Visual Art is a beautiful language using the elements of art. It is universally spoken and invites the view into the artists world. A painter and art instructor for many years, I also enjoy writing, nature, family and friends. Take a peek into my studio; see what is on the easel, read my thoughts and tips, explore how faith, art, and life converge. The world of art is fun, challenging, exhausting and renewing all at the same time!
A Pair of Pears, 6x6 Oil on canvas, gallery wrapped and painted around the sides.
I've seen lots of red pears this season, but these 2 called to me across the grocery store (which, as you know, sometimes happens to me!) I loved the rich color, which ranges from ocher to russet to purple. I also thought their shapes were just about pear perfect! As I set this up to paint, the shadows were also quite beautiful... they are painted with quite a bit of color. With all this drama going on in the subject, I kept the background composition very simple... which I think works in this case. I also painted this in the style of contemporary realism. This one has become one of my favorites. By the way, I ate one of the pears yesterday, and it tasted as good as it looked!
Yellow Leaf, 3.75 x 5" Mixed media (watercolor, acrylic, colored pencil)
Yesterday was a "perfect day".... sparkling sunshine, about 70 degrees, low humidity... one of those rare days of the year, and I was inside all day long. When I got home, I took a walk to just be outside and enjoy the day for a few minutes. While walking, I almost stepped on this leaf - but I stopped and picked it up and looked at the beauty of it. (There is a lot of beauty at our feet that we often don't notice!) The color was so pure and bright, it had the most delicate white veining tinged in spring green, and yet the edges were beginning to show some small brown freckles. I brought it home with me and began a small composition - which featured an uncluttered focal point ~ the leaf!
I love lavender - and my garden has a good crop of it this year. This painting is a small bunch of freshly picked lavender. I wish I could have portrayed the smell somehow!
This turned out to be a difficult painting. First, getting the composition right (or closer to right) was tricky. Then painting the lavender and its shadows and its foliage... even the bow, got to be frustrating. Here is the outcome.
I have learned over the years, and had to hold onto this knowledge thru this painting: All paintings (almost) go through an "awkward adolescence"... where it looks all wrong, it isn't coming together, you feel like throwing your hands in the air and walking away! But, if you stay with it ... keep working with it... there is usually a good resolution. But - there is also a magic moment of knowing where to stop and let it just be! Well - all that philosophy led me right here with this one. I think its done and ready to just be... although its still a little hard to say!
Worship 4 - The Lord Speaks 9x12" Mixed media w/collage
What would it have looked like to be present at creation? What would the visual component of God's words look like? Ok, I know, I'm on controversial ground... there are some who doubt the beginning of our universe, world, environment, or even ourselves as an act of God. I know that. But, I believe differently. I believe it did happen as a creative, artistic act of God ... and though I can only imagine all the small details, scripture gives us some information about that event. And I'm completely intrigued!
There is a sense of poetry here - preceding God's act of creation, things were dark and formless and empty. But the Spirit of God was there - hovering, watching, perhaps planning. And then, as if in a burst of exuberance, element by element is introduced by the mere speaking of it. Great beauty. Great power. The finest detail. Shimmering, shining. And as the Artist surveyed his work, he pronounced it to be "very good". (Gen.1)
The book of Job gives a few other insights: The Lord says he laid the foundation of the earth, marked off its dimensions, set it on its footings, shut up the seas, and made the clouds its garments. He did this, very poetically, to the music of the morning stars and to the exclamation of the angels. (Job 38) Can you imagine what that would have been like?
This particular mixed media piece is my exploration of the explosion of creation - the dance of colors, of shape, of light, the suggestion of the "music" of the stars and angels, while God was calling all things into being. What a startling event! It is something to think about...and something that is too grand to ever fully grasp!
[Acrylic, oil pastel, turpenoid, transparent gesso, collaged paper, interference gold paint - many varied layers - on paper]
Yes. This is just a small basket of tomatoes (Juliette variety) from my garden. They are sort of like plum tomatoes, only much smaller - and very juicy. My garden, though small, has given us a lot to eat (and a lot to paint) this summer. More paintings coming soon!
There is something solid, stately, so valuable about trees... especially old trees. You just wonder what all they've witnessed in their standing in place over time. This one is reminiscent of many old gnarled trees of the area where I grew up. I hoped to capture the uneven surface, the twisted limbs, the widespreading reach that casts a wide blanket of shade. As with any "old citizen" - respect is due.
Journey 1 - Acrylic and various other materials on board
This is another experimental abstract. But, it has meaning that became more clear to me after having made it. As I've traversed more of life's unexpected twists and turns, I've begun to see things differently than I did when I was younger. Instead of life looking like a nice little road trip on a well-mapped and often traveled roadway - its begun to look more and more like an adventurous journey through an uncharted land. A little scary at times, unexpected obstacles, yet beautiful vistas; things never before seen or experienced. It would be far too frightening without a Guide. But, as I've learned to journey here, I've learned that I have a Good Guide with a "true heart, and skillful hands." (Psalm 78:72)
This particular piece was made, actually, as a prototype for a class I was teaching to advanced students at the high school level, trying to help them "expand their horizons" artistically. I'm not sure all of them "got it" or even appreciated the experimental nature of making art... many were not willing to risk getting outside the comfort zones of what they'd "mastered"...which is, of course, part of the adventure! There are a variety of materials involved in this smallish painting - cardboard, paper napkins with texture, gesso, cotton string, tape, and many layers of acrylic, even a little oil paint to create a patina.
