Showing posts from 2009


Praise Him for the Incarnation
For the Word made flesh.
I will not sing
of shepherds watching flocks
on frosty night
or angel choristers.
I will not sing of stable bare in Bethlehem
Or lowing oxen
Wise men
Trailing distant star
With gold and frankincense and myrrh
Tonight I will sing
Praise to the Father
Who stood on heaven’s threshold
And said farewell to His Son
As He stepped across the stars
To Bethlehem
And Jerusalem.

And I will sing praise to the infinite eternal Son
Who became most fine
A Baby
Who would one day be executed
For my crimes

Praise Him in the heavens.
Praise Him in the stable.
Praise Him in my heart.
Joseph Bayly

A Loving Father and the 1930 Yearbook

My mom is 97, fairly healthy, and lives with us. Not long ago she and I went out together on the Internet to look at her old hometown of Council Bluffs, Iowa. She hasn't lived there since the 40s but it's still 'home' to her, of course. There are a lot of memories tied up in the place where you grew up.

We spent some time looking at Abraham Lincoln High School and I found a link on the Pottawatamie County Genealogical Society's page where you could request photographs. Her graduation year, 1930, was listed, so I sent off a request, mentioning that Mom had never received a copy of her yearbook. I forgot about it until today when I received an email telling me... well, here, read for yourself:

Hi, You are in luck - we have a spare 1930 AL yearbook. I find your mother pictured, so pretty. If you want to purchase the book we ask $10.00 plus $2.00 postage and handling.Now, I'm not so sure it's luck at play here! Mom tells a story about how she never purchased a ye…

Psalm 51 and Blind Contour Drawings

I know it sounds like an odd combination, but I hope it will make sense.

If you don't remember psalms by the numbers (who does?) this one was written by David about his, ahem, indiscretions with Bathsheba. Let's face it, he committed adultery and then arranged the murder of her husband thinking he could cover up the conception of a child. Yeah, the child was born early. No, happens. Uh huh. His sin was uncovered.

So how does David's song of repentance and restoration relate to blind contour drawing? In doing this kind of drawing you gaze steadfastly at the object and draw it without looking at the paper. I was over on one of the other sites where friends have joined in the fun (see my post on Blind Contour Drawings below) and there was a mention that the trick is to match the speed of your hand with the speed of your eye. Part of the reason these drawings are hard is because your hand and eye don't move at the same rate. Your eye is so much faster and when …

Perspective applied to the Christian Walk

I'm learning not to judge solely by my own perspective on a thing. It's probably a painfully obvious lesson, since it's so rudimentary in some ways, but my life and my faith walk often bring me back to the basics. So here I am again.
This morning I watched a YouTube video of an artist with no eyes, named Esref Armagan. In it the narrator says, " also involves our ability to understand space." I'm constantly reminding myself to draw what I see, and NOT to draw what I think I see. This remarkable man is able to draw space without the benefit of sight. I wonder if his perception is clarified by the lack of vision, so that in knowing space he isn't distracted by seeing it. I can't say.
My study this morning was in 1 Corinthians 10. In verse 24 it says, "Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor." The word good is an additional clarification, added into the text for my understanding, but without that word it's interesting…

Beautiful Storms

Storm Clouds, 3x4.5" on Somerset Black Velvet paper
I'm enjoying these explorations with gouache so much. I have some very blurry images on my computer from a (now defunct, sadly) web camera in the area of my home. The view was of Sandia, showing the progression of weather over the mountain throughout the day in hyper-speed. I loved being able to see the cloud formations come and go. I used one of those images as inspiration for this one.
As it notes in the title of my blog, this is a record of the clearing skies of my life, but we all have to endure storms. I'm so thankful that the Lord uses the trials and troubles of life to remind me to snuggle up to Him a little closer, which is the only real comfort there is for me! As Jesus said, "In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." So the rain will fall but I look it as merely scenic when I remember to run into His arms and not be afraid of the future.

The Black and White of It

Yesterday I taught a class on the Japanese concept of notan (NO-tahn) , meaning 'black/white'. I find this means of analyzing the underlying distilled abstraction of a composition to be quite valuable. It gets me back to basics, where I can make decisions that aren't muddied up with lots of useless details or frivolous color. Just simple black and white.

The idea is to
use no linekeep spaces between shapes unequal establish a primary value (50% or more), a secondary value, and an accent valueIf you create a good underlying value structure and stick with it to the end, you'll have a strong painting when you're finished. It's the same in life. The word of God is the value structure you need to stick with... as the old hymn says:On Christ the solid Rock I stand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

Here are a few of my studies, done about the size of a business card using an 8b pencil.

And another composition:

Meek Gray

I'm a colorist. I love sassy, saturated colors that bounce and vibrate on the page. Give me a loud purple, a brassy orange or a lush yellow-green any day. But last fall I recognized that my palette lacked neutral colors, and not long after that my friend Maggie Price came out with a lovely selection of gray pastels made by Terry Ludwig, the Essential Grays. The name started me thinking...are grays essential?
I can't deny that grays have an important role to play. Too many sassy, brassy, bouncing colors on one page and all you have is chaos. None of them look good--it becomes a 'look at me' competition that no one wins. If all I use is purple, orange and yellow-green I have a garish, blatant color scheme that's actually offensive. Neutral grays become the support system that lets each color have its proper place and function. I use them in my paintings to make colors look wonderful!
And then it suddenly hit me. For years I've been teaching that value is a basic p…