Julie Drew

Julie Drew

THURSDAY AFTERNOON WATERCOLOR SESSIONS - ONLINE CLASS

Thursday afternoons 2 - 4pm MDT  from November 19 - December 10, 2020

PAINTING FLORALS - ONLINE CLASS

Thursday afternoons 2 - 4pm MDT  from October 22 - Nov 12, 2020

For each class, I will have you send me an image of what you would like to work on and send a picture of your painting to that point. (Take a picture with your camera or phone download it to your computer to send in an email. Let me know if you have trouble with this and we will look into alternatives.) Also include in your email any questions you might have about the painting or the process. 

During the class time I will go through the images that were sent in and answer questions you and the other students have. The “class time” will be recorded so that even if you have to miss it, if you sent in your images and questions, I will cover them during the “class time.”

The class time sessions will be split between answering questions, helping with paintings and showing some demonstrations. There will be an assignment for each of you based on the photo reference you want to work on.  As not everyone is an independent worker, there will also be a video available each week for you to learn from if you choose to and want more direction.

pdfRecommended floral watercolor supply list 


Thursday Afternoon Watercolor Sessions - Week 4

Dec 10, 2020

IMG 5555 wb

The white in the grass could be filled in more. I would take it slow with more of the same colors in dry brushing it so that I do not lose the light. (The image i worked from, from marji is dwon below here).

I separated the videos - the first is the demo, the second is the conversation about paintings you are working on.

 


Thursday Afternoon Watercolor Sessions - Week 3

Dec 3, 2020

This video has some additional camera angles with a better quality of image from the class time. Let me know what you think of it. The details of the woodgrain especially is clearer. 

demo image-near Saskatoon

ClingWrap demo

woodgrain

IMG 5490wb

 


Thursday Afternoon Watercolor Sessions - Week 2

November 26, 2020

(Coming soon) I have a second video of hay bales you can watch to see how I defind tree lines after both salt layer and sponged layers. There is more "pushing  and pulling as i define the grass (negative space) around the \hay bales (positve space).

 

oldbuildingw landscape demo wb

The blue masking is still on this painting in the top of the foreground bushed and on leaves and the trunks of the tree on the right side. 

iris wbIMG 5469

Remember the colors of white are stronger than needed - so that you could see it in the webcam during the filming. Notice the pink-gray that was not distinguishable in video. The green shows the dffference the negative space has in shaping the petals.

The following image is the cling wrap demo. and what it looked like when I took off the cling wrap. When I go to shape it with pushing/pulling, I may move the top of the mountain into the sky following the paths of lines from the cling wrap.

clingwrap demo wb

 


Thursday Afternoon Watercolor Sessions - Week 1

November 19, 2020

 

Good afternoon, Class. Here ia a demonstration of sponge painting trees in fall colors. Sponging can be used to create texture in other ways as well: on rocks, paths and other foliage. 

Below is the Beginning of painting an Iris: drawing the iris and laying in the first layers of paint.

iris withdeepershadows

 janet

 janet2

joywds

 stone milk house

irispurpleandyellow

  

 

Fall is here, the branches are bare, and the bitter cold winds are back. I brought my flowers in from the deck in to enjoy until they were done. My Gerber Daisy bloomed again, and the others have not stopped blooming. The flowers are all straining toward the window for the glimpse of light upon their faces.

They take up space on my office floor near the sliding glass door, but it is worth a little crowding to see beauty right there as I work. So fun to extend the season of growth and blooming as we move into shorter days and longer nights.

Seasons are not only about weather and nature, we human beings have our seasons as well. As I reflect on the last few months, this has been a season of learning to be present to what is right in front of me today. The outdoor painting excursions (plein air) over the summer and early fall were, perhaps, the greatest example of this. Covid 19 shutdown all of my indoor classes, but the outdoors were beautiful after all the rain in June and July, so we went outside. And there we learned to be present to and see the beauty right in front of us.

