Archive for spirituality

Reflections

Posted in faith, inspiration, Meditation, Painting with tags , , , , , , on August 12, 2018 by sebland

imageI’m pleased to check another item off my bucket list!  Among my many dreams has always been a desire to write a book. This one, just released, is full of original watercolors, acrylic and pastel paintings, more than fifty of them, which I did over the past year. As a bonus I’ve added some reflections and home spun wisdom you might enjoy. Some you’ll recognize from previous blogs. The book is available from Amazon.com, or if you contact me  I will send you a signed copy.

That being said, I’m moving into a new focus. In the past, art has been my first love and will continue to draw me (pardon the pun), but events over the past months have led me to want to dig a little deeper. Without apology I want to share my faith. As I age, I like to think I’ve learned a bit, and now and then I believe sharing those thoughts might be helpful. So if you can use a bit of the old lady’s philosophy, feel free. I’ll share as they come along and hope you’ll gain a little from these insights.

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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!

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.

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.

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.

Lying Down in Green Pastures

Posted in art, How to Paint, inspiration, Painting, Watercolors with tags , , , , on October 10, 2017 by sebland

image.jpegI’ve spent some time recently memorizing some of my favorite Scriptures. Psalm 23 gave me a bit of trouble trying to remember which verse came before or after the next. To my great delight I realized before the Shepherd leads me beside the still waters, He makes me to lie down in green pastures. Isn’t that neat? Before I do anything else, I get to rest! And I get to eat! I don’t know what or if you have a faith, but I do know as an artist, you share some of my weaknesses. One of them is the challenge of creating when the energy evaporates. There are ways to revive that creativity, but sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to lie down in those green pastures. If your muse has run off with a traveling salesman, let me encourage you to take a little time away. If your dreams seem far away, give yourself a little “downtime” – Find yourself some green pastures, pull back from “30 paintings in thirty days,”  take a deep breath, and rest. You’ll come back ready to meet your deadlines and wrap up those projects with renewed energy. At least it seems to work for me!   This little reminder is available at my gallery: http://www.dailypaintworks.com/fineart/s-e-bland/green-pastures-/628204

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