Monday, December 31, 2012

"Slovakia" - Landscape Painting and the Beginning of a New Story as the New Year Unfolds

I recently stumbled across an amazing website called "The Virtual Paintout" and it's simply an ingenious idea created by a man named Bill Guffey. I strongly urge you to check it out - it won't disappoint! The premise is that each month Bill chooses a country or region to paint from and using images from Google maps streetview (which was approved by Google itself, so long as you only use the images from the street view and none from the little blue dots, which are all copyrighted) you choose a spot and set up your paints and well, do a virtual paintout. It kinda explains itself, right? Lol.

So for this month, the country was Slovakia, and after much perusing of Google maps and then having to re-peruse because the images I wanted to do were from the blue dots, which I found out was a big no-no, this is what I came up with. I changed the image considerably, substituting a concrete road with a wide dirt path and taking out a building that I wasn't a huge fan of, to name a few, and overall I like it much better this way. Perhaps it would have looked nice how the image was originally straight off of Google, but I liked adding my own artistic license to it - after all, it makes it feel a bit more like my own creation, straight from the heart.

"Slovakia"     4 x 5     Acrylic on Canvas Board

I've been feeling quite a bit better the last few days - no longer needing my cane or walker very often anymore unless I'm having a particularly bad day or am just plain exhausted, though I'm still using a walker or wheelchair when we go out. It's been kinda nice not having to feel like a 95 year old all the time anymore, especially since I'm just 28, even if I do still feel around 89 instead. But still, an improvement is an improvement and I'll take it!!! =0)

So because of this I've had the chance to get ahead for my other newest challenge which is painting 30 paintings in 30 days. I signed up to do this through Leslie Saeta's blog (she's an amazingly famous and gifted painter, and I couldn't be more excited to be doing this!!!) and will try to keep it going for the rest of the year, or as long as I'm able. The plus side about these two new "finds" as I would call them is that I can use my painting for the virtual paintout for the 30 day challenge, thereby killing two birds with one stone.

Honestly, I really desperately want to become a daily painter this year. It's my big, giant & honestly quite daunting dream right now, but I want it so bad that I think 2013 is the year! I wanted to get on or in a gallery before I turn 30, and time is ticking away all too quickly. And most importantly, I really, REALLY want to start selling my work this year, so I've decided that I'm going to take one more giant step towards these goals, giving myself slack when I fail and picking myself up again when I fall flat on my face, and of course celebrating like crazy whenever I reach any one of my goals. It will mean I'll be working smaller than normal for most of the time, though I'll still going to do some larger paintings when I'm actually ahead for the week, if that ever happens! Lol. I'm guessing most of the time I'm going to be having to do multiple paintings a day just to catch up, but I've been wanting to try this for so many years now and even though medically speaking things look extremely bleak, I need something fun for myself that I can do so I can be the type of mommy, wife and friend I want to be. And for me, that something is this. So wish me luck in this new endeavor, because I sure am gonna need it! Feel free to share any of your New Years Resolutions here if you want - it's always fun to hear from you all! I hope you're having a fantastic New Years Eve and will see you all in the New Year!!! =D

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Doe Eyes" - Painting of a Deer by Melissa Adams

"Doe Eyes"     16 x 20     Acrylic on Canvas
Detail from "Doe Eyes"
I've been wanting to post this painting for over a week now, but life just seemed to get in the way (which is to say, it's been nearly unbearable over here), and in the midst of it all, we lost Tyler's grandpa too. He was such a great man; a man who was deeply loved by oh so many and who loved the Lord with all his heart. He was a faithful servant to the end.

So even though things have been going almost comically, tragically bad in our house of late, at least I can take some joy in the fact that through it all God has provided me with some amazing family and friends who are "being" Jesus to me - who are sacrificing their own precious time and energy to help us get through this miserableness we call life right now, and who are just straight up loving on us more than we even deserve. I hope you know who you are, because I thank God for all of you every day, and without you I'm not sure we'd make it much longer - or that I'd even be here today if not for you. God has blessed us abundantly with His love through you, and it's pulling us through, even if only by a thread.

Anyways, today I am just glad to see "her" here up on my blog, even if I'm not quite sure why this painting is a she to me in the first place. Whatever. Don't judge. You know you name your cars that way too, so I'm not THAT weird... Right? Ooh, I hope not! Lol. Okay, ANYWAYS, I love the fact that I can actually feel her tender eyes staring gently back at me whenever I walk through our playroom where it's displayed, for it's bringing some sense of comfort in this time of hectic need for us. Her eyes are so soft and comforting, and it's nice having her hanging out around our home. I've always wanted to make art that comforted others, and it brings me joy that at least I've made some art that comforts me and brings joy and light into my own home.