With all of the changes due to covid, the daily news, learning new ways of doing things and uncertainties of what is coming next, I looked forward to each plein air session. As I ended the plein air season, I started the online class and we have had three of the four sessions. Although well received, it has been a big learning curve, but I am adjusting and modifying it as we go along. (I had to try different tripods, and get a new piece, an arm extension, for my tripod to make it work better.) In the last session, I had us all painting the same flower (the one blooming in my office). I tell myself that I do not have to figure it all out, and I can ask for help, which allows me to be present and take one step at a time. 

painting florals session3 blogpost

This all led to my thinking about the passage in Ecclesiates 3 that

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

For each statement there is an antithesis. Opposites. Even extreme opposites. As I looked at the passage this morning, I realize I prefer to focus on the positive sides: to plant, to heal, to build to laugh, to dance, etc. There are times when the opposite is necessary: to grieve, to die, to throw away, to speak, to hate, etc. But there is an in between place that is not spoken in some of these, not necessarily a wishy-washy middle ground either, but another space of time to be in. I decided to find the in between space for each. Here are my results:

Born – die… there is a time to live;
plant – uproot… there is a time to grow, flourish and even harvest
kill – heal… there is a time to get along with each other, respect, nurture each other
tear down – to build… there is a time to take care of what is there, appreciate what you have
weep – laugh… there is a time to just breathe
mourn – dance… there is a time to just be
scatter – gather… there is a time to not take personally what others do
Embrace – refrain form embracing… there is a time to just be together
Search – give up… there is a time to let go
Keep – throw away… there is a time to reuse, recycle, repair
Tear and mend… there is a time to clean and take care of 
To be Silent – to speak out… there is a time to be yourself
To Love and to hate… there is a time to accept others as different from yourself
War and peace… there is a time to forgive

I cannot change others, or the world, but I can work on myself. What season or time are you in?

 

count me in

  • Create your own unique papers 
  • Learn the process of simple papermaking with ingredients found around the home and outdoors.
  • Be inspired by the possibilities as you create alongside of others
  • Use the equipment provided to make your creations.

red handmade pape with infusionsr 

Papermaking Workshop

Saturday, September 18, 2021

10 am - 3:30 pm

6724 - 86 St, Edmonton

$75

  • Create about 10 - 15 unique pieces of paper out of recycled watercolor paper, fabric, and "fluffy" seeds (from a choice of thistle, cattail, fireweed, foxtail, poplar, down feathers, onion skin).
  • All supplies are included, including some infusions (i.e. pressed leaves and flowers)
  • Help create the 6 or more vats of pulp in the morning  

 pressed leaves papermaking workshop2

What to bring: 

  • a bag lunch or plan on going to the nearby Tm Hortons for the hour lunch break. 
  • (optional) your own infusions  

count me in

 

creatingblending pulp papermaking workshop bluewithheartonionskin handmade paper

On July 17 in the evening I noticed that we had water on our floor in the basement by the furnace. We have had trouble with our washer before, but this was more. So that evening we started to investigate and pull out the washer and dryer and lift up the subfloor to see where the water was coming from.

Two nights before we had had a severe thunderstorm. It lasted three hours and poured sheets and buckets of water during the whole time. And, prior to that night, it had rained pretty consistently for over a month. It was so bad many farmers’ crops were flooded south of Edmonton.

After pulling up about half of the flooring in the basement and removing the sodden drywall, we discovered 3 new cracks where the water had come in.

It has been a lot of work, but we have made progress in repairing and cleaning it up. We are finally starting the painting stage, and we hope to get at least a couple of rooms finished before our grandchildren and their parents come next week.

I was not planning on mudding and taping drywall this month. But this task was in front of me. Adding one more unexpected challenge to the craziness of living in COVID 19 times and figuring how to do classes online, my husband, Sam having major surgery this summer and our dog being diagnosed with a malignant tumor that needs removal.

Did you know there is an art to mudding? Getting it as smooth as possible and extending it outward to make the bump where the tape is almost invisible. This is not unlike painting (with thick acrylic paint) and palette knives, only the mudding spatulas are much larger at 2 in, 6 in and 12 in.

