Wednesday, December 31, 2014

10 Inspiring Things of 2014

It's that time when I look back over the year and think about what MOST inspired me as an Artist, Reader, Human. I'm sure I have missed some things that really were great. A sermon I heard, a great conversation even a blog post I read through Facebook. But these are the ones that stuck with me. The ones I am sure to go back to. I also want to say that some of them aren't NEW to 2014 (i.e. they weren't created in 2014). This is MY list. When I discovered them. I believe that you find things when you are meant to. This my year to find these gems.

10. Compelling Love Film

I got asked to be interviewed for this documentary but they ended out not using my particular piece. They did post the interview online (you can see the whole blubbering mess of it if you want). The reason I posted this is NOT because I was interviewed or anything to do with me. It was that this film really spoke into a void when it comes to the issue of homosexuality. It spoke about love and what it means to love and be loved by someone. PLEASE take some time to watch this moving film. You will not come away the same.

This is from the wonderful team who put this together:

"How can people connect with each other when their beliefs, values, and practices deeply differ, distress, and even offend each other? This film is an attempt to shine light on that very question by allowing people to tell their personal stories regarding the concept of sexual identity.

Our purpose is to bring people together to create awareness, challenge stereotypes, initiate conversations, and most importantly, connect people in a way that goes beyond intolerance or tolerance, to something much deeper.

For many of us, it is the love of God as demonstrated through Jesus Christ that compels us to make this film. For others, it is the simple need recognized in all humanity, which transcends all barriers—love.

It is our hope that, through allowing people to open up about their personal experiences, this documentary can help people begin to make an honest evaluation of what others believe, and then connect with those people in honest, loving relationships, regardless of their differences.

This project invites us all to attempt to listen and learn about ourselves and others, and to ultimately respond to each other in an uncommon way—with Compelling Love."

9.Mitchell Albala

Yes, he was on my list last time too (for his book, Landscape Painting). I got to take a workshop with him this year on Whidbey Island in Washington State. It was AMAZING. I learned so much in just two short days!

Poor guy. Sandwiched in with all these ladies! But he's a great teacher!

Mitchell Albala with his book, Landscape Painting

The book helped me so much! One of THE best landscape painting books I've ever read. Getting to DO the exercises with color really opened up my toolbox in so many ways...more on that later. For now, I wanted to share that Mitchell is worth his own point.

8.  The Secret of Kells

 Brendan with the Forest Spirit, Aisling

 This wasn't a movie that was done in 2014 but one I discovered this year. It is the story of Brendon, a boy-monk who lives in ancient England that is plagued by the fearsome Vikings. This story weaves such magic, beauty, fear and enchantment. I felt the scenes as they played out. The visuals are so stunning. It is rich in story and artistry.

It revolves around the illumination of the "book" or the Bible and the precious gift that it is. It also revolves around the marriage of Christian and Pagan art, culture and myth. This isn't a movie to watch for the theology but for the enchantment. It reminded me of Tolkien and Lewis and how they both could marry the two so perfectly. The Secret of Kells blends the Celtic world with the Christian. For me, it showed how the magic is a window into the sacred. It's haunting.

7. Peace Like A River by Leif Enger

This book reminded me of To Kill A Mockingbird so much. Not that the story was about racial tension but that the characters were written with such kindness. Rarely does literature get an Atticus Finch but I would venture to say that Jeremiah Land is a close 2nd. I loved this book for its goodness and the ways it made me love the characters. They struggle through some heartbreaking things but Enger writes with such simplicity that it seems to go into your heart softly.

You can go HERE to read more from Amazon.

6. Ragamuffin the Movie

I loved Rich Mullins. I remember the day I heard he died in a car wreck. I was out jogging and I literally stopped to cry. His lyrics hit me in places I didn't know existed. I was very skeptical of a movie about him. But I wept through parts of this movie because his life spoke to me about grace. The opening scene is a quote from Brennan Manning where he says, "On judgment day Jesus will ask only one question: Did you believe that I loved you?" The movie captures the heart of that struggle all the way through. It has some slower parts and sometimes Rich's hair distracts me from the film (what the?) but I was loved through this film. Rich's life has inspired so many artists. I am just one of many who want to thank him when I get home.

