Friday, December 12, 2014

Posture Matters

11" X 14" oil on linen panel
Not For Sale

A few lessons I learned from the Garcia’s:

1.  They have darling children.  They are not just physically adorable, but they ACT adorable.  Not that our own weren't adorable, but I doubt I could have managed this pose with them when they were young, let alone even thought of it!

2.  The positioning of a subject within a composition is crucial to the success of the photo/painting.  For instance, this pose is much more interesting and says a lot more about the children than if they stood beside each other staring straight at the camera!  (Photographer is their very creative mom, Savannah.)

3.  Dad, Patrick, one of the pastors at our church, taught us a few weeks ago that Posture Matters, as he told of the pastoral team lying face down in submission to God, interceding for the names of the lost that the congregation had placed on ornaments hung in the sanctuary.  I love that visual.  Their position speaks of their awe and surrender to the only One who can truly change lives! 

Well, whether Patrick and Savannah ever tied these two thoughts together, I don't know.  But me …….and hopefully you……I see a triangle that mirrors God’s intended relationship with us.  As we bow to Him in humble surrender, placing ourselves in that vertical position, essentially “on our faces” before Him, a triangle emerges.  God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.  Complete.  At one in Him.  And don’t you love the idea of a Holy Kiss? 

 I know, I know, I know – this painting looks like fall.   But to me, it’s a .................

"picture of love that transcends all seasons"

 All because of one little baby in a manger.

“Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you;
 He is Christ the Lord.”
Luke 2:11

Yeah, Posture Matters all right.  Happy Birthday Jesus!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Late Bloomer Hydrangea

"Late Bloomer"
8" X 8" Oil on Panel

8" X 10" Oil on panel

For those of you that think flowers can’t talk, well, you’d just better think again, as my mother would say.  While I had heard no audible words (thankfully), I’m telling you, she wouldn’t leave me alone.

She showed up about eight weeks ago.  Breathing a sigh of relief, I acknowledged her presence with a slight smile and a nod of my head, and I excitedly shared the news with my husband.   She was so late, we thought perhaps she, like many others, had fallen victim to our very harsh, recording setting winter.  

When spring emerged, we began to see whispers of green on her stems, but the ivy surrounding her remained a mess of intertwining brown vines.  Though she was slow to recover with stunted growth and absent foliage, it appeared she had survived! 

Endless Summer is her name  - a beautiful, normally prolific hydrangea bush that struts large pink, showy pom-poms against a mass of greens, ranging from very pale chartreuse to cool, dark blue-greens.

Our hope finally turned into reality as we watched a small mop of green grow into one single, yet strong cluster of bright pink and shoot straight up, towering over the top of the bush. She had survived the season’s yoke of oppression and burst forth into new life!  Her message, spoken only through her mere presence, remains loud and clear;

Even though we go through barren times – times where we feel in
chains, either circumstantial or self-imposed - there is hope for us captives as Jesus came to “set the us free, to release us from darkness, to grow us into oaks of righteousness, for the display of His splendor.” (Taken from Isaiah 61:1-3)

What is preventing us from being the prolific bearer of fruit that God created us to be?   It’s easier to remain a victim – blaming our circumstances, others, our limitations, the timing – any excuse not to own the problem.   Let’s surrender our “harsh winter” to Him, and allow Him to transform us into flourishing late bloomers – for the display of His splendor!

P.S.  I tried to paint the lone bloom within the context of our backyard setting, but it didn’t make a very interesting composition.   So, I used a reference from somewhere else, even though Endless Summer looked a lot like this one until just a few days ago!!!  I so appreciate her sharing her gifts!!!


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Covered Bridge - Forgotten Place

"Forgotten Place"
11" X 14" Raymar Linen

When my cyber-friend, talented artist, writer, and photographer, Debbie Nolan (for a blessed treat, please visit her here!) posted my photo reference several months ago, I immediately knew I wanted to paint it.  For some reason, I am drawn to old wood structures – barns, covered bridges, cabins, doors, etc.  I love their imperfect textures, chipped paint and worn shapes.  They humbly boast scars from past experiences that subconsciously both intrigue and beckon me.  Oh, if we only knew!

When I asked Debbie for permission to paint this piece, she graciously said yes, and she also shared the fact that it hosts the carving of her and her husbands initials from years ago.  See – I knew it had a story!

Though this painting was a bit out of my comfort zone, it was actually quite a spiritual experience.  Throughout the process, the image spoke to me of God’s faithful promises – His love, guidance, protection, and deliverance.  For reasons I don’t need to share, I so wanted it to turn out!  Unfortunately, the depths of my motivation far exceeded my artistic efforts, yet I hope it will still speak to you…..

                                 “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  
                                   He makes me lie down in green pastures,
                                   He leads me beside quiet waters,
                                   He restores my soul. 
                                   He guides me in paths of righteousness for his Name’s sake.
                                                                                                                      Psalm 23: 1-3

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Feels Like Love!!

"Feels Like Love!"
6"X6" linen panel

Hey you – unconditionally loved by God, fearfully and wonderfully made in His image, spiritually hugged and never forgotten!  Just marinate in that for awhile this beautiful September morning.  Then, if you can, go for a walk, take a deep breath, feel the refreshing cool breeze blowing against your skin and through your hair.  Can you smell even the faintest hint of autumn? 

