Bible Art Journaling

Isn’t it wonderful to stumble upon something that resonates with you? Recently, online I had seen that some people were drawing and painting right in their Bibles. This really drew me in. I love art. I love to create. I know that God made me that way because He is my Creator. I’ve endeavored to use my art to glorify Him and this was such an intriguing idea to me. To use art while meditating on verses from the Bible sounded just right.

However, I was apprehensive to doodle in my Bible. What if I made a mistake? What if it turned out ugly? Was it dishonoring to God’s word? My ever wise hubby finally cleared this quandary for me by saying, “Hon, monks have been drawing in Bibles for centuries.” Of course! I love looking at illuminated Bibles. So, I finally just jumped in and did it. I bought a wide margin Bible for journaling first. And then I joined an online group for Bible Art Journaling. Rebekah R Jones picks a verse each week to journal and video tapes herself doing it. She is graciously sharing her journey and expertise with us for free! How amazing is that?! Here are some verses that I have done with her group so far.Be BraveLaughBe Bold as a LionMake a Joyful Noise

I am enjoying it so much, that I decided to do a verse from my devotions. I started out with drawing in marker.As for me and my house

Then added some color with acrylic ink and watercolor crayons. Oh, I used gel pens too.We will serve the Lord

How about you? Wouldn’t you love to join in with us? I hope I see you on the Bible Art Journaling facebook page. God bless you as you meditate on His love letter to you.


Watercolor Journaling

I’ve pretty much fallen in love with journaling.  Although I like to write and always thought I should keep a journal or diary, it just didn’t happen. Filling an entire page with words seem intimidating. So did art journaling, at first.

But, it’s just paper! I can fill it however I want…words, drawings, paintings. I might even start taping things into it. Some things just beg to be painted, like the man in the hat at the pool. I’m not sure he realized he was begging to be painted, but I just had to do it.DSC_0888 2-001

In trying to paint each day, I’m finding it a bit challenging to find subjects. It was time to paint the Portland Head Light again, this time for me. I felt very brave and sketched this one in pen first. No pencil!DSC_0890 2

Working from my photographs is really wonderful. It brings back all kinds of memories and is a way to notice each detail once again. This nuthatch was one that I photographed on Christmas day one year at my son and daughter-in-law’s house. As much as I love the bird, this also brings back fond recollections of our time with family.DSC_0886 3

Next, I worked from another photo to paint a building in Sarasota that reminds me of Italy. I got even braver and did this one by painting without sketching first at all. I added some ink lastly.  This one I need to do again, on location!DSC_0934 2-001

While looking for subjects, Matt kept saying, “Why don’t you paint the roses I gave you?” Those beautiful red roses of love looked really difficult to me. So, I put it off until they were on their last legs and then thought, “Why not try?” I laid these three on the picnic table and gave it a whirl.DSC_0944 2

Now, I’ll always remember the lovely Valentine’s gift from my sweetheart! So glad I tried it out!

One last watercolor to show you. I’ve been working in journals that are made for watercolor and thought they were fine. But I am enjoying being part of a artist journal group on facebook and kept hearing about Moleskine journals and how wonderful they are. I decided to get one and try it out. What a difference! I think I’ll be using Moleskine from now on. What better way to start the new journal than with one of my favorite creatures?DSC_0948 2

Have you kept a journal? I’m sure glad I started. Already, I love leafing through the pages I’ve completed. It shows a journey of art and adventure. Well, I’m off to look for another subject…

You may enjoy another post about watercolor painting here and this one too!

Practicing Watercolor Painting

Between going through torture at the physical therapist’s for my frozen shoulder, yoga, doing laundry and sight seeing, I’ve been practicing painting. So much to learn about the play of color with water over the paper. I’ve just jumped right in with painting from photos I took.

Here is one based on a photo that I took in Annapolis, MD. I thought the flowers looked so lovely coming through the railing.DSC_0854 2DSC_0839 3

Although I was happy with my sketch, the colors seemed to compete with each other. Hmmmm, I must make sure to keep whatever is the main object to stand out more. Next, I worked from a photo of a butterfly in my garden.