5. Art Ambassador

I read Kevin MacPherson's book, Fill Your Oil Paintings with Light and Color and really loved it. He is VERY well known in Plein Air Painting (as one of the Master Artists of our time). He started a non-profit called, "Art Ambassador" that has got my heart churning. He is not a believer (as far as I know) yet he has such a heart for those who do not have the means to paint to GET to paint. Working in China and Latin America he teaches the children of these communities how to express themselves. This is the statement on his website:

"We are a global organization of artist ambassadors led by internationally recognized artist Kevin Macpherson, staff, supporters, and thousands of children sharing their joy in making the world a more colorful place and building communication across cultures the world over. We use art to engage kids in their education, to ignite their creative spark and to unite communities around their children"

He has inspired me to begin praying about helping communities that I am passionate about. Perhaps God may use my art to be an "ambassador" in His way and timing. I'm so grateful to get to see Kevin's work and heart for these children.

4. Rivers and Tides A Film by Andy Goldsworthy

 Goldsworthy's placement of the red leaves help us see into the beauty of a place

Thank you Matt Guildord for sharing this with me! I watched this documentary several times (it is over an hour long) as it follows an artist, Andy Goldsworthy as he creates with nature the things that are already there. It is amazing to see what he does with leaves or sticks. He sees the beauty of the way things ARE. I can't even put into words the way he lets time and the elements of time become the art. I would say that Goldsworthy is a TRUE landscape artist. He understands a place in the making of the art. It consumes him as he interprets it. He brings silence, space, mistakes and humility to something so vast. I could watch this film every year and get something new out of it.

It has received many awards along with his art. You will not be disappointed.

3. Samantha Keely Smith, Artist

 Samantha Keely Smith's "Harbinger" Painting

A good friend of mine and his wife (Aaron and Christine) always inspire me. They shared this wonderful artist with me and I absolutely love her work. She not only moves me with her fluidity but with the use of subtle colorings and contrasts.

Please see more of her work:

2. Hiroshi Senju, Artist

Hiroshi Senju's Waterfall Painting (they are VERY large)

Matt Guilford, introduced this incredible artist to me in November of this year. He is a Master Artist from Japan named Hiroshi Senju. I loved the simplicity of color and movement he gets with his work. I also went to his website and was captivated by how the large pieces could transform a room. You could almost feel the spray of water. I am in awe of his work. So beautiful.

To see more of his work:

1. Neutrals

Examples of a Neutral Palette

I know, it may seem like a let-down for the #1 spot to be about colors that aren't that exciting but I'm telling you they are! I am slowly learning how to let other colors support one or two other ones that are the "stars" of the show. The Neutrals tie a painting together. They bring "humility" to a work by letting other colors shine as they support it. The workshop this year with Mitch Albala (see #9) was about color. I hope over time to practice more and more of what I've learned.

Pray you all had an inspiring 2014. Let me know some of yours too! 

Looking forward to the treasures we will find in 2015.

God bless you all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Merry Christmas To All!

"Immanuel" 16x20, Graphite on Clayboard (sold)

From my Studio to your home or office I wish you a very Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"Light Moves" 30x30, Oil on Gessobord, SOLD at Mary Tomas Gallery

"Light Moves" 30x30, Oil on Gessobord

I am excited to share that this piece has SOLD at Mary Tomas Gallery! I'm so pleased that this will have a permanent home!

The show up right now, "Family I" runs until January 3rd. I have three sky paintings in the show. Please go by the gallery and see the show during the holidays. Mary and Alberto are so great. They are open M-F 10-5 and Sat 12-4 or by appointment. Located at 1110 Dragon St. Dallas.

You can click HERE to see more of my work at Mary's.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cover Art for Mark S.M. Scott's Book, "Pathways in Theodicy: An Introduction to the Problem of Evil"

Cover of Mark S.M. Scott's Book

Mark S. M. Scott is an Arthur J. Ennis Postdoctoral Fellow in the Augustine and Culture Seminar Program at Villanova University. He earned his PhD and AM from Harvard University and his MAR from Yale Divinity School. He is the author of Journey Back to God: Origen on the Problem of Evil (2012). 

I have been very honored to "meet" Scott via email as he was finishing his book. Imagine my delight when he asked if my painting would go on his cover! In the course of our emails we found out that we are both Lewis fans and Narnia enthusiasts. It is my honor to be on this cover (as he requested this picture specifically). For me it is the picture of Narnia as Aslan was coming back and warming up the woods from a long winter. Mark shared this with me from a friend who wrote about the painting and the topic of his work:

Placing the text at the bottom accentuates the recessive planes of the
image.  Gradients of light are visible between (and behind) the trees, but
darkness still dominates the foreground, as evil so often seems more
proximate to us than goodness and beauty. We have to look further, and
aloft, to see the latter.
What a wonderful tie in for the image and writing!

