Tuesday, December 6, 2016

"Spirit" and "Green Pasture" 5x7 on Canvas Panel

"Spirit" 5x7, Oil on Canvas Panel

I tried some dry pigment with linseed oil and liked the light I got with this one. A very cool blue. I'm trying to play with the materials to see what I might do for a larger piece. Oh, how I love blue. A truly spiritual color.

"Green Pasture" 5x7, Oil on Canvas Panel

I tried a very simplified palette. I want to try this one bigger but will change up the landscape a bit. I liked the cool mist.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Studies this Week: Tree Sketch, graphite on paper, "Olympic Sea 1" and "Olympic Sea II" both 6x8 on Canvas

"Olympic Sea I" 6x8, Oil on Canvas

"Olympic Sea II" 6x8, Oil on Canvas

"Tree Sketch" Graphite on paper

I'm having a great time in the studio this week just getting some good practice in for larger works in 2017. Trying different colorings and also working at the shapes of things.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"Olympic Coast" 6x8, Oil on Canvas

"Olympic Coast" 6x8, Oil on Canvas

I have been so busy this year with works from Big Bend that I couldn't get to the plein air paintings I had done last October while Kendrick and I spent a week in Olympic National Park. It was just a breathtaking place! Needless to say there was lots of mist, trees, moody oceans and sky. My kind of place. I think I could live there.

Will post more from Olympic. For now, this is the first one from the coast.

"Converge" 5x7, Oil on Oil Primed Canvas

"Converge" 5x7, Oil on Canvas

Got to paint with my Dad and my Sister on Thanksgiving afternoon. It was a lovely day. I kept telling them that these two trees seemed to be "talking." It was only later that I realized they weren't just talking they were like a couple coming together to form a larger canopy.

We had fun sitting out on a cool day (but not too cold) talking and enjoying the act of creating together. That was the best part.

Monday, November 28, 2016

"Soft Woods Beneath My Feet" 6x6, Oil on Gessobord

"Soft Woods Beneath My Feet" 6x6, Oil on Gessobord

I can hardly contain myself these days. The trees and air are mixing and making such colors with the light. It's Autumn here in Texas. 

Most weeks I find a place to just sit and try to get at the beauty that is changing all around me. One of the greatest gifts to this earth is trees. Each one has such a distinct bend and shape, a crown and limb that gives my eyes and ears a deep grace.

Will try to keep posting as I go. Hope you get to stand in soft places and smell the cool earth.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

"Wildwood" 12x48, Oil on Canvas

"Wildwood" 12x48, Oil on Canvas

I've been working on this one for a few weeks. I've had to put it away several times because it needed to fully dry before I went on to the next layer. Patience always teaches me. It helps me listen to the painting, to truly see it. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

"Come and Find Me" 24x24, Oil on Canvas

"Come and Find Me" 24x24, Oil on Canvas

Our church is setting the table for Christmas this coming November 20th with a special arts service. As the Artist in Residence, I have been working with several of the artists that are IN the church to set the stage for Christmas. It is a challenging and Holy task. I won't share about all of it right now as we are still unfolding how it will go and there are many who are involved that I need their permission to share. What I will say is that the theme for this particular service has formulated in my heart for a while. It helped me tremendously to get to share it with other artists so that the idea started to take shape. I'm extremely grateful for the talents and gifts I am working with.

For this painting, I wanted to share the Christmas sky in a new way. We have seen the Christmas cards many times with the three Wise Men on their camels making their way to the brightly lit star. It always makes me think, "Does it take a wise man to follow that?" The beam from the star is so obvious it begs the question, "Why did Herod need to be told WHERE Jesus was?" I don't mean to be mean. I really don't. I mean for us to think and to question this old story in a new way. When I painted this I was after the shadow of the Milky Way but the viewer could also see more. Is it a form? is it an Angel? Is it just the stars rotating in a certain way on a particular night? So many questions that are held in Christmas. So much mystery.