Such a gorgeous butterfly and flower! So fun that they were in my garden. I’m wishing I had left more white paper on the page. Also, I want to learn to add more depth. But all that will come with practice! I may try painting from this photo again.DSC_0846 4

One of the classes here at the RV park was teaching about mixing colors. It only took part of a page, so I practiced some continuous line drawing. Without lifting my pencil, I drew the tulips, leaves and bottle that they were in. I was surprised that they turned out that well! Hand lettering is a challenge for me. I am so used to typing on the computer. Maybe if I slow down when I write and think of each letter as art too.DSC_0853 3

I thought I had purchased good watercolor paint, but at the art class, the teacher told me that I had student quality paint. They seemed good to me, but I decided that I wanted to experience some artist quality paint. After pricing tubes of paint at Michaels, I decided to purchase a small palette of pan paints. These will be great for using while traveling. And who knows how long I’ll stay with painting anyway! I had fun painting my palette and making a color wheel.DSC_0845 3

It seems challenging to find subjects for painting in our camper. I finally put some fruit on a plate along with our weird blue knife. I had it laid out just right and someone came along and ate some of the slices of orange! Took a bit of rearranging to get the composition the way I wanted again. I used the continuous line drawing method again and as I was drawing it I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to turn out well. But, look! I’m actually pretty pleased with it. I drew a decorative birdie that way too. Practiced a bit more on lettering.DSC_0848 3

I want to work on painting some everyday. But on this particular evening, I was very tired and couldn’t find anything in the camper to draw. I finally just doodled this and painted it. It was a blessing to write things I’m thankful for around the outside.DSC_0842 3

Finally, I’ve always wanted to paint on site or “plein air” as the art community calls it. Since I now have a little palette, I decided to jump in again and give it a go. John Ringling made his home in Sarasota, Florida and I find the mansion intriguing. What better subject to practice on then one with lovely colored windows?! I told Matt that it was quite intimidating to sit out in view of other people and paint. Very vulnerable. But what a way to learn. As I sat soaking in the bright sunshine, I became oblivious to whatever  was going on around me. Total absorption. A few people did come over to see what I was doing and they were sweet about it. Some day, I will be better at it….if I keep practicing!

You may enjoy another post about watercolor painting here and this one too!

Art Endeavors at Sun-N-Fun

As you’ve probably already figured out, I enjoy art in many forms: making jewelry, photography, mixed media collage, crochet, embroidery and scherenschnitte. I’ve made attempts at drawing and painting, but have so much to learn. My time here in Florida gives me opportunity to work on it. There are several free art classes here in the park that are led by very talented volunteers. I have gone to two drawing classes. The first one covered perspective.DSC_4953 2

The second one did too, but he also had us look at our hand and draw it. We had to start drawing and never look at our paper and couldn’t lift the pencil either. The teacher said this sort of exercise would help train our observing skills. Here is my attempt.DSC_4961 2

The class has not taught us any painting, but I really want to learn how to use watercolors. I ordered a DVD, but it hasn’t come yet and all my books are at home. Unfortunately,I don’t remember anything I learned when I did it with the kids for homeschooling. I decided to break out my little watercolor set and just give it a try.DSC_4860 2

First I played with each color in my art journal. It gave me something to do during the Super Bowl!

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Then, I decided to sit outside and draw the mobile home across the street. I figured it would be good practice in perspective. The spiky palm trees were more difficult than I anticipated.DSC_4960 3

I feel pretty vulnerable putting that one out there, but thought I’d just share my painting journey with you. Next, I decided to add color to a sketch that I did in Maine at the Doubling Point LighthouseDSC_4957 2

It was fun to add color and to think back on our Maine trip. I think each time I use the watercolors, I am learning a bit more. Maybe I’ll get brave and go to the class tomorrow where people just bring something they are working on and learn from others. Can’t hurt to go once, right?!

Speaking of art, I got a package in the mail. It was from Matt’s niece, Melissa. I have only seen her a couple times but we are facebook friends. I couldn’t imagine what it could be. It was something handmade!DSC_4962 2

Melissa said as soon as she saw the fabric that it just said my name to her! There are butterflies on the outside and look at the fabric inside. I love the words: cherish, be inspired, be joyful, be grateful.DSC_4967 2

It’s a gorgeous quilted tote bag! Beautifully made! Just perfect to carry all my art supplies to my classes.DSC_4950 2

Thanks, Melissa! That sure does make me inspired. Now, should I paint something or start a new embroidery project?

Embroidery and Paint

I’ve just got to brag about my friend’s art! Peggy is one of my art buddies. We met through a Bible study and soon found out that we both love to create. Last autumn, I asked if she would like to take an online art class with me, Brave Girl Art School. Soon we were throwing paint onto canvas along with fabric, beads, paper and even twigs! We met weekly to work on projects together. She was a great encouragement to me to just jump in and try something new.

We are still attending the same Bible study, but the art class is over and life got busy so we don’t do mixed media together anymore. She is still creating though! And I love her latest projects. Peggy says that embroidery that I did recently inspired her to do embroidery right on a canvas that is prepared for painting. I was working on this wren piece that I completed in the summer. (Here is a post about the wren project.)

This is a closeup of the wren that I stitched this past summer.

This is a closeup of the wren that I stitched this past summer.

My mother-in-law taught me to do these kinds of projects by attaching the fabric to stretcher bars before working them instead of using a hoop. It’s a great alternative!

I staple the fabric onto the stretcher bars. This is the back of my piece.

I staple the fabric onto the stretcher bars. This is the back of my piece.

You never have to move a hoop and there are no marks left over. Peggy thought that I was going to just leave the embroidery on the stretcher bars and hang it. That was not what I had planned for my wren piece. But it spurred on her imagination!

The result is beautiful! By using a canvas that is ready for paint, Peggy was able to color the background with watercolor paint and then stitch through the canvas. DSC_9822 2

She even added beads!DSC_9823 2

I plan to steal her idea..the one that was inspired by my work. Isn’t it wonderful how we can help each other? Thanks, Peggy for the great idea!

Here is Peggy holding her beautiful art pieces! They are ready to hang!

Here is Peggy holding her beautiful art pieces! They are ready to hang!

The Dreamed of Lighthouse

What is it about lighthouses that is so appealing?! As many of you know, I’ve been dreaming about seeing one in particular, the Portland Head Lighthouse, and have even written about it here. But even before I painted a lighthouse, they were intriguing. They are a beautiful shape that shoots up into the sky spilling light into the dark void. Lighthouses help the wandering, confused and hurt. Lightkeepers led a solitary and often dangerous life willing to forsake their own safety to help others. Lastly, to me lighthouses and lightkeepers represent a simpler time when putting others first was not as unusual. That is what I’ve come up with so far in my lighthouse contemplation. I may still come up with more. But, I can’t wait any longer to tell you about my experience with the dreamed of lighthouse!

We arrived in Maine with just enough time to set up camp and go to bed. Matt started talking about the next day when we would head into Portland. “Why not get up early and see the lighthouse during the sunrise,” he asked. What? Sunrise? I don’t do sunrises! Now, sunsets, those I love but sunrises are scheduled way too early for me. So, I pointed out that little problem PLUS our campground was planned for being central to several other things to see in Maine, but it was an hour and a half away from Portland. Lets see, sunrise at about 6 am and 1.5 hours away. That is getting up sort of early for me! (a bit of understatement here.) However, my sweet husband can be quite convincing and he mentioned more than once how disappointed I would be if I didn’t do this thing. So, we set the alarm for 4 am.

It wasn’t as difficult as I anticipated to pull myself from the warm sheets the next (ummm, can you call it morning?) morning. I was excited about this lighthouse and the opportunity to take my own photo of the most photographed lighthouse in the USA. Plus, Matt drove the distance and the passenger seat was quite snuggly. We arrived just as the predawn light was beginning. Here was my first photo of the day.Portland Head Lighthouse - First Look

Excitement was the main feeling but I was frustrated too. Low light photography is nearly impossible without a tripod and I pretty much hate tripods. But I had it with me and planned to use it anyway. When we got to the lighthouse, (which did I mention was quite a way from our campground?) I found that the tripod was not to be used that day. Previously while in Mystic Seaport, I had used the tripod with my antique camera and left the base plate attached to it. You guessed it, that camera was still in the camper. So, I proceeded to take all these photos hand-held as the sun began to rise.Portland Head Lighthouse - Morning Sky Lightens

This problem did not deter me from trying however. I clicked away and didn’t realize just how many photos I was taking. Later when I counted it up, it was an unbelievable 599 images! My niece has declared me as quite crazy, but I do have a defense. This beautiful lighthouse’s light was rotating sending out rays towards me only periodically. So, I began trying to time my clicks to when the light faced me. As it got lighter, I saw all the waves of the sea and decided that I should try to get both the light and a wave! Took a lot of tries, but here is one where I captured both.Portland Head Lighthouse - with a wave

So far, all my photos had been before the sun had even peeked it’s lovely form over the horizon. Finally, it pierced through the gloom and shone against the windows of the keeper’s house.Portland Head Lighthouse - sun is just about up

The clouds began to break up and I kept trying to get just the perfect shot.Portland Head Lighthouse - getting brighter

We were staying for several more hours. A sweet blessing was ours this day. Even with all my planning for this trip I had no idea that this was a special day. One day out of the year, Maine declares to be Open Lighthouse Day when over two dozen sites are open for free to the public. Several of these lighthouses are not open the rest of the year or if they are you need to pay to go in them. Portland Head has a museum in the keeper’s house, but the lighthouse itself is not open to the public. On our day there, it was! We just had to wait in line for one of the 300 tickets being made available for the day. My wonderful hubby was happy to wait while I clicked away. I enjoyed watching birds flying around the lighthouse.Portland Head Lighthouse