How well do you deal with interruptions? Do you take them in stride? Do they cause you stress and shut you down? Do you set about making a plan to conquer it?

I find it interesting how each of us can react differently to a situation that is thrown at us out of the blue.

It made me think about Abraham (he is still Abram then) in Genesis. He had a number of interruptions or unexpected turnings thrown at him. One of these was in Genesis 14. Several kings had a war and looted the place where Lot, Abram’s nephew, lived taking Lot and his family as captives. When Abram hears this, he acted decisively, gathered his fighting men (about three hundred) and went after them, rescuing all the captives and bringing back the stolen goods.

This is not, of course, the first time I’ve experienced unexpected, life interrupting events like this, and, In the past, I wouldn’t have described myself as acting decisively. I certainly did act, I am good at getting things done, but first I would panic, then get anxious, and then get frustrated and annoyed that I had such inefficient feelings. Finally, I would push down my bothersome emotions and dive in to try to get as much done as possible. It created a stressful environment for those around me and usually exhausted and injured me.

I am happy to say I have been learning that I can take care of myself, both emotionally and physically – paying attention to what I can and cannot do, even as I work forward at an even keel; more practical, less panic, asking for assistance, and not trying to do everything myself. Acknowledging my emotions and my limitations frees me to be present to the situation and see things more calmly. It frees me to act more decisively, and, even, more efficiently.

I am so thankful that we were able to have our Art Vocabulary for the Soul Retreat at the end of June. King’s Fold Retreat Centre did a great job in putting in place social distancing, and alternative set ups to make it work. We had a small group of seven. I want to share with you some of the theme and images we made as we worked through the it, listening to what God had for each one of us.

The theme of New Life had been resonating in me since before Covid-19 struck. It was a theme of the dark and death of winter moving into the new life and resurrection of spring.

When we went into self isolation, and everything was battened down and restricted, I kept wondering how it would feel when we started to emerge again. Would it be like the image portrayed in the movies where a big catastrophe happens and when it stops people come out slowly as if waking from a nightmare and start to slowly move and embrace one another and picking up the pieces of their lives.

With the three stages of emergence, our picking up the pieces has been a slow process. We are still in the pandemic. It has not been eradicated, there were new cases in Edmonton again. It is still rampaging around in other parts of the world.

Then, in the last few weeks before our retreat, with the murder of George Floyd, the wave of worldwide protests and the outcry of justice and humane treatment for not only the blacks, but the indigenous and the people of color, we were again in the midst of a movement we didn’t understand and don’t know the end of.

There was a sense of death to the ways we have always done things, and we are trying to figure out how to change, to do things differently. Change can bring fear, but also optimism and a whole host of other feelings.

Our first exercise addressed the emotions we have been experiencing since mid March. We used tempera paints with sponges, fingers, plastic cards, q-tips and toothbrushes. What do you see in the paintings?

expressing emotions during covidpandemic7expressing emotions during covidpandemic1expressing emotions during covidpandemic2expressing emotions during covidpandemic3expressing emotions during covidpandemic4expressing emotions during covidpandemic5expressing emotions during covidpandemic6

 

The next exercise we read Psalm 107: 1-21 and reflected on the Israelites continual falling away and coming back to God; death and resurrection. As we celebrate resurrection one of the things always included in resurrection, is the death that comes beforehand. So, we had participants reflect on that experience of death and resurrection or seeing good things and even transformation come out of some of the difficult times in life. The following were our painting responses.

Ps107 Heightsanddepths response 2Ps107 Heightsanddepths response 5Ps107 Heightsanddepths response 1Ps107 Heightsanddepths response 4Ps107 Heightsanddepths response 6Ps107 Heightsanddepths response 7Ps107 Heightsanddepths response 3

 

 

Saturday and Sunday, we spent time creating and seeing where the creativity took us. I took a few pictures to give you a taste of the creativity abounding in the weekend. I also introduced some new pouring methods and we had fun experimenting.

student work Anne creating timepouredacrylicstudentwork pleinair jsd studentwork1creatingtime2creatingtime3

Registration is now open for the next Art Vocabulary for the Soul Retreat, October 2-4, 2020 at King's Fold Retreat Centre. It will be a small group of 8. 5 spaces are still available.  $375 early bird until Sept 4. $435 after Sept 4. Will you join us?

