Water from the Rock

My art projects this week have been all about texture. I love texture! When the words “water” and “rock” jumped out at me in my heART journal, I couldn’t wait to experiment with ways to create them. I immediately thought of the story of the Israelites, and how God had provided water from the rock during their years in the desert. God sustained them for 40 years. This became the story told and retold in every generation. Remember the Lord who saved Israel with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Remember the Lord who makes streams flow in the desert. Nehemiah recalled it this way, “In their hunger you gave them bread from heaven and in their thirst you brought them water from the rock…You have your good Spirit to instruct them…For forty years you sustained them in the desert; they lacked nothing” (Nehemiah 9:15, 20, 21).

Are you ready to walk through creating this page with me? Come on in, pull up a chair, and maybe some coffee. Here’s a picture of my theme words:

step 1

I created the “rock” by gluing down tissue paper with gel medium. Here’s a shot of that:

Step 2

Next, I applied some paint (after it dried a bit). First, raw umber, followed by some burnt sienna and raw sienna. What is cool about the tissue paper is how it catches some of the color in the wrinkles and folds, making it look like ridges in a rock. Here are a couple of pictures of this step, showing the difference with just one color vs. three!

step 3

 

Step 4

You can see how I left spaces for the “water” to flow. I watched some tutorials online before I attempted this step. I first applied some gesso on the page with a flat brush pulling side to side. I wanted to create texture that made it look like movement. Then I painted with a pale blue and a little lake blue. Again, having two different shades of blue, like with the browns in the rock, creates interest, depth, and “ripples”. After the gesso and the blues were dry, I added some white acrylic with a small brush. This time I started at the top and pulled forward in little places. This made the effect of the water flowing down out of the rock. I also concentrated the white at the edges where the water met the rock to make it look kind of foamy. Sort of, see what you think:

Step 5 close

I discovered a white gelato worked really well to create the “waves” or movement in my water. I added random horizontal lines and then pulled/smeared with my finger. I loved the added effect of this! All that was left to do now was paint a border. I chose a yellow to add a nice glow around the top and edges. Here is a picture of my finished page:

Step 7

And a close up to show you how cool it looks with all that texture:

step 7 close

I forgot to mention, I went over my rock with a black oil pastel. Just lay it flat and drag it right across the ridges of the painted tissue paper. This really solidifies the rock appearance by creating dark shadows and ridges. I also used my trusty black stabilo pencil (I use it on everything!) a little bit in the water, especially the edging, to create some shadowy areas.  I was very happy with the resulting texture! What do you think?

This page reminds me of the importance of trusting in God’s provision. And then I thought of Christ, and His provision for us on the Cross. I remembered the Israelites; how they grumbled and complained against the God who sustained them all those years in the desert. I don’t want to be a grumbler. I want to receive all that Christ died for me to have in this life, and eternally. I want to remember and honor Christ with my life, and tell every generation of the salvation won for us on the Cross. Christina Rossetti has a beautiful poem called, Beneath Thy Cross, that I’ll leave you with today. The poem speaks of the hard indifference we can harbor in our hearts.  I love the last line, calling upon Jesus, the One greater than Moses, to turn toward her, and once again bring water from the rock:

Beneath Thy Cross

Am I a stone, and not a sheep,
That I can stand, O Christ, beneath thy cross,
To number drop by drop Thy Blood’s slow loss,
And yet not weep?

Not so those women loved
Who with exceeding grief lamented Thee;
Not so fallen Peter weeping bitterly;
Not so the thief was moved;

Not so the Sun and Moon
Which hid their faces in a starless sky,
A horror of great darkness at broad noon–
I, only I.

Yet give not o’er,
But seek Thy sheep, true Shepherd of the flock;
Greater than Moses, turn and look once more
And smite a rock.

 

A Radiant Church

Hello, friends! Come with me inside my heART journal. Today’s project is about the beautiful mystery between Christ and His church. In Ephesians chapter 5, this relationship is described within the context of marriage. Husbands are instructed to love their wives, “as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy”. Words jumped off today’s page, speaking this truth to me. So I chose Ephesians 5:27, “to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” as my main verse.

