Archive for the art Category

Light Shining in the Darkness

Posted in Acrylics, art, inspiration, Painting with tags , , , , , , , on February 17, 2018 by sebland

imageI believe that we all have seasons of the soul, just as nature has its seasons. As artists, we lie fallow sometimes, waiting for the time when a seed will fall into the cold soil, take hold and begin slowly to grow into something we can till and nurture and maybe even harvest.  Our lives don’t always run according to plan. Dreams die, friends grow old and leave us, bodies let us down, we lose heart and begin to doubt ourselves and even our own worth. I call those the dark nights of the soul. And then something happens. A friend offers an encouraging word, someone lifts us up in an unexpected way, even an encouraging word comes from a stranger, and we are up and running again. . John 1:5 says:”The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”  As a  creative person, you have that light within you. Look for it, because it is there, and the darkness cannot overcome it!


It’s a Dog’s Life!

Posted in art, Family, How to Paint, Painting, Watercolors with tags , on January 16, 2018 by sebland

There are times an artist must search far and wide for inspiration. Then there are times when opportunities literally fall into your lap. I have four grandchildren, one great grandchild, two grand cats and four grand dogs. Generally I can keep them all straight, but now and then my kids slip a new one in on me. Limo, a fine beautiful basset hound, who weighs almost as much as I do and strongly resembles a hippo as he lurches across the floor, came to live with daughter and her husband several months ago. With eyes that make you feel guilty even while feeding him, he made a great model for a portrait. His foster brother Rowdy has a lot more color, making Limo a bit more challenging to paint. I did several sketches and yesterday completed a watercolor I liked a lot. Then I remembered Rowdy’s portrait was vertically oriented, and since they’ll hang side by side, I went back to the drawing board. I haven’t painted a lot of animals, but I think I captured Limo pretty well. Dogs wear their souls in their eyes, I think. He’s a wise old guy and I’m glad he has a happy home.

Coping with Commissions

Posted in Acrylics, art, How to Paint, inspiration, Painting, Watercolors with tags , , , on January 14, 2018 by sebland

To be really honest, I’m not terribly comfortable about commissions. I have enough trouble bringing my own ideas to the canvas, much less trying to interpret another person’s visions. This one, however, is quite large and I know and trust my patron’s faith in me, so I’m taking it on. The space is wide – six feet, but only 26″ tall, so we’ve settled on three 24 x 24″ canvases, side by side. She loves bright colors, lots of friends around her, and just lost her husband, so this one  must be a narrative of the joy of life and the way we love and support one another. My way to begin is to sketch with watercolor the feelings, the emotions and some of the things I know she’s looking for. Then I’ll prime and begin in acrylics to paint the panels. This triptych may take a little while and may undergo many changes. I invite you to travel along with me and we’ll see where this one takes us. I’ll bet the finished product will bear little resemblance to this first sketch!

One Day at a Time

Posted in art, inspiration, Painting, Watercolors with tags , , , , on January 1, 2018 by sebland

I’ve never been much for New Year’s resolutions. I’m too likely to feel defeated when I don’t keep them after a few days of trying half-heartedly to lose 15 pounds and find I’ve gained seven, or instead of walking a mile a day, I drive the half block to the mailbox. I did promise myself to draw and sketch a bit more this year. No promises, I just think I will make an effort to act like a real artist and hone my drawing skills. I’ve always loved writing and keeping a prayer journal, starting each day with a list of the good things happening to me and around me, so in this new year I’m going to fill a new sketchbook with those things around me that I enjoy. Today it’s my soft bed, my warm blue robe and my thirteen year old cranky cat. Maybe tomorrow it will be my coffee cup. Or my warm house shoes. What are you grateful for today?

The Angels Sang

Posted in art, Christmas, holidays, Family, inspiration, Painting, Watercolors on December 20, 2017 by sebland

It’s been a tough ten days in our neighborhood. Two very dear friends have died, another neighbor’s home burned, and here we are singing glad tidings of great joy. The shopping, baking, parties, gift giving goes on around personal sorrows and tragedies, and joys are shared even as tears are falling. How can this be? Where is the joy amid so much personal loss? It seems to me that it’s in the caring, the little acts of kindness shown by neighbors who want to know, “How can we help?” I see it in the every day gestures like a silent hug, a meal shared, a quiet word of love, tamales or venison sausage left on a doorstep, the many little thoughtful ways one person reaches out to another. In a world full of turbulence where there seems to be more and more anger and violence, I see unexpected but welcome acts of thoughtfulness.

So as we tell the stories once again, and sing the songs, taste the sweetness of homemade fudge, smell the cookies baking, we are reminded once again that like that night 2000 years ago, in an imperfect world, the Light shown down, and the darkness did not overcome it. And so I wish for you and yours peace, hope, joy and love.   May your Christmas be merry, and may your Holidays be happy, no matter the circumstances!

What the Shepherds Saw

Posted in art, Christmas, holidays, How to Paint, inspiration, Painting, Watercolors with tags , , , , , , on December 2, 2017 by sebland

imageOne of my great joys in December is designing my own Christmas cards. I play with ideas, and find I really like to use new tools and see where they lead me. Recently, two of my art friends shared pure pigments in powder form with me, and I’m thoroughly enjoying them. I don’t know if this is the design I will go with this year, but I have had a good time with it. After spritzing a sheet of watercolor paper, I scattered the dry pigments and was amazed at the bursts of color that appeared. I had cut out some rough figures and a star and laid them on my paper first, so I got this neat three dimensional effect. With a brush I enhanced behind the figures and while I’m not sure I’m finished, I do like the overall theme of my design. Running through my mind was the phrase: “And in that region there were shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night, and lo! An angel of the Lord appeared, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace and goodwill to men!” Not a bad way to begin the holidays, I think! Even if this isn’t the final product, it’s put me in a good place. Hope it has that affect on you, too!

The Angels Danced

Posted in Acrylics, art, How to Paint, inspiration, Painting, Watercolors with tags , , , , on November 30, 2017 by sebland

imageI received a gift once from a loved one on my birthday. It read:”The angels danced on the day you were born.” That touched me deeply. Now as Christmas is approaching, it troubles me that folks feel all frazzled and pressured, shoving others out of the way to find bargains, arguing over where to celebrate the Christmas feast, feeling inadequate when they can’t buy the latest toy being promoted on television, or stressing out over getting it all done. Whose birthday is it anyway? For whom did the angels sing? Who the shepherds rush to see? Whose star shone so brightly that really wise men came bearing gifts? Come on people, take a deep breath and try putting things back in perspective. I plan to make an effort every day to back away from the crowds, look for simpler pleasures, sincerely wish everyone I meet a Merry Christmas. If that offends you, Happy Holidays! I just want everyone I know to enjoy this time of year when for a little while, if we listen carefully, we may hear an angel sing, or spy an especially bright star in the sky. Maybe just for a little while we can put aside our differences, our striving for the perfect gift and just appreciate the amazing miracle that we celebrate. Sometimes I think the miracle of Christmas is that it happens, in spite of us! Enjoy this time of preparation, because it only comes once a year! Happy Merry whatever! P.S. Being the restless soul I am, I plan to paint a new image every day till Christmas, so let me know if you’d like a Christmas card designed just for you.

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