Mark, thank you for your hard work and kindness in letting me in on this book. I am honored my friend.

You may go HERE to see more about the book and order it.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

"Family Part I" Now Up at Mary Tomas Gallery

Family Part I (my painting is on the bottom right)

This show is up until January 3rd. 
Please come by the gallery (here in Dallas) to see the show! 
I have three  new sky pieces up!

Mary Tomas Gallery
1110 Dragon St. Dallas, TX 75207
Gallery Hours: M-F 10-5, Sat 12-4 and by appointment

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cover Art for Louise Penny's book, "Still Life"

The painting was a little study I did for "Misty Mountains" 

I was contacted over the holidays by St. Martin's Press, a book publisher in New York. They asked if I would let them use an image for a book by Louise Penny. After talking and looking through contracts I happily agreed. I am not a reader of mysteries so I had to look up Louise Penny to see what kind of books these were. Here is her website if you want to read more:

This painting as a little 6x6 study for a larger image but they liked the three trees together with the green. This is her first book in a series. I'm pleased as punch.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fall Print Sale

Print Sale:

I thought it might be time to offer some prints for those of you who would like to get some art for Christmas presents. I will be making an order ONLY for the 5x5 size as the jpgs I have are best in that size.

5x5 prints (on archival paper) are available in these sets:


John 1



 Soft Woodlands


 Lantern in the Forest

 Sets are $50 or $15 for ONE image (that does NOT include tax and shipping). 

Thank you all!
I've closed out the Paypal button so I can order the prints this weekend. Thank you all for your time and support. Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving holiday!

Monday, November 10, 2014

"Afterglow" 20x20, Oil on Canvas

"Afterglow" 20x20, Oil on Canvas

Getting ready for a wonderful show at Mary Tomas Gallery coming up in a few weeks. I hope to showcase a few new skies. I liked the inner glow I got with this painting and worked on the contrasts.

I am captivated by the wisps and swirls that happen with moisture in the atmosphere. Such movement and beauty!

Monday, October 27, 2014

"Light Moves" 30x30, Oil on Gessobord

 "Light Moves" 30x30, Oil on Gessobord

Finished this larger piece last week but went back today to make sure it didn't need any more highlights. I wanted the light to do the most "work" in the image so I tried to just keep it very simple.

I am working towards a very large piece so keep me in your good prayers. I so enjoy these Texas skies. So full of mood and beauty. It's a challenge to try to capture both.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Sold, "Lazarus," "Golgotha," and "One Calling in the Desert" 12x12, Oil on Gessobord

Three of my works based on the book of John

Very pleased to share that three of my works, "Lazarus," "Golgotha," and "One Calling in the Desert" have sold at Mary Tomas Gallery here in Dallas.

They are still carrying many of my newer works. Please stop by if you are in Dallas.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

"Lantern in the Forest" 12x12, Oil on Gessobord

"Lantern in the Forest" 12x12, Oil on Gessobord

This painting started out as a very dim light covered with a LOT of mist. I was having to take some steroids for a swelling tongue (I know, don't ask!). I finally called the Dr. and asked if I could quit. I just kept crying. Needless to say it took a few weeks before I went back to it and out popped this light and a little path and the trees. It's amazing how good you feel when your not on medicine!

I think I am missing Narnia. Maybe it's time I reread one or two of those wonderful books.I like to imagine what Narnia might look like with the lantern in the woods. Aslan has thawed the frozen world, and the Kings and Queens of Narnia are justly ruling the land. This lantern has such a story to tell in the glow of a quiet, soft light.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

"Wildfire" 12x12, Oil on Gessobord

"Wildfire" 12x12, Oil on Gessobord

I've been working on some little 12x12's for entries for the National Weather Biennial. This is one of my entries on wildfires that are caused by lightning. Here in the US during the dry times of the year (particularly in the west and Rockies) fires are started easily because of the drought conditions.

The National Park Service states:

"As many as 90 percent of wildland fires in the US are caused by humans....results of campfires left unattended, the burning of debris, discarded cigarettes and intentional acts of arson. The remaining 10 percent is caused by lightning or lava."

For many years Americans were told to stamp out forest fires because they were seen as devastating. Now, however, they are finding a small percentage of forest fires are needed to clear the older brush and start new, healthy growth. Particularly for the Aspens and Lodgepole Pines which seeds and stems open and sprout thanks to fire. Remember that next time you see the beautiful golden Aspens. Let it remind you it needs some hardship to become the graceful, delicate and incredible beauty it is.

