Abstract Beaches

This series is something a little different for me. I’ve been playing around in abstract with different mediums for a while now and decided my beach series needed to be a reflection of that. I drew on the colors, sounds, textures and movements of the ocean landscape as I laid brush to paper for this series. I was compelled by the stark contrast of the soothing calm of the ocean waves and the powerful ferocity it can bring, playful splashes and a smooth, calm dance of waves.

 

 

As soothing and calming as the ocean can be, it has an undeniably powerful ferocity to it. Subtle at times, it gently pulls you out and pushes you back to shore, ever so slightly as you lose your footing and gently roll with the waves.

 

On a recent beach vacation myself, I stole a moment by moonlight to gaze on the vast, deep blue and listen to the waves crashing in. So calming to listen to yet I couldn’t stop thinking about how powerful those waves were. The seemingly wild and untamed waves, each one dancing to their own rhythm and fading out onto the shore in uneven, jagged lines.

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This series has truly been a labor of love. I have poured so much creative energy into this, not just the paintings themselves, but how they were presented.

Oceans Deep

Initially, I wanted them ready about a month ago, but I really wanted something a little different as far as presentation and it just took a little time to work it out. They somehow didn’t feel like they wanted to be popped into a frame.

Dancing Waves

So after careful consideration the bigger pieces were mounted to a gesso board slightly bigger than the painting itself as sort of a non-traditional frame.

By The Shore

As for the slightly smaller pieces, I wanted them to stand out a little more. I finally decided to mount them to a canvas panel (for stability) and attach a small piece of drift-wood between the painting and the gesso board, adding another dimension. It really adds some weight, literally and figuratively, and I love the statement it makes.

 

 

Dancing waves, playful dolphins, searching for seashells, unwinding your mind, the glow of an evening sunset, the vast, deep, mysterious, powerful, playful and tranquil blue waters.

 

 

 

 

You can find them all on my website under mixed media originals at  www.recklessfaithart.com

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Solar Eclipse 2017

In case you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard……there is a total solar eclipse that’s about to go down in just under 2 weeks in select areas across the US. National Geographic noted that it will be one of the biggest astronomical events in ages. We haven’t experienced a total eclipse since 1918 and we are not expected to have another astronomical phenomenon of its kind until 2054. The last time the moon took over the sun for total darkness in Missouri was in 1869, and that one only clipped the northeast corner of the state. The U.S. hasn’t seen one in 38 years and, according to our local News Tribune, the last time a total eclipse could be viewed from what is now Jefferson City, MO was in the year 1257. To put it mildly, this is kind of a big deal. NASA is said to be sending scientists to only a handful of cities to study this marvel in the sky and our little city is one of them. If you’re visiting, you can even buy tickets to have lunch with a real live – not an actor – astronaut.

At 1:13 on Aug. 21, we will experience 2 minutes and 29 seconds of totality. During that time the sun will be completely overtaken, or so it will seem, by the moon. In actuality the sun’s diameter is 400 times wider than the moon, but it is also 400 times farther away, giving the illusion that they are the same size. So from our vantage point 238,900 miles below, the moon will appear to completely blocks the suns light. It will be as dark as twilight, the brightest planets and stars will become visible, animals become quiet, birds roost and we will feel a notable drop in temperature. The eclipse starts in the Pacific and ends in the Atlantic, passing over land only in the U.S. with Jefferson City among the top cities to view the event.

So, naturally, there are all kinds of area artists in Jefferson City and surrounding cities just as artistically intrigued as the scientists and enthusiasts. If you’re here, you’ll find a plethora of events planned the weekend preceding the eclipse. You can get information about those events here. I’ll be hanging around at the Total Eclipse of the Park with the artwork below. You can also find these originals, postcards size prints and metal panel prints at my website recklessfaithart.com.

I hope to see you there! And if you can’t make it and aren’t near a city experiencing the total eclipse, find me on Facebook here, I’ll be doing a live video.

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How a Photo of Flowers Turned Into A Cacti Painting…..or Is It Seaweed?

Yes that’s right, I took a photo of a flower bush, a big, beautiful, luscious flower bush. A photo I took myself – right here in Missouri, where there’s not a cactus growing for hundreds of miles. And I translated that photograph into a painting of cacti. Don’t you just look at this – especially that ombre flower – and think cacti?

 

It would probably be fair to say that my brain was speaking a language that my hands didn’t understand that day, because I certainly didn’t see a cactus in my minds eye. The translation got lost before the brush hit the paper.

To be fair, I wasn’t looking directly at the photo and trying to paint it, I was recalling the photo from memory and attempting to use the colors and shapes for inspiration for an abstract. And I’ve been experimenting with watercolors lately, which is a new medium for me. As evidenced by the outcome, I haven’t quite mastered the nuances of watercolor.

cacti

So as my abstract strokes started to take on shapes, other than those in my head, I just went with the flow. Some of my favorite paintings have actually come about this way, just making marks and seeing what I can see out of them to create something. This time, as I was looking at my marks I saw a cactus. So naturally I decided to paint cacti, and then the background started turning into something of a sunset. Now the ways of watercolor and blending of watercolor are completely different from acrylics and it’s obviously not mastered here, I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece. It was more of a “do it for the process” painting.

BUT, I have to admit, I was a little pleased with myself that I painted a cactus landscape (of sorts) without ever having been to the desert AND without a reference photo of said cacti.

And then not only my husband, but my son commented on the little seaweed painting I did. Seaweed!?!?!?

So I’m not sure, I either painted a scene from one of the driest places on earth, or the wettest.

But the little seaweed cactus spurred me to get out the photo and actually look at it while I painted – I love the natural ombre in those flowers.

 

ombre bush

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That was a little too literal of an interpretation for me so I put the photo away and went with something a little more my style.

flower bush

And then one more, for fun, a little more whimsy, a little more intentional randomness. I kinda like how this one turned out.

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So the little watercolor sunset over seaweed painting unintentionally started a quick little study on interpretation, just going to show that even the paintings that don’t come out beautiful can have a success story. And even our stories, our day to day, our struggles and endeavors that don’t turn out just the way we think they should? They can have a success story too. Even a good painting starts out a little messy. Don’t let a little seaweed/cacti confusion discourage you.

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Running For My Sanity

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I managed 2 miles last night, no walking! Woohoo! It’s been slow getting back into it,  but that was the first run THAT FELT GOOD in a long time.

To be honest it’s a little depressing to celebrate a 2 mile run considering a little over a year ago I ran a half marathon. In March of last year, deep in the throes of training for the half, my running partner and I ran a solid 10 mile run (I think we might have walked up 2 of the hills in the last couple miles, but it was pretty solid), in the rain. It was my most memorable run ever. Literally the most fun I have ever had running, despite the fact that after about 7 miles everything, including the insides of my coat pockets, was soaked. If all runs could feel that good I don’t know why I would ever quit. That was the last time I actually felt good running.

 

Race day was April 2, 2016. About a month before the race I found out I was pregnant. I was sicker than I had been with any other pregnancy but, per Dr approval, I kept up with training as much as I could, slowed down some, walked some. As race day approached I wasn’t sure if I would run, depending on the level of morning sickness that day. I woke up race day and after losing my eggs on the porcelain throne, I actually felt pretty darn good, almost normal. I took that as an answer to my prayer – if it’s really okay to run this race God, let me feel good race day, otherwise I’ll know I need to stay in bed. I walked about half of the race and went at a slower pace for the rest, but I made it!

After the race I quit running altogether because I was just too sick to try and keep it up. I thought maybe once the morning sickness passed I would start again with walking. I was 8 weeks pregnant when I ran the half. Somewhere between 9-10 weeks our baby stopped growing, though we didn’t know it until my 13 week appointment.

Even after I found peace with things (which I wrote about here) I struggled for a long time with blaming myself. I still sometimes catch myself inching toward that rabbit hole of what if’s. For a long time I was certain running must have been the culprit. Really, I just needed something to blame. We will never truly know what happened, but most likely running had nothing to do with it. Even so, I blamed myself and I quit running. I quit running like I was punishing the running. I was angry, and just like that, like a thief in the night, blame took hold and stole the joy out of running.

The anger finally subsided but I never quite got back into running consistently.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

And now, little more than a month after my  second miscarriage, I have worked my way back up to 2 miles. I’m doing this. I’m doing this for me. For endorphins, for getting back in shape, for keeping my sanity (despite what you may think I do have my sanity some days 😉 . I’m doing this because I like running (you know, once I get past the burning sensation and am able to run and breath at the same time).

I am doing this because something magical happens when I run and my brain shuts off and I have the best conversations with God. I’m doing this because running is not to blame, and whatever happens – another pregnancy or not – I will not be afraid of running.

IMG_9028(That’s my hubby running with me)

Also……peaceful trails like these make all the difference. The farther in you get, the prettier it gets, the less people you see, it’s just you and the trees and the trail……and maybe some squirrels and once in a while a deer. Nothing else. Going back to this trail provides the motivation to go further and push harder. To work up to the mileage that will take you further down the trail. More time to quiet myself and listen.

“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint” Isaiah 40:31

Firm Roots

A few years ago we were vacationing in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. As we drove through Cade’s Cove we stopped at this country church.

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Isn’t she a beauty? I took this picture thinking the kids aren’t going to care to have this picture in their scrapbook, why am I even taking this? What am I ever going to do with it? It’s just going to clutter up my computer.

About a month later I was scrolling through social media and came upon another artist showing her art hung in her own home. It stopped me in my scroll and I thought hmmmm…..I don’t have any of my own art hanging in my house. Would I even hang any of my own art? Dissapointingly the answer was no. There was one painting of mine I would’ve considered hanging, but I didn’t really have a spot where it seemed to fit. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the others, but I wouldn’t hang them in my own house. It didn’t quite speak my style. So I got to thinking what would I hang in my house? If I expect people to purchase my art for their home, shouldn’t I be painting things I would hang in my own house? What do I need to change to make my art hangable? So I went back to my little studio and painted that church from the TN vacation on a little 12×12 canvas.

I loosened my grip on the palette knife and painted a little less literally. I embraced imperfection, impressionism and blurred lines. That’s what I love about the palette knife and why I prefer to paint with it verses a brush – other than the added texture, it forces me to loosen up  my hand and be less literal. That was how the first church painting (of mine) was born. It’s been one of my favorite things to paint since then so I thought it was time for a little church series. I’m calling it “Firm Roots”

2holly's test print2“Joy Unspeakable”

2amys church test print“Faith Unshakable”

Church Bells2“Grace Abounds”

I love these old churches. Just think if the walls of these churches could talk, the stories they’d tell. Stories of redemption, of love, of loss, of grace and mercy. Memories from church chior, of our Sunday best and holding Daddy’s hand, and please tell me I’m not the only one who got a new Easter hat every year? And oh the stories they hold from those quilt groups ladies……I’m sure some of those ladies are glad the walls can’t talk. 🙂

Then Sings My Soulredo2“Then Sings My Soul”

I sat in the pew inside that old church in Tennessee, in awe of it all. Imagining a bride walking down the isle, a new believer being baptized. Families coming together to celebrate in fellowship, to grieve together.

Amazing Grace1“Amazing Grace”

005“Love Never Fails”

And we can’t forget their gorgeous stained glass windows.

Faith Without Borders1a“Faith Without Borders”

Let Me Feel You Shine2“Let Me Feel You Shine”

Salt and Light“Salt and Light”

I hope you find a painting that reminds you of your special church building, and not just the wood beams and bell chimes, but of the church that happened inside. Of fellowship and Sunday brunch and bingo nights, of vows spoken and hearts surrendered. Of sweet beginnings and tender good-byes. Of new life and second birth. Of The One worthy of our worship hands held high.

And if you made it to the end of this then you get some inside information. I saved it just for you, for scrolling all the way to the end. 🙂 There is an active coupon code in my etsy shop for the release of these churches (I’ll share another secret, the code works on ALL the paintings in my etsy shop). Code is FIRMROOTS for 20% off until June9.

He Paid It All

As we approached the week of Easter, there were words I wanted to say about this. But the right words just didn’t seem to come.

And then I realized I didn’t need words, I had already painted my words. I hope you can see what I do. A vision of what it may have looked like to stand on Calvary, looking up at that wonderful cross, the crown of thorns. It silences me.

 

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There are no words. So I sit and I stare as a reverence comes over me while I soak it all in. The cost for my life, for my sins. Freely given so that I may live in eternal peace.

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And then a reel starts playing and I think Kari Jobe says it best anyway:

The moon and stars they wept
The morning sun was dead
The Saviour of the world was fallen
His body on the cross
His blood poured out for us
The weight of every curse upon Him

One final breath He gave
As heaven looked away
The son of God was laid in darkness
A battle in the grave
The war on death was waged
The power of hell forever broken

The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting?
Our resurrected King
Has rendered you defeated

Forever He is glorified
Forever He is lifted high
Forever He is risen
He is alive, He is alive!

The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting?
Our resurrected King
Has rendered you defeated

Forever He is glorified
Forever He is lifted high
Forever He is risen
He is alive, He is alive!

We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah
The Lamb has overcome

We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah
The Lamb has overcome

We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah
We sing hallelujah
The Lamb has overcome!

February Special!

Oh happy day! I’ve decided to run a monthly special! Of course, I had planned on running it for the month of February buuuuttttt……….I got behind. But the day after Valentine’s Day seems like a good day to kick it off anyway.

I’m not sure how often I’ll do it just yet, but I do hope to periodically run a monthly special based on whatever I’m working on at the moment. With the warmer temps and the anticipation of spring, the theme for this month will be florals.

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This one is not available, it was a custom painting for a Christmas gift but I do love it!

Here’s how this special is going to work: all current floral paintings in my shop will be reduced to $100 for the month  (smaller florals that were already under $100 will be discounted as well) and I am going to open up a limited number of spots for your own custom floral  for $100! There will be 3 size options. 12×16, 18×24 or 20×20. I wanted to give you options to fit your space but because of the special pricing, all three sizes will be the same price. It is a reduced price for all of those sizes, but obviously the bigger size is the bigger bargain. Pssst……I like working on bigger canvas’s anyway so pick the big one for your custom! 😉

Here’s a look-see at some of my most recent florals available for the special. I use a mixed media to create texture and make the flowers pop. It’s hard to capture the texture in photographs, I wish you could see it in person. The texture really is my favorite part.

 

 

 

 

Click on the shop section above to go to my Etsy shop and see what is available or to order your own custom drippy, textured floral! This special pricing will be good until March 8. The custom order will have a limited number of listings, once they’re filled I won’t be offering any more customs.

What floral will you have me paint?

No Obligation

So I sought out a little advice on an artist forum, I submitted a painting I did of the beach from our vacation a few years ago. One commenter said my water was interesting but not to feel obligated to mimic nature…..hmmmm. I’m not going to lie it felt a little bit like a contradiction, if it’s interesting why do I need to not feel obligated?

But it did lead to a little bit of experimenting with some abstract landscapes and florals. Over the past year or so I’ve gotten a lot better at being more loose with my brush, but painting abstract is much harder than painting the exact picture you see. At least for me. It forces me to think a little harder and dig a little deeper in searching out that artistic voice.

I love landscapes. This landscape painting was inspired by one single tree on top of a hill in spring. I took one look at the photo, put it away and got out the canvas to see what would transpire. I’m pretty sure in the photo it was a dogwood with pink blooms and not a bit of fog in sight. I think what I ended up leans more toward a resemblance of trees being reflected in water on a foggy morning. And I like that the process takes me somewhere completely different than where I started. No obligation to mimic the photo.

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A little fuzzy up close…I was tired of adjusting my tripod. But you can see the texture and the fog, reaching up the trees, licking the leaves.

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I didn’t have a photo with these. I just had florals and spring in mind.

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coral-floral-4coral-floral-2coral-floral

I feel like I’ve been all over the place experimenting with different styles and techniques lately, but these three at least feel like they go together. I’d love to hear your opinion!

