New Painting – Parrots

Watch me paint “Parrots” in 2 minutes (time lapse)

Some of you may be following my blog to be the first to see my new paintings, if so- today’s your lucky day! No talking, just painting. 😊 🎨

If you haven’t yet subscribed, please do so below. I use my oil paintings to blog about the beauty of life, philosophy and faith (I love metaphors), and this mysterious world we share. At the core of everything I share is a genuine wish for your prosperity and happiness, that the sun shine upon you and you are richly blessed. However, if what you’re looking for is art training or technique, you may find them here (blog series Compare 3) and here (free 12 week art course, take as few or as many classes as you like).

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Well, there must have been a bad moon a’rising because today was a horrible day. The close on our house was cancelled, and then thankfully

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Happy Day!

Today we had the opportunity to bring the kids to the house we’ll be closing on. Until now, they’d only seen the pictures and video.

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These birds have been coming around and stealing our strawberries! What a disappointment! I was enjoying a fresh berry with Cool Whip as a snack

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Easy Going

This painting was a “free paint” project, in which there is no reference, plan, or agenda other than to let the paints flow. I start

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“Fred” was my dad’s nickname for me. This painting was inspired by a black and white photograph he took to complete an assignment for a

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Wild Days

Ever feel that you live your life with reckless abandon, like these wild horses? What do they care about consequences or the worries of tomorrow?

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My daughter brought me one of the boxes she packed herself for our move, for me to load onto the POD container. She said it

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Ooh, Pretty!

These flowers are probably the closest thing I have right now to what my new “Freedom Rose” looks like, but imagine the buds and open

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Bearing Up

The PODS container was dropped off today. I spent hours packing the first round of our household, mostly by myself. I felt victorious, like this

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Thought this joyful hymn was a good choice to celebrate my good news update: WE GOT THE HOUSE! We still have the inspection and the

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Missed it?

If you missed last year’s Easter Show, here it is. It’s quite different from the 2022 show in many ways, but yet the general format

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Show Update

I finished the final taping segment for my Easter show today! When the video is finished I will launch the show, giving you time to

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Packing Up

I spent several hours today packing up my art in preparation for our unexpected move. You can probably recognize ones I’ve shared with you (in

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Gator Tale

Something interesting happened yesterday at the sale. It was the last day of the 2-day event and I was discouraged because we still hadn’t had

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What a Day!

I’m so exhausted, I feel like this jellyfish painting- surreal and floating. Guess what? Day one of the sale (I mentioned this yesterday) already exceeded

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No Word Yet

Our weather here is now beautiful, after being cold or raining for quite a stretch. I’m feeling like my tree landscape oil painting above- clear

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Whirlwind Day!

Mellow music, marshmallows on a stick, and dancing flames – a fire can be welcoming and sentimental – childhood memories, family vacations, and warmth on

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They’re Back!

The hummingbirds are BACK! LOL, I’ll tell you how I encountered their return. I was preparing for our unexpected move, and taking down the garden

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It’s a No

The update to yesterday’s post “Feeling Froggy?” is: no. No, the home owner is not willing to extend our lease by one month so that

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Painting Allegories

Allegorical paintings represent abstract concepts through pictorial symbols and extended metaphors. Artists paint one thing, while meaning another, or might literally paint allegories- as in, the painting depicts well known literary allegories. In which case, perhaps the art is a “double” allegory. Allegories are stories and symbols of moral importance, generalized truth, messages of warning or encouragement, and philosophy found in writing, theater, and art.

Narrow Way” was inspired by the allegory of a narrow difficult road to spiritual enlightenment and true happiness, while the road to destruction is wide and easy. The addition of an apple tree that produces poisonous fruit on one side, and life-sustaining fruit on the other was my own artist contribution and alludes to another well known metaphor for “good and evil”, “temptation”, and “free will”. Abstract concepts, conveyed through symbols and extended metaphors, may push an artist to paint in a different style.

Rather than painting a more natural incline in the two roads using perspective, skewing, distortion, and variation of hues, the paths are painted nearly flat, as if pictures on a map. A break from traditional techniques and approaches tells the viewer that this is a different type of painting. Why is it different? What does it mean? In this way, the artist succeeds in the goal of an allegorical painting: inspire the viewer to ponder the meaning of the art.

Narrow Way” is an allegory representing generalized truth about the human condition (the difficulty man sometimes has in choosing good over evil, resisting temptation). This type of allegory is shared by diverse scholars, playwrights, screenwriters, artists, musicians, educators, and leaders of world religions. While likely in disagreement about the analysis, moral responsibilities, or solutions, generalized truth itself is fairly universally accepted. In the next painting, “Predator and Prey Alike“, the allegory is philosophical, moving beyond generalized truth.

Predator and Prey Alike” depends heavily on painting techniques to convey action.  The extended metaphor is philosophical, proposing that the animal kingdom is treated equally by God, regardless of whether an animal is the king of beasts or his helpless prey, and the same is true of mankind. In the circle of life, all will die. None will reign forever. This allegory represents the concept that no human is higher than another in the eyes of God. All will eventually meet the same end. Tyrants with power to enslave others and their downtrodden peasants alike will meet the same fate.