I call this, "Come and Find Me" because of something Esther Meeks said about the Wise Men. She was speaking about their looking into the night sky and hearing God say, "Come and find me..." and they did just that. It made me aware how He likes to say that to ALL of us at Christmas. Is it possible to find Jesus when the whole world is screaming, "SHOP!! BAKE!! PARTY!! STUFF!!" Please don't hear me say I don't do all that. I do. I have kids. But my heart longs for the quiet mystery of finding Jesus: My all. My deepest hope. We all hear the saying, "He's the reason for the season!" But don't really believe that to be true sometimes. It feels more like Mastercard or Visa are the reason for the season. Just like polluted cities keep us from seeing the stars so our own human emptiness makes us strive for happiness. It only muddies the water and reduces the meaning of Christmas to a ditty. A card that makes a sentimental statement about Jesus.

Perhaps all this stuff keeps us from the greatest realization of all: Our deepest longing has been realized and we are still trying to "stuff mart" everything. Look up! See the wonder that is Christmas! Realize the power of love and fragility. The world laid in our darkness and groaned. And then, one night, something of heaven fell to earth. Someone. He's inviting us, "Come and find me."

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Opening and Grace Points

The wonderful NPAF Vice President, Bettina Gilois and 
the beautiful Mary Tomas, owner of Mary Tomas Gallery. 

I have just been sitting in such gratitude these past weeks as I think back over a great opening night for "Reverence." I was honored to have Bettina Gilois attend as the VP of the National Park Arts Foundation. She is also the screenplay writer for McFarland USA (starring Kevin Costner) and Glory Road. I was humbled by her kindness to be at the show. Mary is not only my partner through the arts as I have been represented with them for several years but she is also an exquisite painter. I can honestly say that her and Alberto Tomas work tirelessly for their artists. 

Opening night was busy and I talked until 8:00 pm! Thank you all who attended! It was MY honor to see you there.

 One of my dear friends, Kendra Walden

 One of the dearest friends I am blessed to know, Sara Agold and her lovely Mom Dianne Meyer came to the show. Sara drove all the way from College Station. What a blessing to my heart!

 Some other pics with Bettina Gilois and the man all the way to the right is Harry Goaz the Big Bend National Park Artist in Residence for 2016. He starred on a very well known TV show, Twin Peaks as Deputy Andy Brennan. It was an honor to have him there!

 This dear friend, Peggy Denham and her husband, John came down to Texas and were able to spend some time with me to go see the show. It was a special day to be with such beautiful people.

 A pic of the gallery set up of the show

One of the larger pieces, "Sierra del Carmen" 36x72 which was sold recently

 "Smoke on the Mountain" 55x55, Sold

"Edge of Heaven" 55x55, Sold

 "The Morning He Left" 12x36, Sold

 "Majesty" 18x36, Sold to some of the dearest folks you would ever meet. 
Charlie and Jeanette thank you! What an honor to be in your beautiful home!

 "Blue Storm" 10x10, Sold to the incredible Carol. Love you!

 "Madrone Tree" Sold

 "Storm King" Sold to a dear man who I have come to deeply respect and cherish as a friend.

"Sunrise over the Chisos" Sold

It's a tough thing to share ones' heart and thoughts about a landscape. I confess that I walked into the opening nervous. It was such a grace to see the love and the acceptance of the works. As I was reminded by a dear mentor, "TRUST, that God has this." And He did. Ultimately, just like in the wilderness, He had me. 

I am extremely grateful not only to God who gave such an outpouring of love to me but to you dear friends. I kept notes during my time of nervousness and fear and felt God telling me to just write down all the times I saw grace. I started calling it Grace Notes and I'm still writing down the moments! It's kept the nervousness and fear away whenever I look at it and remind myself that God is here, right here.

THANK YOU for spending your precious time to come see the show. It's still up for three more weeks so if you haven't seen it yet you still have time! Please feel welcome and if I can meet you to talk with you more please don't hesitate to do that.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

"For An-Magritt" 12x12, Oil on Gessobord

"For An-Magritt" 12x12, Oil on Gessobord

Finished this little painting for a sweet friend of mine who now lives in Norway. 

We met in the Philippines on the playground of our Missionary Kid school. I was starting 4th grade after being home schooled and she was in 3rd. The school seemed so huge at the time and I felt very alone and afraid. My days had been spent with animals and in nature and now it was buses, teachers and recess, mixed with kids that weren't always kind. Especially to wall-flowers like me.

