"God's art [Creation] speaks of Himself, reflecting who He is and what He is like."
Francis Chan

Monday, October 26, 2009

Thought I would let you all see my newest painting as it progresses. This one was commissioned after someone saw "In the Poppy Field". So I get to revisit the poppies again which I am excited to do. I will keep you posted as it moves along.

"Friends are flowers in the Garden of Life"

I am sharing two paintings this week that remind me of friendship. The first is a painting that I did about four or five years ago for a wonderful lady named Amanda. She belonged to a special group of friends that met at my house every Tuesday morning for Bible study for years. We all grew so close as we dove into God's Word together and learned more about God. We shared ups and downs with each other and prayed for each other through some very difficult times. That whole group of women are very special to me and I find each one of them very inspiring.
Amanda had asked me if when she got married would I paint her a picture of purple flowers. Low and behold, it wasn't long before she was engaged! I was very happy to do this painting. I was trying for something that brought a peaceful reaction, so I used lots of cool colors. I also wanted an intimate feel to the painting as a symbol of the closeness of marriage. Lastly, I wanted something that reflected the femininity and beauty of the beautiful girl that I was painting it for. I finished it shortly before her happy day. It is called (surprisingly!) "Amanda's Flowers".
*Note: Blogger for some reason doesn't seem to want to upload "Amanda's Flowers. To view it go to the top of the post from October 4th. I'll try to upload it later on this week to this post!

The other painting that I am posting was done recently for someone that has shown such kindness to me and my family through a difficult time. She is the sort of person that really takes the time to ask you how are you doing. And she isn't saying it as a greeting - she is really asking and expecting a real answer. God has really used her to cause me to question my self as far as how good of a friend am I? Do I show care and concern for others as I should? Very challenging! I heard her mention one day that poppies were her favorite flowers and I went home that afternoon and immediately began painting.
It is such a joy to paint something for someone that you know and who mean a lot to you. Friendship is such an important part of our lives and truly is inspiring.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Woman in the Garden

In my last post I showed you the painting that is probably my husband's least favorite. I thought this week I would show you his favorite. It is only fair , as he is super supportive of my endeavors in art. He is actually great about it. The man has put up with paint splatters on our walls, part of our bedroom being overtaken with my easel and paints, and endless picture frame assemblies (not my area of expertise, but he can put anything together.) He is the kind of guy that will tell you exactly what he thinks, so he is great at critiquing. But at the same time he is always letting me know how proud he is of me. Plus, I am still amazed at the awesome portable art display that he designed and put together so I could do art sales.
So I didn't actually know that he had a favorite painting of mine until he mentioned it one night when we had some friends over. He chose this one, entitled "The Woman in the Garden" (oil 24x30). It is one that I plan on never selling, due to the fact that I got an idea for an important element in the painting from another painting that I had seen. I can't remember where I saw it, or who the artist was, but it wouldn't be right to try and sell someone else's idea.
When asked why he liked it, my husband said that it was because it reminded him of me out in the garden, bending over my flowers. It was just so sweet of him. And really funny. Here is this almost romantic scene of a beautiful lady in a flowing dress, delicately smelling a flower....and then there is the real me in the garden - wearing cut offs and a tank top, covered in sweat because I've been digging and pulling and transplanting. What a true testament to how wonderfully blind true love is!
The garden is actually one place that I find tremendous inspiration. We live on about two acres of land and I have about seven gardens. They are full of my favorites - hydrangeas, roses, spider wort, and cone flowers. And of course there are lots of wonderful prairie grasses that swoosh and whisper in the wind and glow at sunset. I love being in my garden (and I love all the sweaty work too)! There are few things that I find more peaceful than working or even just walking through my gardens. I can't help but stand in amazement at God's glorious creation. His intricate designs and brilliant colors are amazing. It makes me think of Psalm 33:8 "Let all the earth fear the Lord, let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him."
So I guess when I painted "Woman in the Garden" it was that feeling of the peaceful time talking with God, enjoying His creation that I was trying to convey. Even if my times in the garden are in cut offs and a tank top!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Christmas Tulip

The painting to the left is titled "The Christmas Tulip". It is an oil painting (20x24). I know the name doesn't seem to make much sense, as Christmas time is not often associated with tulips, but I did this painting last Christmas break (I do a lot of painting during that two or three week break I take from homeschooling at Christmas time!), therefore I associate it with Christmas. I don't know consciously what caused me to decide to do a tulip. But It could have been a subconscious thought. Maybe I had new beginnings on my mind - and of course tulips are associated with the new beginning of Spring.

That previous year I had taken a break from painting at the birth of our baby, Sophia Joy. The truth was, my painting corner was replaced with a crib and changing table. There was also the busyness of having a new baby in the house. Sophia was a surprise to our little family of four (the youngest being ten.) Talk about a time of new beginnings. It felt like our whole world had been turned upside down. But she is fulfilling her name in being such an incredible joy to not just our family, but really, everyone who meets her. She is turning two tomorrow, by the way - my how time is flying! One thing about having her at this point in my life is I have been able to really take the time to enjoy every moment so far.

Anyway, back to the painting... so this was the first opportunity after a year to delve back into my oils. After a year of doing nothing but a few watercolors I suddenly had such a desire for oils: to mix colors together and get paint on my sleeves, and to lay long beautiful curves of luscious oil paint. And I I enjoyed the whole process of this painting. It was one of those paintings that just went right from beginning to end. It has become one of my favorites - which is funny because it is not one of my husbands. He says he doesn't "get it". Which is alright with me. I love the intimacy of it. It is so up close and in your face. I love the curves of petals and the fiery look you get when you mix the warm colors of the reds and yellows with a few splashes of purple and pink. Painting it was really a blast.

I hung it in my dining room all last winter - a practice I usually do with new paintings. It honestly might not have gone very well with my Christmas decorations and then even after the new year my "wintery" decorations of dried branches and the like. But it sort of encouraged me during those bleak Iowa winter months of January and February that Spring was coming! Hope for new beginnings.

Let me know what you think of it. I love a good critique - especially from any other artists who might be out there.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Art Speaking

The title for this blog all began with an inspiring quote. Have you ever seen something written by an author that just speaks to you? Certain words can light a fire under you, or make you want to do something great. Or sometimes you read something and would just like to say to the author - that is exactly what I was thinking and just hadn't realized it yet until you wrote it for me. That is what I felt when I read a quote by a writer named Francis Chan.

"God's art [creation] speaks of Himself, reflecting who He is and what He is like"

Of course this is not a new idea. Psalms 19:1 says "The heavens declares the glory of God; and the firmament shows forth His handiwork." It couldn't be truer that that the beauty all around us is shouting to every human being that there is a great and awesome God who created it all and is worthy of our praise.

But the thing that caught my eye in the Chan quote was the idea that creation is God's art. What a wonderful way to describe it! And then to point out that God's art is speaking. I know it is just a different way of stating Psalm 19, but as an artist it really got my wheels turning. The way God chooses to paint each sunset in such an array of colors is a direct expression of who He is. How He causes the sunshine and shadows to fall on feather grass in the late afternoon, so the plumes look like they are glowing - this is no accident, but is instead a reflection of who He is and what He is all about. The hundreds of unique colors that can be seen when you really look at a field of soy beans at this time of year (you can tell I'm from Iowa!) is a display of His imagination and beauty. Amazing.

Of course, this leads me to think about man, made in His image. In my last post I discussed how we are all called to creativity, no matter what the expression. For me, it is through painting, or singing, or decorating, or gardening. For you it may be something else. But it is in us to create. So now my mind is swarming with the question...what is my art speaking? what does my life -art work or any other area - say about who I am and what is inside me?

One time when my children and I were touring a local art museum, we walked through a gallery filled with monochrome paintings by a certain painter. There had to be twenty of them, all very black and gray, all touching on similar themes. There were paintings of hallways with doors upon doors that led to dark, empty rooms, portraits of solitary people with empty eyes that spoke of such loneliness, and paintings of stairways that led to stairways that led to still more stairways -all going no where. My children were fairly young at the time and immediately spoke up in there little innocent bluntness. "Whoever painted these sure was sad." one of them said. It was so true. His paintings screamed of his hopelessness and despair. I felt so sorry for the artist, whoever he had been. He had passed away years earlier, yet his art still spoke.

I know that I am not a master painter by any stretch of the imagination. I have never been to art school. And although I love to study and learn knew techniques - I will never even come close to being an expert in art. I would imagine that many an art critique would look down their nose at what they may consider my novice attempt. That's okay with me. I love to paint what I think are beautiful things. I love to see my friends and family enjoy something that I have done. And most of all I am thrilled at the thought of one of my paintings causing someone who sees it to be reminded of the beauty of God's creation. My desire, whether in art or life, is for my art to speak of God's glory.


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