Painting a generalized truth metaphor (like “Narrow Way“) may be depicted by a clean simple composition, while painting a philosophical allegory (like “Predator and Prey Alike“) may be represented with a complicated composition, containing many subjects, action, and busy storytelling elements. Of course those rules are made to be broken. When I throw out suggestions and strategies, they are merely meant as ideas; sharing what I’ve experienced in my own work.

In this last example of an allegorical painting, “Armor of God“, the intention is to provide a meaningful experience to the viewer. Painting for emotional impact relies on powerful contrasts and bold lines. The oils go from the darkest darks to the lightest lights, and the only spark of color is through the gold armor and radiant light. This painting relies on illusion to create a suspenseful and stirring composition.

Painting Rest

When we feel that someone may be resentful toward us, it’s difficult to be spiritually, emotionally and therefore even physically, at rest. My mom was a very private person who suffered indignities at the hospital. She would have been mortified to realize everything that happened to her, and for many of those experiences she was unfortunately alert and aware. As her caregiver, I felt responsible for what was done to her even though I had no power to intervene (I tried; I had no legal authority). When she died, I felt guilty for not stopping interventions that I knew she did not want; medical decisions made by nurses and doctors that were (to her) a degrading loss of dignity. 

When caring for Mom, I regularly brought her cut yellow roses from my beloved rose bushes in front of our big kitchen window. The morning after she died, I looked out at the roses and was startled to see a rabbit quietly sitting there. All day she sat there. The next day, she was there again. The next day, again. All day this rabbit sat in silent vigil at the roses. My family felt it was Mom’s spirit visiting us, helping us let go.

After days of looking out at the “Visiting Rabbit” sitting next to my roses, tension and stress from the dramatic events that happened at the hospital began to ease. How many times had I cut those roses for her? Dozens? More than that? What about shopping for her, cooking for her, doing her laundry, washing her hair, cleaning her bathroom and living area, bringing her gifts, and everything else that shall go unnamed? I had done my best. I had to believe that Mom was not resentful about what happened at the hospital or anything else. She was giving me permission to let go. Wasn’t that what the rabbit was for, to help us let go?

It’s healing to be forgiven by others, but when we choose to forgive ourselves, we are truly set free. Many of us believe that we are forgiven by the mercy and grace of God, and yet we may struggle to forgive ourselves for things we may not even be responsible for. When we choose to accept forgiveness from others, forgiveness from ourselves, and extend forgiveness outwardly as well, we have found a path toward spiritual, emotional, and physical rest.

Painting an intangible concept such as “rest” relies on shape, form and contrast. When we depict activity around a subject, that subject will in contrast then appear to be at rest. Surrounding the rabbit are bending, twisting, and spiraling shapes, indicating activity. The flowers are boldly yellow, heavily textured, loosely painted, and extend above the rabbit; who is low to the ground, lightly textured, tightly detailed and dimly hued in earth tones. The rabbit’s form is rigid, almost like a statue, and yet the eyes show a glistening life spot and the fur is so textured it’s almost as if we expect it to quiver from the rabbit’s breathing movements. The key is to create stillness while also expressing life

Art is philosophy. When we paint deeply introspective and intangible concepts such as “rest”, we bring insightful conversations to the language of art. To experience rest, a person’s needs must be met. What those needs are, can only be defined by ourselves. The fewer perceived needs, the easier it is to rest.

Sheltering Tree” is a spiritual and physical place of rest. Tranquility, meditation, prayerfulness, solitude, and stillness are conveyed through greens, blues, and earth tones- the colors of nature. So, when painting a natural landscape, an artist doesn’t really need to modify anything to depict rest. Nature has already shown it to us.

Docked Boat” represents how respite is always held for us, tied to our shore. When we need rest, go to the docked boat, untie the rope, and drift away until the stress looks small and far away. This could be a spiritual and emotional metaphor, but the concept is even better when also taken literally. While mental vacations and spiritual retreats are lovely, sometimes we need to physically get away. Such a vacation may or may not include active exercise in natural surroundings like rowing a boat across a lake, but regardless of activity or destination, putting real physical distance between ourselves and our daily lives is healthy and rejuvenating.

While “Visiting Rabbit” prepared us for rest (forgiveness, letting go, acceptance), and “Sheltering Tree” gave us what we needed (as determined by ourselves). “Docked Boat” encourages us to desire rest at regular intervals. Depicting “desire” in a painting can be conveyed by creating pleasant visuals that are receding, reflective, or obscured. Our human nature pines for that which we cannot have, but we can see just beyond our grasp.

In “Docked Boat“, the water line recedes- how far does it go? What’s the scenery like if we go there? What’s beyond? We can see reflections in the water; mirrors remind us of the passage of time. The past, present and future mingle into nostalgia and wistfulness, pining for something we can’t quite name. Recede, reflect, obscure. The boat is obscured by the bending, swaying tree branches that seem to taunt us. The more the boat is hidden, the more we want to see it. 

While the larger view is obscured, there’s the docking post, clear as day. Why, so is the rope! We can reach out and grab it, untie it.. and then everything we yearn for will be unveiled and accessible. “Rest” is waiting for us to choose it. Our future is held for us. We can row away from the things that tie us down when we choose to set ourselves free. Then, we’ll row back to the shore, refreshed and renewed, and ready once again for our endless pursuit of happiness- may we find it in meaningful work, love, laughter, and rest.