new season, new work

Moving to a new city and state has been an adventure, but it’s also difficult to start over when it comes to having photography clients. On the positive though, the transition has allowed me some time to keep being creative and to explore a little more with the boundaries I’ve been accustomed to when it comes to painting. I am a realist at heart! I love to capture the natural beauty around me. When it comes to painting in the abstract, I have never had much success (although the word success may not be the best since it is fairly relative, especially when it comes to art).  I could never get my hands to achieve the images I saw in my mind. So this time I tried something new. I allowed my hands to be a little more free from the rule of the right side of my brain, and I tried to let what I felt translate into colors. I am excited to keep stretching myself and see what else may come of it!

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Lily. This new painting is an example of my more realistic tendencies.
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But this painting is very new territory for me!

Rhubarb Festival

Just a reminder to find me at the Rhubarb Fest in Aledo, Illinois!  It’s coming up this weekend, June 7th and 8th, and it’s free! I will be set up on Saturday only. I have a few neat new items! Come check them out, and get some pie while you’re at it!

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wallet/card tins

Here is a link to the schedule of events:  Aledo Rhubarb Fest 2013

the field

After the harvest is complete and the land has given of all it bore, the fields are left. Stripped, empty, shaven and shorn down to the scalp. What good things there were have been given freely and lovingly. Now what remains is a barren space, exposed in the raw to the brutality of the winter wind.

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Maybe you’ve felt this way before? It would be a falsity to deny ever having found myself in such a condition. I have been those fields. Stripped of all I had to give. Cut and torn down to the bone. What I once gave so freely was now exhausted and unreplenished. What now did I have to offer? I am a desolate wasteland.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. With empty hands I lifted them to the only One who can make something out of nothing. I have nothing, Lord. But I believe my emptiness is another way for you to show me your power, glory, and beauty. What I cannot, you can.

Then the snow falls on the face of the field. When I had my eyes lifted in hopeful expectation, the cold came in a different form. Instead of the wind lashing across its face, the field is now under the full weight of winter. There is nowhere for this field to go. It must sit under cover and wait. Yet in that close space the quiet steals in, almost shocking in contrast to the howling of the winds. It is here, in the close and the quiet, where the Lord is found…Where my ears can hear his gentle voice.

“Forget the former things. Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”          Isaiah 43:18,19

In this heavy space I struggled and pleaded. Please lift this from me. But the more I struggled, the less I could see what was really happening, there in that close and quiet place called waiting.

You see, under the snow, the tired field is insulated from the task of the cold wind. Under the snow, the field that was plucked over is now at rest. Without this rest, there would be no replenishment of what it needs to once again spring up.

I wanted to be healed. I wanted to be fruitful and pleasing to my God. For his kingdom and for his glory. Try as I might. Out of desperation I asked what more needed to be done? What do I have to do to be healed and to have a pure heart? Jesus, I said. You did the work on the cross. You said, “It is finished.” So what now?

Then His words broke through my desperation.

“Wait, my child. You are worried and upset about many things, but only One thing is needed.”

Ah. Indeed it was pointed out to me that I was more akin to Martha than Mary in that moment. I had been distracted trying to prepare my own heart and grow my own fruit. It was as useless as the field trying to grow its own crop without the attention and the work of the hand who very first plants the seeds.

So as I waited there, like the fields closed in beneath the snow, I found I was in the best place I could be- stayed in the healing presence of Jesus Christ. He covered me and hid me beneath the shadow of his wing, drawing me close. It is here in His presence, focusing all my heart and mind’s attention on who He is, where true rest and healing is.

In time, as I’m learning to continually dwell in his presence, I’ve been more and more amazed at just how beautiful my God is, and how loving all His ways. My delight is in Him… And what’s this? In our quiet space when I close my eyes, what do I now see? This field, while still cut close to the ground, is NOT dormant. Watch the small green things and little dark berries pop up. Where it was once empty, new life is beginning to emerge. It may not be in full bloom yet, but knowing this field is capable of growing again brings such relief and hope for what is to come. Where there was always joy found in the Lord, now happiness flows once more. My God is growing fruit. He is making streams in the wasteland.

