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.