Monday, August 29, 2011

:) Jesse Tree

What is a Jesse Tree ornament?

There's a brand new Etsy shop called Inspired Traditions.  
Have a look!  And learn about these beautifully crafted ornaments!

The Jesse Tree tradition began as a family tree for Jesus. It originates from Isaiah 1:1, which says, "A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse". Jesse, the father of King David, is one of the patriarchs through whom Jesus' lineage is traced. This Jesse Tree ornament set can be used much like an advent calendar. Advent, meaning "coming", refers to the anticipation of the coming Christ. There is an ornament for each day in December through Christmas day that depicts a story from biblical history. For each symbol there are correlating Old Testament and New Testament scriptures. These stories give a "refresher" of the Bible as a whole, all the while reminding us of how the scriptures are all connected in the theme of God's grace. Some of the Old Testament symbols were chosen because a person in the story is in the lineage of Christ while others because Jesus himself referred to some part of the story. The New Testament symbols chosen have the prophecy scriptures referenced from the Old Testament. From the story of creation to the story of the wise men following a star, each symbol was chosen to help tell the story of God's plan to bring us back to himself through Jesus. The Jesse Tree displays the story of the coming Christ, carved out through history, by the sovereign hand of God.

What makes this Jesse Tree set unique is that every one of the 25 ornaments has both an Old Testament scripture reference and a New Testament reference. I made these for my family to teach my three children the true meaning of Christmas. Each day from December 1st to Christams Day, my kids place one of these ornaments on our tree after we have read to them the story behind the symbol. In the last month of the year, they get a reminder of a few of the stories they have learned throughout the year, in chronological order, and hear again how the Bible as a whole is connected through the grace of Jesus as we prepare to celebrate his birth.

If you'd like to purchase a set of Jesse Tree Ornaments, click the link to go to the Etsy listing.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

:) Choosing a Reference Photo

How to decided.... How to choose?...

This little butterfly danced, flitted, and posed as long as I was willing to take pictures.  So, I have 30 photos... All nearly the same, but which ONE is the right ONE?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

View from this Side

Is formal symmetry always a bad thing in art?

I am such a left brained, type A, logical thinking person.  I went into painting with no natural flare for art.  So much of what makes art aesthetically pleasing was (sometimes still is) so foreign to me.  I still have to remind my self... if one is on this side, put two on that side... don't put it right in the center... put an odd number of them rather than two or four...  Maybe that's why I've never referred to myself as an "artist."  I just say, "I paint."  

I love this painting, but I think maybe I'm not supposed to.  It is, after all, quite symmetrical.  But, there's another reason I love this painting.  I used a palette knife for much of it.  I haven't used that technique much, and I don't know why.  I loved the effect... painterly...  I guess it scares me...  You take big globs of paint and smear... Yikes!  The thing is, I this is the style I loved before I began to paint on my own. Hmmm...
Maybe I should give it another try.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cottage by the Sea

Doesn't this look like the perfect cottage for an artist to live in?
Or, maybe it could be the home of the heroine from a romance novel?

The idea for this painting began with a photograph taken by my niece.  This place as it looks in this painting doesn't really exist, but if it did, I'd love to spend a long weekend there!

"Cottage by the Sea" was my first attempt with taking huge liberties with the reference photo.  It had been the office of a bed and breakfast hotel.  I flipped or reversed it, took away the parking lot, big flag, and lawn chairs.  I planted a few trees and built a dirt road.  Finally, I sprinkled some flowers in just the right places.  
End the end, I was amazed at my own finished product.  Usually, I love the process and am simply pleased with the end result.  But, this time I also loved the finished painting.  My heart actually ached when I got notification from Etsy that the original sold.  But, I loved it so much that I had an image made.  A giclee reproduction hangs where the original had been.

Each time I look at "Cottage by the Sea," I think of Miss Rumphias, a wonderful children's book about a lady who sets out to make the world a more beautiful place by planting flowers wherever she goes.  I think Miss Rumphias would have liked to live in my little cottage.

Original Oil Painting on 16"x 20" Wrapped Canvas

"Cottage by the Sea" can be purchased in several forms.
Contact me if you'd like to purchase this image as a giclee, a print, or note cards.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Red Barns

Why are barns red?

Now that I think about it, I don't think I've ever seen a blue one, a yellow one, an orange one, or a green one.  The new metal-sided ones don't count - only the ones that a cow or a pig would be proud to call home.

They're just so... jolly!

Then... Why, oh why did I decide to Google that question to learn the "real" reason? 

One source said that farmers mixed rust with an oil mixture because rust is a poison to moss and mold. Ok... it's certainly not a romanitic or fanciful reason, but it makes sense.
Another source said that farmers mixed blood from their slaughters with the oil. Oh, no... can we just agree to forget that we read that?

I'd like to think that maybe farmers discovered that cows are soothed by the color red... oh, wait... Doesn't red make bulls mad?
Maybe farmers want to make their workplace beautiful... No... Every farmer I know is much too practical for that...

Whatever the reason, I love coming across a red barn, especially when it's obvious that it's had a life filled with animals, equipment, hay, and farmers.

 Hooray for the red barn!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Country Mailbox

How do you use your artistic license? 

Sometimes we drive down dirt roads just to see what we can find... you never know when the most mundane thing is just perfect... like this mailbox!  My husband pulled over, and I hopped out to snap a few pictures when, "Um, Honey... you might want to explain to that guy..."  He'd come around the house with a pretty unfriendly look on his face.  "Hi! I'm an artist, and you have a fabulous mailbox!  I'd love to paint it!"  How quickly his demeanor changed!  He was ready to tell me the history of how long it had been there, who put it there... 
Just goes to show you how important it is to carry that artistic license with you!

To enjoy an Etsy treasury (collection of art pieces and vintage items) celebrating Arkansas, click Missing Arkansas.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Taylor Kids

Will  you paint my child? 
And as you do, can you change the shirt color, put back the feet that the photo cut off, fix the messed up hair?

When I discovered I could make colors and shapes look like faces, friends became more interested in my paintings.  I got a little more accurate and a little faster with each one, so I began to think I could accept any challenge.

As it turns out, yes, it is possible to do all of those things.  I just shouldn't have tried to learn so many things all in one painting.  There is one more very important lesson I learned while working on this painting... painting three little faces is three times as hard or time consuming as painting one!  Imagine... how could I not have figured that out ahead of time!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Farmers' Market

What makes your town unique?

My town has many unique attributes to keep it "Funky," but one of our favorites is our Farmers' Market on the Square.  My husband and I go nearly every Saturday.  Sometimes we buy vegetables or flowers.  More often, however, we just walk around twice (once to look and once to buy) just to take in the flavor of our city...
... musicians (some good, some not so much...) with their cases open for dollars...
...fresh vegetables...
...politicians with smiles and bumper stickers to give away...
...bouquets of flowers...
...dogs (in red vests from the animal shelter) looking for new homes...
...fruit and berries...
...hippies with petitions to be signed...
...dyed wool (with pictures of the sheep it came from)...
...old acquaintances saying "How've y'all been?"...
...dried spices...
...children in strollers, elderly people, picky chefs, nature lovers...

It's like a kaleidoscope - splashes of bright colors.
We love our Farmers' Market.