I started this time with a pencil, outlining words that stood out to me. Next, I painted over everything else with a coat of gesso and then ecru acrylic paint. Here’s a shot of this in progress:

step1

And a close up, so you can see the words,

Step2close up words

The words together created a mental image of Christ and His church rising. The top of the page has “his father, heir, began to rise” and in the center “lovely, great, marriage, her husband, was entirely, became his wife, together, restore, and welfare of mankind”.   Jesus established the church through His death on the Cross and HIs resurrection from the dead. Jesus is the heir that God the Father appointed over all things. He has seated Him high above all powers and authority. The church is His bride, rising to join with Him in the restoration of the world. Hebrews 12:23 says we are part of the “church of the firstborn whose names are written in heaven”.

Next, I sketched a simple church with some windows and a steeple. I added some Naples yellow (my favorite color!) to the windows, and then collaged the words from the Nicene Creed over the actual building. I tore these from an old hymnal. Here are some pics of these steps:

Step 3

Step4

Next, I painted over the collage words with titanium white. I decided to apply some through a brick stencil with my finger in places too. Here is a shot that shows the brick:

Step 5 paint and stencil

I then applied some color to the background with Lindy’s stamp gang sprays . Except I didn’t spray them, I poured a little into a palette and applied with a brush. I used crimson and teal from their Starburst collection. These are cool because they have a gold-like shimmer within them to add effect. I ended up applying some gold and white acrylic paint as well, ending up with this (top image with the Lindy’s only, bottom with the added acrylics):

Step 6 background

Step 7 (whole)

I also started staining the door with Tim Holtz distress stain in vintage photo. The door ended up being this combined with a black stabilo pencil and some of the ecru acrylic until I was reasonably happy with the depth, shadows, and highlights.  Same on the church building. I also outlined windows and the church with very watered down black acrylic. I did this while the white was still damp do I ended up with some grays too, which created nice shadows. Here is a closer up:

Step 8 (contrast)

I used stamps to add part of Ephesians 5:27. Then I used black and white gel pens to create details around the windows and on the door. I outlined all the words with the stabilo pencil and wrote over the words with the black gel pen so you can see them better. One of the details I really liked about this was the placement of the words, “in one Lord Jesus Christ”. Jesus is the cornerstone of the church, and these words ended up looking like a cornerstone on my building:

Step 9 (close up)

One more detail to mention: I have a stamp with the Lord’s prayer. I dabbed just a line of it into brown stamp ink and applied it all over my church building. I liked this effect! I also stamped a sun in orange and then painted over it with a yellow, shimmer watercolor. Finally, I used the side of an old credit card dipped in crimson stamp ink to make the border edging around my page.  Here is a shot of how everything came together:

Step 10 contrast

I added some effects to my final picture, just for fun. Here is a close up of “restore” with the cornerstone, and some lighting:

Just for fun

I can’t decide which one I like the best. See what you think between these:

#1 effects 3

#2

effects 6

#3

effects 9

Leave me a comment to let me know which is your favorite!

Celebrating today that I am a part of Christ’s body, His glorious and radiant church. I thank Jesus for His work in establishing His bride. Your Kingdom come, Lord, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. “To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:21)

A Rainbow is a Promise

Hi friends!

I tried something new yesterday I am excited to share with all of you. For the first time, I chronicled the progress of my art/prayer time. I took pictures of each step so I could share with you how a project progresses, and how God speaks personally to us through creative time. This is SO exciting!!!

This is the first in a new series I hope to write/post about on a regular basis. I am going to create a new page on my website for these posts. I think I am going to call the page, “My heART journal”. I will post an update once that is ready so you can find these posts. Then, like my artwork, these will be easily accessible anytime for anyone interested in learning more about the artistic process and how God can use that time when we are open to His lead!

Today’s project, “A Rainbow is a Promise”.

My art journal is an actual book I picked up at a used book store. It is a nature themed book with pictures and words already printed in its pages. I begin an art/prayer time by putting on some worship music and turning to a random page. For this project, I picked the first page in the month of June. This book is divided into nature by monthly themes, and since it is the beginning of June, it seemed the right place to start.

