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

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Look back and "Hope for Things to Come"

As the title implies, this week will be a two part post.   With 2010 coming to a close I guess it is time to take stock of the past year.  Along with that, I would like to share the last painting of 2010, which I finished up a day or so before Christmas.
I will be begin with the painting, which, ironically, is titled "Hope for Things to Come".  I got the idea for this painting about two months ago when I gave a large painting, Midnight Glory, as a donation for a local charity.  It had been hanging in my bedroom for safe keeping and when it was taken down it suddenly left a huge bare wall that needed to be filled.  That painting had been a big one, so I really wanted to replace it with something equally big.  That was when I got the idea to do a large scale triptych.  I got three 40x16 panels and took over my dining room table with them. My family is very patient to put up with paint and wet canvases laying all over the dining room I played around with the background a bit, adding some textured designs to add interest.  These can be seen in the  close ups below:

The thing I was really excited about was the idea of painting something that left off one canvas and continued on another.  I love the look of spring blossoms on a dark, bare branch.  This made for the perfect set up for this style of paining.  
Once I got the branch on the way I wanted it, I began to lay in the flowers.  That is when I got stuck.  I was suddenly overwhelmed with the number of flowers.  I am used to doing closeup views of one, maybe two flowers - this had over thirty flowers.  I let it sit for about a month and a half with just the look of bare branches and ghost - like flowers.  I still hung it in my bedroom so I could look at it and figure out what to do next. Needless to say, my husband, at that point, was not quite sure about my vision!

 I finally got a break through last week.  I started working on it when Christmas break began and it all seemed to come together.  One thing that I tried to do that I think helped me not get to overwhelmed, was I tried to keep it really loose and not get to caught up in details.  I think that made for a softer look over all.

I thought it was fairly appropriate, given the fact that this painting closes out the year for me, and that the subject is a spring flower, to name it "Hope for Things to Come".  It is for sale, if anyone is interested.  Until then, I will enjoy waking up to it each morning!

Now, onto a quick look back on 2010.  Artistically, this has been a great year for growth.  I sort of semi committed to painting everyday, even if it meant only for ten minutes.  And for the most part, I have stuck with this.  My father, who is an artist in Colorado, always has told me that doing this is a must if you want to be a better painter.  I have to say that I agree.  I feel like I have gotten better, even though there is so much more for me to learn.
One nice thing about painting everyday is that you become a lot more prolific.  I was able to complete thirty-eight presentable paintings (we won't mention the ones that ended up in the garbage!)  I sold a good amount, donated a few, and got to give a lot away, which is always one of my favorite things to do.
  I tried to stretch myself this year by taking on some portraits.  I learned a lot doing this - mostly that I have a lot more to learn!  But it has been a good kind of challenge for me.  I am looking forward to working on some more here soon.
  One thing that I really thought about over this last year is not wasting the things that God gives us.  Taking the time to really be grateful for things like family and friends, and using the gifts that He gives us, no matter how small, in the way that He intended - for our pleasure, and for His glory.  These are the things that I hope to carry into 2011, praying always that I will implement those more and more into my life.
  So here is to 2010, looking forward with hope and excitement to 2011.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Emmanuel: God is With Us!

  It seems like Christmas is sneaking up on a lot of people this year, myself included.  I went to Walmart yesterday to pick up some stocking stuffers and found that I am not the only one behind on their Christmas shopping.  It was packed with hurried, weary, stressed people searching for the perfect gift or last minute items for their family dinners.  I have to admit that I was feeling a little overwhelmed with all of the things on my before Christmas to-do list.  Ahh, the challenge of modern day Christmas season.

  I woke up early today for my morning Bible time.  It is my favorite time of the day.  I haven't had a chance yet to look at the long list of things I need to get done.  It is still dark, the house is quiet, and this morning the snow was falling outside.  The atmosphere could not have been any more different than yesterday at Walmart.

  The passage I read today was in Matthew 1:21-22, " She shall bring forth a son, and you shall name him Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins....they shall call him Emmanuel, which interpreted is, God with us."

  I am amazed at this.  The thought of it overwhelms me.  That God would love us so much, that He would see us in our state of need - so entrapped in our own selfishness and sin - and knowing that we could never rescue ourselves from the trouble that we had caused.  So He did what needed to be done.  He came down from Heaven to save us, all wrapped up in the frail body of a human being, so that He could relate to us.

  I worked last week on this little painting (no wonder I am behind on my Christmas shopping!).  I wanted to paint something that was a little different for me.  I had in my mind a picture of two things: one the light of God piercing through the darkness of our lives to save us.  Secondly, I kept thinking about the great God of the Universe, the maker of everything, humbling himself for us, allowing Himself to become this helpless little baby, in need of human parents to provide everything for Him - all so he could relate to you and me.   Emmanuel - God with us.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Portrait Project: Mattea

This is the third in my little winter portrait project.  This is Mattea. She is the youngest daughter of some very dear friends of ours from way back when.  Mattea's mom, Amy, sent me a few different poses that were all adorable.  But when I saw this one I knew it was the one I had to paint.  I loved this little figure in this great big field. I loved how she was in the midst of turning around.  I loved the color combinations. 
 I Loved it all.  
My favorite thing about this pose is that Mattea looks like the princess that she is.  She is the youngest child in her family, the only girl.  She is a little girl who was longed for, prayed for and sent all the way from China to answer her Dad and Mom's prayers - so of course, she couldn't be anything but a little princess.  

I am always fascinated with the specialness of children who are adopted.  Of course, all children are special.   But adopted children are always a reminder to me of the special love that God has for us.  That we were once in such need and in His love He welcomed us into His family, making us His sons and daughters.  Amazing....
"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God." I John 3:1

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


  I'm working on a couple of poppies this week.  I got a little unexpected time the last few days and was able to finish this one up (the second poppy is just in beginning stages and may take a while as it is 24x48).  I never get tired of painting this unusual flower. Every one has it's one unique petal pattern and color combination.  With these three I used a few touches of my old favorite, Magenta, which I though added some surprising character to them.

  I have had a lot of requests for prints lately (they make nice Christmas presents!) and am getting ready to place some new orders.  Anyone interested in either framed or unframed prints, take a look at my Facebook page to find prints available (listed in their own album in the photo section. Orders must be placed by December 15th. Contact me by email if interested (julskul@msn.com)
  Hope everyone is having a blessed Christmas season.  Don't forget to take time to remember the reason we celebrate. As my youngest, Sophie, told me yesterday - "I get a day for my birthday, but Jesus gets a whole season!"  So true.


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