I love the paradox's of nature. It says so much to me about our lives. I sometimes need the dross sloughed away so that something pure and real comes through. I need to be opened and seeded and the only way to do that is through hardship. I hate that. I mean, I truly do. But I love the outcome. I love that God can take something dead and "ruined" and make it new. When I look at's just hard to describe the feeling. But you know if you've seen their golden lacy boughs and slender spotty legs. They seem to cheer and sing. If a tree were a woman, a very graceful woman, it would be an Aspen. 

How could God make these incredible trees out of something as leveling as fire? But He does. It gives me such cheer to know He has me. He. Has. Me. And He knows what He's doing.  I painted this thinking about some things I've been going through with my life, church, family, art, kids. And I realized there is beauty IN the fire itself. Not just the outcome but the very fire. As I was painting it I thought about how that's a visual paradox too. It's beautiful but it's also being destroyed. Satan loves to destroy (he seeks to do that!) but God knows what He is doing. Always. Beauty in the fire, Beauty from the fire.

As many as 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by humans. Some human-caused fires result from campfires left unattended, the burning of debris, negligently discarded cigarettes and intentional acts of arson. The remaining 10 percent are started by lightning or lava. - See more at:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"Canyon Storm" 6x8, Oil on Gessobord

"Canyon Storm" 6x8, Oil on Gessobord

I liked trying to get at the subtle colors with this one (particularly in the middle foreground. I thought a little green would give some nice contrast with the orange in the sunset. 

Palette was mostly Ultramarine Blue, Cad Orange, and Cad Red. with Titanium White added for lightening.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

"Sunlit" 8x8 Oil on Gessobord

"Sunlit" 8x8, Oil on Gessobord

One of my favorite things in all the world is leaves that are lit by the sun. Like nature's stain glass windows. I love walking through woods and coming along little spaces where the light has found an opening.

Had to take a little "break" from all the clouds to do something green.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"Answer" 10x10, Oil on Canvas

"Answer" 10x10, Oil on Canvas

I've just been working on these small studies of how light looks behind clouds. I love the way it spreads through swirls and streaks. It has such a very abstract quality to it too.

I've been calling them "Answer" as I feel that's the way I hear from God. Just in these small portions. Never the entirety. Always these shavings of light and illumination. And after what seems like an eternity of time the light is SO beautiful, compelling, hopeful and at times even scary.


Monday, August 25, 2014

"Answer" 8x10 Oil Study on Canvas Panel

"Answer" 8x10, Oil Study on Canvas Panel

 I've been trying to work through this one to get at the light beams. I like it enough to say it's done for this study. I am looking forward to using what I've learned with this into a bigger piece.

I am also enjoying the play of warm and cool colors.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"Opening" 6x9, Oil on Gessobord

"Opening" 6x9, Oil on Gessobord
I have been wanting to do some skies. I loved the way this one had a little opening of light that illuminated everything with a warm glow. I also like the way the clouds express a tension between the cool and warm colors. Even in the mornings while I'm slowly jogging. I look up and see this tension yet it is harmonious. The light ties it all together.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Art of Robin Williams to a 12 Year Old Girl

I was a 6th grader in 1987. The year Good Morning Vietnam came out. We were living in Denver, Colorado in a shared house. We rented the top and another couple rented the bottom. I was going to a private Christian school paid for by an anonymous donor. The school was mostly Dutch-Reformed and very American. I had been born in the Philippines and up until 6th grade had lived there my whole life. My memory of Denver that year was just a wet cold and the silence of snow very different from tropical rain. Rain has a sound that lulls and soothes with its fat drops of life. Snow just quietly builds into a heavy weight. It seeps into fingers and toes as pain and caused the continual wiping of my nose as if I were crying all winter.

My Mom and Dad had been missionaries for 15 years. They had come home for furlough. That's the time "off" that a missionary takes to rest. Only you don't really rest. You speak in churches after churches about what is going on in the country you are coming from and then you fly back to pick up where you left off. We usually stayed for only 6 weeks but this time we had to stay a full year. My older sister and I had contracted tuberculosis and we needed a year to recover our lungs. The Dr. had said a dry climate would clear them better so we picked Denver. Mostly because that is where my grandparents lived. It could have been Timbuktu for all I knew. It was nothing like where I came from.

