I looked at the tree branches outside my window and saw them! BRIGHT GREEN BUDS!
(I did a double take to make sure they were really there.)
At the first real signs of Spring, it hit me, "Whoo...it's been a long winter."
The hardest part of winter for me are the gray overcast days. (I'm writing from Chicagoland.)
Blah. It's like being in neutral - do you stop? do you go?
Gray feels like indecision or a needling anxiety. Motivation starts to run low. A string of gray days can feel like a lingering sadness that you can't seem to shake loose.
But Spring is here! (Did I forget that it was coming?!)
Bright green buds on winter branches - it's a natural picture of hope.
I've been listening to a podcast about hope, by a man named Kris Vallotton:
Here are some of my notes:
"Hope is the confident expectation that good is coming and faith is the ability to see the good that is not yet visible."
"Hope is the seedbed that faith grows in...Once I lose hope, I stop believing."
"Hope grabs my soul and tells me something good is going to happen to me."
"Hope gets me off my couch and onto the front porch so I begin to seek...
to look with earnest expectation and anticipation."
"My hope is not in my ability, but in my God and who He is."
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." - Hebrews 10:23
"But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, 'You are my God! ... So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord!" - Psalm 31:14, 24
Inspired by the desire to be filled.
"My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you." - Psalm 63:5
"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
"I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called--his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance." - Ephesians 1:18
Yeah - like that.
The 'Just Because' bouquet. It's not expected. It's just to let you know you are loved.
My favorite kind.
This 3 ft. x 3 ft. bouquet is the 2nd triptych created for Central DuPage Hospital's Maternal Fetal Medicine suite.*
While I was thinking about and praying for the women sitting in the waiting room with a high risk pregnancy, likely feeling uncertain or anxious, I just wanted to give them a bouquet - just because.
*Due to some changes in plans, 'Just Because' may not end up in that section of the hospital.
Apparently, I couldn't stop with Miss Chicken and the toys... (See previous post.)
It snowed quite a bit while The Traveling Chicken was in town. For inspiration, my husband suggested that I take her out in the snow. I was resistant because I simply did not want to paint snow. (Hence the indoor play in the previous painting.)
Well, the day I sent her off to Florida, the snow was so beautiful that I felt I should at least try the chick in the snow.
It felt SO good to be outside on a quiet snowy morning. After taking quite a few pictures, I perched the chicken on a hydrangea bush (I believe it's a chantilly hydrangea for those who are curious) next to a few dried blooms that have hung on all winter... Gorgeous.
And, I got to paint Miss Chicken with some flowers. :)
Yes, it's a bit kooky to paint a ceramic chicken in the snow, but there is exquisite beauty in all seasons - chicken or no chicken, I'm grateful I didn't miss it!
You can read the story to go along with little Miss Chicken at The Traveling Chicken blog.
The chicken has arrived in sunny Florida at Pamela Sweet's studio.
Several months ago, I painted a little square 6x6in. oil painting called 'Basking in the Sun'. Central DuPage Hospital commissioned me to paint a much larger version (24x36in.) in a rectangular format.
Changing the scale and the proportions of the canvas turned out to be much more of a challenge than I had anticipated! As I neared (or thought I was nearing) the painting's completion, the closing song from Lamb Chop's Play Along TV show started up in my head: "This is the song (painting) that doesn't end, yes, it goes on and on my friend..." (To hear the song, click on the orange words. Beware - the song really sticks with you!)
I continued to adjust the composition, develop the values and layer the colors until it felt like the pieces of the puzzle fit together.
A lesson in perseverance - here she is!
When I see the sun breaking through the trees, my attention is led away from the day-to-day.
In that magical moment, I experience peace.
'Breaking Through' is a triptych (3 canvases, 12x36in. each), commissioned by Central DuPage Hospital, to be hung on a curved wall in their new Maternal Fetal Medicine suite.
There's a message of hope in such a scene. I keep taking pictures, trying to capture it. Look how the light gets so bright in the center that the branches closest to the light seem to disappear.
I took photos of my progress - from sketch to completed painting. In order to reflect my original inspiration of the sun breaking through the branches, I realized that the circles needed to be brought tighter together and painted brighter as they got closer to the center of the light. (I wasn't trying to make it snow!)
Seeing it broken down into steps, it looks easier that it was!
Color-wise, I was coordinating with 'Drink' - another painting purchased for the suite.
I wrote about the inspiration for 'Drink' in a previous post: All Who Are Thirsty...Drink
Beautiful from All Sides
acrylic on wrapped canvas
I'm like Porcupine in the book, 'Little Mouse's Painting', by Diane Wolkstein - (intricate illustrations by Mary Jane Begin). Porcupine appreciates the beauty surrounding her and is often heard saying, "Look at that. Just look at that!" That was exactly the reaction I had when I discovered this little red sunflower, lit up from all sides. SO gorgeous!
The last set of painted ornaments on mini-canvases for the Christmas 2012 season. :)
(These wee little paintings were completed and delivered after the sun had set - not the best conditions for the best photos.)
Click on each image for a larger view.
What started out as an exercise in mixing colors and pushing the brush around turned into a fun morning of painting!
During my morning adult class, R. and I painted 3 'quick' acrylic paintings from a bouquet of sunflowers. Our eyes were not focused on the end result, but on the process of painting. So freeing! (This painting is actually a combination of paintings 2 & 3 - The first painting was still pretty tight.)
If you depend on my blog posts to see the latest work, you might think I've been up to nothin'. BUT, it's actually been quite busy here in the studio!
First, there was a house portrait done in pen & ink and watercolor. This was my client's childhood home. (We also had giclee prints made for his siblings.) It was like putting together a puzzle as I worked from 2 sets of photos - taken in the early 50's and the early 70's. It was pretty satisfying to see it all come together!
Then I was on to an M48 tank done in acrylic on canvas. Mr. B. got this for Christmas from his children. He rode on this tank when stationed in Vietnam. In order to capture the details on the tank, the position of the figure and the surrounding landscape, I worked from a combination of several photos (Including some I took at Cantigny Park nearby.)
Mixed in with those two commissions, I discovered mini 2"x2" canvases - which I turned into hand-painted ornaments. I painted about 50 during December!