Just in time for Mother’s Day, I remembered this little painting I did a few weeks ago. I was inspired by a German painter named Paula Modersohn-Becker. Ms. Becker lived and painted in the late 1800s and early 1900s, in Germany. She is considered a very important expressionist painter, and part of the modernist movement of the 20th Century.
Unfortunately, Paula’s career was much too short. She died after giving birth to her only daughter, Mathilde. When I went to Germany a few years ago, I discovered her remarkable figure work. She seemed to have an appreciation for many of the elements I am drawn to, including flowers.
Northern Colorado Worship and Prayer Nights continue to happen at churches up and down the Front Range of Colorado, but I haven’t posted on one for some time. It’s a beautiful thing to see folks from many churches gather for an evening of seeking and praising God together!
I painted this one a few months ago, near the end of 2017. It was inspired by a photo I saw, along with the song, “Spirit, Break Out!” The canvas is not quite square. Layers of color and movement bring to mind a move of the Spirit.
Plein aire painting is popular here is Colorado. That’s not exactly what I was doing at this garden party a couple of weeks ago, but I was painting outdoors. Check out the beautiful little spot! You can’t see it in the photo, but very near to where I stood was an overlook where we all later watched an incredible sunset over the Rocky Mountains.
About 40 women gathered for dinner, music, and friendship on a Saturday evening. I was invited to paint, which I considered a great privilege. A friend supplied some nice music, and a lyric from one of the songs became the title for the painting, “Call Him Good.” Another friend, Patty Caines, took some wonderful photos, including the ones you see here. Thanks to all the ladies who gave of their time and talents, and of their hearts to bless all of us!
Just before the last NorCo Worship and Prayer Night (June), this image floated into my mind’s eye. Portals tend to show up in my paintings (as circles). Ladders are also a frequent theme. Portals suggest God breaking through to reach us on earth, while ladders denote humans attempting to connect with heaven.
There is also the idea of vertical lines representing our relationship with God, and horizontal lines, our relationships with one another. This is not unique to me, but I’ve been chewing on it for years.
The image I ended up painting is my attempt to put on canvas what appeared in my mind that day – a sort of combination of the portal and the ladder. This is, at least theoretically, an important picture for me because I am convinced that life is all about relationship. As messy and frustrating and disappointing as they can be, I’m trying to get better at relating to other people and God. I think the real stuff of life is there.
Again, an angel has captured my imagination. During last Friday’s NorCo Worship and Prayer night, I was thinking of how wonderful it must be for beings who are continually able to soak in the presence of the beautiful and amazing God of the Universe. Is this what they look like? I don’t know.
Revelation 5:11 says, ” Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders.” The throne here is God’s throne, of course. As we prayed and sang and worshiped with people from many churches, from all over Colorado, this is what I was thinking about.
Three of my friends were also painting that night. If I can get photos, I’ll do a post about them, soon!
“City on a hill” is a term used by Jesus to refer to his followers when they are visible to others. Remember the song, “This Little Light Of Mine?” That idea comes from the same passage. The point, I think, is that when we live in such a way as to identify with Christ, it will be noticed.
I have been thinking about the faith community of which I am a part. There are people I know and love who have been on the journey with Jesus for many years, and others who are just starting out. (Some of these folks have been around a while, and only recently came to faith, which is exciting!) Each one of these folks is precious and valuable.
In difficult times, it can be hard to love people and stick together, and to live in integrity. If we make choices to follow Christ, day in and day out, we are like that City on a Hill, and we will not be hidden.
Last month, I was again invited to paint during worship at a women’s conference called, “Undone.” Worship was led by Kim Smith, and some other musician friends (excellent all!) It seems God likes art, music, and the gathering of people when they are looking for Him.
I had the thought to paint colorful faces of sisters. So, I was thrilled when, after the service, a woman approached me and related her story about the women in her family. She has created a “wall of women” in her home, to honor her daughters and daughters-in-law, as well as other female relatives. Like other families, there are great and small tales of heroism, adventure, overcoming endurance, and great love. What a wonderful way to honor those memories!
The woman said that God had been speaking through this painting, to her, about the women in her family. Another woman had a similar experience as I was painting the other picture, “Throneroom III.” Each of these women went home with a piece of art that will, hopefully, continue to speak to their hearts. Creativity is really a gift for all of us, because our Maker is so creative!
The Tree of Life is a strong image and theme in the Bible, and also in my own life. It shows up in other literature, as well, including other religious books. In Genesis, the Tree of Life presents a problem for the fallen human beings, such that they are driven from the garden forever, lest they eat of it.
At the end of the book, the very last chapter, we see the Tree again, in the book of Revelation. It’s seen flourishing on either side of the River of Life. This is one unusual tree, indeed. It bears fruit in every season – twelve kinds of fruit – “and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”
I have been inspired to paint the Tree of Life more than once. I recently painted this one during a worship service at a church called Christ Community, in Greeley, Colorado. It’s rare that I place scripture or any writing on a painting, but these 2 verses seemed to belong here.
Dance is still inspiring me! Friends Melissa and Eric Holmlund have just opened a dance studio in my town of Loveland, Colorado. Lighthouse Dance (click here to see their website) is walking distance from my home, and I am very happy to have this addition to our neighborhood! They asked me to do a dance painting for their lobby – how could I refuse!
Having known the Holmlund family for years now, I know that Lighthouse Dance will grow and encourage a whole new generation of dancers. Melissa and her staff are people of great vision, kindness, and integrity. I can’t wait to see what they do with their students!
This painting is called “Exult II.” It is 3 x 4 feet, upcycled house paint on canvas.