While we settled into our life there the mission board we were with decided to let us go (because our furlough would be too long). In a matter of two weeks we left our house and moved to the rented smaller one. My Dad started working as a security guard at night and Mom worked cleaning houses. My sister and I had jobs after school. We ate Hamburger Helper every night of the week and we shopped at Goodwill. I remember this bright green coat I got from there and how it had this brown stain on the front pocket. I had never needed a coat before and it felt so weird to wear clothes over clothes. To a 6th grader life didn't seem so bad. I can remember feeling a great grace at school and having some wonderful friends that year: Krissy and Katie and Matt. I can also remember these wonderful things called, "Little Debbie's Nutty Bars." Oh man. I loved those things. And Tracy Chapman came out with a tape (yes, tape!) called Fast Car and I wore it out. I loved how her voice trembled in the story of that song.

In all of this change Good Morning Vietnam was in theaters and I wanted to see it for my birthday. I saw it first with my family. I know I didn't understand some of the jokes but I loved the energy, the way Adrian Kronauer saw fun in his monotonous work and brought laughter to dark times. What I remember was seeing what looked like home on the big screen. Rice. The open fields green with new rain and heavy back labor. I was reminded of people I went to church with as I saw Asians giggling and gracious in their learning of English. I saw friendship between two cultures and I saw love between two opposing sides. There was someone on the screen not trying to hide the truth of what was happening. And he did it with a sense of humor. If I wasn't laughing I was crying and it was cleaning me out.

Adrian had a way of playing joy and goodness back into a person with these old songs. He would sigh, "What a Wonderful World by the Great Satchmo" and I could feel that song was true. Between the war, the rice and crowds of black hair I remembered life. Not here in these mountains, frozen in time, waiting for the world to thaw it. But back home. We had been so busy picking up our lives that we forgot how much we loved, yes loved, the Philippines.

Robin Williams gave a performance not just in his delivery but through his eyes. He saw. He really saw these men and what was happening to them. He saw they needed to laugh. He reminded me I needed to laugh and cry and think about other people. He reached out through his art and shook me with my own laughter. I felt the notes of it like little black dots I could step on out of a hole. I saw my Dad wiping his eyes. He wanted to go home too. We laughed over a plate of longing. And we knew. Without having to even say it. We would go back. Whatever it took.

Robin, thank you. Your art helped us see clearly and feel wisely. I truly wish someone could have told you a joke. Made you laugh so hard you swam in the joy of it. I wish you had been given what you gave a 12 year old girl in a shiny green coat who felt very tired of life. Hope. Home. Truth. All wrapped in a smile like a thin curl on a distinct face and this way of seeing with eyes that know mercy because they have needed it too.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

"Valley of Light and Water" 36x36, Oil on Gessobord

"Valley of Light and Water" 36x36, Oil on Gessbord
Finished this piece today. A large gessobord. I've actually been working on this piece for several weeks with the layers of glaze. I wanted the distant hills to have a green tint and the land to get warmer in coloring as it came forward. I added the little lake at the bottom because I felt the painting needed something to balance the textured sky.
Palette: Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue, Yellow Ochre, and Titanium White 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

"Cain" 20x20, Oil on Canvas

"Cain" 20x20, Oil on Canvas
I finished my entry for the Jubilee Museum of Sacred Art Biennial for 2014. The theme this year is "Cain and Abel, Am I My Brother's Keeper?"
The text is: Genesis 4:8-13 (New American Standard, emphasis mine)
"Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let us go out to the field." When they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD asked Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" He answered, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?" The LORD then said, "What have you done! Listen, your brother's blood cries out to me from the soil! Therefore you shall be banned from the soil that opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. If you till the soil it shall no longer give you its produce. You shall become a restless wanderer on the earth."
I realized after reading the text that Cain was twice cursed. Not just through the curse of Adam: "Cursed is the ground because of you..." (Genesis 3:17-19) but also through his murder of Abel. The earth will no longer produce for Cain but instead he will become a lonely wanderer upon it. At one particular point you see Cain say to God: "My punishment is more than I can bear..." He realizes, in some sense, that he has also "died." He cannot have fellowship with God or those closest to him after this. Yet, he has to live with this great loss.
I wanted to show how the earth was responding to the sin of Cain. Here I have Abel's lifeblood which is coming up through the land as the red/orange. It surrounds Cain (the tree). He can't get away from what he has done. It has changed things forever. I wanted to show the curse of God coming as a storm. The green and growing starting to change into the burnt and barren. Cain is depicted as a twisted tree (sin was crouching at his door) as he turns away from God. He is forever shaped by this sin.
In an artistic sense I started with a small study:
6x6 Study
I liked the coloring and mood but wanted to bring some interest to it. I also felt that the two trees (supposed to be the two brothers) looked as if they were coupled instead of one being greatly affected by a curse. This was where making small thumbnail sketches came in handy as I tried to think about one tree and how that would look. I also tried several types of red before I settled on the one in the larger piece. To me there is a visual contrast in the colors with the green and orange/red. Every color that is in the sky is in the landscape. This helped tie it all together.
Lastly, I used some glazing for the grass to get some of the glow to come out and tried for more of a stronger light in the sky.
In the original piece it was just Titanium White, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna, and Yellow Ochre. in the newer one I added one more yellow: Nickel Titanium Yellow and one more red: Cadmium Red and just a little green: Chromium Oxide Green. I felt these helped push the contrasts to tension.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Creative Process