For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.     Philippians 2:13

Beauty in the Beholder

Everything in creation has a name. Everything created serves a purpose. Even weeds. In fact, by the very definition, a weed is simply a plant in an undesired place. I have a growing affinity for these so called mislocated plants. When I venture down a road taking in that which lines my path- white Queen Anne’s Lace and blue Bachelor’s Buttons, or behold a field strewn in the rich hue of Goldenrod, I cannot help but praise the Creator for them.

Queen Anne's Lace & Bachelor's Buttons  For He has made everything beautiful in its time..   Ecc 3:11

  I remember the first time I thought to myself, “How good is God that He makes even weeds beautiful?” These plants that seemingly serve no purpose, or in the esteem of some only serve cantankerously, quite undeniably maintain an inherent beauty. I could intimate what this revealed about God- if even in this sin saturated fallen world His beauty and glory are clearly seen, how much greater is He? How much greater the things that await us? But what did this say about us? You see, I identified myself with the weed. Regarded in the lowest esteem, counted or counting myself as good-for-nothing and many times not even counted at all. What do I have that could possibly make a difference in God’s kingdom and in this world? With nothing to offer beside my very self, I considered the weeds before me. They are beautiful, yes. But I am a weed. I am not enough.

Yet this is called Foxtail, and here is Thistle..”

Foxtail Thistle

But in fact, God has arranged the parts of the body, each one of them, just as He wanted them to be.   1 Cor 12:18 

From nature’s perspective, there is no such thing as a weed. It is man who labels it, and the accuser points his finger. One may be labeled as bereft of value or usefulness, but in God’s kingdom all are valuable and all are essential. These weeds grow to a hymn of beauty, and this reminds me of God’s beautiful purpose for me and an unfathomably sacred value in the life He’s given me. In the lives He gives each of us.  What I lack is not important. He will give me what I need. After all, He gave me my name, and I am called by His. No, I cannot give what I don’t have, but what I do have I give it all back to my Maker. I have a heart that belongs to Him. I am His creation. He made me me. He made you you. In vain I have made comparisons to others- a sweet smelling Rose or a mighty Oak- only to come up short every time. Finally I understand, I am not called to be like anyone else other than Jesus Christ. 

So with all that I am and all that I’m not, with everything I have and everything I don’t, I offer this life back into the hands of my Maker. For it is in His hands His purposes will be accomplished. My dependence is on the One who is able and so much stronger than I could ever be. My heart’s focus is tuned to the One who is the Way. Through love and obedience on my part, He will do more with His part than I could even deem possible. And somehow, He will weave this weed’s short life into His beautiful story.

But now this is what the Lord says- He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are Mine.                 Isaiah 43:1

Oh the Weather Outside…

…is a blizzard! So it’s a great time to stay in and finish up my latest commission.

Shakespeare’s Botany: a watercolor series

Oxlip

"So we grew together like to a double cherry.."
“So we grew together like to a double cherry..”

Violet

:The marigold which goes to bed with the sunAnd with him rises weeping."
:The marigold which goes to bed with the sun
And with him rises weeping.”

My patron is adding the quotes in calligraphy at the bottom of each flower.

So grateful for the work!

Orion Fall Festival

It’s the time of year when you can smell Autumn in the air just waiting for Summer to loosen the reigns. That means it’s time for the Orion Fall Festival, one of my favorite times of the year!

I will have an art booth displaying paintings, drawings, and photographs. Plus, I will be promoting “The Farm” by giving away one free lab fee for a farm book and half off a photo shoot! Come by my booth to enter, or email me if you want a chance to win photographs of your farm.

Orion, IL is a pretty drive just outside the Quad Cities. If you’re looking for something fun to do this Labor Day weekend, I hope you’ll join me! Click HERE to see the schedule of events. There is a lot going on, and so much for kids to do, too!

Hope to see you there!

when all is quiet

Early this morning, while it was still and quiet, my sleepy lids lifted just enough to notice the thick white fog outside my window. *I sleep with my blinds partially open for occasions such as this!   I considered going back to sleep, but I couldn’t let the opportunity pass. I hopped out of bed, grabbed my camera, and this is what I found:

I had a moment with what I think was a horned owl, too.* I’m no owl expert, so naturally I googled it. I came upon it suddenly. Our eyes locked..I’ve never been that close to an owl before. Its eyes looked like it had lived centuries longer than I have. Unfortunately, as I lifted my camera it flew away. Maybe the moment is more special that way? It was wondrous.

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