"This illness is to fatigue,
what a match is to a nuclear bomb.
It's an absurd mischaracterization!"
~Laura Hillenbrand

July 31, 2007

End of July - End of Good Month

Well... tomorrow it becomes August. Wow - where did the summer go? I had the best month of health I have had in... at least a year! Wow!

But - at least for now, that is gone - like July is gone.

I've been sitting here for an hour, trying to put into words what it is like to have a month like this end... but I can't. I can't get my brain to work, I can't explain what the fatigue is like, I can't even put into words all the fun things I did this past month.

But I felt I needed to touch bases with you all. So instead of words... let me share some of the "worship in art" that I've enjoyed this month!




























I also spent a lot of time working on a very special comission and I hope to post about this soon!

Thanks for visiting!!!

July 20, 2007

What I Learned from Leonardo Da Vinci

Some of you read both my personal blog and my art blog. But for those who don't, I am still so moved by doing this painting that I wanted to share this blog with you. So I have basically copy and pasted my Da Vinci blog here. I hope you enjoy it.



Another month - another Master's challenge on Watercolor's Wet'n Wild (my eBay watercolor group). And - oh my... it's Leondardo Da Vinci!!!

I love Da Vinci's ability to capture a "real" person in his paintings. Of course, his Mona Lisa is the most famous, but I must admit she never really intrigued me. (I know that may be because I have never seen her in real life.)

But a couple of years ago - my kids and I were studying World History and using a literature based curriculum. We read "The Second Mrs. Giaconda" - which tells the story of Da Vinci and how he might have come about painting the Mona Lisa. There is a lot of speculation on who she is and why Da Vinci painted her!

I was daunted by this WnW challenge... I don't paint portraits! I've tried a few - which turned out OK - but also proved that I need a lot more understanding and learning before I could ever paint a good portrait.

But, before giving up, I decided to search the web for images of his paintings. What interested me even more were his sketches. I knew he did sketches - many of them... but how interesting to try to do a "sketch" type of watercolor! Still... I can't do faces... so that seemed a little out of my reach.

Then I found a sketch that made me stop and gaze. It was a very sweet - gentle, woman's face. After a minute of marveling at her beauty - I noticed something peculiar!

The eyes were off....

One eye was looking at the viewer and the other eye was like a lazy eye - looking off to the left.

I was born with two eyes that are not coordinated - they work individually, on their on. This means that I am usually only really looking with one eye! The other eye often travels off and rests because I'm not using it.

If I hadn't had 5 surgeries as a young child, I'd be blind in one eye now. But instead, the surgeons worked on the muscles, and I had eye therapy - teaching me to use both eyes and I can still see out of both eyes. They do still travel off - especially if I am sick or very tired. But I can see fine!

But the "seeing" is only one part. As a little girl, I knew that my strange eyes threw people off (still do) - they don't know where I'm looking or who I'm looking at - and often I felt self conscious and ugly. My dimples - I thought - were my saving factor.


So I began to work on a watercolor painting that would look like this sketch (doubting I could really do it.) I created an old paper background with various watercolor paints including Buff Titanium which is opaque and Antique Gold which leaves the slightest shimmer under it's brown tone. Then I began to sketch. I was surprise how easy it was - like God's hand was in mine.

I finished it off with strokes of mixed colors to look "sketch-like" and then added some thin brushes of color for effect. I shaded with the typical Paynes grey - but overlaid that with Antique gold.

Here is the result:




It's an ACEO - 2.5"x3.5"

As I finished it - I began to cry. I realized - the beauty wasn't in her eyes - or her features at all... but in the gentleness rising out of her heart. This is what Da Vinci saw and painted in almost everyone one of his portraits. In his paintings - the Mona Lisa included - it's the beauty of the heart of the woman he was painting that shines through!

"Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God"
~1 Peter 3:4-5~

I was reminded of true beauty as I completed this painting. And the tears that welled up were because I knew - once again - that God's light in my life - creating a gentle and loving heart - made me beautiful again... even with eyes that look a little strange!

I pray that you too may experience what I experienced - a reminder of what makes one truly beautiful!

~Melanie

July 18, 2007

Liquid Sunshine

Here it is - July and it's raining!!!

I'm having an amazingly unusual week! My kids have all gone to "Experience the Valley" (a summer camp in Tygh Valley, OR). Marie is counseling, Ellen's last year and Chris' first! It's usually HOT HOT HOT and they come home tanned and tired from the Whitewater rafting, water skiing, hikes, work days, field games and more. But I'm guessing they didn't pack warm enough this year!

But here I am sitting home - experiencing the silence that accompanies and empty nest....

Not quite ready for it to be permanent, but I must admit I am enjoying some very quiet contemplative time.

Bill decided we would make it a special fun week and started planning out a "European Adventure" for us.... I was a bit worried as I never know how I'm going to feel. For example - I went to church Saturday night - feeling pretty good! But halfway into the third song - I suddenly felt like a balloon who lost it's air. I began to sink lower in my chair. By the middle of the service I was sick to my stomach, lightheaded and has to go home. I missed the sermon - but sure enjoyed the worship!!!

Back to our "European Adventure"... Bill and I planned foods I could hopefully eat and a variety of European type outings... visits to the Farmer's Market, Art Museum's, a quiet dinner on the patio with flowers and international flags hanging all around.... it's been a great week!

In keeping with the theme of this week, I painted this little 4"x4" "French Lavender Fields".




I am amazed at how painting is such a time of worship and drawing close to God for me. I am still trying to put it all into words - but I hope to write a whole blog on it soon! I think it has to do with the "Spiritual Pathways" that different people walk, to relate to God. If you haven't read it - you really should..."Spiritual Pathways" by Gary Thomas.

I am, what he calls, a "Sensate". I draw close to God through my senses... smell, taste, sound, and of course, sight. I think that's what makes my painting such a worshipful experience. That and I'm also a person who loves to celebrate and painting seems to celebrate God's beautiful and fun creations.

[WOW - a downpour!!!! There go all the roses!!!]

Well... real quick - cause I really need a nap - physically I'm in a fairly stable holding pattern at the moment. No stomach flare ups in the past two weeks. I get a couple of hours each morning and evening where I can think and paint and play games with the kids. Otherwise, I'm sleeping or watching a State video. That's right! A State video.... I've checked out almost every video the Library has on different US States... it's been a fun and interesting way to learn more about our country.

Thanks for visiting ... come back soon cause I have something I want to share about Leondardo Da Vinci and two more blogs stewing in the back of my mind!

Cheers!

PS: The painting is up for auction on eBay if you're interested... click here