This old schoolhouse, only a few miles from our house, is starting to get covered up by the encroaching trees. I’m a little worried they’re going to tear it down some day; so I grab a photo whenever I can.
This is the second painting I’ve done of it; the first was two years ago and it quickly sold. I’ve just started a third, much more modern and abstract interpretation of a close-up of the entrance. It will be a 48″ x 48″.
Finished about a month ago, this painting never got posted. It was probably a subconscious attempt to keep it for myself. The works from my cloud series continue to be claimed quickly, but I’m being selfish and keeping this one above my mantle for as long as I can. There’s something about the expanse of sky in an open field that is satisfying a need deep within me. There’s a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1) and this is apparently my season to “look up!”
For those who aren’t drawn as much to the rural landscape as, say, urban expressions, I still have many pieces available in that vein which you can see under the home page (Paintings) tab.
Many blessings to you all, and may your soul also “look up!”
This is an interpretation of a photo my cousin-in-law took of a hotel on the beach of St. Augustine, FL, just after Hurricane Matthew came through.
It originally caught my attention because of its appealing colors and composition. But as I painted it, I kept pondering the significance of a beautiful piece of architecture which, although littered with the rubble of a tremendous storm, and doors and windows boarded over, still shines through with its beauty of form.
Of course, the spiritual analogy couldn’t escape me. Even when we are walking through the most difficult trial of our lives, with God’s grace, we can weather the storm with strength and dignity of spirit, not to mention His promised peace.
I snapped this photo during my last expedition to downtown Grand Rapids. The photo originally included the street and a bunch of other “noise.” But I often crop like crazy to get to what I really want: for me, it was these wires. In real life, there were about three times as many wires as what I painted.
Last weekend we hit peak color in my area of Michigan, so we took advantage of it and meandered around for three days. This was one of our stops one day, before we left Grand Rapids. Although I’ve painted this intersection a zillion times, these vibrant trees were screaming at me to catch them showing off! Who can argue when a tree is talking to you?
During our drives, we ate at a lovely place in Newaygo called River Stop Cafe. Old brick walls, extremely high ceilings, and delicious sandwiches. Just south of there near Grant was a farm market which demanded us to stop. Number one, it was called “Nelsons.” And number two, they advertised having the best long johns around. I’m currently on a quest to see if anybody can beat the long johns at Royal Dutch Bakery in Grandville (formerly known as Steenstra’s). Nelsons was good on certain levels (I was all prepared to give you my detailed critique, but then I remembered this is not a food blog); but Royal Dutch Bakery still claims first place for me.
Back to art. I’m painting furiously, before the wind drives all the beautiful leaves off the trees. I’m afraid that once the color outside of my windows is gone, I will lose my inspiration to paint it, even though I have it recorded on some amazing photographs. I know me. I love neutrals; and once the countryside takes on the peaceful, washed-out hues of dried grasses and corn stalks, and the bare trees become elegant statues silhouetted against the steely-gray skies… . My heart will follow.
During my first ever solo exhibition, held at Go Java on Ionia Avenue, my friend Christ pointed at the Richmond Stamp sign across the street and said, “You should paint that.” I didn’t see it at the time, but because I trust her artistic eye, over the years I kept looking at that building when I’d drive by. Five years later I finally found a point of view that intrigued me. Thanks, Christi, for teaching me to see art and beauty in sometimes-unlikey places.
This is my second painting of the ground-level corner of the McKay Tower in downtown Grand Rapids. Of course it includes my “signature” component: that luscious edge on the building where shade and sunlight meet! I will probably succeed in getting a better photo of the painting at some point in the future. (The shaded side of the building is actually a little darker in the original painting, I think.)