Tag Archives: Bible

A Painting for Me

A couple of weeks ago, during a sermon, this painting came to me.

The transforming breath of God.

The transforming breath of God.

This one just really made me happy, and speaks to me on so many levels. We, as carriers of the Word, are sown throughout the world; and as our hearts respond to that Breath in thanksgiving, rather than complaint, we are transformed. We shine with His indwelling light, and illuminate the way for others. I am always grateful when God gives me an artwork of my own.

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Interrupting the Tour of Italy…

to bring you a glimpse of my Ladies’ Retreat! Last weekend, our church organization sponsored a spiritual retreat for the French churches of South France with the theme of Free to Serve Him. Aside from an interest in the topic, I loved the idea of learning and worshiping alongside my sisters in Christ here. The one big hesitation I held was, well, it would be a French retreat in French. I’ve been working on this language for 10 months, but I still can’t say I speak it. One of my French friends who was attending, though, and who translates, offered to let me ride with her and the pastor’s wife, and she would make sure I understood the teaching. YES!

One of the joys of being a part of the family of God is that, where ever you go, regardless of cultural or language differences, the Holy Spirit in each of you is able to communicate a bond that transcends these barriers. Poor tribal women in the mountains of Mexico who know the Savior lit up at meeting a white, clueless English believer in Christ (and vice versa), and it is the same in France. I sang songs in French, whose lyrics I could only mostly comprehend, but some I knew in English, and what a joy! I prayed with women in French, and enjoyed 3-course French meals preceded by lovely songs that were benedictions, like we used to do in camp! And I was able to follow French Scripture readings in my English Bible.

Good food and conversation at a French retreat is a given, I guess.

Good food and conversation at a French retreat is a given, I guess.

We gather to practice a song for the host church's worship service Sunday. It was the French version of "Open My Eyes, Lord."

We gather to practice a song for the host church’s worship service Sunday. It was the French version of “Open My Eyes, Lord.”

And folks, the liberating grace and mercy of God is the same in every language! It was a first for the women of the region, and I pray it will double in size next year.

It was a mercy and a delight, though, to find that a third of the ladies in attendance, while speaking French for the retreat, were yet native English-speakers. And additionally, the matron who was caretaker of the retreat location was an  American missionary who had come to France long ago to minister to lovely French people. The world of the family of God is small indeed! I had an abundance of help with the material, and people who were ready to talk about Jesus in my own heart language, too. I did sometimes grow weary of all the foreign-ness. It is hard work and a constant alertness to focus on a foreign language, and it wasn’t just a few hours with French class. It was definitely a weekend that helped my language listening skills, though.

The location was a retreat in itself, too, though. Maubourguet is a quaint ville, and this building the retreat met at was right on the market square. Looking at the solid wall facade that faces the square, you’d never guess all the courtyard and home behind them.

The courtyard, with bedrooms, the kitchen, and a meeting room facing it.

The courtyard, with bedrooms, the kitchen, and a meeting room facing it.

This is a lovely canal that runs behind most of the building, and actually UNDER parts of it. Very cool, and the babble of the water was refreshing.

This is a lovely canal that runs behind most of the building, and actually UNDER parts of it. Very cool, and the babble of the water was refreshing.

I definitely hope I have the privilege of attending again next year!

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The Lover of My Soul

Last weekend I got away from uber-busy life with a bunch of women from my Bible Study Fellowship leader group. I worried it was time I couldn’t spare, really, even though this would knock out another 50 Before 50. I had gotten to where I almost didn’t want to go, leaving my family I don’t see enough of, and my to-do list I make so little progress on. So, recognizing this attitude problem, I began, the week before, asking God each day to refresh me on this retreat. How He did this, physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually, didn’t matter, just so long as PLEASE would He refresh me? Well, the response left me breathless, and feeling just a bit like He had just been waiting in anticipation to do just that!

Arriving at the Hyatt, I unpacked and realized two things: my late night packing job had left me short a blouse, and my lipstick bag with lip balm for my already painfully chapped lips was missing. Ah well, my mind was on other things. I was desperate for a hair makeover. I had originally thought to grow out my curly graying locks for an updo for the wedding in June, but realize now what a mistake that was. Every time I walked past a mirror at work (and my department store has LOTS of mirrors), I couldn’t help feeling frumpy and droopy and old. So with the couple of hours downtime I’ve got before the retreat started, I decided to see if I could get a walk-in haircut. Surely there’s a Great Clips or something nearby? A directory showed an Aveda Institute (the school!) downtown, so I called and said a prayer. “Might you have an opening before 4?” asked at 2:10. They said they had had a cancellation of a 3:00! I can do 3! What a relief! I went walking, and lo and behold, this school was just across the street and around the corner, so I got there 20 minutes early. And what did I see next door, but a TJMaxx. Well, I had time for a quick browse. And hit PAYDIRT! in the form a of a lovely Cable and Gauge blouse for cheap! Unexpected top shortage alleviated.

