Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Who You Say I Am


11"x14" Oil on Canvas

It's hard to believe that it has only been a decade since I made the first bog post of my art. Since then, I have grown so much as an artist and as a person. In the past decade, I have discovered plein-air and abstract painting, mastered the palette knife, seen my work published on the covers of CDs, magazines and books, and heard from fans and patrons all over the world. I can't wait to see what growth will happen over the next decade.

This paining is an abstract impression of a contemporary worship song of the same name by Hillsong Worship. It is an interpretation of the music and God's loving vision for our lives. 

You can hear the inspiring song by clicking here:
Who You Say I Am by Hillsong Worship

As we plan our goals for a new decade, may we rememberer who we are and who we are becoming. 

Have a blessed New Year!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Shine

Oil on Panel
For Rejoice! Advent Meditations with Joseph
by Ascension Press

Available for purchase here:


Have you ever beamed with joy? Have you ever had a time when you were so filled with happiness that it felt as if you were full of an uncontainable energy that radiated from you?
I have had experiences like that as a parent when I look at my children and marvel at the miracle of who they are and who they are becoming. Even now as my children are entering adulthood, they make my heart swell with pride, joy and love. That feeling motivates me to be a better parent and a more loving person to my neighbors. 

I imagine Mary and Joseph may have had those moments of beaming joy as well. In this painting for Ascension Press, I imagined a moment where the Holy Family is just spending a moment together. Joseph holds Jesus and gazes into the his incarnate eyes. Mary reclines, relaxed and content, next to Joseph as she watches Joseph and Jesus bond. And Jesus reaches out to Joseph the way babies do—full of love, trust, and curiosity. The whole family is in a moment of beaming joy together—illustrated by the flood of light surrounding them.

Advent is over. The baby, Emmanuel, (which means "God with us") is here. Now is the time to bond with Him. Let us make time to get to know Him. Let us marvel at who Jesus was, is, and is becoming. May our time with Him swell our hearts with so much uncontainable joy and love that it radiates out to the world. May that love make us lights to the world with Him. May it make us shine.

Merry Christmas to you all.


Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Lessons & Carols: The Word


Digital Illustration
Available for digital download


The Ninth Lesson: John 1: 1-14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Monday, December 23, 2019

No Room


Oil on Panel for 
"Rejoice! Advent Meditations with Joseph" Journal
by Ascension Press
Could it be any more overwhelming? Mary and Joseph finally arrive in Bethlehem. The city is overcrowded with no place to stay. Then the contractions begin. Were it not for the grace and charity of a stranger to offer them a stable, they would be delivering the Christ out on the streets.
In this painting for Ascension Press, we see Mary and Joseph navigating the streets of Bethlehem at dusk. They pause as a contraction begins. Joseph remains as supportive as he can amidst the frantic circumstances. Mary is focused, patient, and determined.
Notice the crowd is a sea of people going in one direction while Mary and Joseph travel against the flow. The Holy Family is on a different journey than the others. They are on an Advent journey. 
Notice the obscured source of light that shines on them. We don't know who offered the stable to them. It was the hospitality of a stranger who made room for the expectant family and the child who would soon be born.
In the hardest moments of life, may we learn from Mary and Joseph. May continue to be on the Advent way. May we be lights of hospitality and charity to others. And may we be humble enough to accept grace when it is given to us.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Lessons & Carols: Wise Men



Digital Illustration
Available for digital download


The Eighth Lesson: Matthew 2: 1-12


Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Lessons & Carols: Gloria


Digital Illustration
Available for digital download


The Seventh Lesson: Luke 2: 8-16

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Th Sixth Lesson: The Birth of Jesus


Digital Illustration
Available for digital download


The Sixth Lesson: Luke 2: 1; 3–7

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David: To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Lessons & Carols: Gabriel and Mary


Digital Illustration
Available for digital download


The Fifth Lesson: Luke 1: 26–35; 38

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JesusHe shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:  And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Lessons & Carols: Peaceable Kingdom

Digital Illustration
Available for Digital Download




The Fourth Lesson: Isaiah 11:1-3a; 4a; 6-9

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
His delight shall be in the fear of the LORD.
With righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD
as the waters cover the sea.

Lessons & Carols: Great Light


Digital Illustration
Available for Digital Download


The Third Lesson: Isaiah 9: 2; 6-7

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: 
and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Lessons & Carols: Abraham

Digital Illustration
Available for Digital Download


The Second Lesson: Genesis 22:15-18

The angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time from heaven, and said, "By myself I have sworn, says the LORD: Because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will make your offspring as numerous as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your offspring shall all the nations of the earth gain blessing for themselves, because you have obeyed my voice."