Finally, I decided to wait along with him. Plus, we were getting hungry since we didn’t eat breakfast when we woke at that early hour. Matt asked me if I wanted to go get breakfast, which was in the truck in the parking lot. I said yes, and proceeded to bring it down with me to the line so he could eat with me. He then explained that he meant that we would take turns eating in the truck because he was afraid of a riot in the line. We did attract quite a bit of attention as we ate our hard boiled eggs and bacon that I had cooked the night before. Thankfully, the others in line were a friendly bunch and mostly poked fun of us instead of trying to get our food. In fact, we enjoyed listening to their Maine accent as they told of places to eat and things to photograph. Most of them were fellow photographers there to get the classic sunrise shot. Finally, we got our ticket. We just needed to wait another hour until our scheduled time to ascend the lighthouse.DSC_7238 2

We spent the time getting a geocache nearby and walking in the park around the lighthouse. I enjoyed the flowers planted there and of course took more photos.DSC_7233

Finally, the time came to enjoy the privilege of Open Lighthouse Day. Everyone was so friendly and happy as they climbed the pretty stairs.DSC_7269 2 DSC_7264 2

We all felt quite privileged and enjoyed the view of the rocky coast below. DSC_7244 DSC_7243 DSC_7242

What an amazing view! We were able to see the light too. It look like a satellite to me. DSC_7261 2

A fellow lighthouse lover took our photo at the top.DSC_7248

It was a wonderful time at my longed for lighthouse. But we left soon afterwards to fit in two more lighthouses that would be free for us to see that day.  Just a couple more pics.DSC_7290 2Portland Head Lighthouse - one last look

Happy me at Portland Head Lighthouse. And ready to take on the rest of Maine!DSC_7285 2

Maine and Watercolor Painting

I’m planning our next adventure! Ever since 1999, I have wanted to go to Maine and I’m researching campgrounds and activities. My, oh my, there seems to be a lot to do in Maine. But what happened in 1999 that has brought on this Maine bug? So glad you asked!

Our three sons were just youngsters then and I was homeshooling them. They were finally to an age that we needed to do some real art rather than just color and paste. So, I bought a book about watercolor painting.

We didn't have internet in 1999, so I endeavored to learn watercolor painting from books.

We didn’t have internet in 1999, so I endeavored to learn watercolor painting from books.

I had always remembered the title of the book as, Watercolor Painting for the Artistically Challenged and have told the story with that title. But as I was sorting through the art books, I came across the wonderful gem again. It is actually Watercolor for the Artistically Undiscovered which is a MUCH better name! This little book gave our sons and me the confidence to try it for ourselves!

These are just a few of the watercolor paintings that our sons did for homeschool in 1999.

These are just a few of the watercolor paintings that our sons did for homeschool in 1999.

It didn’t matter that we had no clue what we were doing. We were artists..but just undiscovered! I practiced right along with them and found that I really enjoyed it! So, I bought more books, practiced some and then decided to try a real painting. A favorite photo from my childhood was just begging to be painted.

One of my favorite photos from my childhood.

One of my favorite photos from my childhood.

This sunset stroll was captured by my dad. I’m that itty bitty baby girl between my mom and my four big brothers. Such a tender moment and two of my favorite things: family and sunsets. I always wished my dad was in the photo too. So, I set out to paint this gem.

I placed a hat on my dad because he loves hats. It was wonderful to see the whole family together, but I wasn’t too happy with the painting. In trying to get sunset colors, it just got muddy looking. I did frame it, but it has been in our bedroom where people can’t see it. I probably would have stopped with art right then except for my dad.

My first attempt at a watercolor painting.

My first attempt at a watercolor painting.

It was nearing Christmas time and he oooed and awwwed over this painting of our family. Then he said those exciting but terrifying words. As he hugged me good-bye, he whispered, “Paint me a lighthouse for Christmas.” WHAT?! How could he think I could do that? Obviously, my painting skills were lacking. But I sure wanted to do something special for him. He has always made incredible works of art and given them to me for Christmas. So, I looked at photos of lighthouses, picked my favorite one and gave it a go.

This is the lighthouse that I painted for my dad.

This is the lighthouse that I painted for my dad.

It was so much fun working with more colors rather than just sunset colors! I still really didn’t have a clue what I was doing with watercolor painting, but I was happier with the results and inspired. Inspired to try more artistic endeavors. Inspired by a dad who knew just when to urge me a bit further.

Since then, I have always wanted to go to Maine and take my own photo of this lighthouse, Portland Head Light on Cape Elizabeth. I’d love to sit on the shore and sketch it too. Can’t wait to go!! And in the meantime, I hope I have encouraged you to just give it a go. Is there some form of art that has been calling your name, but you have been afraid to try? I’m whispering to you now, “Paint me a lighthouse!”