Day after day, the relentless call came to me “Look over here, create !” I was possessed by the early morning scene that stretched across the eastern sky each day on my walk and the earlier I went out, the more beautiful it became. The yellows and oranges were bursting as the fog gently hovered just above the damp ground on each cool mid-spring morning. After a few days I succumbed to the call.
I had a piece of board in the studio that I had hand primed with a burgundy pastel primer and had been waiting for the right time to put into use. I spent about 5 days working on this pastel painting, but four days out of the five I had truly decided in the middle of the night to fold it up and just throw it away. “Just be done-give it up, throw it away!” the night voices would tell me. But my heart spoke another song, the same song it spoke when the scene called my name, so I persevered.
And on the last day, as the scene then became the painting, it spoke again, this time in silence. I added the final touches and walked away.
There she was, on her pedestal in that beautiful old cemetery. She was so mournful and so beautiful at the same time with her wreath in hand and I was so compelled to paint her. She had no name attached as a monument to the loved one that she represented. She just knelt there, outside the chapel forever mourning the one she had lost.
“Prayerful Thoughts”, isn’t that the silent attitude that is evoked when we grace the entrance to a cemetery? It is the peaceful reverence for those that have gone on to the unseen place that we know truly exists. It is the knowing that the other side is real because we all love and have known so many that have gone on before us. And love will never ever die, because it continues to live on in us for those that have gone on before. We also know that we too must go on and one day we will, it is a fact.
She is painted in oil on an 18″ x 20″ linen canvas, so fitting for what she represents. And she still brings a sense of peace, even as she mourns on my studio wall.
I hope that I have not alarmed you with my sense of bereavement, it’s just that old cemeteries and old statues bring that out in me, and they are beautiful.
Winter has taken a toll, even on my thoughts and attitude and I think it is time for spring to arrive. It is time for my “prayerful thoughts” to be centered on the resurrection of Christ, the most important event that is celebrated in all of time. My next blog post will be more on that cheerful note! In the meantime, Christ died even for you, take Him at His word, He will never fail you.
“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Here are Anne’s geraniums, and you might ask, who is Anne? You know… Anne (the Anne with an e) Shirley, of “Anne of Green Gables” fame. If you’ve read the book or seen the movie (preferably the movie made in 1985), how could you not have fallen in love with it? Our entire family did just that and we have watched it over and over and over again on our original and antiquated VCR tapes. We’re enraptured with emotion every time Anne and Matthew take the buggy ride to Green Gables through “White Way Delight” and have shed a tear every time Matthew dies. And oh, the music……!
I have visited the Green Gables home on Prince Edward Island in Canada two times. Most recently the summer of 2017 with my daughter and three oldest granddaughters. We drove up through rural Maine and into rural Canada for quite some time, then onto the island via the giant 8 mile long bridge across the Northumberland Strait. The original 1996 trip had no bridge, you had to swim…jk….we took a car ferry to the island. 🙂
If you aren’t familiar with the story, author Lucy Maude Montgomery wrote the Anne Of Green Gables novel in 1908. In real life, Green Gables was the home of her cousins where she spent much of her childhood. In the book it is portrayed as the home of middle age siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. Anne was an orphan who was adopted by Matthew and Marilla, who thought they were getting a boy, and the story begins on that note.
So we took a lovely tour of Green Gables. Walking through the historical house, there on the kitchen windowsill stood the two pots of geraniums, most likely just as Anne had left them. The sun had cast itself through the window onto the cheerful bright red flowers. Those flowers paired with the brilliant spring green leaves made them appear as thin florescent tissue paper, simply happy to be who they were created to be in all their beauty.
I chose oil paints as my medium to paint the living bouquet in the window. My favorite part to paint was the reflective light of the sun shining on the right side of the window and the windowsill. I truly didn’t see it when I started the painting, how exciting it was to find the reflection as I painted and studied the photo! It was nice to reconnect with the feelings I had when I originally saw the flowers at Green Gables that day. I enjoy the challenge of recreating an event, a time or a place, an experience that evokes meaning to me. This connection materializes memories that make me thankful to be able to share the gift that I have and therefore hopefully create a sense of joy to the viewer.
I wonder if Anne would have named the painting “Anne’s Geraniums”, I doubt it. She probably would have called it “Glorious Light Of Splendor” or “Stained Glass Sunshine”, something a little more dramatic. I simply wanted this painting to remind me of my time on the island with my girls and all of the interesting and unique Anne experiences we had that week in July, the summer of 2017.
