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

Monday, August 30, 2010

Artists Who Inspire

Although I would absolutely love to take credit for this beautiful painting - I didn't paint it.  It was painted by a wonderful artist, Helen Read,   that I "met" through the strange world of "Blog-land".
   I think the painting is terrific.  I am a sucker for curves and I could just look at these curvy lines for hours.  I love how her combination of warm and cool in the different greens.  Finally, I really like the intimate feel you get from this painting - you're up close and personal with the hosta leaf.  Love it!
   I know that I usually post a picture of one of my latest projects and tell, you, the reader, what I'm up to creatively speaking.  But I never want to get so wrapped up in my own little world that I lose perspective.  I find it incredibly inspiring to observe the work of other artists and marvel at their skills and creativity.  It's like a  breath of fresh air.  I always walk away inspired.  And of course, just like a great song that you hear for the first time - you want to share it with others!
  Never is this more true than when I find an artist who knows who they are and why they are doing what they are doing.  Enter Helen Read.  I ran across her blog a while ago and immediately felt I had found a kindred spirit.  That she is truly talented is obvious.  But it was her perspective on why she does art that caught my attention.  She sees art in her life as more than just a fun hobby or even a pursuit of beauty for beauty's sake, but instead as an act of worship and acknowledgement of the One who created all of us and all that is around us.
  Well, to be honest, after visiting her blog and reading her excerpt on how faith and art are integrated into her life, I realized she expressed (way better than I have been able to thus far) exactly what I see as the reason for art.  In her own words....

           Its really important to me not to compartmentalize my life into different realms, but rather to integrate all of it into a whole. Therefore, these areas cross boundaries and influence one another in interesting ways.
For me, my life is a whole lot about my faith... but not much about religion. That sounds sort of cliche, I guess. What I mean to say is- its about relationship and going into an ever deepening relationship with Christ, rather than a set of rituals and ceremonies. That kind of faith, I am finding, is never fully finished... always broader, deeper, fuller than I'd imagined. I am also finding out that God is bigger than my box for him... and he, in fact, won't be "contained". He's wild and untamed and beyond my ability to understand ... but entirely good.
So - how in the world does that impact art? Thinking about who this wild God is - I'm convinced he is creator and artist by just looking at the world in which I live. And he absolutely celebrates the impulse of creativity he's given to me! Visual art is a language... a language without words. So with visual expression, I can worship. I can explore. I can imagine. And, I can speak without words a celebration of my creator and all that his world contains. 

   Wow, well put.  So, like that great song that I just have to tell all my friends about - I encourage you to check out Helen Read's site for some great inspiration.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Brucemore Garden and Art Show

I was busy this weekend doing last minute packaging and framing for the upcoming  Brucemore Garden and Art Show.  I have to give kudos to my husband who is super willing to do all of the technical (read - tedious) stuff like cutting out cardboard backing to package my prints with and install all of the brackets to hang the pictures.
    In the spring when I had considered whether or not to do any art fairs or shows this summer, I had originally decided to wait.  Then some doors opened up for me to do a few which caused me to have to get my tail in gear to prepare for them.  I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Now I am ready to have enjoy myself, starting with the show at beautiful Brucemore mansion.
For those of you in Cedar Rapids or surrounding areas, I hope you come out and enjoy what is supposed to be a lovely day.  This is both a garden and art show so there will be lots of how- to demonstrations by master gardeners, kid friendly activities,  plus sixty or so artists and vendors - all on the grounds of Cedar Rapids' famous Brucemore mansion.  It should be lots of fun!
For those of you who live near and stop by my tent - please mention this post from either my  Art Speaking blog or from Facebook and I will be happy to send you home with one of my small notebook sets.  Hope to see you there!

Monday, August 16, 2010

"Magenta" or ??????

I felt like a huge burden had been lifted off my shoulders when I was finally able to say this one was completed.  This is the last of the paintings that I was doing in preparation for art shows/sales for the months of August and September.  I feel like I have been on a marathon of painting this summer.  It has been challenging but very enjoyable.  I learned so much! Since I had this one in my mind all spring and early summer, I had really wanted to bring it to completion.  Now to name it....  I am a little stumped.  I mentioned in an earlier post (Summer Coming to an End),  that I had wanted to really focus on one of my favorite colors, magenta.  It is a beautiful, transparent paint that is delicious for glazing with.  So, of course, for titles all I can think of is Magenta.  I would LOVE a suggestion or two from any of my readers.  If something pops into your mind please let me know on my comments page her or through my FACEBOOK page.
close ups

I walked through my gardens yesterday and was so sad to see how the weeds are winning the battle because I have been distracted with other things lately!  My poplar trees are beginning to lose their first leaves already (they are always the first to go) and their was a wonderful breeze in the air that gave a glimpse of Fall on it's way.  My garden flowers are foretelling the end of their growing season too, unfortunately.  They are losing their days of glory and have begun to turn brown in spots.  It's always such a bittersweet time.  Fall is my favorite time of year - but gosh wouldn't you just love for those flowers to never lose their beauty?  It is nature's yearly reminder to us all of life's fleeting days!  Whatever we do here on earth today, only lasts a moment and then it's gone. Painted canvases are one of the joys of an artist's life, but may we not forget to pursue the things that really matter - things that pertain to  life after our time here on earth.
With that in mind - I'm off to spend some time in the Bible and then to enjoy my last full day of summer. Classes begin here tomorrow morning at 8:30 sharp!

Monday, August 9, 2010


   I got a chance to finish up this larger project this evening, in the quietness of our home after everyone has gone to bed.  It isn't often in my full house that I get to work in silence - what a treat!
  This 24x20 oil is titled "Entwined".  I began it this summer out in my garden sitting in front of one of my favorite Clematis vines.   I had this image in my mind of the weaving in and out of those vines and how they formed lovely loops and "s" curves.  If you've spent any time in the garden, you know that vines like these have to be diligently trained to go up the trellis.  If you go a couple of days without checking on strays you may end up with a tangled mess of leaves, vines and flowers that is almost impossible to pull apart.  My hope was to convey the idea of our lives (especially in a family)  taking all sorts of unexpected twists and turns throughout the years.  Those twists being exactly the thing that ties us to those we love - so that it is quite difficult to be pulled apart.
 After I had done several sketches and laid out the basics for the idea, I took it inside to really dive into it.   I wanted to step away from some of the bold colors that usually jump onto my palette and make this one a bit softer.  I also wanted to end up with a peaceful feel to the painting to go along with that almost rolling wave feel of all of the loops and curves.
  It's always nice to end a day feeling like you accomplished something.  Now off to bed for me, as tomorrow starts another week!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Summer Coming to an End


                                                    Work in progress

  It is that time of year again. I'm sad to see the summer days winding down.  It is time to dig in and get back to reality - summer break is almost over.  For me, the end of July and beginning of August are usually jam packed with preparations for the upcoming school year.  As a homeschooling mom, this is my time to make final decisions on what curriculums we are using for what subjects, get them ordered, and make the schedules and final plans for all the assignments for the year.   You can usually locate me behind a huge pile of everyones' school books, trying to make order of it all.
  Added to all of that this year, I find myself trying to finish up some art projects, pick out frames for completed work and order prints for a couple of art sales that are coming up.  Oh yeah, did I mention that I decided to paint my dining room and living room?  What can I say, when I get the redecorating call - I must answer!
  The picture above is one of the projects that I have been working on.  I am just starting into the fun phase where the basics have been laid down and I get to tinker with the really juicy details that should give it some punch.  I used some ideas from another painting I had done years ago for a friend (Art Speaking).  I had loved some of the graceful lines that were in that painting and wanted to try the same idea out using Magenta as a focus in the new painting. It is a larger piece - 30x24 - and adding glazes to that many petals is time consuming, but I think it will be worth it.  I'll keep you posted.
  One last thing, I told you in my last post that my daughter and I had been working on decorations for the room that I would be teaching in for VBS.  Below are some of the pictures of the room with my littlest, Sophia, watching videos as I was getting things ready for the classes to begin.  All in all it turned out fun.  The kids had a blast and most important they learned the awesome message of the cross.  I am always amazed at how open kids are to hear the good news.  What an honor it was to get to teach them.

                                   Underwater sunken treasure cove


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