Sunday, July 28, 2013

I was given a boat load of vintage art supplies. Most of them are still in great condition and all of them are the very best brands. It was a major score. In the box was about 30 of these little wooden panels. I have been fooling around with them. 
Here are my first efforts.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Happy Birthday Adah!

Sweet Adah. Even as a baby she was such a sweet and happy soul. She loves deeply, feels deeply, cares deeply. She is gentle, generous, and thoughtful. I love how she ponders aloud about God and heaven. I love how makes up songs and dances for Jesus, even when she thinks no one is watching or listening. I love how she brings little toys to her sister when she is crying or to her brother when he's trouble; trying to find a way to cheer them up. I love how she thinks the best of others even when they don't always deserve it.  She is my sweet daughter on loan from a good God. How I love her so! Today she is 5 years old.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sweet Joy and Peace

What a joyous day, with so much peace,  as we gathered with family to celebrate the very heart of our Christian faith, the resurrection of Jesus. I am blessed beyond measure to have been brought by God's grace to a faith in the life, death and life again of Jesus. A line from one of my favorite hymns, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing perfectly sums up how I see my life as a result God's great love for me:

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

He removed the blinders from eyes and revealed to me His great truths. He allowed to me to believe by showing me all that I could never see before.

And with all sweetness we also celebrated Naomi's second birthday. Words cannot express what a gift and treasure she is to me, to all of us. Unbelievable, deep swelling love for this darling girl. Its of course, bittersweet to see her grow and change: to be talking more and understanding more and craving more and more independence. I am excited to see who is she becoming but sad that she is growing so fast and is no longer my little baby. To be honest, I have been more than a little weepy
about it. I just want to be able to scoop her up and snuggle her close... forever.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A painting in progress and the progress of painting

This painting is inspired by psalm 121: 

   I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? 
  My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

This is in progress and there is still much to do before its finished. It is a slow process of learning (again) how to paint. When I was a younger gal without kids and a husband and home to care for, I didn't make art. I was just far too self conscious. Now that the desire to paint is swelling up inside of me so strongly that I can no longer ignore it,  I struggle to find the time. Oh, the irony.

But I am beginning to think that lack of free time is conducive to my creative tendencies! Typically when I first paint or draw something I really dislike it. All I can see are the flaws and my inner critic
picks it apart until there is nothing left but dry bones. I want to walk away from it and never look at it again. Many a time my attempts at art didn't make it past this first stage of creation; I gave up because the created thing looked so foolish and ugly to me.

These days the inner critic doesn't get a lot of opportunity to destroy my art. I paint for a minute or two or an hour at most, but then life calls: the children, dinner, dogs, etc. I must get up and move on. The inner monster might still voice an opinion of disgust over the "ugly" thing I've made but there is no time to dwell on it. Days may go by before I am able to sit down to the painting again. By then, I see it differently: it doesn't look so bad or I see what needs to be done next. Ironically, I think its having the children that has made it possible for me to finish paintings lately. I think I work better in small doses, when I am able to ride the creative impulse with pleasure and get up and move on before the monster of doubt appears to pick it clean. Also, life is very short and moving quickly. I don't want to miss out on the sheer pleasure of making art anymore. I feel very blessed to have a few minutes here and there to add a touch of golden green or a wisp of cloud.

I have given myself the guideline of allowing scripture to inspire my paintings, as a framework and a jumping off point. Its quite wonderful as scripture provides more than enough beautiful points to jump off from. Despite having this structure I still struggle about how to interpret the scriptures into art. I have gone at it three or four different ways now. First, I was painting a scene, then adding the text digitally over the paintings. Although, this is certainly an easy way to do it, I wasn't thrilled with the look of the digitally words over the painting. So recently, I tried hand lettering and making the hand painted words be the focus of the paintings rather than the images. That was unnatural to me and challenging in an unproductive way. I started three paintings over three times each trying to get the words and spacing just right. One painting will never be finished because I abandoned it all together. Now I am back to allowing the visuals drive the painting and I am still meditating on how to incorporate the scripture. What do you think?

Each painting is helping me to get closer to who I am as an artist. With each new painting, I am learning something about what I want to make and what my heart wants to see. This latest painting is the one that feels the most authentic to me. The one that feels closest to what is in me and really wanting to come out. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

If It Be Your Will.....

I wrote in my last post that there are two songs by singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen which have been especially inspirational and moving during my recent artistic revival. I wrote about Cohen's famous song - Anthem and how I listen to it to be reminded that even our imperfect offerings are valuable when offered in Love.  

There is a second song ( and really I love just about all of his work) that has meant so much to me lately- If It Be Your Will. Cohen has said that this song was written as a prayer during a particularly challenging time in his life.
He submits his gift of song to the Lord and says,

If it be your will
That I speak no more
And my voice be still
As it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will

If it be your will
That a voice be true
From this broken hill
I will sing to you
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing

This song is so incredibly powerful to me. Although I don't choose to (publicly) express myself through song, I can relate entirely to his plea with the Lord. Many times in recent days, I have asked God to either give me the ability to paint and to create or to take the desire away from me. Either to help me to overcome the obstacles I perceive or to simply set me at peace about this urge to make art.

Art has become, for me, a way to commune with God, an opportunity to revere the Holy and to make visible the Divine and creative Spirit that resides in me, an act of worship. I believe the Lord has given me the desire and the ability to be creative, but if its not His will for me to do this, then I am fully ready to set it aside. I never, ever want to be outside the will of God.

Here I attach a video of The Webb Sisters singing his song live in London with a great intro from Cohen. I love Leonard's version, but the Webb Sisters really are beautiful.