Category Archives: Art

For They Know Not What They Are Doing.

This weekend brings me with the likes of the following artists.  Internationally well-known artists.  They are teaching me how to paint.  Really?  I certainly hope so.  What they don’t know is that for the last 15 years I have not painted in their preferred medium.  I have thrown all the rules by the wayside.  I haven’t painted at all for two years.  But I am here to:

Set aside what I think I know

So that I may open my self up to new experiences.  Amen.

So, help me God. ……  .. Please?

Enjoy the works of these fine artist who rule the world in Impressionism this 21st century.  They are kind enough to spend three days with us striving artists.  I better get my little note-book out, huh?

Kevin Macpherson

Quang Ho

C. W. Mundy

Carolyn Anderson

Zhiwei Tu

Clayton J. Beck III

Calvin Liang

Kenn Backhaus

Fabulous, eh?  I want to paint like them when I grow up.  And you know what?  They are nice people.

God bless,

Karen

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The Eyes are Closed.

The ears are covered.

What is it like?  I know,  it can be quite welcoming for a while, can’t it?  It can be quieting. But for how long?  What are we missing by not being able to see or hear?  There are many things we could go the rest of our lives without needing or wanting to see or hear again, but there would be much  we would miss terribly.

Take a moment to think about what is taken away from your site.  Many beautiful and not so beautiful things that take up our views each moment of the day.  Graphics in the media, magazines, internet websites,  and on tv, symbols on the streets, ,  photographs,  paintings or prints in offices or in our houses,  merchant signs,  book  covers, company logos, architecture, packaging.  Literally, every where you look there are things to look at.  Visuals that stir or stimulate us.

I could go on and on with the images.   It fills our lives and we are not  aware of it most of the time.

It is the same with music.  We hear music on the radio, ipods, in elevators, in stores.  Music notes  are created to alert us of events.  We enjoy music in the foreground and background in movies and television shows, commercials.  Church.  It is a rare occasion that life is without sound that was created by someone.

God created us to use our senses.  It is a critical and necessary part of life and music and art have been part of civilization from the very beginning.  We need it.  I don’t believe it is even a matter of whether we want it or not.  He created the world with beautiful visuals and sounds  for our enjoyment and I  also believe,  to set  an example.

They are trying to encourage less music and art in our schools and have dropped the programs from many school systems.  Education is very important but music and art are fundamental to our existence.  Everything we see out there outside of the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees was created by people who were exposed and encouraged at some time in their development.  Even the guy who created the tiny jingles that we have all grown accustom to when our computers kick on.

Can we live without art and music?  Try to imagine the world that is void of visual images and audible sounds.  Oh my goodness.

It is not just the fine art lover and music fan that are impacted by art and music.  It is all of us.  I pray that we don’t neglect  the importance of art and music in our lives and decide it is not vital for our children and their children.  They will starve to death.

Our children must be exposed in every way they can.

God bless,

Karen

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Was It Really All That Black?

No, it really wasn’t all that black.  The weather,  however,  sure added to the drama.

Buster Brown, the nasty billy-goat,  went bye-bye.  I think the only thing that is dark about that is  he was keeping our beloved Great Pyrenees company while she guards the chickens.   She may be suffering from loneliness a little bit but we plan to supply her with another playmate soon.  She like to lick the chickens to death if she doesn’t have anything else to think about.

The butchering of the turkey was pretty uneventful as well.

This is what you will be having for dinner.

This is what we’re having.  You wanna come for dinner?

  I hope my family doesn’t mind getting feathers stuck between their teeth as they chew the  stringy,  tough turkey.   She only weighed out at 7.8 lbs.  She’s been running around here for the past 5 months so we are pretty confident the meat wont be too succulent.

Pops and I decided that we will leave the meat chickens to the Amish for processing.  They can do 150 chickens an hour.  We did 1 turkey in the same time.

Ugly? yes.  But we know exactly where that turkey came from.  We know what it has eaten.  We know the kind of life it lived.  She was queen of the guineas.  She ruled.  Please  make an effort to know where your turkey came from.

ART SHOW

I am participating in an art show in a few weeks.  If you are in the area, please stop by. The opening reception should be a grand time.  Can you guess which painting on the invite is mine?