You may remember this painting back when it was a work in progress, (Part 1 & Part 2) when it was called "Caught Like A Deer" but that name was just not befitting the personality of this work, and so it was renamed after I painted in her eyes. They just were so gentle that I felt the name no longer worked for her. It's funny how paintings can actually have a personality in and of themselves. I guess it's really just because they capture the essence of the artist and their emotions and feelings at the time they were created, but it still astounds me just how much you can see how an artist feels through their work. It's almost a wonder to me that this painting is so calm after all considering all the storms we've had to face in the last few months. But hey, by the grace of God and with the help of some very extraordinary people, we're still hanging in here and haven't lost ALL hope, though I must admit it's waning of late. It actually makes me wonder if perhaps the reason for the calm I feel woven into this work is that our hope comes not from the things on earth, but from Our God above. For when I paint I find refuge in my God, and there is no greater place for me to be than in His everlasting arms. I love to create with Him, for in so doing I'm spending precious time with my Creator, whose art is far greater than anything I could ever dream or imagine here on this earth.

Well, without further ado (or should I say without further complaining?), I present to you "Doe Eyes," perhaps my new favorite painting up to date. She was a deer we met in Yosemite, so timid and afraid, yet gentle and pure. Nature at it's best. I hope she brings a smile and a light into your home today, as God has allowed her to do in ours.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

To Be Set Free - A Poem In Memory of Grandpa Cully — We Will Miss You!

 To Be Set Free

Can you imagine how it must be
To see your Savior, to be set free,
From all the worries of this world
To win your prize and earn your gold?
To look your Savior in the face
And have Him say you won the race,
For which you fought for all your life
Through all the trouble and all the strife?
Can you imagine how it must feel
To touch His face and grasp His heal
Twas scarred for you to set you free
To live a life of victory?
Can you imagine what you would see
Having your God in front of thee,
To see Him staring face to face
To be wrapped in His sweet Embrace?
When my life ends, is far and gone
My hope is that He'll say, "Well done,
For you My dear have made Me proud,
You spoke My truth with love, out loud.
You lived your life for Me, My love,
That made Me smile from up above.
I couldn't wait to have you here,
Because it's you I love, My dear.
Because, it's you I love, My dear."

~Melissa Adams

Great Grandpa Cully loving on Levi - July 17th, 2010
In memory of Grandpa Cully Olson, who lived a life of love for God and praised him to his final breath. May you rejoice in the arms of our Savior. I truly wish I could have known you more, but even in the short time I knew you, you were a light for the Lord, and a true pleasure to be around. We love you and you will be sorely missed, but we know that you are in the arms of your Savior and there is no place you'd rather be. Enjoy your rewards, Grandpa Cully, and thank you for being a humble and faithful servant all these years.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"Pair of Jellies" - An Animal Painting

"Pair of Jellies"     5" x 7"     Acrylic on Archival Canvas Panel

I've always loved jellyfish and sea-life, as you all can tell by now I'm sure! I painted this for our powder room, and I love how it turned out so much that I am planning some day to make a MUCH much larger painting for our wall (or eventually if I can part with it, for someone else's) filled with a great amount of these beautiful creatures, all tangled up alongside each another. But for now, this little painting will have to do, and since it makes me smile every time I see it, I'd say it's doing it's job quite well. After all, the vibrant colors used within it really liven up our space, giving it a bright and cheery feel!

Friday, December 14, 2012

How Do You Save a Fish From Drowning - A poem by Melissa Adams

How Do You Save a Fish From Drowning?

Can I be me, the me I used to be,
Without having this dark inside of me?
With mind still stuck back deep inside my past,
Can this salvation I call mine yet last?

I've tried so hard to right the rights I've wronged,
But here I sit, still staring, lists too long,
For any person here on earth to fix,
I've nothing left back in my bag of tricks.

Why give me so much grief for me to bear?
I cry out "Why, God? WHY!!!" but You aren't there.
So in the silence deep within my soul,
I die inside cause You don't care at all.

"How do I do this right?" I ask aloud,
Not knowing where to turn,  nor what's allowed,
For me to save myself, to save my soul,
Without losing what was me, my true heart's goal.

A hole too deep, too wide, for me to brave,
Life destined for destruction, for the grave.
Holding onto threads, it's all I've got,
The love I shared now breaking from this lot.

Twas cast on me, no choice of mine was had,
Situations growing worse, then going bad.
Drowning deep and deeper every day,
If only God would make for us a way.

A way for us to take that's clearly marked,
His intentions plain, our faith thus sparked,
Into a flame so deep no one can see,
The doubts that once took root inside of me.


On Sunday, Levi accidentally pushed our iron fireplace grate onto me as I was stoking the fire, and it crashed upon me so suddenly and roughly my brain barely even had time to process it. I had been getting better and was actually doing the best I had been in months, but then this happened. I just fell into a heap on the floor and sobbed, not so much from the pain raging in my body, but more for the fact that in my heart of hearts I knew it was all starting over again. We were back at square one. My flare would return full force and the last two months of working at getting better were wasted in a matter of seconds. I went upstairs slowly and sobbed for half an hour as Tyler sat in the living room with his stomach in his throat because he knew it too.

