks.  I wanted to get at the feeling of the wind in the leaves as the light is starting to deepen into dusk.
Here is Texas we are starting to see the magic of Autumn. The leaves are beginning to change and the air is cooler.  The old trees in my neighborhood are still green but every day I see some differences.  On every walk I take I find a new beauty.
I referenced an old Sycamore with it's peeling bark and pointy leaves.  I've always loved how Sycamore trees have limbs that relax, almost as if they are begging you to climb.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Artists of Texas Show, "No Where But Texas" at the Dutch Art Gallery

"Out to the Road" 6x9, Oil on Linen
Very pleased to announce that my piece, "Out to the Road" has sold at the Artists of Texas show hosted by Dutch Art Gallery.  It also received third place.  There are some beautiful works in the show and I encourage you to stop by and see what Texas has to offer in the arts.  You will be blessed. Show runs from November 1 - January 11 at the Dutch Art Gallery located at:10233 East Northwest Hwy. Suite 420, Dallas, TX.  I have three pieces in the show. 


 Here is the writeup from the show:

"Judging will be based on the overall impact of the work. Our jury panel includes Hans and Pam Massar with Derrill Osborn, Art Collector and Dallas Style Icon. He is a Neiman Marcus legend who influenced fashion, introduced Italian menswear lines and the three-piece suit. After retirement he auctioned his vast bovine collection that was assembled over a lifetime. Mr. Osborn’s passions for interesting themes in art and antiques will be notable to see what his keen eye reveals. Our fourth juror is a former Vietnam Veteran, retired Cardiac Pulmonary Technician and Philanthropist, Tom Russell. When he breaks away from being a lumberjack or gold mining he enjoys expanding his exquisite art collection. We look forward to hearing what our fascinating panel of judges will decide and the details of what significantly captivated them the most."

For more on the show and to see some of the other works please go to: Dutch Art Gallery

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tree of Protection

"Tree of Protection" 12x12, Oil on Gessobord
I finished this 12x12 today after a few weeks of trying to just keep it loose with some "tight" elements worked in.
It is so hard to do C.S. Lewis justice.  I think if I thought about it too much I wouldn't even try! But I can truthfully say that his works have helped shape my life.  The Narnia series comes alive for me in deeper ways as I get older and as I share them with my own little girls.  Aslan seems so much sweeter and dearer to me and I find myself longing for that Magical World where I can explore "farther up and further in."
In Lewis' work, The Magicians Nephew we are given a background story for Narnia, the Wardrobe and the Professor that the children (Peter, Edmund, Susan and Lucy) come to stay with in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  Digory (the Professor as a small boy) is told by Aslan to throw an apple from the Tree of Youth into a good and rich place for it to grow.
"And while Digory was still cheering he heard the deep voice of Aslan beside him saying: "Look!"
Everyone in that crowd turned its head, and then everyone drew a long breath of wonder and delight.  A little way off, towering over their heads, they saw a tree which had certainly not been there before.  It must have grown up silently, yet swiftly as a flag rises when you pull it up on a flagstaff, while they were all busied about the coronation. Its spreading branches seemed to cast a light rather that a shade, and silver apples peeped out like stars from under every leaf.  But it was the smell which came from it, even more that the sight, that had made everyone draw in their breath. For a moment one could hardly think anything else.
"Son of Adam," said Aslan, "you have sown well, and you, Narnians, let it be your first care to guard this Tree, for it is your Shield. The Witch of whom I told you has fled far away into the North of the world; she will live on there, growing stronger in dark Magic. But while that Tree flourishes she will never come down into Narnia. She dare not come within a hundred miles of the Tree, for its smell, which is joy and life and health to you, is death and horror and despair to her."
Later Digory would be given a seedling of this tree to take back home with him to England and plant.  It would become a beautiful apple tree. The fruit of that tree would heal Digory's dying mother and its wood would later become the magical wardrobe when it finally died.
I wanted to paint it as it was being created with a sense of twisting and moving to the tree.  The silver apples are beginning to "peep out like stars" from within the canopy.  I tried to keep the strokes loose at points and liked the texture I was getting on the gessobord.  As usual, I learn by doing.  Nothing is perfect but I pray it is respectful of Lewis' book. 

