Like a Tree Planted by Water

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Collage trees just make me happy. I found an adorable “faith hope love” stamp that I thought would be cute as “leaves” on the tree. What do you think? If you look closely at the picture above, you can see it. I just love the added meaning those words bring. Faith, hope, and love are the lasting fruit we all want our lives to bear.

What kind of tree are you?

That’s the question I raised last weekend at a take heART party on the theme, “Like a tree planted by water”. Jeremiah contrasts the life of a believer who trusts in the Lord against the life of those who don’t. The unbeliever is like a “shrub in a wasteland”, whereas, “Blessed is the man who trusts I the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He will be like a tree planted by water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7, 8).

We talked a lot about roots and the recovery work our Father-gardener does in our lives as we learn to trust Him more and more. The whole evening was a joy! And look at the gorgeous trees these ladies made…

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20151107_212505I just love to see all of them together! Each one a little bit different, according to each individual personality; just as each of us are a unique, creative masterpiece of the Lord. Each one adds her sparkle that helps the whole shine a little brighter. Together we make a beautiful, colorful, fruitful mosaic; showing forth the beauty and bounty of the life of a believer.

Oh, it is good to be His! A tree in bloom with seeds of blessing and benefit to scatter wherever we go. We have been given everything we need for life in the imperishable seed of the Word of God, and the Fountain of Living Water. Send out your roots, little tree, and receive all that God has planned for you.

Take heART!

Robyn

Shop Local This Summer

Finally, friends, we’ve reached SUMMER! I am elated to say we have completed another year of home schooling here, by the grace of God, and we are looking forward to some free time in the coming months. One of my goals the last few summers has been to do some gardening with my kids. Now, what do I know about gardening? Not much! I got an adorable book from the library, “Roots, Shoots, Buckets, and Boots”. Is that not the cutest book title ever? It has the most adorable garden plans, like a pizza patch, and a sunflower house. Things that would be so much fun with kids, absolutely beautiful, … and entirely beyond my gardening abilities. I considered attempting one of these designs for about a minute before I returned to my senses. This is progress for me. To know your limits is a milestone, friends. :) Seriously, it feels good to make realistic, guilt-free choices. And, so, based on those, I decided on container gardening. We simply loaded up at Walmart on a few plants: tomato, peppers, rosemary, cilantro, thyme, etc. Then came home, planted them in pots, and there you have it, instant garden! The kids enjoyed potting our plants, and they are great helpers to remember the watering! Here’s Jamie hard at work in our garden:

 

IMG_20150523_163434He takes his job very seriously.

We also celebrated the end of the year with a trip to the zoo. Here is a close encounter we had with an orangutan:

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And a front row view of a mama Robin feeding her babies. She was in a tree out front of the zoo, while we waited in line. So sweet to watch her close up:

 

11351214_833392200030763_5456054906488715570_nBut my favorite were the giraffe. They inspired this guy after we got back home:

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This one sold soon after I posted it, to someone as a nursery gift. I am excited to think my giraffe will help decorate a baby’s room. :)

Our summer is off to a sweet start. How about yours? I look forward to the downtime, but also time to regroup on Faith Miner’s Daughter. It all gets a little sketchy in the busyness of life. There are two important updates I am excited to share with you today!

Faith Miner’s Daughter has joined the Crafthouse

It is hard to get exposure living in a small town. I was so excited to hear about the opening of a new local business, The Crafthouse , and so I went to check them out. The owner graciously offered me the opportunity to rent shelf space there to display and sell my work. This is an exciting development, to know people can go into an actual store front and buy my art…right here in town! The Crafthouse is located at 412 N. Main Street, next to the Sweet Treat Bake Shop, across from Studebaker’s restaurant. Business hours are Monday-Friday 9 am – 5 pm, and Saturdays 8 am to noon. I have a variety of things for sale: originals, prints, and cards. Please stop in and check it out, and spread the word!

Take He(ART) Party: New Themes Available

I have been working hard to expand my offerings for the Take he(ART) parties. This is the option locally for you to host an art party. I will bring everything needed for you and yours friends to complete a mixed media piece. I bring the art and a message of encouragement. I created a “ “Host a Take HeART party ” page (the link will take you to it). The page lists each theme with pictures, links, and information. There are three main themes that I have done with a group, and, just today, I added six BRAND NEW themes. I call them “in development” because they have not been attempted yet with a group. Your group could be the first! Check out my page to see all the themes. I also appreciate referrals to friends who enjoy the “pay to paint” places, and/or host women’s events such as small groups, or retreats. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Happy Summer, friends!
Robyn

Art Journaling to Heart: Building a Page on the Word

“I am the True Vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (John 15:1-4).