I'm not sure she remembers this but she was the very first person to notice me and ask me to come and play with her. There is something very loving in asking another person into their lives. I believe God makes some people natural, "includers." As if they have a radar for those of us who are in need of a push or wink towards the group. An-Magritt is one of those people. A person with a ready smile and willingness to let someone else into what they are doing that day.

An-Magritt, I know we live far away from each other but I thank you for that sweet memory. I feel like we have both learned to look at nature as a window into the spiritual. We both see God there, waiting to include us in His bigger beauty.

Monday, August 8, 2016

"Journey" 60x72, Oil on Canvas

"Journey" 60x72, Oil on Canvas

Psalm 121:8 (Message)
"He guards you when you leave and when you return, He guards you now, He guards you always."

This entire experience has been a journey. A going out and coming home. Even now I can't fully articulate how it has changed me but it has. There are paths you take that forever realign the way you've looked at yourself, nature, God.

Some things that have clicked in place for me:

God. has. me. I feel this so strongly. He has me, my art, my family. I don't have to strive as the world would have me believe. He's got me.

Nature is a comfort and reprieve for me. The beauty encases me and feeds my soul in ways that nothing else can. It can also be the place where I face my fears. It is the literal metaphor (is there such a thing?) where God becomes real to me. The landscape in particular, which is uncontrollable (as in other art forms with the figure or still life), becomes a place of trust. It is my opening into the spiritual.

I like to control things. When I give that up God is more present with me. It's as if I have let go and He takes my hand. Faith is hard for me. To believe God will use me. Why me Lord? I'm not good enough...I'm not _____ (fill in the blank). But trust says something else. It's not based on talent or ability. It's entirely based on Him. Do you believe He called you out here? Yes. Do you believe He has something for you to do? Yes. Then simply get to work. It seems my ability is put on the shelf and I am the willing participant in joy, freedom, and real life. My control is always ready to take over in any aspect of my life with my children, my work...but God is teaching me. Not saying I have graduated yet! But He's kindly drawing me into feeling so unsatisfied with my control. And helping me yearn for the release.

Prayer is a sweet thing.

My family is necessary to my art. I used to think of them as two things vying for attention. Of course, my family being more important than any art yet this tug to DO something I love to do: paint. I found through this experience that beauty is BEST when it is shared. That, in fact, my children, husband, other family members allowed me grace and love where I was not allowing it for myself. When I hiked it was sweeter with my children. When I painted it was deeper when I thought about our times in the wild together. They helped me see things I wouldn't have seen. God not only drew me deeper into Himself but deeper in love with my family.

I Corinthians 16:14 says, "Do everything in love." A short verse but a long task of faith. I learned that it is possible to do that. To love the landscape, the people who serve the landscape and to love the work (yes, work!) that God has for me to do. In any place love must be the core. Not to prove a point or put someone in their place. Just love. Through the One who is pure Love.

Adventures are also meant for the weak. What I mean by that is I'm not some experienced hiker or backpacker. I'm not an eloquent speaker or confident painter. In fact, I am very weak in many aspects of my life. I don't say that to put myself down but to show you how God uses that. It's as if there are holes that God can seep through. He gives me the fire, passion and drive to walk, speak, paint, and see. He loves to show His strength in my weakness. And I love letting him.

Even now I feel sad that this series is ending, as if my adventure has come to a close. I find myself home. In my studio. Back where I started. Yet, it's not the same at all. And the sadness is mixed with joy. My deepest love, my dearest beauty is Him you see. And "He guards me always." 

"It was when I was happiest that I longed the most...the sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing...to find the place where all the beauty came from."  - CS Lewis

Thursday, July 21, 2016

"Nugent Mountain In Morning Mist" 24x20, Oil on Canvas

"Nugent Mountain" 24x20, Oil on Canvas

I've been wrestling with this one since I painted it back in November. I really love this mountain as it is where I camped with my husband the first night I was in Big Bend. I went back to it multiple times because of it's shape and presence. The particular morning I was trying to paint was almost a white out with fog. I tried in the first few paintings to bring it to the viewer in stark detail and really didn't like it. I kept adding layers until it was almost completely hidden with just that stark red rock peeping through. 