Ancient Roots, New Beginnings, Dallas Theological Seminary Arts Week

"The Olive Tree" 18x24, Oil on Gessobord
Ancient Roots, New Beginnings

October 21-25 held at Dallas Theological Seminary, 3909 Swiss Ave, Dallas, TX. Reception is October 21st, 6-8 pm.  All works are based on Isaiah 11:1.  I have two pieces, "Night Watch" and "The Olive Tree" in the show and am so very honored to be a part of this.

Please go to: DTS Arts Week for more information and to see some of the works.

"Art is redemptive when it is meant to reflect the glory of the Creator and to stimulate consideration of the purpose God intended with His gracious gifting. To that end we invite the celebration of God's grandeur and grace in this our first DTS Arts week."
Mark Bailey
DTS President

Monday, October 14, 2013

Art House Dallas Anniversary Party

Art House Dallas Anniversary Party

Thursday October 17, 6-8 p.m., The Filter Building, Dallas, TX. Co-founders Charlie Peacock and Andie Ashworth will be in attendance (Charlie will be singing a few songs along with Cary Pierce).  I will have 2 pieces for purchase.  One of these will go to Art House Dallas to support the good work they are doing in our community by taking care of culture.  Go to for more information and tickets.

Please come and see some wonderful art (12 visual artists and their works) along with beautiful music and great conversation.
"Rain on the Hills" One of the pieces I will have available at the party

Friday, September 27, 2013

"Redemption" 36x36, Oil on Gessobord

"Redemption" 36x36, Oil on Gessobord
It has been a particularly difficult week and yet I can truthfully say that prayer and Jesus are the ONLY things that bring hope. I finished this 36x36 yesterday.  I call it, "Redemption" as if there is a figure in the waterfall washed upon the rocks of this hard world yet beautiful in the breaking and letting go. I thought the canyon formed an image of "wings" or arms raised as the water falls upon the figure.
There are some prayers that you just can't speak with words and there are some paintings I just can't explain.  I pray the Holy Spirit will interpret my groaning and in that way bring hope through beauty, presence and grace.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Painting at the Arboretum, "The Brook" 6x6, Oil on Gessobord

"The Brook" 6x6, Oil on Gessobord
I had the wonderful opportunity to Plein Air paint with my artist friend Debbie Chiecchi Jackson.  You can go to her website here.  She paints beautiful landscapes in a impressionist style.  We found this lovely little spot tucked between the Women's Garden and the Maple Rill.  It's actually one of my favorite spots in the Dallas Arboretum.  It's very intimate and quiet with a lot of shade.  I notice that viewers usually either stop and stare at it for a while without speaking or they walk right by.
I took some artistic license with the scene and pulled the water to flow towards me when in fact it passed behind the tree.  I love that I can do that with paint.  Nature gives us that base in which we can imagine our world based on what is really there.
Painting outdoors is one of my favorite things to do and I am getting a little more time lately to do just that.  I find that it relieves a lot of stress for me to just be outside and listen to the water, the birds, the wind in the leaves.

My husband and I are getting excited thinking about the upcoming Fall and Winter season as we have been planning an overnight backpacking trip.  I am currently trying to figure out how to pack my Plein Air Pochade Box so I can paint as we go...more on that later...

Here I am with my little painting (I hate my goofy smile but there ya go)...

A little squirrel actually napped on the large limb to the right
but was spooked when he saw the camera.  What a great spot eh?

Friday, September 13, 2013

"Out to the Road" 6x9, Oil on Panel

"Out to the Road" 6x9, Oil on Panel
This was another little plein air study I did while I was up in Illinois this summer at my in-laws house.  They have so many beautiful spots (I know I said that already but they do).  I liked the way the road wound around the trees and the soft shadows and strong darks.
It's still summer weather here in Texas.  But pretty soon we should start seeing some other colors besides brown.  Here's hoping!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

"Summer Green" 5x7, Oil on Panel

"Summer Green" 5x7, Oil on Gessobord
I started this little plein air study when we made our summer trip up to Illinois in June.  My husband's folks have the most lovely piece of land.  I love to sit out and just paint portions of it every time we go up. This summer (because of my foot surgery) I wasn't able to do everything with the family.  One particular day I sat out on the porch (crutches and all) and painted.  It was a really lovely day.  Cool in the shade (yes, cool!) with the light hitting the grass with shades of yellow.
I wouldn't want to repeat this summer at all but I will say it was full of these little graces.  My children, my husband, family members, friends, meals, and splashes of beauty throughout.  God was giving me rungs on a ladder. Glimpses of His love.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

