Archive for encouragement

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!

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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.

Getting A Little Sketchy

Posted in art, How to Paint, inspiration, Painting, Watercolors with tags , , , , , , on November 29, 2017 by sebland

imageI’ve always admired and been a little intimidated by those artists constantly sketching and journaling. I’ve even encouraged my students to keep a sketchbook handy and use it frequently to records events and sights along their journey. However I do confess that I could practice what I preach. When I travel or set out to do some plein aire work, I almost always will do a quick watercolor sketch, but I seldom record everyday events. I think I should. When I look back over old sketchbooks, I really get a sense of being there in the moment. In fact some of my sketches  before painting are more appealing to me than the finished work. Somehow those little sketches  along with the date and place, carry me back to a very special memory. Maybe 2018 will be the year of the “Art Journal.” We’ll see how that works out.

I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes

Posted in art, inspiration, mountains, Painting, Watercolors with tags , , , , , , on November 22, 2017 by sebland

imageI am noticing as I grow older that I’m not as strong as I once was. It takes me twice as long to do half as much as I once did. I have to ask for a bit of help now and then, and that rankles me. Little chores seem to take more energy, and for the first time in my life, I’m feeling limited at times in activities I once enjoyed.

This is not a comfortable place to be! I wake in the morning planning to do many things quickly and efficiently, and my body laughs and says: “How’s that working out for you?” I’m fairly sure I am not and won’t ever age gracefully. What I have come to understand, though, is that’s okay.

in the circle of life, we are born needing help, to learn to walk, to feed and dress ourselves, and as the years go by we find that once again we may need help. So I lean heavily on Psalm 121: “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills. From where doth my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

i hope you find help when you need it, and that you learn to accept it, with gratitude.

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them

Posted in art, inspiration, Painting, Pastels, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 17, 2017 by sebland

imageI will confess that watching the evening news tends to be depressing. Headlines like: “worst case of child abuse in history,” “officials caught in sexual abuse ,” “forest fires destroy hundreds of homes” can burn into my brain. One can get caught up in man’s inhumanity to man. And then out of nowhere I will see a little one  extend a helping hand to an old person, or observe how much delight  can be found in jumping in a mud puddle, and I realize that hope is born anew.  The little guy in Sunday school who can’t sit still but is always ready with a hug  and a kiss, the neighbor’s grandchild who wants to come and visit, these are the things that gives me hope. When I look for a subject to paint, I see strength and wisdom in the old, but joy, hope and love in the young. I hope you like AnaLin. The little pastel painting in available online:http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/s-e-bland/ana-lin/635343

That Perfect Moment

Posted in art, How to Paint, inspiration, mountains, Pastels, Uncategorized with tags , , , on November 16, 2017 by sebland

imageI have an artist friend who comes to visit not nearly often enough. Months, even years go by between our get togethers, but when she comes we immediately fall into a pattern of sharing ideas, supplies, techniques and interests. It’s as though we lived next door to each other. Today we sat down together, delighted with our ideas and chose pastels to play with. She shares my love for the Oregon coastline. Having been there in July, she invited me to paint from her photograph . It was a perfect  moment, just  before dark, when the moon was already up, smiling down on the sunset glow.  Not only did she capture a moment in time, I realized  our painting together was also perfect. Don’t forget to treasure those moments with your friends also.  This little painting is available at http://www.dailypaintworks.com/buy/auction/773548

The Journeys We’ll Never Lose

Posted in Acrylics, art, inspiration, mountains, Painting with tags , , , , , , on November 4, 2017 by sebland

imageTo my dismay traveling is becoming more challenging with every birthday. Father Time has a way of reminding you that long journeys, if not impossible, are definitely more challenging. For many years, my lifelong partner and I would gather up the kids, pack a ton of snacks and head out in the camper at daybreak, enjoying long hours on the highways and byways and spending happy times in parks and campgrounds, waking to the smell of woodsmoke and bacon, swimming in creeks and lakes, making memories. When we retired, I packed my paints, many treats (because what you consume on a trip doesn’t count), and went West, Northwest, South and Southwest, Alaska, Sedona, Florida, Maine, and as many places in between as we could afford. I am so glad we did. When Uncle Arthritis comes to live with you, long hours on the road are simply not as much fun. I write this not to complain, but to encourage you to go now, as you are able. If you have always dreamed of seeing Alaska or the Southwest or any other part of our beautiful world, go! Go now and make those memories because when you no longer feel like making that long trip, your journey will live on in your memory. So many times when we’re sitting on our deck sipping a glass of wine, Dear One will say: “Do you remember that snowy night in Tennessee?” or “That sunset  in Oregon was pretty special , huh.” We live in an amazingly beautiful world. Turn off those electronics, get out and see those sights. They’ll be with you always! This painting is no longer available, but I hope you enjoy it and my memory.

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