I think sometimes it's more truthful to the mountain to veil it. That may sound crazy but it helps us see it's mystery and the lines of it's rock. It gives us a way of seeing INTO the earth when it is surrounded by mist. Too much detail distracts us from what is really there.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

"Tender" 36x72, Oil on Canvas

"Tender" 36x72, Oil on Canvas

A tough week to paint. To try to put on canvas something beautiful. It seems the world is being unraveled. Sometimes, as a painter, I feel like, "Does the world really need ONE more image?" But always there is this part of me that speaks through those feelings. It reminds me that beauty is meant to be shared and especially in times of pain, loss, sorrow. I think, for me, that beauty has always been a comfort. When I'm around too much unkindness or sadness I have learned that it's best for me to get near some beauty. Whether it be in water or clouds or even in the way the light bends in the evening. It is a place of filling for my soul. A place of quiet and the reality of God. He's here. Don't be afraid. Don't worry. He's here.

Beauty also has a ministry of refreshment. I noticed this after my time at Big Bend. People would come up to me and say, "You look so refreshed Dawn!" I realized it was showing in my face because I was getting to drink deep of peace and beauty. A luxury in our world. I know. I pray that you don't hear me say we need to run to the woods every time something bad happens. What I'm trying to say is this is WHY I feel so compelled to paint beauty (or try at beauty). It's not to run away from the world but to hold up what the soul truly longs for: peace and quiet joy.

I call this painting, "Tender" because the light makes the mountains look soft in the distance. As if they might be made of mist. I saw Dallas (the city I've called home for half of my life) show tenderness this week. The word means to show gentleness, concern or sympathy. I saw the Dallas Police Department draped with cards and flowers. I saw people lining streets to pay homage to police officers who died trying to keep our city safe. I heard elected officials speak love and unity. I saw tears on faces young and old, black and white. I was grateful for tenderness. The softness that comes out when it's most needed. As days pass I pray we keep that tenderness. We won't forget it in the tough discussions that need to happen. Too long we've kept silent and not asked, "What can we do to truly help?"

Maybe in a fast pace world where we are constantly bombarded with images and up to the minute news the best thing we could bring to the world IS beauty. A friendship, a moment of prayer for someone we don't even know, a meal, a hug. Maybe the best thing we could do is help people SEE the beauty of God. No preaching, lectures, meme's, or dividing lines. Just peace, beauty and the reality that He is here. He's never left.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

"Mist and Shadow" 48x48, Oil on Canvas

"Mist and Shadow" 48x48, Oil on Canvas

A beautiful morning had begun with a soft mist that filled the floor of the desert. I loved the shadows that would happen to the mountains. By mid day all the drama was gone, burned away to the details of rock and one flat color. But in the morning or at dusk they seemed to come alive. Gloriously alive!

On this morning I saw the blue mist surround the mountain. I stood for a long time watching the light move and the soft cloud curl as if a wave was crashing on a shore. All is dry and light in this place yet there was this cool mist overnight. Bringing green and a sweet softening.

Oh, the beauty of Big Bend. You must see it for yourself. I hope you will.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

"The Morning He Left" 12x36, Oil on Canvas

"The Morning He Left" 12x36, Oil on Canvas

The morning Kendrick left Big Bend to get back to our daughters in Dallas was hard. I haven't been on my own very much. Least of all in a wilderness the size of Rhode Island. "This was good for me," I kept telling myself. But it would be 14 days until I saw him again. He was such a strength (and is) to me. ALL my insecurities came falling out of me the first night we camped and watched the beautiful sunset on the Sierra del Carmens...and then waited as one by one (thousands by thousands) of stars started their revelation. "Oh! How could I capture such beauty?" I remember saying this crying. He would just assure me that God brought me to Big Bend. He wouldn't leave me. And then walk and sit and sleep beside me as if his body were the heavy presence of God Himself.

