In Luke 2:7 it says: “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 him in the inn.”
But there was a stable and there was a manger. And Christ came into this world, into the arms of a loving mother Mary and protecting care of Joseph.
Sometimes in life there seems only one way and when that falls through we think, “Well, that’s it. No other option. No room in the inn.” But life is filled with creativity and options. So when one way doesn’t work we look for another answer to our problem. We seek for other solutions. And we look for the joy and peace that the example from the life of Christ brings into our life. The example of caring for others. Of leading others to finding God in this world of chaos and finding times of goodness in our lives to share with others.
The multitude of angels said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
So no matter what your religion, it’s a good time to look upward and inward, share kindness with those around us. Happy holidays, and from me, a merry Christmas.
You might have noticed the foreign object on the babies head. It may not be foreign to you but to a mother of all boys, it’s a new decorating idea from a creative daughter-in-law who now has a beautiful place to put the bows she makes.
My sister and I would trade off tending each others kids when they were young. She called one boy into the bathroom to comb his hair. He looked up at her and said, ”Why? Is it Sunday?’ That summed up the boy haircare in our house in one short statement. And that may be why I was blessed with boys and not girls.
Creating art can bring great joy to your life but it’s nice to fill your life up with some human interaction. Time spent with family and friends brings blessings and a richness that can add to your life and thus adding a depth to your art. You can also spend some time sharing an art lesson here and there with those you love.
And lastly I was asked to be interviewed by The LDSPMA Podcast. If you want to hear how to do boys hair you will have to look elsewhere. If you want some stories from my art adventures, listen here.
The above picture is deceiving. Its a lot warmer than it was three days before. But the event was well worth a bit of shivering. It was an opportunity to get out and talk with friends and meet new ones. So the above painting won second place in the quick draw. We had about two hours to start and finish a painting. Its good to not worry about too much pre-thinking and jump right in. That’s when the sketch book habit kicks in. I painted the quick draw from a sketch I did in my sketch book. And the practicing capturing a scene in my sketch book helped me get the drawing down quickly on my watercolor paper so I could dive right into the painting.
The above painting was the first one I painted at the plein air event. It also received a second place award. This view caught my eye right from the parking area of the goosenecks. There is beauty all around us just waiting to be captured by an artist with a bit of paper and paint. And because the weather was so cold and unsettled, it made for capturing some great atmosphere.
Also I have a few paintings displayed at the Gathering of the Guilds. Dave and I will be at the Gallery Stroll from 6 to 6:30 pm this Friday, if you would like to come and say Hi. If you want to come and check out the paintings, they will be there until November 28th. The Gathering of the Guilds will be at the Urban Arts Gallery at Gateway Mall, 116 South Rio Grande St., Salt Lake City.
What happens when you put your full effort into something? When you put your full effort into a painting.? When you give all you can even when you think it won’t be enough?
A little over four years ago, my husband was in the hospital. We were lucky he beat the odds and lived but he did lose his leg. Our young Granddaughter filled our hearts with love and brightened our day with the following card:
I hope that you will get better. And here is some money to help pay for the “prostetic” leg. I know it’s not much but it’s all I had. I love you and Grandma.
“I know it’s not much” Many times we think that what we have to give and to share is not much but we should go ahead and share, put our heart into the project and give all that we have. Our efforts might share the beauty and joy we see with those around us.
The artist has a tendancy to want to stay isolated in their studio and work on their paintings or illustrations. You can’t get the work done unless you are in your studio working but there is a great deal you can learn from being around other artists. It doesn’t matter at what stage you are at in your art career. You can learn and be inspired from those around you. Not only do you want to learn from other artists but it is very satisfying to see someone else find great joy from looking at your artwork or purchasing a piece to hang were they can see it every day.
I have met some of my good creative friends from getting out of my studio. Even when you are quietly sitting, listening and just happen to take notes and sketch in your sketchbook. Even then you can meet someone. I met Carol Williams that way. She saw that I was sketching and she got caught up in the sketches and started talking to me. We worked on a picture book together and worked on other ideas. We sat at book signings together and presented at conferences together. But more than that, we became friends. The same thing happened with a group of young illustrators who attended a presentation I gave at a children’s book conference. They became colleagues and then friends.
So if you would like to meet some other watercolor artists and form some nice friendships with those that paint with watercolor, you might want to join a local watercolor group. Somebody caught me in a weak moment and I will be the president of the Utah Watercolor Society this year. It’s a great way to be inspired and make some lasting friendships. If your in Utah come join us.
What drives an artist to create? What causes them to want to draw or paint so much that they think they should pick up a pencil and try to capture the impossible. Sometimes those goals drive us to spend hours practicing the piano. Other times it prompts us to get out of the isolation of the studio and take a workshop where you have to paint with other people watching your progress. What will they think of your efforts? All those eyes looking at your painting.