My life theme lately has been abiding in Christ. I am nearly finished with the devotional I’ve been reading, and decided it was time to create an art page to complete my study. I began by meditating on John 15, and writing it out long-hand over a page prepped with gesso:

20150528_081410My first reaction is, “My handwriting is terrible!”. It is. Really.  But that wasn’t the point. Fortunately, much of this will be covered up when I am done. But I will still know it is there. There is something to be said about journaling the Word of God. I can’t explain, but believe totally, He somehow writes it more deeply into our hearts. The act of writing it out word for word impresses it upon us in ways we miss in reading alone.

I wanted to create a vine. Next, I gathered all kinds of random vine-looking green papers and washi tapes from my stash:

 

20150528_081926I literally just make a pile on top of my page to sort through. Side note, my desk is a disaster during this step. But I find I like to work from an over-abundance of choices. I keep a scrap box (actually, boxes….I need more than one) next to my desk. I just dump leftovers into it. The scrap boxes are my first go-to when I start a new page.

I selected and glued down my tissue papers, string, washi, etc…. until I was happy with it:

 

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I also added a thin layer of gesso in the gaps. I left the words, “I am the True Vine” on the top left and “I am the Vine” on the mid-right. This directs the start and flow of my vine. I love, love, love the green vine lokta paper. I got it last weekend on clearance at Blick art supply in Columbus. My family was gracious enough to let me stop in there on our way to the zoo. See how the black and white chevron washi tape directs the eye along the vine? This was an important foundational step before adding paint.

My vine went through many iterations in the next steps. I will spare you the fifty pictures, but had trouble deciding what color I wanted the background to be. I first tried dark blue to add shadows. Then I outlined the leaves with golden high-flow chartreuse …love this stuff! I often highlight with it because it is so brilliant that little bits of it still show through after many other layers of paint. But this was “the ugly phase” of my page. I didn’t like the blue. So, I added another thin layer of gesso and then tried brilliant purple. I loved the purple with the green. It did a nice job creating shadows and outlining the leaves and flow of my vine:2015-05-28 14.14.54

 

It should be noted there are a couple other products in play in the above photo. By this point, I had added an antique white Shiva oil stick to the background, and then yellow ochre. I played around with the oil sticks and the purple until I liked the mix. I decided I liked some white, and only adding the yellow around the curves of the vine. Otherwise, I lost its definition. I also used a white fine liner to outline the vine and each leaf. I like to have multiple thin lines vs. one solid line around. I think it adds more character. Here is a close up of my finished vine:

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I used the green lokta paper as the main part of each leaf with heavy outlines. The other two things I used to add line and shadow details were my black stabilo pencil and a dark green acrylic ink. If you look at the leaf above, you can see both of these. I added a line of dark green ink down the center of each leaf and near the top, where it connects to the vine. I also used the green ink along the vine. I just love how the lokta paper and the chevron washi tape look in the finished vine. What do you think? It makes me happy! And I even left some of my own handwriting over top! I went over the words with a black water-based Sharpie paint pen , and added a few swirly edges to some letters.

And on the other side of the page, I used a black fine liner to add, “Abide in Me” and “John 15” around the vine:

 

20150528_142807Overall, I am very happy with the depth and detail of my vine. But what I love most is that my page reinforces all I have been thinking about lately in what it means to abide in Christ. Right down to the Word embedded in the page…a symbolic picture of abiding, and beautiful reminder for me to take to heart.

This is to me the joy and meaning of art.
Take he(ART),

Robyn

Artistic Unfoldings

So much has been happening on the art side of things. I’ve been so busy creating that I haven’t stopped to say much about it on the blog. Today, I wanted to give you an update on some recent artwork, and tell you why I am SUPER-excited about it!

There’s been a recent “advent” in developing my artistic style. The idea of having a “style” has been somewhat elusive to me. I like the openness of mixed media, and generally prefer to try new things. I get bored easily, and have trouble sticking with one medium or method. This is problematic to developing a style because it never allows us to stick with something long enough to learn – really learn – about ourselves.

All of this changed when I decided to purchase an online class about working in a series. The link will take you to more about the class, and the teacher (who is awesome, btw). The class was to create ten 10×10 canvases in 10 days. You pick a theme, color palette, and general supply list, and then use these same materials in different combinations for all 10 canvas. I’ve got to admit I was over it by canvas #6. It took a significant effort for me to refocus and push myself to continue all the way through to the end. But I am SO glad I did. The breakthroughs came in the last grouping. For one thing, I learned that I absolutely love azo gold. I think it is officially my new favorite color. I might put gold on everything from now on. :)

But seriously, I learned more about combining color and textural elements than I ever could have imagined I would. I started to notice my preferences and artistic choices. And I learned something else MAJOR. Collage is my thing. I love adding layers with different materials to change the texture. I made a moon on #8, “Nightfall”, with scrapbook paper, tissue papers, glue, glitter, and acrylics that I absolutely adore! Did I mention that I love that moon? Is it normal to get so excited over a paper moon?  I don’t know, but I am so excited I just can’t hide it! Collage makes me happy. Very, very happy. The joy of the collage sunrise on #9, “Horizon”, smiles at me every morning from my art room.