When Kendrick left I felt like there was no curtain between me and God anymore. No chaperone. Would I fall into my fear or find His true hand? I drove out to the Chisos to watch the sunrise come over the ridge. Wiping tears from my goodbye with Kendrick. The sun took a bite out of the peak. The light was white and I thought I heard flapping for what seemed like minutes until I saw a black Raven come and stand beside me. He was the size of a house cat. I wasn't scared though. I remember saying, "Thank you God." Later I read that a group of Ravens is called an unkindness. But one? Maybe a kindness. Just a way that God says, "Are you ready? Trust me."

Saturday, June 11, 2016

"Not Alone" 36x36, Oil on Canvas

"Not Alone" 36x36, Oil on Gessbord

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”  - WB Yeats

Finished this piece a few days ago. Had to stop several times through the process and let the paint dry so I could do another layer. This helps me to be patient and wait for the painting to tell me where it wants to go.

The day I hiked up the Pinnacles in Big Bend National Park I looked up towards Emory Peak (the highest peak at around 8,000 ft). There was a cool mist that was flowing down the ridge in the late afternoon. It gave me a sense of fear and awe. There was much more detail to the mountain (rocks and trees) but I chose to dial down the information so I could soften it and give a sense of mystery to how it felt that day. Eerie yet incredible to be there on that mountain with a strong sense that I wasn't alone.

Friday, May 27, 2016

"Sound of the Desert" 36x36, Oil on Gessobord

"Sound of the Desert" 36x36, Oil on Gessobord

I don't usually put any animal life in my paintings simply because I am after the "story" of the landscape. The movement, color and flow of the living thing we call the earth. I couldn't help myself, however, when I did this painting. This little Cactus Wren is really the image of Big Bend. Life is teeming there if you only look for it. My friend, David Elkowitz (the Ranger), helped me see that so clearly on the hikes I took with him. I have never appreciated birds so much until I was forced to really SEE them and listen.

We were able to see this tiny creature sit on top of a Sotol stem that grows out from the yucca. Such resilience and beauty in the desert.

I felt like that tiny bird in this vast landscape. I was overwhelmed and yet held and provided for. Something God brought me to the desert to experience. He is my water. My shelter. My all.

You can go HERE to hear their distinct call.

close up of the Cactus Wren

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"Edge of Heaven" 55x55, Oil on Canvas

"Edge of Heaven" 55x55, Oil on Canvas

This is from my journal during my time at Big Bend National Park:

"One incredible gift we miss in the cities are the sense of stars. We literally cannot see them because of our artificial lights. This vast space twinkling in color above us and we do not even see it. The Milky Way is sliding across the sky in beautiful rivers of light. How many wonders are we missing?"

I was kindly reminded by a Mentor of mine that taking a Sabbath is necessary. He wrote me that It's not just ceasing from work but from STRIVING. Perhaps in the city we don't truly know how to rest. Striving has become a natural part of being Wife, Mom, and Artist. How much am I missing by keeping my head down and "getting through it?" 

As I painted this I actually wept in joy. I remembered the sweet time I had hiking the mountain on the left with my oldest daughter. I remembered how deeply I felt God HAD ME in Big Bend. And He has me still. 

I love the rocks and edges of mountains against a sky. These are all metaphors. Pictures. Something in me goes pretty deep when it comes in the package of beauty and space. It seems to center me on what is right and good. He is. And I don't have to work for Him or try to catch His attention. He's all in. His love goes on and on.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

"Abide" 36x48, Oil on Canvas

"Abide" 36x48, Oil on Canvas

These mountains were here before you and I were born and they will continue for lifetimes still. I remember looking over this range in Big Bend National Park as a rain storm had been passing through. They call them the "Dead Horse Mountains" because of the lack of water for miles and miles. These enduring, strong and weathered rocks. Like the spines of earth itself.

Friday, April 22, 2016

"Morning of Creation" 60x40, Oil on Canvas

"Morning of Creation" 60x40, Oil on Canvas

This comes from a quote from John Muir who wrote, "One learns that the world, though made, is yet being made; that this is still the morning of creation..."

Happy Earth Day to this beautiful, weary planet.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

"Whisper" 36x36, Oil on Gessobord

"Whisper" 36x36, Oil on Gessobord

I finished this piece after some time being sick. I wanted to capture that last light coming through a gray mist. The land looked so rumpled and soft at the same time. I tried to be a little looser this time as I was going for the feeling between those dark rocks, the light, the silent whispers that we can hear if we let it in.

