Monday, May 24, 2010

Demonstration: Mountains and Aerial Perspective

It's important to recall that you can't make good value judgments until you have all the colors in place, meaning that most of the adjustments come at the very end. It made me smile to remember that only God sees the big picture, the global value judgments, so to speak, and thus I really must trust Him to make the calls and do the final adjustments. As the Artist, He knows the goal, sees the values, and controls the process it takes to get there.

Some days I feel like a tiny speck of pigment swirling in a composition that currently makes no sense. I cannot figure out how "all things work together for good", as the Bible promises believers in Romans 8:28. Then I recall that the Artist's composition is a WIP, a Work In Progress, from my perspective, but from His point of view it is fully complete, perfectly executed without error.
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, May 20, 2010

20-Stroke Painting

Sometimes it's a good idea to cut to the bone and see what comes of it. This exercise is a way to challenge myself to get down to what is really needed to express something, using efficient strokes. I tried to limit myself to twenty. I enjoy the beauty of the loose strokes, the incidental marks, and the simplicity of the expression.

It may be a bit like those times when the Lord cuts away part of your "flesh life." It's so easy to get in the habit of having everything cushy and comfortable, and just going on your way through life without thinking about it. Then one day the Lord removes something--something you thought of as natural and forever, like the use of one part of your body. One day a part breaks or ends up being incapacitated, and you recognize that it's inconvenient, challenging, even slightly faith-shaking, but when you get down to the essence, you really can function without it. In fact, in some ways you notice that you get it, understanding what you really need and what you can forgo. It may not be as cushy, it may not be too comfortable, but it may allow you to see that you can function with less.

I wonder what the Lord might do with that in your life? It brings new meaning to "less is more", when I think that I gain from losing.
Then he said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life." Luke 9:23-24 NLT

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I've become so interested in painting in gouache, not to mention making these little ATC/ACEO sized painting (2.5" x 3.5") and suddenly the idea of painting fruits from life in simple settings has captivated me. It came out of a thread at Wet Canvas where we're featuring different subjects each month. I wasn't too thrilled with painting still life--then.

NOW I'm enthralled.

Two Navels

Lean on Me

Pear in Blue

It just goes to show that the fruit of your life may be somewhat unexpected to you, but it comes of a lot of little things dovetailing, however unexpectedly. I made a painting of oranges because I was given a delightful gift of a HUGE box of oranges fresh from a California grove. I wanted to prepare some paintings to show on the thread I mentioned above, since I'm hosting it for a couple of months, so I plopped two oranges on a white napkin and gave it a go. I didn't sit down and think it through or make a plan to start doing still life. I didn't search for the perfect fruit to paint. All the parts simply came together.

The fruit of a life grows out of what you do daily. It isn't what you plan to be or strive to become, it's what comes of daily choices. I'm a Christian so I sit down with the Lord every day to study the Bible and pray. That decision is as natural as morning coffee now, not something I have to make myself do. And from my study and prayer come the daily decisions I make, some small, some large, some easy, some hard.

Just the way that painting these oranges grew out of the circumstances of my life, so the fruit of life grows naturally out of daily decisions, out of who we are. I've never seen a tree striving to put out fruit. I suspect not one of those oranges I received was a result of a tree that squeezed and concentrated or planned and hatched a plot to grow it. They were the result of a tree, roots, sunshine, water, as well as the care and labor given by the grower.


"To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven..." Ecclesiastes 3:1