If you haven’t signed up to work on a series, do it! It is so worth the investment. Here is a picture of 9 out of 10 of my canvases in my “Wilderness” Series:

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Titles of each canvas, starting in the top left corner:

#1 The Wilderness
#2 The Mountain
#3 Thirst
#4 Desert Years
#5 Thorn of Affliction
#6 Vast Emptiness
#8 Nightfall
#9 Horizon
#10 The Summit
(Note: #7 fit the least with the series, so I opted not to include it with the grouping. It is entitled “Healing Rain”).

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Close up of my paper moon, # 8, “Nightfall”

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My smiling sunrise, #9 “Horizon”

So, now, I’ve been dreaming in collage. Literally. I want to collage everything. I started a new art journal specifically for collage work. I woke up last week wanting to attempt a collage Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. This seemed a bit ambitious, even to me. A moon and sunrise hardly qualify me to collage people, especially Our Holy Savior. But the idea was so strong, I had to at least try. This is where the REAL breakthrough happened. I didn’t know I could create something like this. There is so much symbolism in the layers. For example, I have an olive branch on the top left, symbolizing His location in the Mt. of Olives. I have a clock face on the top right, symbolic of the “hour has come”. On his chest is the Cross and it says, “Jesus, of God” in some of the papers. It’s like Jesus is looking to His Father, receiving His final charge. I originally was going to call it, “Gethsemane” but “The Hour Has Come” is growing on me. Here are a couple of pictures. The first shows the first layer of collage. It is amazing to me that papers arranged, light and shadow, could become a face…a beautiful face fixed on the Father in Heaven. His eyes say it all. I am absolutely thrilled with this collaged Jesus!

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And finally, below is one more collage page from yesterday. I recently learned raffia makes an awesome and realistic bird nest! A happy little nest to celebrate spring and the resurrection life we have in Christ:

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To summarize my artistic advice: work in a series, collage everything, and use gold…lots and lots of azo gold! :) Have a great week, friends.

Take he(ART),

Robyn

All Things in Time

“Don’t look so closely at the painting that you miss the masterpiece”. A man I just met said that to me, and he didn’t even know that I am a painter. Or how devoted I have been to fixing my painting.

I met Will as part of a ministry outreach team that came to my church a few weeks ago. He, and several other guys, shared their testimony of how Jesus is transforming their lives; freeing them from fear, anger, addiction, depression. All in His amazing grace, unfailing love, and perfect timing.

I cried uncontrollably during worship and the testimony. Not because I was sad or distraught. But because of the joy that came in seeing real men redeemed in Christ. Men who know the other side – the desolation of a life apart from God. Men who are familiar with despair, hopelessness, misery. Men who have believed the lie that they are too far gone. Men like my son; spending endless days in a prison cell trying to imagine life beyond it. On some days, the eyes cannot lift high enough to grasp where true help comes from. When hearts are too heavy with grief. One of my biggest concerns for Eddie has been life after release. Where will he go? Will there be a place for him to get his life together? These men witnessed strongly to me that God provides. Hope rekindled in me to believe God for this, and to rest in His timing.

I had my second Take he(ART) party last weekend. It was equally a time of blessing, and strengthening. I shared about what it means to take heart in a world full of trouble. I had each woman select and write words over the heart on her painting to represent what taking heart means to her, so she will remember when she looks at it. When her worries are overtaking the peace she has been given in Jesus. I pray the painting is a source of strength and hope, even on the worst of days.

Here are a couple of pictures from the party:

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Last week, I also had the opportunity to go on a rare date night with my hubby. Glenn Phillips was in town doing a solo tour. He was part of Toad the Wet Sprocket – one of my husband’s favorite bands back when we were dating. Their song, All Things in Time , is the song we danced to at our wedding reception. We asked Glenn to play it, and he did – right there on the spot. A special and once-in-a-lifetime moment.

I didn’t notice until that night how much Glenn’s music is full of struggle. I hear pain, sadness, and cynicism in it. Never have I witnessed so raw a struggle as I observed in Glenn during the show. I found myself praying for him. His references to God in his music encouraged me that he is still struggling forward, even as his life bears the scars of the past.

Here is a picture of my husband, Glenn, and me after the show:

20150205_233117From these experiences, I am learning a truth: we are all stumbling forward, painting the story of our own lives against a hidden backdrop. We cannot see in each detail the significance to the whole. Will, Eddie, Glenn all bear witness that our struggle is real. The glimpses of glory that God provides encourage us to rise again to meet the challenges of the day, believing one day we shall see how our painting comes together in God’s grand design. I pray for the courage to display the painting of my life – flaws, scars, and all. For the faith to step back from it, when it seems beyond repair, and believe God is creating something more beautiful than my eyes can see.

A masterpiece take time. All things in time. A song, and a promise that God is making all things new. Our imperfect lives bear witness to His masterpiece in every stage.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end”
(Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Keep painting your story. But don’t miss the masterpiece.