Friday, March 18, 2016

"The Deep Sky" 36x36, Oil on Clayboard

"The Deep Sky" 36x36, Oil on Clayboard

How to even put this into words? There is the sky we see all day and then at night there is the deeper sky. I didn't realize how much we were missing until I went to Big Bend National Park and saw for myself the deeper beauty that is in the black night. The more I gazed at it the more colors came out. Even the stars themselves had colors. Who knew there were such stars? It takes getting away from the city domes of artificial light. It's right there over us waiting to speak.

Psalm 19:1-2
"The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge."

Monday, March 14, 2016

"Smoke on the Mountain" 55x55, Oil on Canvas

"Smoke on the Mountain" 55x55, Oil on Canvas

This was the mountain range right outside my window every morning at Panther Junction. There are actually three peaks: Pummel (on the left), Wright (on the right) and Panther (not pictured). They looked like wrinkled rugs with patches of browns and grey-greens. During my time at Big Bend National Park I was able to experience some wonderful weather which included mist. I love the way it wraps around the folds and depths of the mountains giving it a sense of mystery and quiet beauty.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Art, Worship and Big Bend National Park

First Light on the Chisos Mountains

Some of you may be sick of me sharing about Big Bend. I'm sorry but not sorry enough to stop. Ha! This past weekend I was given the wonderful privilege of sharing about the role of art in worship and how we are created as sensory beings meant for sensory worship. I also shared about my time at Big Bend National Park and what God was showing me through nature, beauty and awe. God is not to be boxed in but worshiped for the incredible, awesome God He is. 

If you would like to hear that talk please go HERE

The song mentioned at the end of the talk, "Even Unto Death" by Audrey Assad is HERE

Thank you all for your encouragement and friendship. It means the world to me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"Desert Wave" 36x60, Oil on Canvas

"Desert Waves" 36x60, Oil on Canvas

I remember this day clearly. Driving back from the Rio Grande Village at Big Bend National Park. The Rangers had just told me how lucky I was to see such weather in one month (November). This beautiful storm was rolling through. The next day the floor of the desert would be filled with cloud and mist as if the whole world were cloud. I pulled off the side of the road heading back to my cabin to take a shot of the clouds rolling over the Dead Horse Mountains. The air was humid and the wind was picking up. The light was like one thin line across that bumpy horizon. I wondered how long I would need to stand there until it took me in and I was covered in smoke.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

"When Suffering is Redemptive" Edited by Dr. Larry Waters

Book cover is my painting, "Beatitude"
Book is released in October 2016

 I am very pleased to share that my beloved father, Dr. Larry Waters edited this book and my sister, Dee Jones did the sketches for each chapter. I was kindly allowed to submit for the cover of the book and they chose this painting called, "Beatitude." We are all so grateful to have gotten to do this together. Please pray that this book will be a deep encouragement to those that read it.

Synopsis from the Publisher, Weaver Book Company:

"The seven stories of this book do not seek to explain the why of suffering, but rather present ways that God can transform and redeem suffering in the life of the individual and in the Christian community. The stories are personal, sometimes difficult to tell. The authors are transparent with their struggles and honest in their questions, yet they have not lost sight of Christ and his purpose for their lives. The natural reaction to suffering is anger, confusion, and feelings of alienation from God. But the eventual end should be redemption—the faithful sufferer and the suffering transformed for the glory of God."

Here is one of my sisters sketches inside the book:

I love her use of words flowing through the artwork as well as the drawings. 

All done in free hand. She is amazing.