I started with some masking tape, and randomly tearing small strips, began to tape over the pages. This creates texture on the page that I paint over. As I tape, I notice any words that jump out at me from the page. I don’t over-think this part. It is sort of a prayer, silent time where I am listening to any word or phrases God wants to bring to my attention. The words that stood out to me here were “radiantly”, “praise”, “charming after the rain”, and “was always life”. I taped around these words, carefully leaving them exposed.

The words made me think of the story of Noah when God put a rainbow in the sky after the flood. I stopped here and went to my Bible to read Genesis chapters 8 and 9. I recorded a couple key verses for later (Genesis 9:13, 16).

Then I picked two contrasting paint colors to create a background. Since I was planning to do something with a rainbow, I thought it would be a sky, and so I picked two different blues. I used acrylic paint watered down and applied it with a brayer. Here are a couple pictures of this step:

DSCN2594

Step 4 Paint

Then I took my journal outside with one of my favorite stencils and some gold spray paint. I wanted this to look like the sun shining. Here is how it turned out:

Step5Stencil

Next I wanted to write the verse I selected from Genesis over the paint. I hoped it would be a pretty part of the background in the finished project. However, I had a couple problems at this step. I found that even with a layer of paint, I couldn’t get anything to write over the masking tape. Even if I wrote lightly, it removed the paint and exposed the tape. So I put a layer of gloss varnish over the top and dried it quickly with my heat embossing tool. I thought the gloss would give my sun more shine. But it still wasn’t the best thing to pick for writing over. In my mind, this step would have been a pretty scripted writing across the background. But the technical issues combined with the fact that I have terrible handwriting, led to this instead:

Step6 Verse

Pretty ugly, right? I think this safely dispels the myth that all artists have pretty handwriting. As you can see, clearly I don’t. This is why I stamp or stencil! But this is only meant to be part of the background. You will see very little of this when I am done. But I know it is there, and it gives my art journal page meaning.

Next I took some white paint and sponged it all over to create clouds. See, problem solved. Voila!

Step7 Clouds

Much better. Next, the rainbow. I decided to use watercolors for this because I wanted it to have some transparency so you can see the clouds through it. I wanted it to be large across both pages to tie the composition together. Here’s a shot of that, and a close up so you can see how the words “radiantly” and “praise” look into the rainbow. It is as if it says the rainbow itself is a radiant display of God’s glory and a cause for praise. Love that!

Step7 Rainbow

 

Step8 Close up

Noah had sent out a dove to check for dry land after the flood. The dove returned with an olive branch which let know Noah it was safe to come out of the ark. I decided next I wanted to add a dove. I googled an image of a bird and sketched it freehand from looking at it. Then painted it with acrylics, a little watercolor for shadow, and fine point markers for the branch details. The bird ended up being my favorite part of the whole page. Here’s a picture, see what you think:

Step 10

I also outlined the words with a black stabilo pencil. I decided to stamp some words above and on the rainbow. I came up with “A rainbow is a promise there is beauty” an this goes with the words “after rain” on the other page and “was always life”. I ended up painting the word “Beauty” with gold paint overlaid with a white gel pen to give it more “pop”. The stamped verse got buried in the rainbow. Finally, I decided we needed some plant life in the right corner. I used green paints with the sponge to create a grassy hill. I just bought a new circle stamp that kind of looks like I flower, so I stamped it in orange and then painted the centers med yellow. I put a reference to the verse and my initials inside the flowers as a finishing touch. Here is my final image. I added a digital border and an overlay of a flower pattern using a photo editor. I liked the added effect, see what you think:

Step 13 with effects

I am discovering I really like playing around with digital effects in my art. I see it kind of like a musician adds reverb and sound effects when playing live music. I love trying different overlays, borders, vintage tints, etc. I think this is becoming part of my “style” (if I have a definable style even).

Well, friends, that’s a wrap on my art/prayer journal time. “A rainbow is a promise there is beauty after rain”. A visual way to remember the story of Noah and the covenant made through the rainbow.  I liked the bird so much I decided to create a digital image of it separately just for fun. Here’s the result:

Spirit Freedom

Thanks for coming along with me through my heART journal. Be blessed today, and keep watch for those rainbows.

Take heART,

Robyn