I woke this morning thinking and singing this song, Your Faithfulness, by Brian Doerkson.

I don't know what this day will bring
Will it be disappointing, filled with longed for things?
I don't know what tomorrow holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness

I don't know if these clouds mean rain
If they do, will they pour down blessing or pain?
I don't know what the future holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness

Certain as the rivers reach the sea
Certain as the sunrise in the east
I can rest in your faithfulness
Surer than a mother's tender love
Surer than the stars still shine above
I can rest in your faithfulness

I don't know how or when I'll die
Will it be a thief, or will I have a chance to say goodbye?
No, I don't know how much time is left
But in the end, I will know your faithfulness 

When darkness overwhelms my soul
When thoughts are storms of doubt
Still I trust You are always faithful, always faithful (© 2002 Brian Doerkson)


Recently, I heard this again as I listened to an online concert by Brian Doerkson. He wrote the song at a time of uncertainty in his own life, which he shared during the concert.
His songs have a wonderful depth to them that I connect with. Music, like painting, can help me engage my feelings.

It is rainy this morning as I write this. I feel melancholy. This Covid-19 isn’t going away and continues to impact us. How we do things has to change. How I teach will be affected. There is unrest, violence, and protests in so many places. I needed those words today:

"When darkness overwhelms my soul
When thoughts are storms of doubt
Still I trust You are always faithful, always faithful" (© 2002 Brian Doerkson)

God is faithful. Always faithful.

God isn’t going to make the problems disappear, but walks with me through the difficulties, Child's hand holding Jesus hand, pencil, 12 x 9 in, artist Julie Drewholding my hand, giving me courage to face things and uphold me, uphold us as we grieve for the changes, for the heartbreaking violence in the news. We are in a time where we need each other, to set aside our independent stances and to work together, instead of being not be divisive.

I am reminded of Psalm 33:13-22 which speaks of God looking down on all the inhabitants of the world, whom he knows and created. He sees: “the king not saved by his great army, warrior not saved by his great strength, war horse vain hope for victory”… “Truly the eye of the Lord on those who fear him, who trust in his steadfast love” (And then comes the move from individuality to corporately) “Our soul waits for the Lord, he is our help and shield, Our heart is glad in him because we trust in his holy name.” There is something to be said about working together, caring for and helping each other, standing with each other.

Sometimes I just need a good cry, to let myself feel melancholy, and accept this part of me too. We need our rainy days to grow, too. Last summer, I sat in our tent which has a covered day use area, and painted the scene above of the inlet at Ucluelet, BC as the mist rolled in and the rain came down. It was a day much like today, with the sun coming out later. Once I am able to express my feelings, the load is lighter, and a shared load is lighter still.

Are you able to connect with your feelings, with the depths within yourself? How does that happen in your life?

Last fall, I wrote a few times about rest and the scripture that kept coming up when I went to write. (you can read the articles here…What Are You Waiting For? and Season of Rest) I was thinking this morning about this and reflecting on COVID-19 and the call for us to #stayathome. I also considered my attitude in staying home and reflected on migraines.

Troll Falls side view

When I get a migraine, I receive it as my body’s way of telling me I’ve been doing too much and not listening to it. My body is taking over to enforce rest, so I go to bed. It is a fitful, painful rest, and it is often a couple of days before I can even look at a computer or phone screen. For years I lived in fear of migraines and the pain they would invoke, because my first migraine was so severe that I ended up in the hospital. It has taken me a long time relax, to rest more and listen when my body starts giving me signs, but now I get less migraines that stop me in my tracks.

Our world has been stopped in its tracks. Did our world keep going at its frantic pace too long and now we are being enforced to rest? Is it painful? Are you discombobulated? As a society, we do not rest well. How are you doing? Are you well?