"To the Lowest Place" 48x60, Oil on Canvas
Available at Mary Tomas Gallery
I've been challenged lately by my sister, Dee Jones to share a little more behind the scenes of HOW I create. She is an incredible artist and I encourage you all to check out her work. I appreciate so much our dialogue in this and being able to ask each other into the process of creativity.
There were really 4 questions that she asked me (and she also answered on her blog) and I'd like to share them with you.
The first question was: How does my creative process work?
The entire process takes about three stages. The first stage is the idea, meditation, prayer stage followed by the painting of a small study to get the idea out on canvas. The 2nd stage is to reformulate what worked and didn't work and begin the final painting (usually larger). This also takes thought into what types of mediums to use along the way. The choice between Oleogel and a Linseed Painting Medium. One helps me oil in areas that I need to have flowing and one helps the paint to become "tacky" or sticky so that other layers can sit on top of it (I can paint faster). The 3rd stage is the finished details and highlights. Usually this is where the surprises happen. I don't plan for things that just naturally occur in the paint. This is a very spiritual point as I feel I let myself be open to changes that need to happen (shifts of light, color change or elimination of objects that were planned).
For certain paintings I usually begin with a scripture in mind:
The Scripture I wrote out for "Cain and Abel."
These were the particular passages that moved me the most to want to paint.
I sketch out the idea and write out the colors I believe will work.
I will see how this looks when I do the study for the bigger piece.
I usually check what are my 2 main color groups and what are the neutrals that will happen in those color groups. For example if the main painting is mostly a yellow hue (light in the sky, land etc) then I know it's opposite color is purple and that will give me my neutral.
I will choose my yellow, red and blue family that will come together to make the painting. After the study I will probably enhance the painting with more colors (not too many). Here I used one more yellow and red. I also added another green that I could not mix with the blues and yellows I chose.
The little 6x6 study to see the colors and idea
For the larger work I think through the mediums I will use.
Olegel and a Linseed Painting Medium (not just straight Linseed).
 I used ALL linseed based mediums because I like the way they smell (natural) and work with the paint. There are many different kinds but for me these do the two things I want the most: help me work into a wet canvas the next day without having to repaint the entire portion AND help me paint in one sitting a series of overlapping details.
In the final layers and process I go back to a question that hangs on my wall:
Prayer must guide the painting as that opens me to having my "ego" get out of the way
 (the way I want it to go and perhaps NOT exactly the way it should go).
 It also helps align my heart with God as I ask God to show me.
The 2nd question she asked was: How does my work differ from others in its genre?
Perhaps the Viewer would be better to answer this than the Artist. BUT, I believe something I am trying to get at in my work is the emotional truth in the landscape. That may sound weird but I believe nature is the symbol that scripture invites us to use to speak truths that are sometimes deeper than words. C.S. Lewis in his wonderful essay, Weight of Glory says it this way:
"...At present we are on the outside of the world, the wrong side of the door. We discern the freshness and purity of morning but they do not make us fresh and pure. We cannot mingle with the splendors we see. But all the leaves of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so. Some day, God willing, we shall get in. When human souls have become as perfect in voluntary obedience as the inanimate creation is in its lifeless obedience, then they will put on its glory, or rather that greater glory of which Nature is only the first sketch. For you must not think that I am putting forward any heathen fancy of being absorbed into Nature. Nature is mortal; we shall outlive her. When all the suns and nebulae have passed away, each one of you will still be alive. Nature is only the image, the symbol, but it is the symbol Scripture invites me to use. We are summoned to pass in through Nature, beyond her, into that splendor which she fitfully reflects."
In my own words I believe nature has been enchanted with the fingerprints of God. This is why we can look at sunsets or oceans or great vistas of mountains and exclaim, "Thank you." Because our hearts have been quickened by that enchantment that nature drives us towards. There is a God and He is good. Even in the horror of this planet Earth there are still places of immeasurable beauty and awe. It is not explainable only something felt. I try to hit upon that feeling as I paint the landscape. I want cloud, water, mist, tree to become a metaphor of the stories of God and Man.
My work differs from most landscape in that I do not end with just landscape. It is just the vehicle I use to the truth. A truth sometimes I don't even know but will be revealed to me in the process of painting. When asked what I paint I say, "I paint the emotional landscape." That always leads to good questions for myself and hopefully the viewer.
"Soft Woodlands" 8x8, Oil on Gessobord

