Here is a new plein air painting from Florida's Gulf Coast. This one focuses on the color relationships between the sky and the shore. I was intrigued how some of the shadow colors on the shore matched the deeper shades in the clouds. I'm glad I got up early to capture this painting. By the time I finished, a storm front was blowing in.
Plein Air Painter’s Tip:
Some of you pros may already know this, but today I discovered a handy painting hack. If you're using a french easel, you can position your canvas in such a way so you can use the top of the easel lid to act as a guide for your horizon line. See how the horizon line runs right across the top of the easel lid in the action shot below.
Time is long overdue to share some commissions I've been working on. This one was commissioned as an anniversary gift to the director of the Franklin High School Band, David Aydelott. It was based on a brilliant photo by Tom White capturing band members in one of their dramatic movements. The task was to blend the pose with the abstract music colors I have done recently. The result is a striking piece illustrating the band's striving for excellence. The painting is entitled "Expressivo," which means to perform expressively with emotion. It was unveiled a few weeks ago at the ban's end-of-the-year banquet. I can think of no better way to express gratitude for Mr. A's artistry to inspire and shape character and talent than a gift of art itself. Today, the Franklin Band begins practice for this fall's performances. Go Franklin!
This is my final posting for this year's "40 Days" journey. It is a commissioned painting I have been working on for First Presbyterian Church, Franklin, TN. It was installed today—just in time for an Easter debut.
“Welcome one another just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.”
This painting is a vision of God’s grace and serves as a reminder of how we are to be to each other. The painting depicts a peaceable, abundant table which has been prepared for all ages, genders, races and abilities. Among the variety of food on the table, there are also sacramental symbols of bread, wine and water. The figures are vague and rough around the edges because we come together as we are, with all of our imperfections. Near the bottom, there is an empty place setting which is an open sign of grace for all people present, separated departed and yet to come.
That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another."
Today we celebrate Maundy Thursday. The name "Maundy" comes from the latin "Mandatum" which means "Mandate." On this day, we remember Jesus' last supper with His disciples. On that night, he washed their feet and commanded them to do the same. He also took the bread and the cup form the passover meal and declared them as symbols of his body and blood—given for all of mankind. He also instructed them to remember Him in the breaking of bread and drinking of the cup.
This abstract mashes all of those themes together as an outpouring act of love.
It portrays the tone of the evening, the call to remember, and the command to love.
Daily painting is not all about one painting a day. Here's one of the many other projects I've been working on. Commissioned by a fellow lake loving family. May this lake's serenity bring you some peace today.
Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians,no one could cure her. She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. Then Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” When all denied it, Petersaid, “Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me.” When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
This is a commissioned painting of one of my favorite stories. Thought the gospels, Jesus heals in many different ways. Sometimes with just a command, sometimes long distance, sometimes tactually and deliberately. But this time, the miracle was performed unconsciously. The woman touched Jesus, from behind, among a crowd of people. She was healed instantly. Then, Jesus does something remarkable. He sensed power leaving from him. He turned around to inquire about it. The power of God in Jesus was something real and physical enough for Jesus to sense it at work—and it was beyond his own control.
God was at work in Jesus without Jesus even knowing it until after the fact. This is a fascinating twist in the story for me. To me, it means that Jesus was so much an instrument of God's grace ("Touched by God" if you will), that God was able to work miracles through him beyond his own actions. Have you ever tried so hard to make something go right for God? A ministry, goal or charitable effort? Sometimes they work great. Sometimes they fail. But then there are those times when something seems to go wonderfully right for God and we had nothing to do with it—perhaps even in spite of anything we did. That is an amazing interaction.
In the painting, The woman touches Jesus among the crowd of people. Both Jesus and the woman are highlighted so subtly that it is easy for the crowd (and the viewer) to miss. The power is real, as illustrated in the painting. But it may be only noticeable to those who have the faith to realize it.
Miracles can happen, unexpectedly, in the most unlikely of circumstances. You are an instrument of God for the world. We are all called to serve in ways both great and small. But always remember that we belong to God. God can use us for the kingdom when we don't even know it.
Still making up for lost time, here are three infinity cross designs. These crosses have no beginning or end. Likewise, God's love for us never ends. Trace these crosses and think about all of the ways God continues to love you. Try drawing infinity crosses of your own.
