Inspiration

Watch oil painting “Wings of Heaven” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)

This oil painting was inspired by Psalm 36: 5-7 “Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies… You, Lord, preserve both people & animals…. People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

Sometimes I go looking for inspiration by trolling through my memories, searching for Scripture, looking at photographs, or by making lists of things that I feel would fit the collection I’m working on. That was true of the “Wings of Heaven” painting. I wanted something sky related and I looked for Scripture to give me ideas.

Other times, I paint from the heart after hearing music that stirs me, upon recalling a person or event, or after seeing something historic in the public sphere. What’s interesting is that it doesn’t seem to matter if I paint from my imagination, from looking at a personal photo, if using a stock photo as a reference, or any other source of inspiration- it makes no difference to YOU, the person I’m communicating with through my art.

I’ve found that you will respond to some paintings more strongly and intimately than others, but you are all very different in your tastes. You do not respond differently based on what has inspired me, or anything to do with me. Well, except for those of you whose spiritual strength is tied to empathy and therefore you respond more strongly to what you sense is meaningful to the artist… but that’s not because the art itself jumps out as “better” than the other works. It’s because of how you connect to others.

I have found it frustrating that I can’t predict what you want from me or plan my paintings based on what will be more popular, because I’ve found fans for virtually EVERY painting I’ve ever done, without much difference in popularity. Some of the paintings I don’t like, my own daughters will choose those instead of the ones that I think are my best. Of all the people on the planet, surely I’m the most similar to my own children- yet we don’t see my paintings the same way. How can I possibly expect to find universal agreement among people I’ve never met?

Some subjects are more popular than others, and some of my paintings have a controversial or emotional pull, but in the end, that doesn’t carry much weight when it comes to what you want to see from me. So, this has been a struggle, until I realized how off course I was in being overly concerned about what people want from me. It is a mistake I’ve made often throughout my life.

It’s FREEING to know that you don’t seem to care much what I paint, as long as I keep doing it. You will turn up as you wish, and you’ll connect with my work in unpredictable ways. One man specifically wanted me to one day paint a puffin, and I decided that it would fit in well with my plans for the 2021 collection about Nature. Another guy wanted a painting of redwing blackbirds. Several like my cardinal paintings, others like the eagles best. So you’d think that everyone likes birds then, right? No. They each had personal reasons for why these particular birds mean something to them. And, some people choose flowers. Others like angels. And many like it when I do something unexpected, like a piano or a frog.

I will stop trying to guess what you want, as your life is uniquely yours and you have your reasons for why some paintings draw you in and others don’t do much for you. You might not even know why you like certain things and feel nothing for others- you simply do or don’t. So I will keep painting and sharing, and I’ll let the language of art speak to you in your own way. It’s best for me anyway- it means I can simply paint what I’m inspired to paint, just as I’ve always done.


Peaceful Sunday

Watch oil painting “Wings of Heaven” come alive in 2 minutes

Psalm 36: 5-7 “Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies… You, Lord, preserve both people & animals…. People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

I shared this art with you in a rather long April blog post called “Shadow of your Wings” and also in an art technique post called “Painting Illusions“. But today, I just want to wish you God’s peace and love.

Happy Sunday

Play Video

Watch me paint “Flying to Heaven” in under 1 minute (time lapse). This was for a children’s book called “Grandpa Smiles“.

Here we are, another Sunday will be soon over, and July too is gone. It’s now August and a new season is upon us. As we approach this upcoming week together, I wish you a productive and joyful experience- no matter what turmoil and fear is outside our doors. Spiritually, may we maintain focus and inner peace.

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Painting Illusions

Artists create illusions. When painting in perspective, some objects appear nearer to the viewer while others recede into the background. In reality, the paint is on an even plane, a flat canvas. Shapes are stretched and skewed, which makes parts of the picture look to be in the distance, while really sharing the same space. In “Wings of Heaven“, the illusion of different layers and depths in the clouds is achieved through perspective.

In “The Moon and the Stars“, the illusion of luminosity, radiating light, is created through stark color contrast. White on deep purple looks like it’s glowing. The reality is that these hues come from ordinary tubes of oil paint, but when positioned next to each other the purple gives the illusion that the white paint “glows”.

In this final example, an illusion of reflection is created by distorted lines and patterns. “Blue Heron” was unintentionally muted and watercolor-like. It was the result of trying cheap budget oil paint. This was a happy accident though, because the watery brush strokes had a good effect on that project, in which the entire upper 2/3 of the composition is comprised of reflections of the wooded area across from the lagoon.

Here are two more examples for creating the illusion of reflection:

  1. Reflection is conveyed through light and shadow in this lighthouse painting.
  2. The reflection in “My Kids at the Beach” is created through colorful hues, distortion and a mirror-like plane. The mirror style is often the most realistic illusion method for reflection. I was pleased with how my kids’ reflections on the wet sand turned out.

“Flying to Heaven”

Watch Natalie paint this illustration from children’s book “Grandpa Smiles”

“This art (‘Flying to Heaven’) is the eighth illustration for my first oil painting book Grandpa Smiles, published in 2014. It is a short sweet inspirational and comforting children’s book about losing a grandparent. A family’s love is forever.”

NOTE: There are several more oil paintings featured in the book that do not have videos:

  1. The boy’s karate class attire and backpack
  2. His shoes
  3. Profile of the boy as preteen and teen
  4. Portrait of the boy’s grandparents on the wall

Items 2-3 were done on scrap flatboard. Item 4 was a previous painting for a gallery exhibit.

Go back to the Grandpa Smiles video page.

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