The 3rd question my sister asked was: What am I working on?
Right now, on my easel, is a the bigger painting for "Cain and Abel." I am still not finished but I hope to be by the end of the week. One thing I've noticed already is that the sky has changed along with the tree line. I had two trees to represent the brothers in the foreground and have now gone with one lone tree that is crooked. I am still wrestling through the colors in the foreground as I want a more burnt, red landscape. Hope to show you what it looks like very soon.
The 4th and final question was: Why do I create what I do?
There is something about landscape and nature that compels me to paint. It quickens my heart, stirs my soul. I used to draw and paint more figurative work (and sometimes still do that to take a break) but I found that there was more emotional range in the landscape (for me). It lends itself to a feeling of exploration, a pilgrimage, a wandering through the woods and forests, through skies and places of heavy atmosphere. I like the mystery that is embedded in the landscape. There is no end to it's mystery. I don't mean scientific explanations of what a rock or tree or fog IS but more what it gives me glimpses OF. More specifically the glimpse of the mysteries that line human hearts: loneliness, grief, sorrow, loss, joy, hope, refreshment and peace. I find as I read through the Bible that I am continually affirmed in this as God uses storms to speak from, clouds to guide, rocks to explain strength and rain to bring hope. Why do I create what I do? Because I love the landscape. It compels me to feel deeply and teaches me how to see.

Friday, July 11, 2014

6x6 oil on Gessobord, study for "Cain and Abel"

6x6, Oil on Gessobord
I'm just working through the colors and mood I want for a larger piece (20x20) based on Cain and Abel. I am struck particularly with the passage that reads: "Listen. Your brothers' blood cries out to me from the ground..." (entire portion Genesis 4:1-16).
I've been working at getting more of a mood here with the oncoming rain and the darkening colors. I believe the trees could be separated more and the land pushed with more tension. It's been actually "fun" for me to explore the neutrals here and have one color as a highlight. I want the red to really pop and felt I couldn't do it very well in this one. Hopefully, I will try it again.
Palette: Ultramarine Blue, Titanium White, Yellow Ochre and Burnt Sienna. You will notice I used the Burnt Sienna as my "red" in this palette. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

White Stone Gallery Opening Reception for Summer Group Exhibition Tomorrow Night

So pleased to be up with such a wonderful mix of artists and in this gallery. It's truly an honor. If you are in Philadelphia please go and see the work this month. White Stone is located at: 1817 Frankford Ave. Philadelphia, 19125. Reception is tomorrow night starting at 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

My piece, "John 1" is in the exhibit.

Friday, June 27, 2014

"Strands of Light" Oil on Canvas

"Strands of Light" 10x20, Oil on Canvas
In July I will have the joy of getting to be a part of Summer Colors at Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. I love this charity. I am working on having some smaller pieces for the auction. I will write more about it later but in the meantime I hope to get your thoughts stirred. Let's help some kids this year.
This is my first, "Strands of Light" 10x20. It will be available July 31st.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

"Sacrifice of Love" Art Talk by Dawn Waters Baker

I had the privilege of sharing the Art Talk this past Sunday with my home church, Arapaho Road Baptist Church. I can truthfully say that the Lord is gracious in His love as I prayed and prayed about the talk and He gave me strength to do it. I felt as if I were being held up the entire time (I know that probably sounds weird but it's true).

I just want to thank each one of you who prayed for me. God wants to use us all for sharing His grace and love. May we see days of grace spilled over our lives and those around us.