The idea for this originated from a topo (topographic) map... which, for many of my students, is something completely unknown. Amazing how ideas for art can come out of almost anything - no matter how remotely removed from "artistic subject matter"! (The odd line barely visible a little right of center, is my efforts to scan this image in several parts and piece it together as the larger painting actually is.)
"Look for a different point of view." This is told to student artists many times over, and it is good advice. This pineapple caught my eye when looking into the deep recesses of the foliage. And so, I painted it from this perspective. The colors were interesting, and so were the shapes of the leaves. The background needed to be rather neutral, but a little bit tropical too.
Variegated Foliage, acrylic (used as water color) on paper
Once again, I'm drawn to botanical subject matter! This one seems very tropical to me, though I didn't start with that idea. It is approximately 5 x 5". I started out with watercolor, which I often do - but, just needed to see more brilliance in the colors ... thus the acrylic. At the end, I decided to paint a hot tropical aqua line around the main shapes. Why? It just seemed to speak a need!
Another in my abstract series on worship. This one speaks to me of mystery... there is deep mystery in who God is. I've been working through the book of Exodus for the last few months and buried within the story of the nation of Israel's departure from Egypt, is the revelation of who God would be to them; and who the unchanging God is to us. He is a God who always made a way for them, even when backed into impossible corners. He led them gently and provided for them abundantly through a desert devoid of all that they needed to live. And, he revealed himself to be a dependable God, a forgiving God, a personal God ... who wanted the best for them. Not necessarily what they thought was best, but what he knew was best. He's a "Big Picture" God, without being an uncaring God for small concerns. All of this looks to us quite a lot like mystery sometimes. It especially looks like mystery to me, when nothing makes sense in life, and I'm tempted to forget that He is there, he is not passive, and he is making a way.
I was reminded of this as I sat at a memorial service yesterday for a wonderful woman who (it seems to me) died much too early in life. Hers was a life well lived, a life that influenced and touched countless people for good, a life lived large, a life given to Christ. I was reminded again, that of all the important things in life that matter in a lasting way, the most important is the question we all have or will face ~ Who is Jesus Christ, and what will I do with him? God is a mysterious God, but only because we cannot fully understand. He is also a good God, dependable, loving, and trustworthy. Isaiah says he's "written each of our names on his hand"~ that's very personal. I think, as I go deeper into the mystery, I learn that its good that we cannot get to the bottom of who God is! Anything less would be too small.
The paint is mostly dry, although because this one is created with thick paint applied only with a palette knife, drying took awhile. I was drawn to the beautiful spots of color within the green along the edge of my garden. The entire range of colors, particularly in the background doesn't show as well as I'd like in the photo. And, my ability to capture the purity and excellence of color within the flowers just doesn't compare at all to God's paintbrush. Nevertheless, I wanted to "mention" my thoughts about this lovely edge of common flowers, sparkling in the sun, with a painterly language - and here it is.
Oh ... the reason I planted marigolds (other than they are easy to grow and are showy) is that I wanted to discourage the rabbits from feasting on my small garden plants in the spring. I am not sure it worked as well as I thought it might; I saw one nibbling on the marigolds! But most of them survived quite well.
Crazy day today - parent night at school tonight, so no time for much today between class and Dr. appt for my daughter, dinner, and back to school tonight. Hopefully tomorrow, the paint on my latest daily painting will be dry and ready for posting.... So, in the meantime, here is a painting which I did a couple years ago... I seemed to be (still am) especially interested in botanical subjects, and captivated by Georgia O'Keeffe! (The color looks a little too blue here, it is actually more in the purple tones.)
Monday... Labor Day! I'm posting an older work today, an abstraction of a magnified flower (a white geranium, actually), while I mention a couple things. I've been working on a commission so have done fewer small paintings in the last few days. Its basically done, now, so I've begun my small daily paintings again. (I missed those small studies during the last few days!) I hope to have something to post in the next few days from my newest efforts!
Also, several days ago, Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage, honored me with a Creative blogger award! I was not expecting such a thing, but happily surprised. It is now up to me to pass on this award to other deserving bloggers! I've been thinking about this and want to pass it on thoughtfully. According to the rules which I found at Writer's Reviews, I should pass this on to 5 others. I'll be doing that over time ... but immediately, I'd like to pass it on to
Kathleen Cavender, who I think has an amazing blog to go along with her beautiful art work and her wonderful writing.
This is another in my abstract series on worship. I think all my art, if intended to be an act of worship, is that. However, this one was meant to be devoid of any representational images and merely a representation of my own feelings as I contemplate my sense of God's presence in my life. In this, I wanted to express his mystery, his beauty, his encompassing and surrounding presence. All my life I've known the truth, "Jesus loves me", but only as I've navigated through the complexities and unforeseen upheavals of life, have I begun to understand his love as very personal, very intimate, very deep. Its easy to miss that ... to never take notice... to be caught in the current of a busy life. I've certainly struggled with that. But I'm convinced that he longs for deep connection with me, while reminding me of his presence in many small ways day by day.