Thursday, March 30, 2017

40 Days: Day 25: Jesus Wept Prayer Labyrinth

8.5""x11" Digital Art

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.”

Jesus Weeps

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.”

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

40 Days: Day 24: Triune

Oil on Canvas

"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.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

40 Days: Day 23: Beacons of Resilience

Oil on Panel
Plein air with Palette Knife
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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.

Monday, March 27, 2017

40 Days: Day 22: Michigan Dunes

Oil on Panel
Plein air with Palette Knife
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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!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

40 Days: Day 21: Sight

5"x7" Acrylic on Paper
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John 9:1-41

A Man Born Blind Receives Sight

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.

Spiritual Blindness

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.

Friday, March 24, 2017

40 Days: Day 20: Michigan Coast

Oil on Panel
Plein air with Palette Knife
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Switching gears for a bit in my 40 paintings. I took some time while on "Spring Break" in Saint Joseph Michigan to do some plein air painting. It was chilly and windy on the north pier, but it was a beautiful day to paint. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

40 Days: Day 19: Daily Prayer V

5"x7" Acrylic on Paper

The next few posts will be examples of daily prayer with paint. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

40 Days: Day 18: Daily Prayer IV

5"x7" Acrylic on Paper

The next few posts will be examples of daily prayer with paint. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

40 Days: Day 17: Daily Prayer III

5"x7" Acrylic on Paper

The next few posts will be examples of daily prayer with paint. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

40 Days: Day 16: Daily Prayer II

5"x7" Acrylic on Paper

The next few posts will be examples of daily prayer with paint. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Friday, March 17, 2017

40 Days: Day 14: You Are Light

Oil on Panel
with Palette Knife
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Matthew 5:14-16
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

40 Days: Day 13: You Are Salt

Oil on Panel
with Palette Knife
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Matthew 5:13
You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

40 Days: Day 12: Early Bloomer

6x6 Acrylic on Canvas
with palette knife
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Spring came early this year. only to be quickly stopped by another blast of winter. 
This is a painting study from that earlier, warmer time.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

40 Days: Day 11: Perseverance

Oil on Canvas
with Palette Knife
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Hebrews 12:1-3
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
Consider him who endured such hostility against himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.

Monday, March 13, 2017

40 Days, Day 10: Refuge

5"x7" Acrylic on Paper
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Psalm 43

Prayer to God in Time of Trouble

Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
    against an ungodly people;
from those who are deceitful and unjust
    deliver me!
 For you are the God in whom I take refuge;
    why have you cast me off?
Why must I walk about mournfully
    because of the oppression of the enemy?
 O send out your light and your truth;
    let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
    and to your dwelling.
 Then I will go to the altar of God,
    to God my exceeding joy;
and I will praise you with the harp,
    O God, my God.
 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my help and my God.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

40 Days: Day 9: The Well

8"x10" Oil on Canvas

John 4:1-42
This is an older work. Since the lectionary visits this scripture this weekend, I have decided to share it again.


We all know what it’s like to be thirsty for something to drink. 
But have you ever been thirsty for peace in your life?
Have you ever been thirsty for a deeper connection with God?

In the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John, the story of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well addresses how to quench that kind of thirst. This painting of “The Well” illustrates how the story speaks to me. 

The scene is set in the heat of the day, the time of day that most people avoid the labor of fetching water from a well. The landscape is barren and dry. The composition is one of solitude. It is minimal almost to the point of being boring and easily overlooked. At first glance the whole piece is one of loneliness and drought.

We watch the discourse between Jesus and the woman form a distance – so we don't intrude on the privacy of the moment. The figures of Jesus and the woman are contrasted in white and black. The colors are classically symbolic of Christ’s righteousness and our brokenness. They also symbolize the divide between their respective cultures. The woman was Samaritan, a culture with whom Jews would not associate. Jesus dares to love her in spite of social labels and traditions. Jesus looks directly at the woman, speaking words of truth. The woman is guarded, not looking directly back. There is clearly a distance between them, but not for long.

As the conversation in the story continues, the drought in the woman's life becomes a flooded with renewal. Likewise, the painting transforms along with her. In their discourse, you can see the miracle of human interaction. You can see the wonders of belonging to a relational God. You can see that God DOES encounter us in very personal ways. Although the colors in this painting are dusty and dry, the strokes are arranged to give a subtle appearance as that of light reflecting on water. When you look at the painting in that light, the worn, dry path to the well becomes a river of Grace. The stone well looks less like an island and more like a floating raft. The two people are no longer traveling strangers. They are now traveling companions.

That is what the ”drink” offered by Christ can do for us. Through prayer and the love of others, we encounter God in very real ways. God’s Word revives us and saturates the dry cracks in our lives. When life seems full of dust and drought, we can feel refreshed, renewed, and alive. When we feel isolated and alone, we can find belonging.

May we all be so refreshed by God’s gracious gift in Jesus Christ. 


Friday, March 10, 2017

40 Days: Day 8: Truth

5"x7" Acrylic on Paper
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Hebrews 4:12-16

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.

Jesus the Great High Priest

Since, then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.