It would be the second one in from the left.   The tree.

Gathering Humility

Ferns in Christian art symbolize humility.  I like that.

I pray that your week is a good one.  I pray for healing for all those that need healing.  I pray for safety, courage and strength for our service men and women.

God bless,

Karen

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Diagnosis: Nuts

Picasso,  Science and Charity, 1897.

One note… this was Picasso’s painting when he was 16 years old. And before I go on with the subject at hand (which is why I chose the above painting in the first place),  this next painting was when he was 15 years old.  He had nowhere else to go but …well…Picasso.

Picasso, First Communion, 1895

I was diagnosed with an ailment last week that has me a bit concerned.  It actually is a disorder, that if not treated it will continue to get worse and ultimately attack my total health, both mentally and physically,  they said.  The doctors  prescribed several different medicines that will make me healthy again.  The thing is, I don’t like, or I haven’t heard wonderful things about these particular meds.   But I did find a medicine that I think I like better.  It doesn’t do the things the ones prescribed do but I think if I take the ones I like, I will get along.    I called the dr. and told him that I found ones that I liked better.   He said ,  under any circumstances, they would not work.   I don’t buy it.   So, I think I’ll stick with my own treatment.

You are probably thinking at this point – “has she totally fallen off her tractor!”

I really wasn’t diagnosed with anything last week.   But wouldn’t you think I was bonkerly crazy if I had said that and meant it?

Ok….Let me reword the above statement.

I was diagnosed with an ailment last week that has me a bit concerned (anything chronic).  It actually is a disorder, that if not treated it will continue to get worse and ultimately attack my total health, both mentally and physically,  they said.  The doctors  prescribed the  foods that will make me healthy again.  The thing is, I don’t like, or I haven’t heard wonderful things about these foods (fresh veggies, protein, fruit and whole grains) that are good for me.  They are boring and don’t taste yummy.   But I DID find foods  that I think I like better (sugar, processed foods, colas).  My food wont  heal me like the ones prescribed will,  but I think if I take the ones I like, I will get along.    I called the dr. and told him that I found foods that I like better.  He said those,  under any circumstances,  they would not work.   I don’t buy it.    So, I think I’ll stick with my own treatment.  Which is called (for lack of a more effective word)  poison.

The cycle of chronic illness continues to go ’round and ’round.

Really?  Do we really sound and act that nuts?   It is our health for goodness sake.  It is our mind.  It is our body.  Let me take this one step further….It is our ONE mind.  It is our ONE body.

NUTS

I think we all have these nutty marbles rollin’ around in our heads.  Don’t you?

Can we, maybe,  try to think of our food as the medicine needed to stay far, far away from chemical manufactured medicine?   SOOOOOOOOOOOO many illnesses can be relieved and avoided if we would only take the best “medicine”.    Try thinking about it from another perspective and see if it has an impact.   It is hard,  HARD.  But with practice,  it can have huge benefits.

I seriously pray  that God will give me the wisdom to know better and give me the strength to resist temptation and give me the patience to do what it takes to eat properly.  For my health and those that are dear to me.

I hope that you don’t think this preachy….I am as guilty as the next guy.   It just is really serious business.  And I am really  concerned about my own health, my children’s and their children’s.  Our food, and therefore,  our health,  is in dire jeopardy.

God bless,

Karen

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Unlearn and Learn

Have you ever wanted something but weren’t willing or wanting to do what it takes to get it?  I find myself in that place now.  I actually wasn’t willing but now I am.   I only became willing when I realized it wasn’t going to just come to me in a dream in the night.   I just don’t want to be patient while I wait.  Or rather work for it.

I have painted in acrylics for 15 years.  I have painted pretty contemporary for 15 years.  When you paint contemporary, to an extent,  you can make up rules.  Maybe not even,”to an extent”.  You CAN forget all the fundamental rules that we learn when we begin to paint.  Values.  Perspective.  Drawing.    I still paid attention to those elements.  Somewhat.  But there was clearly a contemporary bent to them.

“Honor”

“River of Hope”

So, since  I haven’t picked up a paint brush for two years, I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out the good ol’ oils again and paint using a more representational approach.  HOLY COW.     I have forgotten how to paint.   I have adopted so many  bad painting habits in the past 15 years.  Especially paint mixing.  I basically did not mix paint.  I’m not sure what I did but it is not translating well in oils.  AT ALL.