OK. I've missed a couple of days this past week. Life just gets in the way of your goals sometimes. Hopefully, this two-in-one post will make up for it.
While frame shopping for an art exhibit last week, I found these really nice frames for Artist Trading Cards. I still had a couple of Antiphons left from December (type "Antiphons" in my search box to see what I'm talking about), So I bought a few frames to make a nice set. For the remaining two frames, I whipped up some abstract studies in pink based on the same pink magnolia from the "Early Bloomer" post. I hope you like them.
By the way, the happy little ceramic angel in the background is from my daughter's elementary school days. What could brighten a day more than spring pink and smiling angels?
Next week begins Holy Week. It begins this Sunday with remembering Jesus' entry into Jerusalem. Here is another labyrinth design—just in time for the season. It is also available for digital download at the link above.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the people waved palm branchesand shouted “Hosanna,” which means “save us.” It was both a shout for joy and a cry for God’s help.
As you trace this labyrinth, give thanks for all thatGod has done.
Ask God for help in your life andin the lives of others.
Did you know that I am also a graphic designer? Today' post is something new for you to enjoy. This is a prayer labyrinth design based on John 11:1-44. You can read the scripture below. You can download it for non-commercial use/reproduction at the link above. It's a great way to pray for your close friends and give thanks for those who cry with you and comfort you.
The Death of Lazarus
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
Jesus the Resurrection and the Life
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away,and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother.When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home.Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”
When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Jesus Raises Lazarus to Life
Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
"If I could figure out God, he'd be a pretty puny god." –Rabbi Harold Kushner This is an abstract expression on the mystery of the Trinity. Rather than try to explain the painting, or the Trinity, here are some thoughts: • God is way beyond a single persona, sex, race, or any other label mortals can ascribe. • The doctrine of the Trinity addresses questions about WHO God is rather than WHAT God is. • God is relational. • God will always be a mystery. • God is God. We are not.
Painting from life is a great way to meditate on the world around you. To notice the colors and the structures in our beautiful world is such a blessing. This final painting from Saint Joseph, Michigan was painted plein air on the beach with freezing temperatures and gusty winds. It was enough to make the effort nothing less than pure adventure. The lighthouse in this painting was the location from where the two previous paintings were made. By this time, the winds had picked up greatly and huge swells crashed against the pier. I could not help but be impressed by the strength of those structures to withstand such harsh conditions. Special thanks to my brother-in-law, my host and invaluable assistant, for blocking the winds from knocking my easel over. I hope to visit this beautiful place again... preferably in the warmer months.
The wind picked up and the temperature dropped to around 32 Degrees. Waves began to splash up on the North Pier and spray my easel with cold lake water. This was a struggle to finish, but it was so much fun!
As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes, saying to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). Then he went and washed and came back able to see. The neighbors and those who had seen him before as a beggar began to ask, “Is this not the man who used to sit and beg?” Some were saying, “It is he.” Others were saying, “No, but it is someone like him.” He kept saying, “I am the man.” But they kept asking him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ Then I went and washed and received my sight.” They said to him, “Where is he?” He said, “I do not know.”
The Pharisees Investigate the Healing
They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind. Now it was a sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also began to ask him how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put mud on my eyes. Then I washed, and now I see.” Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not observe the sabbath.” But others said, “How can a man who is a sinner perform such signs?” And they were divided. So they said again to the blind man, “What do you say about him? It was your eyes he opened.” He said, “He is a prophet.”
The Jews did not believe that he had been blind and had received his sight until they called the parents of the man who had received his sight and asked them, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How then does he now see?” His parents answered, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but we do not know how it is that now he sees, nor do we know who opened his eyes. Ask him; he is of age. He will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that anyone who confessed Jesus to be the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. Therefore his parents said, “He is of age; ask him.”
So for the second time they called the man who had been blind, and they said to him, “Give glory to God! We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “I do not know whether he is a sinner. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.” They said to him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” He answered them, “I have told you already, and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?” Then they reviled him, saying, “You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.” The man answered, “Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where he comes from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” They answered him, “You were born entirely in sins, and are you trying to teach us?” And they drove him out.
Jesus heard that they had driven him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir?[f] Tell me, so that I may believe in him.” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and the one speaking with you is he.” He said, “Lord, I believe.” And he worshiped him. Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind.” Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, “Surely we are not blind, are we?” Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.