"Rain on the Hills" 10x10, Oil on Canvas

"Rain on the Hills" 10x10, Oil on Canvas
I keep coming back to this image of rain falling. I am enamored with it.  I absolutely love the quiet and power that comes with rain.  One of the things I tried to do with this piece was contrast the warm colors with the cool, the hard line of the ridge against the soft water.
I used Burnt Sienna, Naples Yellow and Pthalo Blue.  I hope to do a bigger piece in 36x36 and explore this with more motion.
This will hopefully go into the Art House Dallas Anniversary Party coming up.  Looking forward to it.  For more info. go to "Shows" above.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sold "Downburst" at Mary Tomas Gallery

"Downburst" 30x30, Oil on Canvas

I am so very pleased to announce that my piece, "Downburst" has sold at Mary Tomas Gallery.  "Downburst" was one of the first paintings I did expressly from the love of rain and just painting what I really wanted to paint.  I confess it was hard to let this one "go" but I feel sure this is a theme I will revisit many times.

I get asked, "Why rain? Why lightning?" and I believe the answer is pretty simple: The power and beauty mixed together.  There is nothing like what water does to color and light.

It's a special joy when something I paint connects with someone else and I never take that lightly.  I am thankful.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"Baptism of Grace" 30x36, Oil on Canvas

"Baptism of Grace" 30x36, Oil on Canvas
Some of you might be sick of my waterfalls (too bad!) but I'm finally getting a chance to make some bigger pieces with the little studies I did right after my surgery.  It's so wonderful to get to paint without feeling pain or having to ice every few hours.  I am so thankful to God for my feet and for His healing.  I am still going to Physical Therapy and although it gets harder every week I can honestly tell you that the pain is less today then it was a few weeks ago.  Our bodies are truly miraculous things. So delicate and fragile yet resilient and healing at the same time. 
In my last post I told you about the "whirlpool" at Physical Therapy.  I love that thing.  I wish I had one in my house! I like looking at the water swirl around me like a spirit washing over this human weak thing (that is my foot).  It makes me think about His grace.  He washes down on me in full force so that I might, in turn, ripple out to others.
Philip Yancey says in his book What's So Amazing About Grace?: "One who has been touched by grace will no longer look on those who stray as, "those evil people," or "those poor people who need our help." Nor must we search for signs of, "love worthiness." Grace teaches us that God loves because of WHO God is not because of who we are."
I painted this 36x30 for my church's baptistery.  This has been on my heart a long time. I finally got an opportunity to ask the Pastors at our church if I could do it.  With great faith and kindness they agreed to let me "beautify" a space for this purpose.  How wonderful! I wanted a place where someone could stand with Pastor and take a picture to remember that day.  The day they went into the water and showed their new family what happened inside.  In a way baptism is our first artistic act as a follower of Christ.  We show, through the symbol of water, what Jesus has done for us.  His great mercy and grace falling on us to wash us, purify us, give us new life.
Titus 3:3-6 was the scripture I looked over as I painted this.  It says, "At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Pool of Mercy" 30x30, Oil on Canvas

"Pool of Mercy" 30x30, Oil on  Canvas

I finally had a chance to finish this bigger painting after several months of waiting and learning.  I started this back before I even had ankle surgery as I was thinking about the word Mercy.  I came upon the word "Bethesda" in the Bible which was an actual place where there happened to be a pool called "The Pool of Mercy" or Pool of Bethesda.  It was here that Jesus healed the man who did not have the ability to even crawl into the pool to be healed.  Jesus showed us all through that story how mercy flows out of our hearts to those paralyzed by life.

As His great mercy plunges down upon me then I, in turn, ripple out His mercy to others.  Water is such a beautiful analogy of His mercy.  Flowing, cleansing, healing and life-giving.

Twice a week I stick my foot in this whirlpool at Physical Therapy.  It is glorious.  No really.  It is really the best part of Physical Therapy.  I wish I could spend my whole two hours in there.  The Therapists usually ask me, "Do you want a magazine?" And I smile and say, "No." I want to look at the water. The way it swirls and pushes against my weak foot.  I like to pray while I watch that water.  I ask God to help my children, my husband, my foot.  Mostly I just quiet down enough to really talk to Him.  I wonder if God let me have this bad ankle so I would remember Him.  How good He is.  How much He loves me.  How He wants me for Himself...and that is all because of Him.  Nothing to do with how desirable I am.  Great is His mercy.