Lessons & Carols: Fallen

Digital Illustration
Available for Digital Download


The First Lesson: Genesis 3: 8–15; 17–19

The man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" He said, "I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself." He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" The man said, "The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate." Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent tricked me, and I ate." The LORD God said to the serpent,
    "Because you have done this,
    cursed are you among all animals
    and among all wild creatures;
    upon your belly you shall go,
    and dust you shall eat
    all the days of your life.
    I will put enmity between you and the woman,
    and between your offspring and hers;
    he will strike your head,
    and you will strike his heel."
And to the man he said,
    ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife,
    and have eaten of the tree
    about which I commanded you,
    You shall not eat of it”,
    cursed is the ground because of you;
    in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
    thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
    and you shall eat the plants of the field.
    By the sweat of your face
    you shall eat bread
    until you return to the ground,
    for out of it you were taken;
    you are dust,
    and to dust you shall return."

Lessons & Carols: To Bethlehem



Digital Illustration
Available for digital download


From The Bidding Prayer:

Beloved in Christ, in this Christmastide, let it be our care and delight to hear again the message of the Angels, and in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, and the Babe lying in the manger.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Embarking for Bethlehem

Oil on Panel for 
"Rejoice! Advent Meditations with Joseph" Journal
by Ascension Press
Mary and Joseph loved each other. The Incarnation in Mary's womb did not change that fact. For many couples, pregnancy is a mixed-bag of stresses and joys. I'm sure Joseph and Mary were no exception. They shared a bond and an experience like no other couple on earth. That experience could have overwhelmed them and separated them. But Mary and Joseph's strong love for each other, and for God, strengthened their union. It was that strength that enabled them to make the long journey to a Bethlehem stable and bear the Christ child.
In this painting for Ascension Press, we see Mary and Joseph preparing to embark for Bethlehem. As Joseph helps Mary onto the donkey, they pause for a brief moment to gaze into each others eyes and remember their love. The stress of pregnancy, the responsibilities of parenthood, the census, the journey ahead, all go away for a moment. They pause, their hearts flutter, and they smile—because they know that love endures all things.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Advent: Discernment

Oil on Panel for 
"Rejoice! Advent Meditations with Joseph" Journal
by Ascension Press

For me, discerning a direction from God is difficult. After prayers for guidance, the following days and months are filled with moments where I listen and watch for a sign of guidance. It takes a aggregation of small moments to discern a path. Sometimes the message is loud and clear. But for the most part, I find the longer route of discernment to be the norm.

Joseph had a big decision to make—even bigger that he could ever imagine. He found out that his fiancĂ© was pregnant—and the child was certainly not his. He was deliberating on whether or not to dismiss her and break off the engagement. It was the appropriate thing to do in the eyes of the Law. It was the easier thing to do in the eyes of society. But it was Mary's eyes, when she told him the news, that troubled him. Should he stay committed to Mary, accept the scandalous situation, and be a father-figure to the Messiah? It's all just too crazy. Faith and tradition only go so far. Joseph believed in the coming Messiah, but this was very different from what he expected. Tradition and the Law told him that the right thing to do was to just walk away. 

Then The Angel spoke to Joseph in a dream. That must have been some dream. If it were me, I would always wonder if my mind was just playing around in REM state. However vivid the dream was, it was enough to embolden Joseph's faith and inspire him to stay with Mary. I believe this story is a great testament to Joseph's trust in God, the quality of Joseph's faith, and the strength of his love for Mary.

Like Joseph, may we look with Advent eyes for God's will. 
And may God grant us the courage and humility to follow Him.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

ADVENT: Signs and Wonders


Digital Illustration for 
Rejoice! Advent Meditations with Joseph
Video Series
by Ascension Press



In this digital illustration, Joseph gazes at the wonders of the night sky. It would be hard to know what he thought of the starry sky, but one thing is certain. Joseph would see the stars and remember a God who keeps God's promises.

Remember when God told Abraham to look up to the sky and try to count the stars. "So will be the number of your descendants," God said. And Abraham became the father of nations, and ultimately, a forefather of Christ.

Today, we may see stars for their scientific wonder and the vastness of the cosmos. We may even ponder the greatness of the God who created such marvels. But we can also look to the night sky like Joseph—remembering that God is a God of promises and that God can be trusted to keep them.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Advent: Dark Morning



Digital Illustration for 
Rejoice! Advent Meditations with Joseph
Video Series
by Ascension Press



“Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.”

― George Iles

In this digital illustration, Joseph opens his door and gazes out into the pre-dawn darkness. Just before the birds begin to sing, all is quiet, peaceful, and still. 

Advent means "Coming." Many churches celebrate Advent as a season of hopefulness leading up to Christmas. If Christmas is the birth of the Light of the World, then Advent is the pre-dawn dark morning we find ourselves in as we awake from our sleep. 

Darkness can be a thing of fear and anxiety. In the dark, we are surrounded by unknowns and mysteries. But if you are assured that a light will soon arrive, the dark can be a place where we can live in hope and peace.


Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Advent: Early to Rise


Digital Illustration for 
Rejoice! Advent Meditations with Joseph
Video Series
by Ascension Press


This digital illustration imagines Joesph getting up in the early pre-dawn to begin his day with prayer. Some symbolic elements give both context to Joseph's humble surroundings as well as a foreshadowing of some themes the Incarnation would soon bring to us. There is a lamp of oil which reminds us of Advent light and a reminder to keep our lamps trimmed and burning in anticipation for the coming of the Christ. There is also a basin and towel to remind us of Christs's humility and service.

This Advent season, may we begin our days with prayer, humility and gratitude. May we keep our lamps lit with trust in God's promises.


Monday, December 2, 2019

Joseph the Carpenter


Oil on Panel for 
"Rejoice! Advent Meditations with Joseph" Journal
by Ascension Press

Advent at Work.
Joseph was a carpenter. He worked daily with his hands—chopping, sawing, hammering, chiseling, and sanding—making things for others. It must have been hot, tiresome, gritty work.  Joseph was a craftsman. It was a career that required skill, devotion, physical labor, and discipline. It also required humility and a dependence upon God and the economy of others to earn a living wage.
When I am working on a painting, my mind tends to delve deeply into a kind of meditative state. Part of me is problem–solving the task at hand. Another other part of me is always thinking about the meaning of the image being created. In this painting, Joseph is putting finishing touches on a table. I wonder what his mind was thinking about as he worked in the months prior to the birth of Jesus. I would imagine there would be mixed bag of anticipation, worry, fear, and insecurity. But there would also be joy, hope, peace, and love.
These are but some of the characteristics that could be found in the man whom God chose to be a father figure to the Christ. It would make sense that Jesus would grow up to be a man of devotion, humility and trust in God. Jesus spent much of his ministry at table with others. Even to this day, two thousand years later, we come to a table to remember Him.
As we ponder the gift of the incarnation this season, may we also give thanks for Joseph. May His devotion to God, family, and work be an inspiration in our Advent lives today.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Daybreak


6"x6' Oil on Panel

“The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here.” –Selections from Romans 13:11-12
“Rise and Shine” is the inspiration for this year’s Advent artwork and design created for First Presbyterian Church, Franklin. The scriptures for this season are about visions, dreams and the dawning of God’s kingdom. The texts also call us to be active participants of God’s new day.
Advent is a time of twilight hope with dreams of peace and joy. As we continue to wake up, we rub our groggy eyes as they adjust to the soft light of God’s love surrounding us. It’s also the time to get up, stretch, and be about the daily work that God has called us to do. Through the gift of Advent, God is making us “Morning People.”
So wake up everybody. 
Let’s get ready to go to work for God’s kingdom. 
It’s going to be a beautiful day.




Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Sure On This Shining Night


20"x24" 
Oil on Canvas


Sure on this shining night
Of starmade shadows round,
Kindness must watch for me
This side the ground.
The late year lies down the north. 
All is healed, all is health.
High summer holds the earth.
Hearts all whole.
Sure on this shining night 
I weep for wonder 
Wandering far alone
Of shadows on the stars.

– James Agee


Choral Arrangement by by Morten Lauridsen



Saturday, March 2, 2019

Transfiguration


8"x10" 
Oil on Panel with Palette Knife



Luke 9:28-36

Jesus took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 
And while he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became 
dazzling white. Suddenly they saw two men, Moses and Elijah, talking to him. They appeared 
in glory and were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. 
Now Peter and his companions were weighed down with sleep; but since they had stayed awake, 
they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. Just as they were leaving him, 
Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, 
one for Moses, and one for Elijah"--not knowing what he said. While he was saying this, 
a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were terrified as they entered the cloud. 
Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" 
When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and in those days 
told no one any of the things they had seen.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Love Your Enemies


5x7 
Oil on Canvas Panel

Luke 6:27-38

Jesus said, "I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 
bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, 
offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 
Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them 
again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those 
who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? 
For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, 
what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return. 
Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind 
to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

"Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. 
Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, 
pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure 
you give will be the measure you get back."

_______________________

In this Sunday's scripture, Jesus continues to turn the world upside down 
with the call to love our enemies. I recently heard "love" defined as 
"willing the good for the other." (Fr. Mike Schmitz)

This abstract painting expresses the struggle to live out that calling. 

How does the call to love our enemies conflict with our definitions of justice and fairness? 
How does this calling translate in abusive situations?
How much of a difference would living this calling make in today's polarized society?
How different would the world be if we actually loved our enemies? 




Saturday, February 16, 2019

Rhapsody In Blue



24x24 Diptych
Oil on Canvas
SOLD

Said goodbye to these new blue beauties at the Lipscomb Art Event last week.
Abstract pair based on Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue.