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.

roses-for-rose2-copy

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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foggy-landscape2

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

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fushia-florals1

fushia-florals3b

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?

organizer-at-desk

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…….

brendas-florals

 

calebs-sunset-wout-words3

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

calebs-sunset3

textured-abstract-purplegrey3

 

abstract-trees2

 

roses-for-rose2-copy

 

angel-holding-cat2

 

angel-for-dette2

 

allies-horse2

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!

Landscape Love

There’s just something about a quiet dirt road and wide open spaces isn’t there?  Calm, quiet, relaxing. Maybe it’s because I have two kids and a dog, or maybe it’s just because I grew up in the quiet country, but I especially love quiet. No sounds of cars driving by, no sirens in the distance, no honking, no neighbor working his electric saw or even his lawn mower down the street……..just the sound of wind across the open field as the breeze cools your face.

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Where you can hear yourself think and just be.

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Take a deep breath and let it out slow.

country-road

A place to sit and listen to the sound of water rushing over rock while you watch the reflections dance in the water…..

fall-trees-on-river-closeup

A quiet pause between the hustle.

Where’s your favorite hideaway?

 

Surrendered

I don’t want to write this.

I definitely don’t want to publish this.

But I sat up in the wee hours of the night feeling compelled to write this down, so I kind of think this decision is above my head.

Last spring I had a miscarriage. We almost made it through the 1st trimester. We were so close to the “safe zone”. I went in for my 12 week appointment alone, not expecting anything unusual. I was due for a sonogram, but since I’m high risk already with diabetes there was going to be a lot of sonograms. This was already my second one, so my husband didn’t join me for this one. Shortly after they put the gel on my belly I asked (hopefully) “it’s too early to tell the gender isn’t it……”

That dreaded silence you hear about? It happened right then.

And then, “I’m sorry, Rhonda. There’s no heartbeat……..do you want me to have the doctor check?”

Yes. Yes I do. And while she was gone I prayed that she had made a mistake. Maybe she forgot to turn the volume up and that’s why she didn’t hear a heartbeat?  It was early in the morning, maybe the machine needed to warm up or something, she didn’t listen for very long…….I was praying hard for incompetence.

I could see our baby’s tiny little back on the screen – the bones of the spinal cord facing me. Asleep. Meeting Jesus without ever saying hello to his momma.

The next day I was walking into an operating room to have our baby extracted from my body. Words cannot even begin to express what that’s like and all I can say is my feet would have never walked into that room and lifted myself up onto that table without Jesus holding me up.

When it was over, I thought I was ok at first. I really did. Maybe the weight of it hadn’t hit me yet. Maybe I was trying to be strong. Likely a little of both. But reality did hit and it was a solid 4 months before I finally felt true peace with it all. It was, emotionally, the hardest summer.

And there seems to be an unspoken rule that life has to go back to normal as if nothing happened. You can be sad for a while, but the sadness shouldn’t remain for long. You feel like you’re expected to go back to your daily duties as if it hadn’t been real, as if just a week ago you weren’t already looking at baby names. After all that vomiting and feeling your body starting to swell, it’s suddenly as if it wasn’t even real because the baby hadn’t been born.

And what I want every woman that has walked this road, that is walking this road to know – my reason for sharing this – is to say that it is more than ok to be upset and broken over this. You don’t have to go on like nothing happened. You don’t have to pretend like there wasn’t a life, a tiny little soul with a heartbeat inside of you just weeks ago. You don’t have to forget. You should not forget.

And God sees your brokenness. He is counting every tear. He hears your cries. You may feel alone, but you are not. And if you reach out to Him, He can and will comfort you. Tell Him your anger and sorrow and hand it over. Even a loss such as this can harbor growth, healing and restoration. He will bind up your brokenness.

You will still think about that baby, and from what I hear from other mothers you never stop thinking things like  Oh I should have a 5 year old right now…….
Just recently I was flipping through pictures on my phone and instinctively thought “oh that’s when I was still pregnant.” and seeing one taken just a few days before my appointment; “oh that’s when I still thought I was pregnant but my baby had died by then.”

And if I’m being honest I look at those pictures and I want to go back. Jump back into the mind of my past self – the one that is still pregnant and doesn’t yet know the pain and guilt of this loss.

But I can’t change it, and neither can you.

But what you can do is honor the loss by allowing it to change you, allowing God to use it to grow you. Don’t hang onto that pain forever, give it over. Let God turn the pain into something good. You may be in a place where you don’t even want to think that something good could possibly come out of this, but God is bigger than this and He can use this too. You can give Him the pain and still remember in a way that honors both God and your baby.

Our due date was 11/9, if history repeated itself with this pregnancy I would be going in for a scheduled induction any minute. I long to be getting ready to go into delivery right now.  To be holding our own baby. But I’m not. Instead, I found myself holding our newborn nephew. By some miracle, I looked down at him without the feeling of anger that it wasn’t my baby I was holding. Only God can give that kind of peace.

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About a month or more…..I lost count…..after I lost our baby I painted for the first time again since before.

To be honest as I was painting I was kind of amazed, given the force and velocity of my hand, that what was emerging on canvas did not appear more bitter and angry.

restored-up-close2

I expected there to be no doubt this painting was done with an angry hand.

I look at this now as a whole and I don’t see anger at all, I see this as proof God can take our anger and our broken and work it into something new, something beautiful. something restored. Surrendered.

restored

 

Angel Army

 

angel-grouping

I didn’t really plan on painting an entire “Angel Army” series…..it just kind of ended up that way.

It started when I decided I wanted to paint the front cover of the journal I use for business-y notes. It’s very official. I make up words inside it too. But I also use real words like Don’t you dare give up. And Faith over fear. And to-do lists and painting notes, and scribbles about how do I even start a blog! And quotes like “identity in Christ is essential in the inevitable failure part of creating.” (Failed to write the source. I believe an article from Christianity Today)

But I digress.

I randomly grabbed a few bottles of paint and just started painting on it…..and this is what happened.

journal

I loved it so much I had to put one on canvas…..

paisandvaidas-angel-side

And another……….

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And then my sister-in-law asked for one just for her……

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And it just kept flowing……..

largeblondedrippyfloralangelside

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I had a track that kept playing in my head while I was painting:

“I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind, the God of angel armies is always by my side. The one who reigns forever, He is a friend of mine. The God of angel armies is always by my side. My strength is in Your name, for You alone can save, You will deliver me Yours is the victory.”  (Chris Tomlin; Whom Shall I Fear)

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angel-groupings

My favorite pieces are the ones that start without much of a plan. Just a blank canvas and randomly selecting some colors.

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3 angels are already spoken for, the rest are listed in my etsy shop! I hope you love them as much as I do.

Feel free to message me with requests for custom angels. I’d be honored to create one just for you!

A Soul on Fire

 

I have spent most of my adult life up to this point working in the banking/business world. I had wanted to explore my creative side, even as a little girl I secretly always dreamed of starting my own business, but when it came to it, I settled for the “safe” job. It just made sense, I knew that I would go to work from 8-5 and I knew what work I would do each day and that I would most definitely collect a paycheck every two weeks.

I believe we all have God-given talents. And I believe the talents that our Creator gave each of us are for a purpose. And when we answer the call to use those gifts, however that may look for each of us, that’s when we truly start to feel alive. There’s a fire in our soul that is ignited as we explore these gifts. An inexplicable joy as we discover that these talents were given to us as a gift, not just for ourselves, but for the Creator Himself. When we try to keep them locked up inside we not only deny ourselves, we ignore our purpose.

Unfortunately, for years I let fear smother that fire inside me. I had become a slave to fear and self-doubt. The fire was barely smoldering, threatening to be snuffed out altogether.

BUT……IT WAS STILL SMOLDERNIG. 

Our God is patient and faithful. There was still hope in that barely smoldering fire. And at the right time, He started to fan the flames back to life. It started with me cutting my hours at work in order to be more present with my kids and to be available to transport them to and from school. I knew I also wanted something more but I really didn’t know what. I was just praying the extra time would allow a door to open. I had no idea what I even wanted there to be on the other side of that door. It wasn’t long before I started painting and sketching again. There is an online group of creatives who don’t even know that I exist, but through their stories and inspiration, I started pursuing a Reckless Faith. Snuffing out fears and stoking the fire inside.

In December of 2015 I decided it was time to live out Reckless Faith and I quit my job. It didn’t make sense, some days it still doesn’t make sense. But the flames grew hotter and I couldn’t ignore them anymore. This creative journey is lonely, discouraging, full of self-doubt and vulnerability that quite honestly I’d rather keep hidden most days. But it’s also full of encouragement, grace, freedom and joy. And those blessings far surpass the hard things. This blog is about recording and sharing my journey of faith and art and life. It’s a journey of Reckless Faith. Letting God guide the way and praying that I listen well and ignite my soul.

 

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