Sunday, August 20, 2017

Furrever Friends!



"Nellie"
8" X 8" Oil on linen panel
Sold

"Louie"
8" x 8" Oil on linen panel
Sold

When I begin a painting project, sometimes selecting a reference photo to paint from can be the biggest challenge.  It’s a matter of setting myself up for success or failure.

And so it was with Nellie and Louie.  I was grateful to have a number of photos to choose from - it's just that none of them were perfect - well, at least for my personal purposes.  The one I liked the best had both of them in it.  But, Nellie was in the front, center stage, in the spotlight as the featured star - and poor Louie was stuck in the back, like one of the supporting cast, or maybe just a cameo.   So we decided to paint them separately, giving them each the sunshine they deserve, and also to avoid "favorite child" accusations!  

By the way, did I mention they are both rescues with no genetic connection?  Nellie came first.  Mom and dad loved her soooo much that they thought if one was great, then two would be awesome, right?  (I get it.)  Actually, Nellie had a bit of a barking issue and FYI, she had to go to a “special school” for a little while.  (Shhhhh - she’s still a tad embarrassed about it.)   Well.....turns out, she was of no personality to hang at home by herself while her parents work.  Oh no - she had way too much personality and surely deserved more attention!  She felt so strongly about this that she barked and yipped even when they were home - just to make her point. 

Well, you know how the squeaky wheel gets the grease?  So, mom and dad brought home dreamy-eyed Louie who would claim any girls heart!  Surely, he was the answer!  But, unfortunately, Nellie viewed him as her competition rather than a playmate.  What?  So, the barking got worse, as Nellie worked even harder to maintain her perceived threatened authority! 

Now hold on a minute - Nellie IS a sweetheart and does have her merits!   Surely she’s the more fun to be around, never a dull moment, get-your-party-on-what-are-we-waiting-for kind of girl! And Louie - bless his heart - is such a compatible companion, happy to just “be” - to soak up whatever love comes his way, even if he is being upstaged by his stepsister!  (Okay, I happen to know that Louie gets what he wants too, simply by looking at his mom with his begging eyes and naive goofiness!)  Together, and individually, they are loved, loved, loved.

We chuckle at Nellie's entertaining, yet lovable personality, but we're no different.  Sometimes we act out when we think our wants aren't met. But, we already have what we're working so hard to get.   If, like Louie, we would just stop and look to our Father (yes, with our adoring eyes!)….. and let His love wash over us ……we will find our "rest." 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 
and I will give you rest.  
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart, 
and you will find rest for your souls. 
 For my yoke is easy,

 and my burden is light.”  
Matthew 11:29-30 NIV

Guilty here!!  How about you - are you a Nellie or a Louie today?  (Please comment below - Nellie would like to know, um, who's on her side .....ahem.)





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.