I've heard a lot these past few days about Miley Cyrus. I'm so sick of reading, "Where was her Daddy?" or "What were her parents thinking?" or "What a piece of trash she's become." Because basically she is us. We are looking in a mirror. Our culture lives in the moment and does what it feels like and has an insatiable appetite for attention (please show me an 18 year old that doesn't want to be a pop singer or actor). If our biggest message to girls is: "You can be anything you want to be.  Being desired is the best thing in the world." And then they become just what we secretly wanted: a scantily clad female with a few peppy songs then I have to think we should quit clicking our tongues and get in there and love. People, children, families are being torn apart and we sit and judge. I say to that:  Miley Cyrus is MY culture screaming for love. Real love. And there are countless children who need it.  Let mercy flow.  Let it come out of us because of what He did for all of us.  Let our first thought be, "See His Mercy!" And we become the Pool of Bethesda. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Holding His Hand...Again...

"The Still and Quiet Wood" 20x20, Oil on Canvas
Here I stand on the cusp of my little twins starting Kindergarten and my 8 year old starting third grade!  How did that happen?  Weren't they in diapers like 10 minutes ago?  Wasn't that me falling asleep with two little girls in my lap and drool running down my chin because I was. so. tired?  I thought I had a box of diapers around here somewhere...
This summer although still with challenges, had it's wonderful moments too.  I got to see my girls swim (ALL of them!) with me for the first time.  I saw their faces as they would give me a thumbs up or a big smile coming up out of the water.  Barely even time to take a breath before one would say, "Did you see me Mommy?!"  Sure kid. I saw you.  I never stopped seeing you. 
We saw some funny movies this summer.  I especially remember the candy and giggles that went with "Despicable Me." First time I have SEEN my girls belly laugh so hard at a movie.  We listened to the song, "Happy" so many times in the van this summer I thought I was going to drive into a tree. "Happy, happy, happy...oh, the CD went flying into the open field girls..." But I grit my teeth instead as one of them would say, "Can we hear the Despicable Me song again?"  Sure kid. Because I love what that song does to your face when I look in the rear view mirror.
We ate at Chik-fil-A enough times to have killed a small colony of chickens.  It got to where one of my twins would say, "The Usual!" when we'd go through the drive-through.  And don't think I didn't feel guilty that they didn't get their required veggie count for the day.  I did.  And then proceeded to stuff them full of waffle fries and sometimes ice-cream.   
I watched my oldest daughter conquer a BIG fear this summer at Hawaiian Falls.  NEVER has she been able to go down the big green or blue slide even though her face would tell you that her heart was sliding down it already.  Every summer I'd say, "I know you can do it..." But my oldest has a powerful brain.  Once it closes it. is. closed.  This year she cried telling me she wanted to go down and I looked into her freckled face and said, "You can do it. I know you can.  It's all in your mind." I have no idea why this time it clicked.  Something to do with her brain saying, "I agree." But she climbed that staircase, enduring the bucket load of water that gets dumped on the helpless children every 5 minutes...and she went down.  It was one of the best moments of the summer.  I saw her face.  Confidence filled with joy. It was like her red goggles had become one big freckle smiling.  Telling me in rapid word-speak, "It was like...." and describing it more with her hands and tone of voice than anything else. I couldn't get her off the slide with a crowbar.
We slid down slides, we shopped for shoes (their feet are like Hobbit feet!), we got a pet Gerbil named "Snowflake" The girls really call him, "Cutie, Cutie." But correct me when I call him, "Buddy." We took more van rides than I can count. We rode the DART down to the Dallas Museum of Art where they loved the water fountain more than any piece of art inside the building.  My favorite line of the day came from my 8 year old nephew after walking two blocks from the DART rail, "I'm so dehydrated!" I can assure you that no children died from our excursion. Although my sister and I contemplated throwing ourselves in front of the train several times that day.
Last week I had, "Meet the Teacher" night.  I went to two separate schools and met with three teachers.  I realized that my twins were going to be separated for the first time in their 5 years.  Now I know that most of you will say, "This is good for them." And you are right.  It is. When they realized they would not be together they both cried and they both got over it.  Something has to change and it is for their good.  It's just the change that is hard sometimes.  Their big girls. They have backpacks and cubbies and even school supplies! 
After meeting the twins' teachers we trekked over to my oldest daughters' school and met her teachers.  I liked them too.  I looked around the 3rd grand rooms and saw books and charts and maps that intrigued me.  I thought about all that she will learn and felt excited for her.  We found out that her best friend is in the same class and we both sighed in relief. 
If you've read this whole thing (bless your heart) then you might be thinking, "What's that got to do with the painting?" I painted this piece, "The Still and Quiet Wood" back when my oldest was going to Kindergarten.  I was sad.  Just like now.  I felt fear.  Just like now.  I missed her.  Just like I will miss all of them.  As I looked at this painting with fresh eyes a little while back I thought about how I am the black tree and my oldest was the one tree going into the light.  What I didn't notice was the two trees to the side. The twin trees...I had painted ALL my girls into that painting! It was like God was telling me, "I've got this too Dawn.  Just like last time." They are all going into that quiet place.  That place of trust for me.  They are God's kids.  I will wait in this mist (where I can't see what is before them).  I will trust Him with these precious ones.  
There is a wonderful Psalm in the Bible called a Psalm of Ascent.  As if I were climbing a mountain and every step was a new height (difficult but also glorious).  I'm told that if you are a parent that grade school is only the beginning!  I hear ya.  Psalm 121 is a step, a climb, a summit.  In verses 7-8 (last two) it says these words, "The Lord will keep you from all harm - He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore."
I claim these verses for my girls. They are yours Lord. They always were. You. Watch. Over. Them.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"Roots of the Sky" 18x24, Oil on Gessobord