I showed up at Aveda right on the dot, and the sweet girl who seated me informed me that a cut begins with a scalp massage with scented oil. Oh my! It was awesome, with refreshing peppermint, and right then I knew God was telling me He was taking care of me. The cut turned out really cute, but at the end, the girl said that as a thank you for using their services, I get a little dollop of lip gloss of my color choice. I couldn’t believe it!! It was like God overlooked NO tiny detail. And the whole experience was $18. You can believe I tipped WELL. I nearly cried, I felt so loved. God knew my needs, and me, and how to truly refresh me. I felt not only ready to receive all that He wanted to give me spiritually for the weekend, I was eagerly expectant!

And the public art in Denver is quirky and prolific. It was fun just to watch for it, no museum necessary. Take the Convention Center, for example:

Isn’t he cute? I’ll share more about the retreat itself in future, but for now, just know my prayer was answered. I am loved, and I was definitely refreshed!

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A wedding gift for…

librarians?

My college freshman daughter is a library page, and has two co-workers who are getting married. They met at the library, and they are getting married at the library. I get the impression they LOVE the library. My girl needed a wedding gift for the couple, but as a teen college student with a car payment, funds are a little tight. So I volunteered to make a gift. This is what I came up with:

pen

The bride and groom’s names are incorporated as titles, with their new joint last name as well. I considered giving just this, but I had originally planned it with a watercolor wash, and so I shoved aside the scaredy-cat, color-shy part of me and dove in.

books with watercolor wash

The couple aren’t Believers, but they are appreciative of Western Civilization and good literature, so I didn’t think they would be offended if I sought to put a blessing over their new lives together. I added, in very small print, two lines on the spine of the last book: “These three things remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

We framed the artwork, and it was gifted at a shower tonight. I hope they enjoy it for a lifetime.

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Overflowing Grace

I got to spend my birthday doing whatever I wanted. So I painted.

I am blessed. My children love me, and love Jesus. My husband thinks I’m sexy. God lets me help Him. I have friends. I have central heat and air, and flush toilets, indoors. I don’t know what hunger really is. I am more healthy than not. I get to participate in a church that wants to serve God. My husband and I both have work, and the means to get there. We can help our children get a higher education. My cup overflows.

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Trotting out Art

I saw a photo of this horse and it just called to me in pastels. I tossed off a quick sketch for a friend’s horse-crazy daughter, and voila!

pony sketch in pastels

I will add Psalm 139:14 in collaged typography and seal this baby. It’s fun to do something quick!

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A Triple-play of Pears! (Obsessing? Me?!)

I have finally finished the THIRD panel of pears, which is a cluster of THREE pears, and they turned out very cute, even if I do say so. This panel will complete the fruit of the Spirit verse with “against such things there is no law.” I teach the lower grades today, but I still hope to get a chance to run all three paintings to my friend’s house to see how the color and such will look on her wall. I still may go in and make some adjustments just to make sure they look ok in her house. I need to get a shot of all three together, too.

red bartlett pears

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Sharing the Fun!

Our spring fundraiser auction included a couple of hours painting with me, and I just finished the time with two of my sweet students! With summer fresh on our minds and still reigning in the outdoor temperatures, I chose a juicy watermelon for our painting adventure. It was a great chance to actually to take time I don’t normally have with this age group (second and fourth grades) to walk through the steps involved in an acrylic painting. Come to think of it, my younger students never see acrylic anyway. I hope they had at least as much fun as I had!

happy watermelons with ant visitors

I had already posted my original watermelon, but the other night I had the most fun idea of adding the little ant visitors intot he excess of negative space above the melon! And inspired by my friend who is trying to put more Scripture on her walls (and therefor before her eyes), I added this verse from Proverbs. This cheery little painting really does make me smile!

My Proverbial watermelon

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Fruit of the Spirit

This is the middle and largest canvas of three. It is interesting that I can’t get a good reproduction of the colors in the painting. It really kind of glows in comparison to the photo. I think it reflects the warm tones of sunlight better than the camera picks up. So anyway, one down, two to go.

Kendi's pear

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Playing with Pears

The next verse my friend wants me to paint for her is Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” I considered several options to illustrate this, but decided on the simplicity, elegance, and flexibility of pears. I think there are reasons you see so many pears in still lifes: 1) they have graceful color and texture 2) they have simple lines, yet more interesting and complex than apples 3) they are still highly identifiable, even if your style tends more toward the abstract.

I plan to do a triptych of pears, with the central canvas being a single pear carrying the bulk of the verses’ text. I played around awhile with how I wanted to represent the pears and came up with these three highly unfinished studies in acrylic. I also considered watercolor for a more delicate look, and pastels for something really bold and kind of fauvist, but in the end I stuck with what I am most comfortable with.

traditional

Had I chosen this pear, I would have done a background more like a watercolor. I loved the light almost-translucence of the pear, but that makes the background feel too opaque and heavy. That’s just backward.

bold pear

I decided this pear actually detracts from the text I’ll be adding. Definitely not the goal!

Glowing pear

This is the pear of choice. Without too much contrast with the background, the contrast of the text can get the focus it needs. It has color and shape, but it’s strong and contemporary, much as I imagine my friend to be. It’s a style I can have fun with on my other two pear paintings, yet maintain some unity. Plus, I just love how it glows. Surrounded by the fruit of the Spirit, I think it will inspire. Now to translate it onto canvas!

Update: other pears of the triptych here, and here.

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