Sunday, May 31, 2020

Pentecost Sunday

The Coming of the Holy Spirit

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:1-11 English Standard Version (ESV)

Saturday, May 30, 2020

essential brightness

The state of Illinois where I live these strange days has been on lockdown stay-at-home orders since the middle of March. We seemed to have plenty of food and other essentials so I did not leave the house for at least two weeks. Finally with mask and gloves I went out to a local small store. I did not come home with food, I came home with these huge bright red and yellow tulips. My family gasped. "You risked your life and ours to go out and buy flowers?"

Yes, some things are essential.
I finished this oil painting 24 by 24 on canvas this week.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

White lilies at Eastertide

Easter lilies, tall white blooms that are sold everywhere in the weeks before the Christian holiday of Easter. People use them for decorations everywhere, in offices, entryways, in grocery stores to hardware stores to shopping centers to churches and meeting centers. Since Easter is a springtime holiday observed by mostly everyone in our American culture whether believers or not, these flowers are a symbol of spring. They have a lovely scent, stand nice and tall in formal arrangements, and are a popular potted plant sold every year.
I have a different relationship with this flower, it means more to me than a popular seasonal symbol. There are complicated historical and religious meanings that come with this lily (that would be another essay subject). The white lily has always stirred feelings deep within me that I want to express using paint and my art.
These are a favorite subject of mine, I have lost count of how many paintings I have made of the Easter lilies so far. This year, as usual I bought these at the grocery store where tables of them are displayed for sale. I always buy quite a lot of them and crowd the pots into my studio so that I can draw and paint the lilies from life. I much prefer the experience of drawing from life. It brings such immediacy of emotion to my work.
I began this painting weeks ago while watching my church service with remote viewing (because of the pandemic lockdown) broadcast on my computer screen in my studio. I kind of like painting while listening to church, the mood is right, worshipping God and using my gifts.
The Easter plants I was keeping in my studio finally dropped all the blossoms but I kept painting.  This is oil on canvas 48" by 48". Painting with oils is a new endeavor for me. I formerly mostly painted with acrylic but have decided to switch to oils in the studio. So far this new effort has been a struggle. It is a lot messier, and is taking me a lot longer to execute a painting. Also it would be easier if I didn't insist on painting such large canvases. I am hoping it will all be worth the effort if I just keep working.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Stars open among the lilies

“Stars open among the lilies.Are you not blinded by such expressionless sirens?
This is the silence of astounded souls.
--from "Crossing the Water", written 1962”
― Sylvia Plath, The Collected Poems

Thursday, May 21, 2020

stars and lilies

The people who influence us are those who have stood unconsciously for the right thing. They are like the stars and the lilies, and the joy of God flows through them all the time.
Oswald Chambers

Monday, May 18, 2020

a little logic

 It is springtime and I am eagerly looking for new bright flowers to paint. I spot a lot of patches of yellow and white daffodils in the backyard of my son's house who lives down the street. My son says with great magnanimity to feel free to pick his daffodils and make all the paintings and drawings I want. My three year old granddaughter follows me around the yard worried that I am trespassing and picking too many flowers that I shouldn't. I explain to her that I need to pick these daffodils and take them to my house in order to make paintings of them.

She asks "Why?'
I answer "Because they are pretty and I like to make artwork of them."
She logically replies, still puzzled, "But you already did!"
And then she points to a watercolor painting hanging on the wall of their dining room of some bright yellow daffodils, painted by me of course.
Why paint more daffodils, I already did.
How many do you have to paint until you are done with the subject?

Monday, May 11, 2020

Saturday, May 9, 2020

so very tender

My kitchen countertop these days is crowded with these tender blossoms that I hope to capture forever in a sketchbook.
How tender is the combination of pink and white in a flower like the tip of a baby's ear.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020


After expressing myself with giddy descriptions of the glorious days of spring our area has turned cloudy and gray with the good spring rains. It seems that daffodils look just as brilliant on a dark day. And the amazing yellow greens are nearly incandescent on a rainy day.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

goose in the spring

I saw this goose standing alone on a field of brilliant yellow green while out on my walk today. I had to make a painting of it as soon as I arrived back home.

Monday, May 4, 2020