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

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Still Life Saturday

     In my last post I told you my goal for 2013 was to work more on smaller, less time consuming projects.  Last Saturday, I set up a still life on my dining room table, with a couple of items I had around the house and a table cloth attached to our chandelier for a backdrop.  I basically  took over the space for the weekend (my apologies to my family who had to eat their meals at the kitchen island).
    I haven't done a still life in a long time.  It was fun and challenging.  My main goal was to paint loose - which is something that I am forever trying to get better at.  I worked on it for a couple of hours on Saturday and then finished it up on Sunday.  It was great.  No sweating over time issues ("Ahhh...this is taking forever to complete...") and no working on  it for so long that I get tired of it and want to move on to something else.  And best of all - no trying to create some kind of master piece.  It was just creating to create for the pure joy of it.  Made for a great weekend.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Epiphanies in Failure

    I gave a sneak peek into this one a few posts ago.  Honestly, I wasn't too excited about sharing the whole thing.  It is not a painting I am very pleased with.  It's a big guy - 3 ft. x 4 ft.  When I started it I was so inspired and excited to get going on it.  I worked on and off  on it  all throughout November.  And the longer I worked on it, the more frustrated I got with the results.
   Now don't get me wrong, there are things I really like about.  For instance, I tried some new things with the background that I really like....

But over all the subject itself just didn't turn out how I wanted it to and I felt like the composition was weak to say the least.  So it has sat in the "Should I paint over it or just stick it in the trash can?" pile for about the last month.

I never even gave it a title - although "Failure" had come to mind.

                Then, shortly after the new year, I read a great article in Professional Artist magazine by a fantastic artist named Carol Marine that really challenged artists to think more about painting smaller, but more often.  She gave numerous reasons why, but the one that really stuck to me was the emotional tie you get from painting bigger paintings that take so much more time.  She hit the nail on the head.  It was like she saw me sitting in my little studio staring at this giant failure, mourning over all the time and effort I put into it with less than stellar results.  It wasn't that she was even recommending throwing out all ideas of painting on a bigger scale. (Whew!  I do love a large canvas to explode paint on!)  It was more the idea of painting to learn, painting to express creativity quickly, painting not to necessarily create a master piece every time, but for the pure enjoyment of painting.  Smaller scale = pressure off, in so many ways.
This has given me such a fresh perspective to start the new year off with.  I still have a bigger project on the easel, one that I will dabble with a bit every day.  But I am going to try my hand a bit more at smaller paintings that I can perhaps finish in a few days to a week. (I am just not a daily painter, no two ways about it.)  I think this will motivate me to paint more often, because I will see finished results more often.  This is like a whole new mind set for me. And it's one I am excited to pursue.

So, this big guy had a close call, but will probably not end up in the trash can.  The experience of painting it caused me to learn a lot. I will keep it around.  I may even give it a title..."Epiphany".

Monday, January 14, 2013


Here we are at the beginning of a new year again.  I started my new year off with a two day project with my husband that included revamping our "we've-been-married-for-twenty-four-years-and-our-clutter-shows-it" bedroom.  We got rid of an old dresser that I was hanging onto because I am hopelessly sentimental - even though the drawers barely open anymore.  We moved in an armoure from another room to help find places for the clutter previously spoken of, along with two new dressers.  I had gotten a new duvet cover a month or so ago and new throw pillows.  The end result was amazing, but the process was even better.  How theraputic to work together to let go of things we needlessly hold onto and renew stagnant space with a whole new outlook.  By far, it was one of the best New Years Eve and New Years Days I have had in a long time.

And what, you are probably asking about this time, does that have with art?  Well, it all came about because of this painting.  I'm not going to lie - I painted it to match the duvet cover, and I'm not ashamed to admit to it.   But in all seriousness, I painted it to convey that amazing joy and peace that comes every Spring when after a long winter of blah - we see new life burst out of what looked like dead wood.  It is a theme I have visited before.  It is a comforting theme and probably the reason I so love magnolias and many of the other spring flowering branches.  

          I wanted that spring renewal theme in the space where I spend time every day and every night.  Your bedroom should be a place of retreat to get away from hectic schedules and the burdens we face everyday.  It is also the place where we begin our days with the perspectives that we find there.  
          So, what started out as a new duvet cover and and new painting - ended up in an entire renewal project.

So as of January third, I wake up to these blooming branches, in soft, comforting colors, that renews my mind and reminds me everytime that I look at it that today is a new day, a new chance.

"Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23


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