But I want it to.

But I don’t want to take the time to do it right.

The past few months I have tried to just FORCE the old habits into my painting.  One disappointment after another.  Well,  maybe if I paint another subject matter it will improve.    It’s like skiing.  I kept thinking that the reason I did not like skiing was the venue was not good.  Like Jackson,  Wyoming??  Colorado?   Come on.   I didn’t want to admit it was that I don’t know what the heck I’m doing.  That is why I don’t like skiing.  That is why I am AFRAID of skiing.    That is why I am afraid of walking into my studio these days or those days for that matter.  I was wingin’ it.    I don’t want to wing it anymore.  I look at  phenomenal  artist’s work all the time.  I want to paint like them.

So, I begin with a color chart.  Of 4 colors.  White.  Black.  Red and Yellow Ochre.  Mixing 120 colors that those 4 colors can make.

Color chart using white, black, red and yellow ochre

Pretty amazing you can get that many colors, huh?  Great exercise.  And I will only use those four colors ’til I get a good grasp.  Only then will I add more colors to my palette.  But still SOOOO much work to be done to GET WHAT I WANT.

I read that it is much better to paint from real life than from photographs.   I have painted from my maniac imagination for the past 15 years.  So, I not only have to mix paint colors accurately but I also at the same time have to look at a real object and interpret the shape, colors, values,  and perspective.  Sounds like chewing gum, walking, milking goats and eating pizza at the same time.  That is how foreign this is to me right now.   I used to know how to do it.  But I forgot.  It is not like riding a bicycle.

BUT…I want to do this right and I will go to any length it will take to get it right.  The easiest thing for me to do would be to walk away from it.  Go milk a goat that I cannot drink from.   Or paint the way I was.  But I feel a strong call from God to do this.  The last thing He wants from me is to “wing” a gift He has given me.   So  I WILL learn it.  Because He wants me to.   And like everything He wants for or from me, the end result is great satisfaction.   It is hugely rewarding and ultimately brings me and others joy.

I’ll let you know how its going.   I hope it doesn’t take the rest of my life to learn how to paint one painting.  But I guess that would be ok too.

The following painter, Anders Zorn,  is the “author” of the 4 color palette.  He has painted many beautiful pieces with just those four colors.

Anders Zorn    ( 1860-1920)

God bless,

Karen

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Diggin’ a Ditch Where Silence Lives…

…Words sung by Dave Matthews.  Those words strike my core.  One of my favorite lines of all time.

 When I started spending a lot of time in my studio about 12 or so years ago, I  thought I was going stir crazy with the isolation.  I would emerge from the dungeon of creativity in late afternoon and be beside myself with the need to communicate.    I really thought that it was a negative.  You don’t understand, I have to be BY MYSELF ALL DAY !!!   is how I felt.  And it was,  as long as I thought of it in those terms.  Isolation.

BUT THEN ……. (I cant figure out how to make my font bigger on this program.  I would like to see those words bigger.)

…. I saw it differently.  I began to study Contemplative prayer.  It is  a type of prayer where you learn to sit in quiet.  And listen.  And learn.

It sounds like meditation.  And it IS a form of.

Wiki’s definition for meditation is:

The term meditation refers to a broad variety of practices (like sports), which range from techniques designed to promote relaxation, contacting spiritual guides, building internal energy (chi, ki, prana, etc.), receiving psychic visions, getting closer to god, seeing past lives, taking astral journeys, and so forth, to more technical exercises targeted at developing compassion, love, patience, generosity, forgiveness and more far-reaching goals such as effortless sustained single-pointed concentration,[3

That is not what I wanted to learn.  That is WAY to broad for me.  Too much wiggle room.  I wanted a tight fit.  My intention was to narrow in on Christian contemplation.  The wiki definition refers to it as a “gaze of faith”  or “a silent love”.  I love that.  A silent love.  Wow.    It also says it is   “the soul’s inward vision and the heart’s simple repose in God.”

So,  in my journey,  I have learned that there is a difference between “isolation”  and “solitude” .  Isolation  can bring about negative feelings and emotions.  It is not intentional state of being.   We get stuck inside ourselves and negative thoughts and feelings swirl around.  It is just the act of being alone.