"Roots of the Sky" 18x24, Oil on Gessobord
As I was thinking about roots I got this thought that lightning looks like roots from a tree.  I love the play of textures where there is this hard glassy color against the clouds and sheets of rain.  Soft against hard, cool against warm. 
I love rain.  I like the smell of it and the feel of it.  My favorite jogs have been in the rain.  I just love what it does to the land and sky.  I know for some it is a fearful time with thunder and lightning and in our part of the world: tornadoes.  I like to think what rain can bring though: abundance, refreshment, growth, and ultimately, hope.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

"Olive Tree" 16x20, Oil on Gessobord

"Olive Tree" 16x20, Oil on Gessobord
Psalm 52:8-9
"But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God's unfailing love for ever and ever.  I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good.  I will praise you in the presence of the saints."

Oh, I love those verses!  May I pour out my love like a flowing river and even in this dark world praise Him and trust Him!

I tried to tie the water with the tree and just give a "ghost" of the tree.  I hope I got that.  I also used an Olive Tree for my model. Olive trees are rich in so much!  Not only for their oil that lit the lamps of the ancient peoples but anointed kings and flavored foods.  When Noah was brought hope of the world the dove brought him an olive leaf.  Our Lord Jesus walked in a garden of olives before His death. The Olive tree is an evergreen but a very high-maintenance tree.  So many good truths!
I wanted the roots to become like a waterfall.  His grace poured out over us, His rich and lavish love.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

"In the Shadows" 5x7 Oil on Panel, Plein Air Painting with Dad

5x7, Oil on Panel
Wednesday morning my Dad and I met up to paint "Plein Air" which means outdoors.  It was a great morning for it.  Cloudy with a little breeze.  Nothing like the usual mornings in July here in Texas.  Sticky and hot.  This was really pleasant!
After about two hours we looked behind us and noticed a huge cloud had formed and was headed our way so we started to pack up. By the time it got to us the rain started but we were already getting in the car.  "Oh well," we said, "we can come back!" and that's when we made plans to meet up Saturday morning (today) and finish up the paintings.  And wouldn't you know it?  The morning was cloudy, even cool with a little breeze.  So our colors hadn't changed on us either.  Talk about wonderful!
My Dad was my first art teacher.  I've always admired how he paints landscapes and particularly trees.  He is an outdoorsman at heart.  He loves to be IN nature.  He fishes, he hikes, he likes to shoot paper or can targets.  He just really loves exploring.  There was something really familiar today about sitting there listening to the wind and the birds and just silently painting together.  One of us would ask a question every now and then but mostly we would paint.  It reminded me that most of my life growing up I sat next to my Mom in church (because Dad was preaching) and I sat next to Dad to paint.
As I grow older I can't tell you how special it is for me to see my parents with new eyes.  It's funny that you get these "new" eyes when your hair is turning grey and you realize that you were pretty blessed in the family that God gave you.  You see so much more clearly. 
A special day turned into a soft green memory.
Dad and his wonderful painting