Here is the link if you would like to see it: Art Talk

Bless you my friends!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Diverse Works at Mary Tomas Gallery

"Diverse Works" a Group Show
at Mary Tomas Gallery
1110 Dragon St. Dallas, TX 75207
Reception: Saturday June 28th 6-9 p.m.
Regular Gallery Hours: M-F 10-5, Sat 12-4
I have 5 new pieces in the show based on the book of John. I would love to see you there.
DALLAS-June 3, 2014- DIVERSE WORKS is a group show featuring art work by Mary Tomas Gallery patron favorites. “At our Gallery, we strive to present artists who express their diversity through their personal backgrounds and the variety of techniques used to make their art works compelling”, says co- owner Mary Tomás.  An opening reception will be held from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, 2014 at the Gallery located at 1110 Dragon Street, Dallas, Texas, 75207.  The reception is free and open to the public.  DIVERSE WORKS will run through Saturday, August 2, 2014.
“Group shows are a perfect way to see what a gallery has to offer patrons and fine art collectors,” says Mary Tomas. “This exhibition features local, regional, and nationally-known artists displaying a wide variety of styles and technique,” she continued.
Featured in DIVERSE WORKS: Painter and professor of art at Brookhaven College in Dallas, Chong Chu, paints in oils using imagery inspired by his Korean-American heritage, folk art and his spiritual beliefs. Santa Fe artist Ernst Gruler uses his knowledge of architecture, furniture making and unusual mixes of paint with gold leaf to his mixed media works on wood panels that call the viewer into discovery. North Carolina artist Kenn Kotara uses the Braille system of language to communicate his ideas of layered paint, language and geometry. Each work has several layers of meaning and highlights in hand-punched Braille dots, which feature passages from an important poem or book.  Dallas based printmaker and painter Cecilia Thurman uses the fine art of printmaking and mixed media to create works that feel fresh, yet historic or archeological at the same time. Dallas painter and Gallery co-owner Mary Tomás works in oils to create calming, ethereal and atmospheric images with hints of landscape and natural elements. North Texas painter Dawn Waters Baker explores her spiritual beliefs and connection to nature through oil paintings that evoke both tenderness and the unknown. Santa Fe artist Blair Vaughn-Gruler uses mark making, linear drawing and geometry in her paintings that beg the viewer to consider the oppositional forces of the two mediums and their interaction. Eric Gioia, sculptor and neurosurgeon, hammers and molds his ideas using exotic woods and metals that appear both feminine and masculine at the same time.
For further information on DIVERSE WORKS, please call (214) 727-5101 or visit

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"Soft Woodlands" 8x8, Oil on Gessobord

"Soft Woodlands" 8x8, Oil on Gessobord
I'm working on getting the right colorings for the ideas I have in my mind before I try to paint them. I liked the way the light was so soft in this piece. One of the things that delights me in a "wondrous" way is walking through woods. I feel like I could get lost in them.

Friday, May 30, 2014

"Rise" 36x36, Oil on Canvas

"Rise" 36x36, Oil on Canvas

So glad to say that I am slowly getting these bigger pieces done. I just finished this one today on the resurrection of Christ. I wanted to show it as if the stone was getting rolled away and all this
light and life was flooding the sky.

Although this is a high chroma piece I did mix for the neutrals in the darks and ended out using only ONE red which was Alizarin Crimson.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"John 1" 36x36, Oil on Canvas

"John 1" 36x36, Oil on Canvas

I have so much to share but I'll try to put that in another blog post in the future. Needless to say I learned so much at the workshop I attended with Mitchell Albala. I learned more about neutrals and the importance of having a high key "zinger" or (brighter color) that is supported by the neutrals. It's like a light bulb went off in my mind.

In my 12x12 study of this piece I believe I got at the "feeling" I was after which was one of mystery (the unknown). I didn't feel like I got at the visual punch I was after. In this one I think I came nearer to it through the help of using shades of grey supported by the same color yellow throughout (even in the light) and in the valley. For me, the purpose of the painting was to show that Jesus came to make the world new, refreshed, reborn. Rain helps to try to visualize that but I think green does that too.

My painting feels energized in a way it hasn't been before. I'm so grateful!

Monday, May 5, 2014

"Golgotha" 12x12, Oil on Gessobord

"Golgotha" 12x12, Oil on Gessobord

I think the image is a little too grainy. I'll try a better one once it dries. 

As I've been working through John I wanted to paint something on the crucifixion without showing a cross. Just the sky telling the story of what He did. I tried to get at it with this storm on the mountain. It seems to me that mountains are used a great deal in scripture as where God spoke (Moses, Elijah, Jesus on the Mt. of Transfiguration). I wanted to show how the sky was going dark and there was this great grief and judgment being poured out at the same time.

I'm wanting so much to just touch on the emotion in the moments of scripture. It's a struggle to truly get at something like this but I find myself longing to get back to painting and keep at it.