Wednesday, June 21, 2017

RESCUED!



"Hunky"
14" x 18" oil on linen panel
NFS

Imagine abandoning your retirement plans - and all you’ve worked for -  to leave your family (yes, grandkids!) and friends to share Christ in a foreign community.  I know….right?  But that was, and is, their calling.  They - meaning friends from our church - are even learning a difficult new language!    Their work is challenging, and while God’s timetable hasn’t always aligned with theirs,  God is clearly working in their lives and their community.

This is a painting of Hunky, their beagle, who has been a faithful companion and a source of comfort for the past eight years.  His "mom and dad" are thankful for his unique, gentle personality, his love of people, and his devotion to his family.   (Hmmm - I wanna be like that, don’t you?)

While painting Hunky, I wondered about his days in the homeless shelter, and what led to his surrender? Had he been abused or deserted?   Was it due to his own misbehavior?  Had he hurt someone or chewed too much, barked too much, jumped too much, ate too much, cost too much?  And how did he feel when potential “furever home-givers” passed him by, only to choose one of his peers instead?  Yet, in my art class recently, he consistently elicited sweet “awwwws” from my fellow artist friends.

You see, Hunky is now a rescued dog - saved from a life of homelessness and hopelessness …..at a time when he maybe wasn’t quite so lovable……to a life of unconditional love.  When he was adopted into his new family, he had his share of “issues.”  He was quite overweight and soon developed other medical conditions that eventually required up to six medications.  Yet, in spite of his imperfections and what had happened in his past, they fully embraced him, loved him and met all his needs.   

What a picture of GRACE!

So what was it that lured my artist friends?  What made Hunky so special?   Was it the adoration in his eyes, the contentment on his face, or the love in his heart?  YES!  

Are you, or someone you know, living a life of hopelessness?

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.”

Luke 19:10

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Beach Memories!


"Faith and Trinity"
20" X 20" stretched linen 
Sold

Light…..color….subject matter.  This painting hit the sweet spot - that place where all things I love about painting converge and culminate in “it was my absolute joy and pleasure to paint your precious Faith and Trinity!”

When I received this commission, my natural tendency was to zoom in and focus on the sweetnesses in pink!  But mom said she wanted it cropped pretty much as it was.  And wow, did she do a great job. Her vision was for the painting to be more about family memories than simply focusing on the girls.  Memories of salty air and gentle breezes….. of sand castles and picnic lunches.   Of playing with friends Brayden, Caylee, and Bryson…..as their moms watched with maternal love, while sharing rare uninterrupted conversations about things that matter.  And simply rested in “beach peace” …..where troubles blow in to the ebb and flow of the gentle surf, are captured and magically carried to the deepest parts of the sea.  

When I painted this, it was about 40 degrees, gray and rainy, and troubles didn’t seem to be going anywhere in my house, so I really appreciated my emotional vacay at the beach!  What a treat!  While I was “basking in the sun”, I reflected on the smallness of two very adorable pink-clad specks against the vastness of God’s amazingly beautiful creation.  But also how, in His awesome greatness, He loves each of us “dots” unconditionally, He knows every hair on our heads, every move we make, every thought we think.  

Oh, and then there’s the  “plans He has for them, plans to prosper and not harm them, plans to give them hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

And so…….it was my absolute joy and pleasure to paint …..God’s glory.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Fix Our Eyes


"Anna Lucy"
6" x 6" Oil on linen panel
NFS

I planned to write a fun little story about Anna Lucy and how those baby blues claimed my heart when I saw her picture on her grandma’s Facebook page.  But, honestly, what else  could be said that isn't already being said? 

            “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen,
 but on what is unseen. 
 For what is seen is temporary, 
but what is unseen is eternal.” 
                                                                       2 Cor 4:18

Have a blessed Christmas season!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Our Favorite Clown

"T-Bone"
8" x 10" oil on linen panel
NFS

Well, we did NOT see it coming.  The evening that T-Bone (a.k.a. Terry) revealed his “alter ego”, we were stunned.  (I mean, what kind of person chooses to be a clown?)  But within seconds, we thought, “Well, of COURSE he’s a clown!”  It was so HIM. 

Actually, all of us have another side to us.  There’s the outward appearance that we present to others on a daily basis…..when truth is, there is so much more than meets the eye.  There are hidden secrets, the things we are ashamed of or embarrassed by......and the hidden treasures, the special qualities that are unique to us.

We met Terry one Sunday morning when he came (sans costume) to our table at church in search of joining a small group.  I guess we passed the “test” because he and his wife, Debbie, have been with us for two years, sharing their lives and faith walk with us. 

When you’re in a small group, eventually trust is earned and the truth of who we are emerges.    You see, real intimacy begins when the layers are peeled back and the real “us” is bared – sometimes slowly, sometimes all at once – things we’re proud of, and then the not so much.  But it’s only there, stripped down, that we can actually be real with other each and with God.  No judgement.

And so now I know!  Now I know what kind of person chooses to be a clown.  A quiet, humble, kind, faithful, humorous man that loves to make children smile.   A transparent man who inspires our group nearly each and every meeting.   When it’s time for prayer requests. he sometimes responds, “My prayer is for God to answer your prayers” 

But his classic response is our favorite:   “Just give me more Jesus – I just need more Jesus.”