 

 

 

Confessions On Organization….Or Lack Thereof

I have to be honest. I am more of a free spirit when it comes to organization. I mean, my house is fairly well organized. I like things to look neat and all, so at first glance you may not know, but don’t open the desk drawers. I’ve given it a try off and on – the whole organizational thing, everything in its place and with a label. I’m not that good at it. It might actually be the perfectionist in me that gives up because it’s not perfectly organized and I can’t even handle that. Of all things that perfectionism should touch I would think it would be organization, right? Why even organize it if it’s not going to be perfect?!? But if art has taught me anything it’s that I’m so far from perfect I really can’t even claim to be a perfectionist so I have to throw the notion out the door.

I know people that have every bit of their day organized and planned out. They make lists AND they don’t lose those lists………they actually do the things on that list and check mark it off when they’re complete! Say what?!? It’s unreal. And I genuinely love those people in my life, but sometimes……..they give me anxiety.

A part of me wants to be that organized. And a few times I’ve gone as far as organizing closets and labeling things. But I guess I kind of expected it to be a one and done thing. Organize it once and it stays that way. Makes perfect sense. Why would any toddler who can’t read put the crayons in with the markers when it’s CLEARLY labeled??? Obviously, based on that logic, nothing stayed put and we ended up with legos in the coloring book bin and dinosaurs in the play dough bin and it was a total loss.

So I’ve gotten a lot better at not being a perfectionist, and at figuring out how to organize my house, but organizing a business where there’s 10 different things that need done just to try and make it work, outside of the actual painting is a whole different organizational ballgame. It’s a time-waster really. Stopping what I’m doing today to do an entire set up with the tripod and some props to take some photographs and then move that out of the way to varnish but then move it back because you didn’t quite photograph all of them……….you know, lack of organization really.

So far on this journey, I’ve been content with pretty much winging it like that. It all started by jumping all-in because of this pull I felt anyway, and God has been gracious enough to put in my path people or podcasts or blogs or websites or circumstances, ect that gave me ideas and direction and encouragement and the push to just keep going. But it turns out there is something those people who sometimes give me anxiety have on me……… I almost feel their frown on me when I say maybe I could’ve done a little better, pushed a little harder, possibly gotten myself out there a little more by NOT missing a couple application deadlines that require planning ahead. By being a tad more organized in what exactly I’m doing.

So to ring in 2017 I’m taking the cues I’ve seen from my more organized friends. It started with a MUCH more organized workspace and a planner. On a side note, I do usually have a planner for personal stuff and last year’s planner was called the “goal digger”.  You’d thought I’d taken the hint last year with that. At the beginning of each month you set your goals and wrote them down and at the end of the month and year there was space to analyze those goals and how you did, what you can improve on, yada yada……..I just bought it because I liked the cover. Not one goal got written down.

But I hear you, organized people, and I’m writing them down this year along with a plan……albeit a loose one. I won’t be buying a label maker or anything, but I’m reigning in the organizational free spirit a little and I gotta say……I kinda like being organized and writing things down. I’m even gathering all my notebooks and keeping all my notes in one place instead of 10 different notebooks in 15 different spots (I know, that’s more spots than notebooks – how does that even happen? I’m not sure either. And I can’t imagine where my kids get the idea dinosaurs go in with the legos) Now I’m causing anxiety aren’t I?

So here’s to 2017, to goals and plans and schedules and actually looking at my planner after I write down my top 3…….did you guys even know the concept of a top 3 each day? WOAH! Baby steps. Baby steps. Maybe next year come tax time I’ll even have something more organized than a drawer full of loose receipts! I give myself credit for that one though – they were at least all in one drawer, that’s kind of a win.

What’s your 2017 goals? Does the start of a new year inspire you to get more organized too?

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The Gift of Art

You guys kept me busy this Christmas season with custom art work! I definitely have a few favorites in the bunch and there were a few that pushed me a little further, challenged me a little more and I love that! There were a few giant sized canvas’s to create and those are my favorite, I love painting big! I had so much fun with these and I truly appreciate the support.  I love when you guys give me an idea and say go with it. I just wish everyone could see these in person, you just can’t get the texture on a camera…….

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I am not typically an advocate of adding words to a painting, but I do like how this one turned out with scripture added.

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And those are the ones I remembered to take pictures of before sending them home.

Thank you to everyone who gave (or bought for yourself) Reckless Faith Art for Christmas!