There are more Prince Edward Island paintings to come, some in pastel, some in oils. We also made a stop at Acadia National Park on the way home, many oceans are waiting to be painted! I am willing to part with this painting, as attached as I am. I paint because I want to, I also paint to make the viewer happy. Contact me if you are interested in letting this painting make you, or someone you love, happy!
This is Crimson Farm. It is an old place that was up the road when we lived close to Caesar Creek State Park. It still stands but at one time it was a beauty, at least I thought so even in it’s slightly raggedy condition. It was beginning to show some wear and grow weeds all around so I thought I had better get in the car, get up there and take a photo before it was too late.
Later in the studio, it was especially fun to paint with the reds, pale greens and faded blue sky. The photo was taken on a sunny day which washed out most of the natural color, all except the barn and silos which helps make them the standout in their worn out condition. I used oil paints and a palette knife to paint with instead of a brush which gives the painting so much texture. A palette knife is very freeing, especially for someone like me who likes to pick out and include every detail in a picture and include those details in a painting.
Another interesting aspect of this painting is the fact that I used a Masonite panel as my support which was painted with hot pink gesso (which I mixed up myself). If you look close enough you will find little sparks of hot pink that pop out from beneath. Some might say “what is that?” This little painting measures a mere 12″ x 6″ and is set in a wooden frame that blends with the deep red of the barn. It hangs in my living room for the time being, is quite lovely and is for sale (if you are interested or would like to look simply contact me).
This old barn and these silos don’t necessarily have a dramatic story to go along with them, at least from my point of view, but I am sure that they’ve seen enough life of their own, if this old farm could talk.
It’s been exactly 2 years since I visited South Africa with my husband and other believers from our church on a mission trip to minister to children and teens who were orphans due to the AIDS epidemic there. This was a place I said I would never go, my feet were fine in Ohio but when you hear the call, you go. We prepared VBS activities in advance for children and held the day long events at different orphan centers each day, reaching out to hundreds of kids who were eager to participate.
At the end of the trip as I boarded the plane, I thought about the kids we met and wondered how many had known their mothers before passing away from that horrible disease. The reason I mention mothers is the fact that very few of the kids have fathers at home. They either never knew them or many of the fathers leave home in shame due to not being able to provide for their family. Most of these kids live with grandmothers or other caregivers in the area and they attend orphan centers for schooling, food and other opportunities through an organization that we worked with called Horizon International based in Indiana.
We sponsor a teen age boy that attends one of the orphan centers there and had the privilege of meeting him! I wondered if he had known his mother, how old was he when she passed away and what did she look like? I imagined her and drew a pencil sketch in my journal on the trip home. “Image Of A Mother” was what I thought she would look like, or she could be any of the other mothers that these children had lost.
After that, I had a little bit of culture shock coming back to the USA and wanted to retreat into my studio alone and draw for awhile. In order to create a little record, I used charcoal on a medium toned paper and drew a larger “Image Of A Mother” from the small sketch in my book. I also drew some of the other children in their happy raw form the same way from photographs that I had taken, all are framed and in my studio. The other drawings can be located in my gallery here: Drawings-African Inspired
It humbles me to think about the privilege it was to meet these people who were contented with so little. The pictures from other side of the world became reality for me during that time in South Africa.
Through My Garden Gate was the gift of time to myself on my birthday in August, 2017. I put everything aside for a couple of hours that day to paint outside (plein-air) in oils for the gift. Stepping outside my back door, I grabbed my palette, brushes, a palette knife and paints, set up my easel and began to paint, looking through my garden gate where an old Hydrangea bush grows. The bugs were atrocious, I believe there could be some embedded in the painting. I did not finish it that day.
A few years ago, my daughter had a stack of things to take to Goodwill and a book called “The Voice Of Creation” by Thomas Kincade was part of the stack. I have a little bookshelf in my studio and this book was to become part the collection for my library. Interestingly, this book does not contain the usual pretty “light in the window” paintings that Kincade is known for, but it contains beautiful natural landscapes he had painted “plein-air”. They were painted very loosely with much paint texture and you could also see the grid like texture of the canvas from underneath. This is what caught my eye and I wanted to paint my garden gate like that. Waiting for the perfect day to paint, I had previously prepared a Masonite panel for this purpose by flipping it on the wrong side and painting gesso over the rough grid like wrong side. This would be what I painted on and that roughness was the challenge I was looking for.
I finished the painting in my studio this past February, 2018 using a photo I had taken on my birthday. The reflection of light and texture shines on the photo of my painting but you get the idea. It is framed and hangs in my studio…and as you can see, it is for sale.