Solitude can be a rich experience where we empty the contents of our mind that  float around getting clogged and jammed and invite God in to teach us wisdom,  guide us and just simply love us.    But it is an intentional act.  We have to want it.

I am amazed at what difference it makes.  I leave my studio time  with a sense of calm and peace and a feeling of being loved.  It is truly remarkable.

You do not have to be sitting doing nothing to be in contemplative prayer.  You can be doing.  The only requirements are to allow your mind to empty.  And allow God to fill.   Pretty simple, eh?  Not really.  It is hard.  But anything we put our mind to is hard.   Dave’s  song is all about it.  Diggin’  a ditch aint no easy task.

Sometimes it takes A LONG time to quiet ourselves and just be.   We live in a loud,  over stimulated world.  The media and what not want us to be overloaded with “stuff”.   And it is SO easy to invite it all in.  And maybe we don’t want it all in,  but if we sit in its presence its comin’  ready or not.  Unless we get quiet with some solitude.

Also,  since it is a form of prayer  we have the idea that  we should be the ones doin’ all the talking.  Not so.  Speaking for myself,   I need to shut up every now so that I can hear, learn,  and be loved.

So, how can this be done?  It can be done anywhere, anytime.   Turn off external hardware (radio, tv, computer,etc.  It will all be there waiting for you.  And believe me when I say you will not be missing anything).  Invite God to your side.  Then just be.  When your mind wants to go somewhere without you.  Yank it back.    Your plan will suit it better.  Take in the present moment without making a judgement about it.  Look  what is going on outside your car window.  Without making a judgement about it.  Spend the moment NOT MAKING A JUDGEMENT about it.  Just take it in like it is the first time you’ve seen it.  Let your mind slip from that moment into the next and just sit in it keeping it open to hear what He wants you to see, hear and learn.  Without making a judgement about it.

Takes practice.  I hope you’ll give it a try.

It will take you to new heights.

God bless,

Karen

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What Hour Trips Your Trigger?

The Witching Hour?   Or the Darkest Hour?   I read that the witching hour is around midnight. When the goblins come out and bad things happen.  The term is supposed to stir anxiety and fear.  I’m thinkin’ that is not the hour that trips my trigger.  There used to be a time when “darkness”  held something desirable for me.  I thought being out in it, milling about with it , was comforting.  I still find it peaceful at times and I love to walk out at night-time and look at the stars and sit around a camp fire but I am not drawn to the dark hours.  Darkness now for me means day is done.  Job well done.  Get cozy between my sheets.

Night Window      Edward Hopper

The Eleventh Hour?  Oooh.  That almost always triggers panic in me.  Getting everything done at that last-minute.

Happy Hour?  Or Cocktail Hour?  Are we only “happy” at cocktail hour?  Just wondering.

Rush Hour?  That is my favorite hour.  (Just kidding.)  But about 10 or 15 years ago I changed my tune about this hour.  It can be used for MAJOR contemplation.  Or clipping my fingernails.  Or plucking my face.  It’s all a part of  that Serenity prayer I spoke about,   “Help me accept the things I can not change”  I have learned since I can’t make those cars get out of my way I can use  that time for myself and sit in it with peace.

Dinner Hour?  Great time.  It is T-bone and Ribeye’s  favorite time for sure.

They like to throw their dinner on their backs. Gee. Maybe we should consider that.

Consider the Golden Hour.  Now THAT really trips my trigger!  Early in the morning when the sun is rising and it causes the dew to glisten on the vegetation and the shadows be long.  The yellow light is falling everywhere.  And in the evening when the light again is making all the colors in nature rich and luscious.  An artists dream.  Landscape painters find the golden hour(s)  to be the quintessential.

My chores lead me to the golden hour in the morning and the evening.  The smells that go along with those hours are earthy, heady and intoxicating.  The sun is warming the earth in the morning or cooling it in the evening and it seems to emit aromas that send me over the edge with delight.

Our pond

Marc Bohne Painting

The Angelus, Jean -Francois Millet, 1857

Enjoy your hour today what ever that may be.  I am nosy.  I would love to know what hour trips your trigger.

God bless,

Karen

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