Edmonton, where I live with my husband, Sam, and our two girls, has been shut down since March 14 and social distancing is the new rule, with as many people working from home as possible. I have been out twice with my girls. We went out on Friday to pick up supplies for my son and daughter-in-law who are in quarantine after their return from South America. The streets were nearly deserted. We were armed with our gloves and hand sanitizer and stayed our distance from others. I saw the workers in stores all doing their part in wiping down shopping carts and basket handles for the customers, and limiting the number of people going into an establishment. How very surreal.

I am used to spending the day by myself. Now everyone is home and I am finding a new rhythm for my day to include some time with the others. Like Sunday: worked out with one daughter, played my guitar and sang worship songs with both daughters in the morning, took time in my studio to paint in the afternoon working on the painting Upper Troll Falls, Kananaskis AB and ended the day playing a game of Pandemic with Sam and one of our daughters. (It seemed appropriate – we lost twice to the game). A nice restful Sunday. Now the new week is progressing and routines are falling into place again. Last week I listened and read more news and felt more anxious. This week, I have limited it so that I do not use up all my energy on what I have no control over.

Our daughter Reena spends a good part of the day connecting with her friends via snap chat, texting and phone calls, but then that is a normal response to her day. I have never spent much time on the phone with people. I am short with answers on texting and email. It is something I have to consciously do or think about doing. It doesn’t come naturally.

In this time of self isolation, how are you staying connected? How are you resting and taking care of yourself? Are you able to still work from home? How are you filling your days?

water demoOne of the things I do when I teach is to demonstrate painting techniques. Sometimes I already have a painting in mind and sketch it out before class, knowing it can work for a demo.

However, most of the time it is a technique or project that I start with the class or a demonstration of a technique for one of my student's projects. Then, I have a partial painting or just some random colors and texture that I can turn into something else.

athabasca pine tree, 11 x 7 in, mixed media, Julie Drew

Over the last couple of years of teaching, I have accumulated more unfinished pieces than I have managed to complete. I just counted 59 I had photgraphed last fall to record the process of painting. Rather daunting. I had no idea there were so many.  Not all of them will be completed. For those that will be completed, something about them inspires me to press on with them.

trollfalls mixed media, 12 x 9 in, Julie Drew

orchidsAs winter continues to wrap its cloak of snow around us, I think toward Spring and flowers bedecking gardens, meadows, homes. I bought a blooming orchid to remind me of Spring. I have yet to draw or paint it, but I enjoy its beauty on our dining room table.

calla-lilyI brought my two calla lily plants inside last fall to see if I could keep them alive until spring. One started sending up green shoots last month, reaching 18-20 inches now. The other plant has not shown any sign of life.

Yesterday, in my Acrylics class, we used a picture of a doorway wreathed in blooms to inspire us. I showed my students how to create a stucco texture using eggshells, sand and sawdust. We used a slightly thick application of gel medium on the canvas and placed the eggshell into it, sprinkling on the sand and sawdust around the rest of the medium. While it dried, we worked on the doorway.closeup of flowers over lintel Then we continued to paint over the mixed media with colors of stucco (white mixed with yellow and red creating various shades of peach and yellow ochre). The plants were painted dark to light in the foliage first. The blooms added last. Then we worked on shadows. It was fun to see the results. All the students did a great job with the challenge of painting on the rough texture.

Are the flowers blooming where you are? Or do you dream of Spring, flowers blooming and warmer days?

Waiting

Sept 27, 2019 -Jan 2, 2020

Art on the Inside gallery, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital

10230 111 Ave, Edmonton (basement level outside the cafeteria)

 

Waiting 
     - Just being present

Waiting
     - With anticipation, expectantly
What are you looking forward to?