There is alway uncertainty looming there. In the book “Art and Fear” Bayless and Orland say,
“Naive passion which promotes work done in ignorance of obstacles, becomes – with courage – informed passion, which promotes work done in full acceptance of these obstacles. Foremost among those obstacles is uncertainty.”
So even though we are uncertain about the outcome, we dive in anyway. We take courage and see where the creativity takes us. The uncertainty of my art has taken me on some grand adventures.
Watercolor sketch of 27th World Championship Fireknife
Without light there is darkness. Light in a painting creates value. Without light there would be no shadow side of an object. When light is blocked, we get cast shadows which create depth and interest in a painting. When you put the lightest light by the darkest dark, you draw attention to that spot. By manipulating values, you can guide the eye around your painting.
We went to the World Fireknife Competition. We watched the Womens’s Competition and the Men’s Preliminaries. How would I capture the energy of the drums and the fire spinning in the darkness. A painting becomes much more than what you see with your eyes. The experience of being at the competition adds a depth to your painting. You remember the beat of the drums and the smell of the fire, the flame spitting on the floor and streaking across in a line of fire. You wonder about the properties of fire as you see the contestants put the flaming Fireknife on their feet and to their lips.
‘I tried to capture the flickering of the flame by letting my brush dance across the watercolor paper. I loved capturing the form of the dancer by the light cast on his torso and the back edge getting lost in the darkness.
Clouds over the ocean in Hawaii.
As artists, we try to capture what we feel and see around us. There was a quote by President Henry B. Eyring which was displayed with his watercolors at BYU Idaho: “My motivation in all of my varied creative work seems to have been a feeling of love. I felt the love of a Creator who expects His children to become like Him—to create and to build.”
A sketch from 2 1/2” x 4 1/4” sketch book. “Where Are You Headed?”
”…..but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light,…” Isaiah 60:19 So as plants turn to catch the light, we should turn our lives towards the Savior Jesus Christ and towards more kindness, service and watching out for one another. Mahalo.
Finding my Seasider hat buried in a black canvas bag when I cleaned my art studio..
I’m glad that art studio sounds better than Art room.
I’m glad for two eyes that see sunshine streaming through morning windows.
I’m thankful for ideas of paintings that jump into my head like buttered popcorn.
I can smile at sweet friends, friends who paint, friends who talk of letting the natural color of their hair grow out, friends that pick me up for sharing an omelet and French toast at the small corner cafe and say they will pay and then exclaim, “How much? They didn’t charge us this much last time.”
Phone calls from a student in Hawaii who wants to ask questions on how I engage students during my demos.
Being able to answer questions on how I engage students in my watercolor class demo’s.
Family who love me and a Heavenly Father who loves me and for the opportunity to love others.
So I don’t know when I first became aware of Jerry Pinkney’s amazing illustrations, but I remember my very first book with his illustrations, ”Home Place” 1990. No I wasn’t a young child,I was a young aspiring illustrator with young boys and picture books were a treasure.
I loved his style, his design and the beautiful feeling of freedome that his illustrations displayed. I loved this picture book and studied the illustrations for hours. I read it to my boys. I went searching for more at the library
Barbara Williams took me to my first big SCBWI Conference in Los Angelos. What luck, Jerry Pinkney was presenting and signing books I had scraped up enough money for the conference but not much for books.
I was green. I didn’t know the proper manners for signing books. I had ”Home Place” at home and wanted a signature for it. I waited in the long line to meet Jerry Pinkney.
“So I have ”Home Place at home is there a chance you could give me a signature for it?
Jerry Pinkney asked, ”Did you buy it?
”No . It was a birthday gift but I asked my husband for it specifically. Jerry Pinkney took a purple post it note and signed his name on the note and handed it over with a kind smile. I took it home and tucked it in my book.
So when money came, I bought more Jerry Pinkney books. When Jerry Pinkney came down to BYU in Provo, I once again stood in a long line. This time I had a book for him to sign This time there was a question running through my brain. What do you use to put the line around your illustrations? Could I ask him that question? Would he answer that question? I really wanted to know and there was no other way than to ask? You know that pit you get in your stomach the closer I got the bigger the pit got Finally I’m there at the table. Jerry smiles and signs my book. I open my mouth and the words actually come out. I get my answer, graphite pencil and indigo. It changed the way I did my illustrations.
Jerry Pinkney continued to inspire me with his books. I purchased them when I got a chance. I saw him on the streets of San Feancisco with his family one evening after signing books at ALA. I went and listened to him present at SCBWI in NewYork.
So it tugged at my heart when I opened my Publishers Weekly and read that Jerry Pinkney was gone. But he is still inspiting me. He was working on projects. That’s how I want to go out. Creating. Thanks Jerry for a lifetime filled with beautiful illustrations and books to cherish and love.
I’ll be spending a bit of time with other artists this weekend. It’s fun to share your art with others. It’s fun to visit with those that come to see the art and chat about process and see their reaction to what you’re creating.