Thursday, July 25, 2013

"Night Watch" 9x12, Oil on Gessobord

"Night Watch" 9x12 Oil on Gessobord
I've been working towards a show coming up in October.  I won't share about that right now as I'm still working on some other paintings for it.  I will say that it's been a spiritual challenge for me to really "get at" what I'm trying to convey.  I went through several layers until the light and the branch came to me.  Nothing I make is ever perfect but I can't tell you how much I enjoy the process when I give it over and just let Him lead the way.
Psalm 43:3 "Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain to the place where you dwell."
My sister shared that verse after she saw this painting and it has been seeping into my heart. 
The thought behind this painting was that ONE branch from the tree (of humanity) is divine.  It spills the light and the blood and by it's light the other branches are stained the color red and grow in abundant yet distinct ways.  Isaiah 11:1 says, "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit." 
I talked with my sister the other night about a possible title and we both loved, "Night Watch."  He splits the darkness with that warm light.  He stands over our darkest nights and pushes back.  He is hope in the midst of despair, life in the sea of death. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Sold, "Blue Smokies" 12x48, Oil on canvas, at Mary Tomas Gallery

"Blue Smokies" 12x48, Oil on Canvas
I am pleased to announce that "Blue Smokies" has sold at Mary Tomas Gallery today. 
I loved working with this long canvas as I felt it displayed the vastness of the view.  At the top I started with just a hint of purple in the background and sky followed by cool shades of blue down to the dark trees in front.  The mist was white with hints of blue.  Moisture loves to fall to the lowest places. A valley of mist in the Smoky Mountains.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

"Waterfall as Tree" 9x12, Oil on Panel (final)

"Waterfall as Tree" 9x12, Oil on Panel (final)
I softened it down and added a few more tendrils.  I like it better.  It's more dreamlike. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"Tree as Waterfall" 8x10 Oil on Panel

"Tree as Waterfall" 8x10, Oil on Panel
I've been experimenting lately and it's fun and frustrating at the same time!  I want something that's in my head to come out clearly on the canvas or panel and it just doesn't.  But at least I'm getting at it.
My mind has been thinking about the roots of things lately.  Some of that has to do with a show I've been helping with and another has to do with the ancient things that are so fascinating to me.  I watched a NOVA the other night that kept me up in bed just marveling at the earth and how it produces life.  Things like water, earth, lightning have been there the day the earth was born.  And they still speak of their creator.
For this painting I wanted the water to seem like a tree trunk crashing against the rocks with almost a root-like appearance. 
I'm still working at it but I liked how it went today.  Now for something a little bigger...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

"White Tree" 9x12, Oil on Canvas

"White Tree" 9x12, Oil on Canvas
I wanted to show the feeling of a tree.  Not the literal tree but the feeling of its' sway and enchantment.  I love trees and want to show them as I see them.   Glorious.  Magical.  Full of mystery.
I used Pthalo Blue, Sap Green and Titanium White.  I wanted a ghostly feel to the tree.  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

"Quiet Joy" 5x7, Oil on Panel

"Quiet Joy" 5x7, Oil on Panel
I love the way trees express themselves.  The calming sound of their leaves in the wind remind me of rain.  I also love their colors.  This Maple in my neighborhood was showing pure joy to me through it's yellow leaves up to a little blue sky.

Monday, July 8, 2013

"Woods in Mist" 5x7 Oil Painting on Panel

"Woods in Mist" 5x7, Oil on Panel
I love that feeling when you walk through woods and the air is cool and moist.  It makes me want to walk for miles into layer after layer of the mystery of it.  There is a feeling to the way the trees look.  Some might say it seems spooky while others feel the sense of exploration and discovery.
I used Portland Grey (yes, there is an actual color that's called that) with some Indanthrone Blue.

