Sunday, October 16, 2011

"Worship and Beauty"

At my church, Pastor Brad has been doing a series of sermons on worship, and today the sermon was "Worship and Beauty". As an artist, art and beauty go hand-in-hand. I think that most artists are lovers of beauty. For me, the creative process is attempting to express that feeling that I get when I see something of beauty, whatever that might be, then recreate it on paper or canvas in hopes that others will feel what I felt. I guess its all part of the longing as a person to know God better and to be known better by others.
Here's a picture of me taken a few years ago at Eight Mile Lake in the Wenatchee National Forest. Keith and I had hiked to this place and when we got to our destination, I plopped my tired self down, kicked off my boots and peeled off my sweaty socks to let my toes air out awhile. It's a little hard to see, but I have my sketch book in my lap and I'm drawing the view. I'm not always very good about using my sketch book when I bring it, but I'm glad that I took the time to use it here.

To me, sketching outside in a beautiful place like that is a form of worship. I see, hear and smell the sounds of nature around me. I'm aware that God created all of this (for me!) and being out in the midst of it brings me such peace and an overwhelming sense of God's presence. Like Psalm 23 says, "He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul." Being out in nature really does "restore my soul" by it's beauty and it's reflection of who God is. I think that's why I usually find it easier to "pray on my feet" when I'm on walks. My conversations with God seem to flow so naturally when I'm out there with all of the amazing things He's made.

If I'm lucky, the wonderfulness of it all will stick to the paper of my sketchbook and I'll have a great drawing. Sometimes though, I get frustrated with my drawing and just give up. The vastness of the view is so grand, and my drawing seems so inadequate in my own eyes. As I try to capture all of my feelings on paper (and even though I'm not usually successful at it), I need to keep reminding myself that it's the process and not the outcome of my drawing that is the worshipful-ness of it all.

As even my words here struggle to express what I feel, it's a good feeling to at least try to get it out there, share it and hope that something "sticks" as a small piece of encouragement to you. Pastor Brad said this morning, "Worship and beauty are traveling companions that are never found far from one another."  So, the next time you're outside, take a look around and take notice of the beauty around you, and tell God, "Thanks!". Because He made it just for you.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Silly squirrel...

Do you ever wonder why God invented squirrels? I do. They must have some sort of  purpose in the animal kingdom, besides being someone's lunch. To those of us who enjoy watching and feeding birds, squirrels can be a huge pest. There is nothing that will stop them once they make up their minds to do something. So...perhaps squirrels can teach us about determination. Or, perhaps God just put them here on earth to make us laugh! I've had some of the best laughs over the years, watching some of the antics of squirrels in my yard.
Here's an innocent little fellow. This guy was just outside my dining room window, and clearly, he had his eye on the brand, new bird feeder behind him. He was nonchalantly washing his paws, knowing he was being watched. My son-in-law, Justin and I were both standing there staring at him, and he was staring back, just waiting for us to leave so he could make his move.
It was a staring-contest showdown. Justin and I couldn't help but giggle at him, knowing what he had in mind, so we slowly backed up and hid behind the wall to see if he would make his move...
 SCORE!! Squirrel - 1, birds - 0. Squirrels have an amazing ability to defy gravity and to stick to anything! Anyway, this squirrel was cheap entertainment and made me smile. So, Justin and I decided that he should be immortalized on a greeting card...
And, look! He's actually smiling! Or is that a triumphant little sneer?... 

Friday, October 7, 2011

That sunny, summer day at the lake

It seems like it was only a few weeks ago when I joined my painting friends ("The Sisterhood of the Traveling Paints" as we call ourselves) at Beaver Lake in Sammamish for some plein aire painting. It was one of those glorious, and somewhat rare, Pacific Northwest summer days in the mid-seventies with clear blue skies. I look out my window now to gray skies with some misty, wet stuff coming down. Not exactly rain, but I like it. It's the perfect kind of day to hunker down with a cup of tea, catch up on some projects around the house and to get on the computer and start my new blog!

I have a separate web site devoted to my home portrait business,, but I needed someplace else to share with the whole wide world about all of the other arts and crafts that I like to do. So, here it is! One thing in particular I'd like to share are my new photo greeting cards. Here are two of them that I created from pictures that I took on that glorious-somewhat rare-mid-seventies-summer day at Beaver Lake. Do you see the little red boat with a couple of people in it? I think they were fishing...I wonder if they caught any? It was a great day to be out on the water and near the water and I'm glad I have a couple of photos to remember that pretty day.

I'll have my cards available for sale soon at local shops here in Issaquah and online too at some point in the near future. I'll let you know! If you'd like to subscribe to my posts, please sign up by clicking on the "Subscribe to" option on the sidebar . I also have some pen and ink illustrations that I've been working on of Issaquah landmarks to show you sometime soon, so stay tuned! Have a wonderful weekend!