I created this commissioned portrait three years ago! Amidst the return to teaching in the public schools, I realized that I never posted the final piece:
The goal was to surprise his wife and their mom with a garden portrait, but the timing - well, to meet the birthday deadline, I needed to begin in the middle of winter! So, on a cold, blustery morning in February, I met up with these three great kids and their dad (yes, also great!) at the Lincoln Park Conservatory's Spring Garden Show. Though indoors, the natural lighting of the conservatory provided the perfect opportunity to create an outdoor garden scene, in the middle of winter.
What a pleasure to greet these smiles and blooms in my studio during the gray winter days of Chicago!
For the past few months, I have gotten to work on several commissioned surprises.
I absolutely love being part of creating special gifts!
This painting was created as a going away present for our gifted and appreciated worship leader at our church. She and her husband recently moved from Chicagoland down to Texas. To express the beauty of this transition, there are Texas bluebonnets (Texas state flower), purple violets (Illinois state flower), pecan trees (Texas state tree), white oaks (Illinois state tree) and a few Indian Paintbrushes (which bloom in both Texas and Illinois). The painting is also inspired by Psalm 23, full of promises for this young couple during this transition and their future ahead.
Pulling all of these different components together into a cohesive piece was a challenge, but as is often the case, the process was a gift to me as well. Psalm 23 is such a popular passage, that I had begun to overlook its richness. I read and re-read the passage while I was constructing the painting's composition and again while I was working to balance the colors, values and shapes. Seriously, Psalm 23 is really good! It is loaded with references to God's character and the good gifts He offers.
'Stand' is a conversation with God, much like the one recorded here in Exodus. I have cried out, "If You don't go with me, I can't do what You want me to do!" And it is such food for my soul (food that enables me to stand, to press forward) to believe God is saying back to me, "I will go with you, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name." (Psalm 139)
I actually re-worked an earlier version of this painting.
Here's a peak at the previous painting and my references laid out before me on my drawing table.
Although I do stop and smell the roses (Really, I do.) and take photographs - up until now, I hadn't stopped to paint them.
But then my friend, Dorota, commissioned me to paint a picture for her - a rose.
I consider 'Fragrant Beauty' a portrait of Dorota in the form of a flower.
The passionate red, the layers of color, the flowing lines and the light shining through - Beauty...Dorota.
This lovely woman is the owner and sole beautician at DKN Salon in Glen Ellyn, IL. We met 3 years ago when my family moved to the area. During my first few appointments, other clients stopped in to just to say hello or to bring Dorota gifts. I thought to myself, "Don't these people have lives?"
Well...now I understand. When you enter DKN, it's like being invited into Dorota's home. I am greeted with a hug and a "How are you, My Friend?" - I doubt that I am the only one. :) She offers coffee, tea, wine, water and european candies. She works her magic and our conversation begins.
I am inspired by Dorota's life story: leaving her home country of Poland in her late teens, living in Germany for a couple of years as a young bride, moving to the United States, having 2 boys, then raising them as a single mom - and owning her own business. I am blessed by Dorota's warmth, generosity, servant heart, strength, openness to learning, faith and character.
A fragrant beauty.
Fall II - Drawing Class
These kids amaze me.
I was commissioned to paint a thistle as a special thank you gift. The painting is inspired by the family's ranch in Texas - Thistle Dew Ranch.
I had actually zoomed in and taken some photos of thistles over a year ago. I was excited to pull those out, observe and paint all those points and patterns and colors and textures...and then the dew drops! :)
I did a little research on the Texas Thistle: It is heat and drought resistant (reminds me of the truths found in Jeremiah 17:7,8) and provides for Painted Lady butterflies, bumblebees, and goldfinches.
I was personally struck by a simple statement I read: the thistle is "commonly recognized for its flower". It is known for its flower - the bloom - the beauty... not by its spikey ends (which do provide protection against hungry cattle).
The thistle, in all it's intricacy, is a reminder...Creator God sees me as He created me. He knows me by my "bloom". Psalm 139.
I originally posted 'Being Filled' about 6 months ago. I hung it on the wall... and began to question if it was finished. I decided go back in with more layers and more contrast.
This painting is an expression of the desire to be filled. Some dark chocolate and a good book sound great (for you it may be chips, guacamole and a party! - the list is endless for ways we 'fill up'), but ultimately I want deep, life-giving, sustainable fullness.
I imagine being filled in and around and through.
Full of peace and joy
I keep coming back to God, asking Him to "Fill 'er up!" :)
Here is my prayer for you (and for myself!):
"I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God." - Ephesians 3:16-19
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The kids were back at school. It was a gorgeous day. I was working on a little oil painting - so I took my work outside. Life on the patio was quite heavenly. :)
(Working with oils outside works better than with acrylics - the acrylic paint tends to dry too fast outdoors.)
This little honey required more attention than I originally anticipated.
There is more to her beauty than what first meets the eye.
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© Dawn Eaton, Growing Like a Weed, 22x28 in., acrylic on 1 1/2 in. wrapped canvas
This one has been hanging around the studio for months! It needed somethin' somethin' and I couldn't seem to wrap it up. So, I took more photos, started a smaller version in watercolor and kept working with the values and the layers of color.
And the pieces of the puzzle finally came together.
'Growing Like a Weed' is about determination and rapid growth. It's about flourishing.
I have also been painting tulips on miniature canvases and I am teaching a Tulip Time workshop this Saturday morning (April 27th, 2013) from 9:30-11:30am.
I think these little cuties will make special Mother's Day gifts (Sorry to spoil the surprise, Mom!) Click on a tulip or send me an e-mail for more information about purchasing a miniature tulip or attending the workshop.
© Dawn Eaton, Precious in His Sight, 5x7in.,oil on gessoboard