The next morning I was in massive pain, but still proceeded to go to our staff dinner, masking my symptoms because we just needed to be able to get away from this thing we call our life. We're really just surviving, because neither of us feels much alive right now. The next morning was awful and it's been awful ever since. My flare is back as if it never was on it's way out, and the light we had seen at the end of the tunnel feels as if it's been snuffed out. I know in my heart God has a purpose and a plan for all of this,  but right now it's just a little hard to keep my eyes on the goal. I feel like I'm losing my hope right now, my husband feels like he's losing me, and we both feel like we're losing each other. It's not good.

But still,  we have determined to " with perseverance the race marked out for us." For God calls us to "2 ...fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.. " (Hebrews 12  1-3) I have felt so close to losing heart these last few days since my world crashed around me last Sunday, but I am determined to not lose faith because my Lord is bigger than anything this world can throw at me and he doesn't give us more than we can bear, even though sometimes it may feel like that.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Musings on the Upcoming New Year

You may remember the very first post on my blog of one of my best friends ever, Shannon, and her maternity shoot. She was so gracious to me in letting me take so many pictures of her and in trusting me with it even when I was so inexperienced, and I am so grateful for that. And lucky for her, my dear friend Stephanie, who is my all-time favorite portrait photographer, who also recently "retired" as it were from doing shoots (though I'm not sure if she was planning on that being a permanent thing) gave me some wonderful tips on how to take better pictures. My work improved dramatically because of her, and I am so thankful for that! One of these days I really want to do an interview of her on here if she's up for that.

Here is one picture that never quite made it to that post because it was actually done in a separate shoot, in the field outside her in-laws house on the day of her baby shower, and was edited much later as well. I just love this shot - it's one of my all time favorite photographs, and I think you'll love it too!

 And here are some more from that day that I just adore...

You know Shannon, you couldn't just stop at being a great artist could you? You had to be freakin' gorgeous as well! Sheesh, some people just get all the breaks, huh? Haha, I love you Shannon!

So I've been thinking a lot lately since having to put my life on hold during this horrible flare up of mine, and I've learned how important it is to really work towards your desires in life - to truly try to pursue the things you feel God has called you to do. What irks me is my utter inability right now to follow through on anything physically right now, so I spend my time instead working on plans of where I want to be in the near future. First off, I think it's really important for everyone to have someone in their life who sees your talent and pushes and encourages you to cultivate it, who inspires you to do more, and yes, someone who you for some reason can't help but compete with because they're pretty stinkin' good themselves! Just try not to get too competitive mind you! Haha, oh how I wish I wasn't so darn competitive! But when you can turn it to do good, when you can channel it to not try to outdo that other person but instead to help you better yourself just so that you're better than the you that you started out with, that's when you can really start to see some progress as an artist or in whatever field you may be in. It takes time and a lot of self control and hard work, but I've learned over the last few years that what really helps you grow the most is keeping track of your own growth and not comparing yourself to others. Because, as my mother always said, there will ALWAYS be someone better than you. But, and this is a big BUT, that doesn't mean you should give up trying. It just means that you should surround yourself with people who love you and will spur you on to do your very best, and that you should look back often at all the strides you've made and constantly make new goals and keep focused on where you want to be. You have to pick yourself back up again when you hit a wall and never give up, though you may need a short break from time to time to get yourself fresh and motivated again.

I'm learning so much about myself lately and about what is important to me in life, and what's important to me as an artist. I'm trying to figure out my short term and long term goals because I really do strongly desire to be "discovered" as an artist. To really make it out there in the world, and not just be another one of those people who's paintings never leave their studio but only end up being sold at a garage sale for a measly five bucks. I just don't want that for myself. 

My goal for next year, starting hopefully in January, is to get my business license, get my website up and running (I bought a domain name already - YAY ME!!!) and to start selling my work. I so desperately want to get accepted on and to get into a wonderful gallery, but I know there are more things I need to accomplish before I can even try to do that. I'm a little scared to even put my paintings up for sale to be perfectly honest with you, but I feel like it's finally time to start putting myself out there, even if it means rejection in the end. But in the very least I have to try, because it's come to that point where I can't hide behind the fact that I'm so afraid to try selling my work out of fear that people won't actually like it enough to buy it. It's one thing to say a work of art is pretty, and an entirely different thing to say it's pretty enough to spend your hard earned money on. So in light of the upcoming end of this year and the beauty and wonder and possibility that all lie in the start of another year, have you started thinking of the goals you have for yourself? Have you really thought about where you want to be in a year? In five years? In ten? Let's do this together! Let's make a plan to get our lives on track and to make real and tangible goals. Are you with me?!
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