 

Waiting 
      - For clarity, direction and inspiration

Waiting
     - For redemption… and transformation

Waiting
     - For Spring, new life, hope

Waiting
     - For rebirth, regeneration, new growth

Waiting
     Is about letting go and trusting the process

 

but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint. - Isaiah 40:31

butterflyLast month, Sam and I went out to the Nordic trails at Eagle Point Provincial Park near Drayton Valley.

Once we arrived, we went our separate ways to spend the morning with God. I picked the trail that would take me toward the river.

When I go out to spend a day with God, I take my journal, a Bible, my camera and my compact plein air painting and sketching supplies. I look for “God sightings” as I hike. When I see an animal in its natural setting – it feels like a gift straight from God. Blooming flowers, even tiny ones, also bring me delight.  As God brings my attention to these and other wonders of nature sometimes it triggers other things: metaphors, sometimes scripture, or just thoughts. It is a day to sit or walk and listen to what God might have for me.

Armored with bug spray and sunscreen I struck off down the wide path.

Not even five minutes later, I saw my first animal in the distance, a deer. Slowly, I lifted my camera to take a photo or two before it walked away. It was looking directly at me and moved its head to see me better. I had its attention as much as it had mine. Then the deer casually walked out of sight.

1As a deer longs for flowing streams,  deer
    so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
When shall I come and behold
    the face of God? Psalm 42 (NRSV)

This scripture came to my mind as I paused, looking at where the deer had been.  Psalm 42 is one of the scriptures for the upcoming “Art, Vocabulary of the Soul” retreat in June.   “Restore my soul” is the theme of the retreat and that was what I was looking for in this day with God.  It all seemed to work together in my mind and heart, as it often does when I’m listening for God, confirming to me his work in that listening.

Soon, I found a place to sit where I could see the river in the distance through the trees. I pulled out my journal, Bible, and paints and waited on the Lord.

I read Psalms 65 and 104. They both speak of creation and praising God. After reading, I just sat and listened to the sounds of creation around me. (It has taken me awhile to learn to “just be.”) As I sat there, I was filled with the awe and wonder of God. God was filling me up with himself. I was content and relaxed.

I found myself reflecting on how busy this spring has been for me with teaching and other things.  Yet, I am not feeling exhausted and stressed in the busyness. By this time last year, I was feeling constantly behind unable to catch up.  

What has been the difference?

I have taken more time to paint, which helps me connect to my feelings. I have taken more time with God, whether in my studio or in nature. I have also been able to be more present as I did things. I have “paced” myself by taking time to rest if I am working late.

I pulled out my paints and continued my time by painting, sketching and listening. Here are my sketches:

n.saskatchewansketch1n.saskatchewansketch2

wildflowerAs Sam and I walked back, we shared about what each of us heard from God. Sam talked about what he called our inner experience and outer experience. He explained that what people long for, what we truly want in life has to do with our inner experience: contentment, happiness, peace, joy. Yet often we focus on improving our outer experience in order to achieve these.

Restoring our souls, is giving space for our souls to be in God’s presence, much like our day here had been. And out of that can come the contentment, joy and peace we long for.

For me, it was another “God sighting” that we had come to similar themes, each framed in our unique ways, and I was encouraged that God was preparing us both for the coming retreat. 

How beautiful it is when God is at work and we get to be a part of it.

I like reading stories of redemption both real and fiction. I was reading one this morning. And as the lost soul in the story was brought back into the welcoming and loving arms of those who loved her, I was struck again of God’s overwhelming love for me. My heart did a happy dance as I read.

As Easter and as spring approach, I think about redemption, transformation, new life and resurrection. I see it echoing in the stories I read, in the buds swelling on the trees and plants beginning to push their way again to the surface.

poinsettiaI have been closely watching what looks like a dead poinsettia to see if the tiny leaves will indeed spring forth and the plant will come back to life.

A few years ago, I painted this painting of transformation. A pile of garbage with a plant growing out of it. I have found it interesting to hang it at the art walk, because it invites conversation. A lot of people have thought it was about the garbage in the ocean. It has made people feel sad or depressed, irritated or caused them to laugh.