Friday, July 5, 2013

"Grace" 5x7 Oil on Panel

"Grace" 5x7, Oil on Panel
I have these images in my mind of water flowing down and then out.  I'm trying to convey something of God with a waterfall. His grace pours out over all of us then the rings of water push out just as we are to share that grace with others.
Philip Yancey writes in his book, What's So Amazing About Grace? that we each need, "Grace-filled eyes" to really see ourselves, each other and most importantly our God.  He says:

"When Jesus loved a guilt-laden person and helped him, he saw in him an erring child of God.  He saw in him a human being whom His Father loved and grieved over because he was going wrong. He saw him as God originally designed and meant him to be, and therefore he saw through the surface layer of grime and dirt to the real man underneath.  Jesus did not identify the person with his sin, but rather saw in this sin something alien, something that really did not belong to him, something that merely chained and mastered him and from which he would free him and bring him back to his real self.  Jesus was able to love men because he loved them right through the layer of mud."

I used the colors: Pthalo Blue, Titanium White, Paynes Grey and a little Cadmium Red.

Monday, July 1, 2013

"Whispering Wood" Oil Painting on Panel by Dawn Waters Baker

5x7, Oil on Panel
This image has been in my mind a long time.  I am so glad it turned out the way I had hoped.  It has a Tolkien feel to it and after looking up some of the woodlands of Middle Earth.  I came upon this:
"The trees of the Firien Wood descended into a deep cleft called the Firien-dale. Types of trees in the Firien Wood included oaks and birches. The trees were dense, especially along the Mering Stream. There was a powerful silence under the trees that caused people to speak in hushed voices, and the forest was known as the Whispering Wood."
I love that.  Woods that cause us to speak quietly.  Oh, that we would all have the opportunity to walk in the Whispering Woods.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

"Job" Oil Painting on Panel

"Job" 5x7 Oil on Panel
I think I tend to lose some of the emotion in the Bible when I read it.  I have to make myself remember it is filled with raw feelings and perhaps words that the speaker never wanted anyone else to hear or read but God chose to put in there for you and me.
I've been reading through Job these past weeks (I am teaching it at my church to the Ladies Class bless their hearts!).  What timing!  As I go through my ankle surgery, pain and the "down" feelings that come from changes of plans, physical limitations, frustrations etc, etc, etc.  God makes no mistakes with His timing.
One of the things that has surged over me lately is just this great desire to create.  I am so thankful to God that I can still paint and give Him words that cannot be spoken.  Ever felt like a storm is raging and you can't make it stop? Ever feel it's shaping the way you physically look, feel and even see? 
Three times Job asks the Lord to answer him.  To SPEAK. To remember that he is human, flesh and blood.  He can't take any more...and three times God gives silence.  Three times.  Makes me think of Elijah when he covers the body of the Widows Son with his own body to ask the Lord to bring him back to life and after three times God raises him from the dead.  Jonah was in the fish for three days and then it vomited him out.  Paul asks the Thorn to be removed three times and the Lord answers "No." Makes me think of the three days Jesus was in the grave.  God answered the world with an empty tomb.  All of these instances have a process of suffering before an answer...and not really even an answer as much as God.  It hit me in a fresh way how God answers with Himself, with life, with relationship.  Remember Job's words, "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you..."
This is the first time I've ever used "Black" in a painting.  I usually mix blue with Alizarin Crimson and it comes out a deep purple.  But here I used black.  I wanted it to feel like the clouds and storm were above and below (no solid ground).  I wanted to show Job as a leafless tree, bent by the storm and pain.
Suddenly the Bible seems more relatable than ever to me.  And I remember I have His very words in my suffering and pain. I have Him living inside me.  I have Jesus victorious.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

"White Fire" 6x9 Oil Painting

"White Fire" 6x9 on oil primed panel
Finished today!  I'm so glad to have the ability to paint even if it's just for a little while each day.
I've had some surgery recently on my ankle and it turned out to be a much more "in depth" procedure than I thought.  As I write this I am in a boot with crutches (going on 4 weeks) and in some pain.  BUT, the good thing is that the Dr. says I can get off the crutches as I start to trust my leg.  It feels like little needles going up my leg at the moment but I am determined to get off the crutches! ugh!  I have been VERY aware of how much I cannot do without my leg.  My summer is filled with plans that I have had to scrub out or have someone else "take" my kids to. I have three more weeks in the boot then 6 weeks of Physical Therapy.  My first thought was, "There goes the summer!" But now I am seeing the light. Although it makes me sad I have also seen a great deal of grace.
Women who have given me food (great food), cleaned my house, watched my kids (even taken them swimming, to their house, shopping etc).  Great people who have wrote me cards of encouragement and kindness.  My waves of mercy flowing down over my life.
I was journaling today and this is what came out: I don't believe someone sees God's grace until they give up trying to see the things THEY WANT!  I need new eyes. A new way of seeing. Oh, that I would not box God in when I suffer!  When I want it over I don't see the grace that is happening right in front of me. 
Back to the lightening. I love the beauty and awesomeness of lightening.  The way it sounds makes me jump in fear.  It reminds me how small I am.  In the future I will try a bigger piece but for now I just wanted to get it out.  Long ago I did one with a sharp flat edge and I like the soft grass instead.  I feel it more this time.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Sold, "Cloud Canyon" at Mary Tomas Gallery