This pencil sketch of Emily was a labor of love and emotion and became one of my early morning drawings in the handmade sketchbook that I use. Her old 1970s picture album with about 7-1/2 months of photos sat by my chair and I thought I would draw her for the first time in well over 40 years. The photo I chose is small and a little blurry and her little face measures about 1″ which is what I had to work with. I managed to draw her portrait in pencil and it came out to be about 10″ tall in the sketchbook. The thought “In Her Father’s Hands” came to mind as I drew and looked at the picture. As you can see, she was then, and is even more so now, “In Her Father’s Hands”.
The story for this painting began long ago and not so far away in a little house on Holly Lane. The little house on Holly Lane provided enough space for two children to have their own tiny bedroom where each fell fast asleep every evening. One particular evening in April of 1980, both little girls had that angelic quality about them as sleeping children often do. So much that I got out my camera and captured a photograph of each, as I mentioned, in their own bed.
This portrait of “My Girls” is very near and dear to my heart. It was the very first portrait I ever painted back in 1998 when I had the time to think about a more serious art career. I scoured a box of old photos for the pictures and thought it would be sweet to put the girls together as they slept. I rendered the portrait in pastels thinking what a gift it was to be able to recreate my children almost 2 decades later in the softness that pastels allows. To feel their chubby cheeks again, the color and texture of their hair as I worked, it was nice to be able to remember their little faces that way.
Some mornings even now, I give myself the gift of an early morning sketch time and use simple everyday objects in my living room as subjects, sketching with a simple everyday pencil. My children’s little 2″ x 3″ baby pictures sit in tiny frames on the table by my chair. My pencil allows me to remember their chubby round cheeks, the softness and texture of their hair, the sweet baby smells and the simple little life we had in that little house on Holly Lane.
Hello! My name is Hindquarters. I live in rural Northern Indiana in a barn at a pioneer farm homestead, greeting and endearing visitors. I’ve been around for about 16 years and have been recreated in pastels, simply hanging out in my barn inside of a frame which hangs on the wall at Jody’s studio for anyone that visits to see.
Do I offend you?
The big question is…”Do I offend you?” I have had a tendency to offend some. I was hanging out at the Grand Finale restaurant in Glendale Ohio where my portrait painter, Jody had the privilege to show her paintings several years ago. She placed me on the wall above a table where people sit to enjoy a lovely dinner. The couple dining below didn’t like me, they said that my “hindquarters” offended them. They asked the server to have me removed from their sight! I had no intentions of offending anyone and didn’t even consider my hindquarters offensive at the time. I think people may be a little over sensitive, don’t you? The ironic thing about this whole story is that this show was the best art show Jody ever had. She sold several paintings at the Grand Finale Restaurant, even one oil painting for well above the asking price if the purchaser could remove it from the wall and take it with them that night! Obviously, it wasn’t me that was purchased. I still reside at Jody’s studio and I am still for sale.
A note from Jody…I was intrigued by this horse in a barn, mainly because I love anything old, antique and pioneer and sometimes wonder if I was born about 100 years too late. I loved the way the sunlight shone through the window in the dusty barn. I thought this horse photograph would be perfect for a soft pastel painting and never imagined anyone would be offended! My husband Ray sometimes helps me name my paintings and Hindquarters was his idea for a title. The image is approximately 11 x 15 and it is double matted and framed in a 16 x 20 frame and is for sale.
Announcing the winner of my “Posies and Pears”painting! Congratulations to Denise Barrett who lives in Lebanon Ohio! I will be delivering it to her very soon. Thank you so much to all who have signed up to receive my blog posts via email! Be on the lookout for more occasional art give aways.
It’s amazing, as I get older I am learning to be content with simple things. A little bit of ground to grow my own food, a few critters running around in their creature world simply being who they were created to be, I want to be that. Sometimes it takes a lifetime to figure that out, not to go back to the “what ifs”, but to accept each day as it has been given. To be content and know that it is all in God’s providence. To know that He is the giver of this gift of life, we have not asked for it, it has been freely given. I am grateful to have been thought of in the heart of God before the beginning of time and am overwhelmed. My hope is that some of my paintings will bring you the same joy and peace, an extension of the love of God.
I am bringing back an oldie here and think it appropriate for the days we are living in. This pastel painting titled “Peace! Be Still” was done in 2001, the year my dad died. A Peace Lily was given to us for the occasion. I loved the fact that a lily could represent peace and it truly did for me during that time. This plant gave me comfort through the grieving process. I wanted to extend that comfort and apply it on paper using the gift I have been given, maybe someone else could benefit. The softness of the flowers connected to each other in a mystical way representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The red drops falling off the leaves which represent the Blood of the Lamb that takes away the sin of the world. That was, and still is my message.