As I painted it, I was thinking about myself and all the things I do not like about myself, the things I would consider my garbage. So, I put on the painting items that should have gone into my art room garbage or recycling bins. I was thinking about redemption and how God redeems these parts of me with his love. This was then represented by the plant growing out of the garbage.

But as I thought about and even shared it at one of my art and faith retreats, I realized I expected to be transformed; that redemption was about change and becoming new. What if redemption is not just the transformation?

No matter what I do I cannot see past the image of garbage. How can garbage look redeemed? But, what if it is a new perspective or looking beyond the surface? 

What if I can learn to love those parts of myself that I see as garbage? God loves me, all of me. Can I learn to love all of me too and see myself with his eyes?new life1 Like the dead Poinsettia, if i am patient with it - and really look, I can see tiny leaves emerging from the stem. I am thankful that God is patient with me and is helping me see things better in my own self.

This new awareness is slowly bringing redemption to new parts of me. Failure – learning to trust God and others, as well as to accept my own limitations. Feeling lazy or unproductive – learning to rest and take care of myself is important work too. 

As I look to all the signs of redemption in the world around me, it reminds me mostly that God is redeeming all of me too. He loves me! And that makes me want to dance and sing. 

In what ways do you see God’s redemptive work in your life?new life2

It is exciting to try something new. In February, I had the privilege of teaching a group of 23 junior high students how to paint stars and planets in acrylics. galaxy

Having never painted star systems, I looked for pictures on the interenet we could use for inspiration. I was amazed at all the beauty captured these days by the powerful telecopes. I was in awe.

I took some time to paint two acrylic paintings on the day before the class as samples for the teaching. It was good to figure out what could be done in a two hour class.

It was fun for me, better still, the youth enjoyed it too. Each student was given 5 colors: Purple, red, blue, yellow and white. We started by painting a sphere which would be the planet.

A planet Then we used Purple red and blue with a touch of yellow to paint a dark atmosphere around their planet. From there they were given free reign to add to it – stars, more planets, a galaxy or rings like Saturn, one student turned his planet into a fireball comet. See the student samples below. 

I loved watching the creativity come out. 

As I sat in my contemplative space in my art room the next morning, and thought about the paintings,  this scripture came to mind:

1 The heavens are telling the glory of God;
and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words;
their voice is not heard;
4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.  (Psalm 19:1-4)

studentwk starsnplanets

Usually when I think of this passage, I think of the sky we can see everyday: the amazing clouds and sunsets, stormy skies. But as I looked at the paintings on my easel, I thought about how much bigger the heavens are. We cannot see it without the aid of a powerful telescope. It is huge and glorious. The beauty, the detail, the way it all can work together, all speak loudly of a creator. Someone who could orchestrate all of that together so it keeps on going as the planets revolve around the sun and the stars do their dance across the universe.

Here is the enormous truth - we are just a tiny little part of an entire universe – and yet God loves us intimately. He loves us and desires a relationship with us. He wants us to trust him.

Well, if he can create and run the universe – why is it so hard to let go, trust him and accept his love?

How are you doing with letting go and trusting in God? In accepting his love for you?

Have you ever noticed that there are more people out and about from November through December? This is the season of waiting: waiting in traffic, waiting in lines, waiting for the holidays, waiting for family, waiting with anticipation. When we read the Christmas story we are reminded of other ways of waiting: Mary waiting for the birth of Jesus, Israel waiting for freedom from the romans, Israel waiting for the promise of the Messiah, Elizabeth waiting for a child of her own, God waiting for us to turn to him. I wrote more about waiting in the blog I wrote about the painting, Waiting for the Promise, shown here.

In church last Sunday, we were asked to write down on a ribbon what we were waiting for. The ribbons were knotted to twine and will be added to the Christmas tree at the front of the church. They are prayers to God. 

What are you waiting for? Hope, friendship, healing, forgiveness, work, paycheck, family, time, retirement, vacation, all the above???

For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I will not be shaken. Psalm 62:5-6

May the hope of Christ fill you this holiday season for whatever you are waiting for!

Merry Christmas!

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