Look at all the ways God has blessed us with a beautiful habitat.  You know the first thing I notice is flowers, but let’s ponder a bit on the not so obvious – like all the different shapes, color, and density of trees.  Or look up and take notice of the sky – is it clear blue or adorned with perfectly positioned billowy white clouds?  Look a little closer - do you see any shapes you recognize?  So much to take in - feels like love, doesn’t it?

What else in your life feels like love?  Lunch with your besties, a heartfelt apology, family get-togethers, a surprise birthday party, a new baby, a fond memory, …….. or maybe a surprise visit in the form of a little blue mason jar filled with fresh cut flowers from your daughters work shower on your kitchen island when you got up one morning?    

One of our daughters is getting married this fall, and we have been blessed with family and friends graciously hosting and attending several bridal showers.  Every event has been beautiful, thoughtful, and generously gifted.  They have looked and felt like love.  It is with humble gratitude that we express our appreciation to all.

I am so glad that God thought of that noun ….verb….emotion.  And thankfully, it is His M.O. always.  
You are loved today!

Monday, May 26, 2014

God's Masterpiece!

I apologize for recent errant posts.  I know just enough about blogging to be dangerous, but I must say that Feedburner (the program that sends posts to your Inbox) sometimes has a mind of its own!

This re-post is actually intentional because it somehow had been deleted and also for the purpose of drawing attention to Courtney's (Caylees mom) recent blog posts, beginning with "Blessed with Mental Illness."  If this strikes a chord with you or anyone you know, please read and forward as God leads you.  It is a bit long, but well worth your time :))

8 X 10 oil on canvas

Caylee is a typical two year old with an angelic face that would melt any heart, and a spitfire personality that keeps everyone on their toes.  And unlike some, she knows what it feels like to be loved.  Caylee is cherished and doted on by a mommy, daddy and two brothers who also love the Lord.  And it doesn’t end there.  She is the apple of her grammy and grampy’s eyes, adored by another set of grandparents, uncle and aunts, not to mention great-aunts, great-uncles, cousins, and friends.

One day when her family picked her up from Sunday School class, she came bounding through the doorway in a beautiful “princess-style” dress with matching hair bow.  Her face beaming, she danced into the hallway and boasted in her small, sing-song voice for all to hear, “I’m God’s masterpiece!  I’m God’s masterpiece!”   Everyone giggled and found it delightfully amusing, but really, what an incredibly important lesson to learn at such a young age, having God’s truth literally written on her heart. 

Because God’s Word tells us that there will be troubles in this world, we know they are a part of every day life.  And sometimes the simplest of experiences can threaten our sense of self, our well-being.   If you were to make a list of all things that “define” you, that contribute to ”who you are”, what would it look like?

I think you’d find that so many of our descriptive words are contingent on changeable circumstances – things that can easily be threatened, or even taken away.  God wants more for us.  His love for us is unconditional.  He wants us to know who He says we are and to believe it, so that when our earthly identity is shaken or stripped away, we can still stand and say with conviction Whose we really are. 

I encourage you to make a new list - from Scripture – of unconditional descriptions of who you are as a believer in Christ Jesus.  Just for starters..............
          1.   I’m God’s Masterpiece  (“For we are God’s workmanship” Eph. 2:20)
          2.   I am made in His image.  (Gen. 1:27)
          3.   I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  (Psalm 139:13-14)
          4.   Everything God created is good.  (1 Timothy 4:4)
          5.   God loves me so much that He gave His Son for me. (John 3:16)
          6.   I am a temple of the Holy Spirit ( 1 Cor. 6:19-20)

FYI:  Caylee’s mom, Courtney Niehaus, writes a blog sharing her young family’s day-to-day struggles and celebrations, as they strive to be obedient to the Christian life God has called them to.  She is a gifted “creator” - as her writings, photos, and scripture will not only inspire you, but make you smile!    Click here to read her blog.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"Easter" Daisy!

11" X 24" Oil on Linen Panel
Not for sale

Easter is less than two weeks away, and here in the Midwest, we have still been snuggled up in our homes, continuing to experience gray days and threats of snow storms.  It has been an exceptionally difficult season weather-wise, causing some of us to succumb to the winter doldrums and even depression.  But God is beginning to sneak in some beautiful spring-like days that give us hope of better days to come.

As we near Easter Sunday, we look forward to colorful eggs - chocolate ones too, of course - family gatherings, new dresses, and yummy food.  But we also ponder the reason we celebrate – that of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Wow – risen from the dead and seated at the right hand of the Father, living to intercede for us!  Nothing short of a miracle – something only God could do. 

And if we happen to forget, God will make sure we notice His life-giving powers, as we see green sprigs emerging through the brown, buds on the tips of bare-branched trees, blooms from the crocus and daffodil bulbs planted long ago - even more “spring” in our steps!

This painting is of my little friend, Daisy.  The morning after I attended an art workshop on Painting Children last fall, I saw her performing her hula hoop in her grandma's driveway.  Full of inspiration, I seized the moment.  You may think that no big deal – a normal occurrence – and for most it is  But Daisy is a living example of just one of God’s life-transforming miracles.  It is through much persistent prayer and years of perseverance that she is here and living a normal, everyday life in a loving, God-centered family – to Him be the glory! 

If you need a "miracle", if you need "new life" - please know that we serve a God who can do just that.  May the celebration of His resurrection give you hope. 

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and 
His courts with praise; 
Give thanks to Him and 
Praise His name.”  Psalm 100:4