The Chapters are:

1. Redeeming the Worse Pain Known to Medical Science: Suffering and the Mission of God
            Larry J. Waters

2. Redeeming a Life of Paralysis: Broken Wholeness
            Mark Talbot

3. Redeeming Chronic Pain: When Surgery Fails
            Mark McGinniss

4. Redeeming Disability: Parenting a Child with Special Needs
            Mary Klentzman

5. Redeeming Trauma: The Trials and Triumphs of Emergency Responders
            Steve Calvert

6. Redeeming the Loss of a Spouse: God’s Crucible of Affliction
            Richard Rood

7. Redeeming the Homeless: One Man’s Vision and Experience
            Wayne Walker

8. Redeeming a Life after Suicide: The New Normal
            Bill Bryan

You will be blessed by this lineup of wisdom. I am personally aware of Wayne Walker through his ministry with Our Calling here in Dallas. He reaches out to the homeless community through love. Ranked continually as the top non-profit to give to by the Dallas Morning News, Our Calling has reached into lives like no other. I can't wait to read all of these chapters and get a glimpse of the truths and grace they each one of them hold.

It is an honor to be a part of such a book. Thank you Dad for the precious opportunity to love people with you.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

"Sierra del Carmen" 36x72, Oil on Canvas

"Sierra del Carmen" 36x72, Oil on Canvas

I've been working pretty steadily here in the studio after the weeks of Christmas and New Years. I wanted to start where it began for me. Kendrick and I got to Big Bend on a Sunday and wanted to camp out together before we checked in with the Park services to start the residency on Monday morning. I remember feeling so in awe of the space and light and color. The sunset came along with our meager dinner and Kendrick said, "look!" I remember it took my breath away this contrast between the blues and the oranges. The blues were varying kinds along with the subtle shifts of color in the dome of sky. The plants were strange and prickly, thorny and colorless at times. The smell of them was sweet and musky. I was later to learn that the Creosote bush gives off this beautiful scent especially after a rain. I remember crying that night as Kendrick talked to me. Trying to encourage me that if God brought me here He would help me to paint it. I felt so inadequate as a painter. How could I express anything so sublime, so real? It only came through the following weeks how I had been thinking totally wrong. There isn't any way to capture this wonder. That wasn't my job. Even though as Artist in Residence I felt it was. In fact, my only "job" was to receive. To take in to my body, heart and spirit what it means to feel His presence. God didn't NEED me to paint anything. He was delighting in it with me. He was beckoning me out there. Saying, "Come! See! Listen!"

As I worked through the layers of this painting I reflect on that layering that happened in me. I recall my fear. My SELF being in the way of His love. I see Him drawing me further into freedom through this experience. No more need to try to prove anything. No more TRYING. Just BE. I see Him covering me again and again in that wash of grace. Just as I glazed layers of cool blues and then layers of orange. Each layer bringing out the one beneath. He calmed me with beauty. I stopped looking for what I could capture and instead looked at what delighted me. What stirred my affections for Him. 

There is nothing I paint that will come close to the experience. The reason I paint is to simply reflect back. To say, in my own intimate way, that I love Him. I see the beauty He has made. I agree with Him in it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Art for Adoption Thanks!

"Rise" 36x36, Oil on Canvas, Sold

Thank you to all of you who purchased a piece of art through Art for Adoption! The reception on January 10th at Mary Tomas Gallery was so lovely. Full of friends and love. Through the hospitality of Mary and Alberto Tomas and the generous supporters of Beth and George Butler's adoption process we were able to sell 12 paintings! God is so good! He not only gives people to share in this story but will use all that we have to give. What a thrill to see God use art to love!

George and Beth, we love you both and are so grateful for your Christian witness to this world. We already love baby Butler. We have been able to see how God is already preparing you for him or her. It's exciting to see His will unfold into this wonderful story.
George and Beth's favorite piece.
"Lantern in the Forest" 
The path of their adoption story may not be seen entirely but God has a path to walk!

These are the pieces that sold (including the one above):

 "Grace" 5x7, Oil on Panel

 "Cain" 6x6, Oil on Gessobord

 "Summer Green" 5x7, Oil on Gessobord

 "Sweet Breeze" 5x7, Oil on Gessobord

 "Softening" 6x8, Oil on Canvas

 "Wildfire" 12x12, Oil on Gessobord

 "Storm Canyon" 6x8, Oil on Gessobord

 "Verdant" 16x20, Oil on Gessobord

 "Rubicund" 6x6, Oil on Gessobord

 "Whispering Wood" 5x7, Oil on Gessobord

"Verdant" 5x7, Oil on Oil Primed Panel

God bless each one of you and may He bless you with His unfailing, unfathomable love!