"Cloud Canyon" 36x60, Oil on Canvas
Just had the wonderful news a few days ago that "Cloud Canyon" was purchased by a sweet friend! I cannot tell you how this makes my heart sing with thankfulness!  I am so pleased that not only it sold during the show but that my friend was able to get it. Thank you Mary Tomas Gallery and thank you to my friend and collector.  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

2013 Summer Group Exhibit at White Stone Gallery

"Behind the Cloud" 10x10, Oil on Canvas
I am thrilled to announce that I have been accepted to the 2013 Summer Group Exhibit at White Stone Gallery in Philadelphia, PA. Show runs from July 2nd - August 2nd. This is such a wonderful gallery with some of the most respected names in faith-based art. What an honor to be in the show!
Susan and Derek Hooks are the Directors of White Stone Gallery.  They have worked with me for over a year at really honing in on what I was trying to say with my art.  I am eternally grateful for their work with me.  One of the most amazing things that happened through this was that I was reminded that GOD cares about my art.  How humbling.  To think Almighty God cares for each of us to find something in this life that bring us joy and fulfillment!  Susan also said something to me that I have put up in my studio: "What is driving the painting? BE PRAYERFUL."  I found that sometimes I was creating to just create.  I had lost the purpose to it.  She helped me to see that I don't need to be painting until the Spirit truly moves me and to ask myself, "what is driving this painting?  Is it fear? or love?"  Makoto Fujimura said this to me once, "Create from love." I have never forgotten it.  Not only does love help us to find our joy, our passion in life but it overcomes things like jealousy and fear.  When we truly love others, this life, Him, we are free to be who God made us to be.
Back in May I was privileged to be at White Stone Gallery's 10 year anniversary hosted by Cairn University in Philadelphia.  Great names in art like Makoto Fujimura, Ruth Naomi Floyd, Ed Knippers, Ted Prescott and Joey Tomassoni were in attendance that night (to name a few).  I had been asked to speak about 10 minutes (following Joey Tomassoni! and right before Makoto Fujimura) on how White Stone had helped me as an artist.  Although VERY nervous, I did know that the things I would speak about were all things that God had done.  I asked for prayer and prayed even before I got up to speak...and God was faithful.  Although there were times I choked up I was able to share how God had greatly used Susan and Derek through humility, kindness and truth.  It was an incredible opportunity to thank them face to face (we had never met except over the computer). And to bear witness that God wants ALL of us.  Not just the nicey Dawn at church but the frustrated, people pleasing, prideful Dawn who need His molding.
I thank my sister, Dee Jones, who texted me when I got to my hotel room that night (just hours before the dinner) and just reminded me that God had given me this to do and that I should ask the Spirit to help me be free of any selfish or self-seeking motives... to ask God for words and then just wait and see what happens. Great words that were absolutely what I needed to hear.  Bless friends that speak truth to us in those vulnerable moments!
I want to thank Mako who told me long ago to be confident in Christ and be bold as I move forward. He has always spoke right to my heart and I pray that he will continue to be used to spur one another on to love and good deeds.
I want to thank Susan and Derek for imparting such wisdom, time and love into email after email with me. They prayed over what they said, they prayed for my work, they prayed for me.  I am so blessed and humbled by that.  As a faith-based artist we surely pray but to be prayed FOR? That is absolutely wonderful.
If any of you are in need of some creative guidance as a faith-based artist I cannot recommend to you enough the help of White Stone Gallery. You will change through the work you go through and it will refine you.  To see more about them please go to: White Stone Gallery
The last thing I shared that night was in Lamentations 3:21-22 "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed.  His compassions never fail, they are new every morning, great is His faithfulness."  Ultimately, the One to thank is Jesus.  He has been the faithful one, always ready to love and speak truth that sometimes hurts but needs to be said.  I am forever grateful for a Savior that does that for me.