Yeah ……….he makes adults smile too! 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Equestrian

"In Her Element"
8 X 10 on canvas panel
NFS

Never say never.  Just never say never.

Many of my subscribers know my story – that I didn’t even want or attempt to paint until 2009.  I have written pages and pages on this, but trust me when I say that I struggled with drawing stick figures.  THEN, upon learning that I had a little ability in this area, I said multiple times that, I would never even try to do portraits, which in reality, was quite laughable because that was not just a longshot – it was more like an impossibility.  (Just ask my teacher/mentor.)

So, fast forward through several attempts that ended in the round file, and here is my first portrait worthy of showing its face!  AND it will be hanging in the Arts Council's “Art in the City” exhibit begeinning June 9-30.  The opening reception is this Friday, June 10, 5:30-7:00 at 318 Main St., Evansville, IN - on the walkway.  Yes, that's an invite  :)

I have come to realize that we (me) are in a habit of politely and kindly telling God what we cannot do or will not do and FYI, pretty sure He frowns on that :)  Sometimes ……well, most of the time (me)……….I think there is a fear of failure that keeps us from forging into unknown territories.  And oh how we LOVE our comfort zones!  But when our fear super-cedes our yes, we miss out on God’s best.   (I think I heard that at church - Patrick Garcia.)

I just want to share that each of my prior attempts (failures) provided me with plenty of frustration, yet enough encouragement (“Don’t tell me I can’t do that!”) to face the next “blank canvas”.  I fail miserably in the perseverance department on multiple levels, but I feel God telling me, “HEY - Don’t tell me what your limitations are…….” for "I know the plans I have made for you, declares the Lord."   See Jeremiah 29:11-13

Be cognizant of opportunities God brings your way.  They may seem incidental, but they are not accidental.  Just try saying yes instead of never!  

P.S.  We would LOVE to hear your “yes” story!



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bearded Collie

   
 "Angel"
6" X 8" Oil on Linen Panel
NFS


Wayward path, warp speed, brunt force, prolonged pain …... all I could think of when I saw it coming!

Early in our marriage, my husband’s family occasionally engaged in a competitive holiday tournament of tetherball.  In case you’ve never had the pleasure, a sturdy iron pole is firmly anchored  at its base, and a rope attached to a medium size ball is suspended from the top of the pole.  The object is to be the first to wrap the rope around the pole by hitting the ball with your hand (uh, some people use their fist.) 

One day I was na├»ve enough to actually accept the challenge from my extremely competitive husband.  We played a friendly game for several minutes - which I realized later, was him letting me get comfortable.   Then, when I looked away for just a split second, in his odd sense of humor, he seized the moment and “spiked” the ball as hard as he could.  (Picture Greg in the volleyball game in Meet the Parents!)

Well, I had just enough time to partially duck out the path of the ball traveling in a wayward path at warp speed.  I may not be strong and athletic, but lucky for him, I can be quick.   (I will not go into my over-dramatization of this assault at this time.)  So, for a week, I sported a king-size bruise on my left shoulder, thereby displaying lovely colors of alizarin crimson, dioxazine violet, ultramarine blue….and eventually yellow ochre.  (Oh my gosh -  are you e-snickering???  You seriously have the same sense of humor?????)

Okay, fine.  I'm moving on..........look at that face!!!!  The precious little lady above is Angel - can't you almost see her halo?   She has been a loyal, faithful friend to her "mom" for many years.  From trials, tribulations, and celebrations, to spending simple quiet times at home, Angel has been her constant companion.

Sometimes life presents its own version of "tetherball" when struggles, opposition, and illness can threaten our very existence.  Remember, tho, that we are tethered to a sovereign, faithful, and loving God who knows just how long the rope is, and promises not only His love and presence, but His sovereignty.

Oh, and it sure helps to have an Angel in your life!!  

"When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
You will not drown,
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
You will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you. 
For I am the Lord, your God.”
                                                                                                                  Isaiah 43:2-3a


For Kari Jobe's emotional performance of "I Am Not Alone", click here:  https://youtu.be/bfveawSAHJA







Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Goose, Goose, Swan!!




"Goose....Goose....Swan!"
11" X 14" Oil on Canvas Panel 
He was lurking in the wooded shadows near Monet's bridge behind the quaint, historic New Harmony Inn.  It was late afternoon - the day after our daughters wedding.   Though sensing his movements, it was hard to identify a shape.  I anxiously wondered what was hiding in that area of barren brush and freshly fallen leaves - likely a goose?   Yeah, probably a goose.

Suddenly I heard a big splash as he majestically propelled his graceful body out of the darkness into the light, swiftly gliding on to the glittering sunlit waters.  The brilliant light both illuminated and intensified his color. This was no goose, but a beautiful swan!  The contrast of his shadowed, yet now hued areas against his white body was stunning.   I moved toward my camera, knowing that no photograph would ever capture the lively reverberation of energy that was playing out before me.

While we can appreciate the valiant efforts of our human attempt to reiterate something, there are some things that just have be experienced.  

When we answer Gods call from darkness into His light, we not only begin to reflect the Son, but even our dark places of sin, shame, and bondage become colorfully enlightened ..... in a way that demonstrates His incomparable transforming power and gives hope to those still lost in the shadows!  

"..He called you out of darkness into His marvelous light..."
1 Peter 2:10 (ESV)