Let’s face it: we love lovely.
We love beautiful places and spaces,
colorful trinkets and their cases,
an artful life of lovely that enriches us
but isn’t limited to only the rich and artistically gifted.
Lovely is simply where beauty is birthed from our loves.
God’s love conveys it best.
And when the world seems too ugly
the enchanting sensibility of lovely is
if it starts in our hearts,
shoots up through our minds
and meanders through our souls and others for always,
coloring our worlds in the rich rhythms of life.
For we can travel the world over and never find lovely
unless lovely abides within us.
Yet we must purpose to seek it
because what we don’t seek
unpaints our life-scapes,
our still lifes.
Living lovely is an art . . .
Not just the dusty paintings in art museums . . .
Whew! That’s good because like me,
you’re probably not a Rembrandt either.
You’re not supposed to be. You’re you!
You’re an artistic expression by God’s design.
Artwork with time design
Always in season.
I risk sounding trite:
But you are a masterpiece still in the making,
priceless, valued, beyond compare.
Pointillist painter Georges Seurat said
“The painter does not see reality as others do.
His eye translates the invisible
and uncovers the true nature of what he looks at.”
We’re to be that kind of artist:
Seeing the Art of Living always in our World as
colors splash across the universe,
beyond what we can imagine,
expressing your emotions with hues, intensities and values,
texturizing you through the rough and tough times
while polishing you until smooth,
Life alters our varying perspectives—2D flat and vastly 3-Deep.
God created us to experience it, sense it,
grasp it with arms open wide,
without knowing you are,
it’s so innate, so freely inherent if you let it.
That was the beauty of His plan: You, like no other!
Exquisite! That’s what you are! Finely knitted together by His design.
Experience it. Rejoice in it!
And while you’re looking, do you see that heart-shaped mud puddle?
That hashtag cloud?
Do you recognize God’s tweets throughout the day just for you?
Can you fathom how the art of lovely living
is part of your spiritual make-up
made evident through your senses,
ingrained within your soul
relevant to your everyday
in eye-widening power.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said,
“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful,
for beauty is God’s handwriting.”
Lovely living is
Our art in the making.
Because when you possess beauty, you reflect beauty.
Beauty is fruitful and nourishing, overflowing, not stingy,
Beauty wants others to thrive and flourish.
Beauty is ever curious.
Beauty is Jesus living large in us on earth.
And just for today remember
Living lovely is for your everyday,
even those dried-up-well days . . .
having emptied out your last bucket in reserve
in your roles as a child of elderly parents, spouse, mother, sibling, friend, employee, volunteer, everything to everyone, having denied yourself the right to refill. For those who lost a loved one, live more to honor them.
Living lovely means fresh springs eternal
that flush clean the debris that clings
if we let it.
It’s not the thing of the matter—it’s the air it brings.
Order to your chaos.
Life to your bones.
It’s an Art . . . Lovely is.
In this all-about-Pinterest & Post-your-imagined-dream-life
to the Instagram/Facebook—Post-only-your-best-you-life we reveal,
we sometimes fade pale watching
all of the gorgeous displays of others’ lives
and their spectacular days and ways.
Yet, we can’t live our lives through others. That’s not our purpose.
For everyone else’s success isn’t against you.
Enjoy them, don’t envy them.
Because you get to develop what fits you,
what expands your world,
the stunning displays of your radiance found true to you.
There’s no hyping us up when God’s lovely abides,
His love is too rich and too deep.
Developing the art of living lovely allows you
to recognize those aspects of artful living
that are relevant for your distinct composition.
In your expressions—real and abstract, romantic or not.
Once you recognize what suits you, literally suits you,
you can boldly live your art—
your symmetry & asymmetry.
Don’t let another day escape without discovering God’s ever-growing design in you
and the art of lovely living.
Whatever is lovely, think [think, think] on these things.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
Some travel photos from our survey trip to Lisbon and three weeks in Italy.
Barren Land for Brittany’s 1/2 Bday
Spring is always representative of new life:
I’ll always remember the time my granddaughter, Elizabeth Ann, all of three years, climbed into my art chair. I rolled it closer to the drafting table, and Elizabeth waited patiently, expectantly, as I pulled out the new box of chalk pastels. Lifting the lid, I watched her eyes widen and she gasped at their beauty. Her tiny fingers reached toward the brightly colored chalks, those softly colored chalks, and her fingers ever so lightly grazed over them. She was a child in wonder of simple beauties, as we should be. No one taught her to be that way. Her drawing towards beauty was innate, her three-year-old heart was already caressing the pure acts of lovely living.
(In the photo above) One June with a houseful of family, E’s little sister Grace–at barely two–wandered into my art room, climbed upon the stool and began painting as though she had been painting for years. Gratefully all she had were dried-out paints and a bunch of brushes. No one had shown her during her rambunctious toddler years how an artist paints with a brush. Fingerpainting in her high chair with catsup and smashed peas had been sufficient until that day. While on my stool painting, Grace was immersed in overwhelming peace.
I painted the flowers above that have since traveled with its owners to Antigua, Guatemala.
If you want to see authentic beauty living large–meet Rita and Cary Sills. I recently saw them at church (their church for years and now our new one). They were back in the country visiting with their family and church family Fellowship Bible Church in Searcy, AR. After hugs and reminicsing, Rita said she still had the fire screen I had painted for her 15 years before.
She said, “We don’t have a fireplace now, so I’ve hung it on the wall as artwork.”
A week later I received this photograph. Their smiles tell it all. They left their beautiful home and extraordinary son, daughters, new inlaws and grandchildren to be where they believed God was leading them. They’ve always had missionary hearts. Find out more about their ministry work at caryandritasills.blogspot.com.
FROZEN TIMES (Photograph)
The fountain in our front yard reminds me each winter we all have frozen times in our lives, times when we’re meant to be still, when time stands still. Yet, once we look closely, more intently, we’ll discover life still flows, deeper, stronger it flows.
“Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” Psalm 116:7
A Dog’s Life
This 11″ x 14″ acrylic was commissioned as a gift to honor a dear family dog’s life.
Abby was a happy dog with a sad face. Not sure how that works.
She simply took her life’s purpose seriously, obligated to defend her family, eat everything voraciously set before her and sleep wherever humans sleep, just hours more.
Idaho and Still Life Painting
In June, Bill and I had the pleasure of traveling to Oregon and Idaho as we check off visiting each state together. We have 13 states left. I spent five days attending an art workshop taught by Frank Covino and getting to know some of NW America’s best.
The 16″ x 24″ oil landscape I began at the workshop is still incomplete, but I share it with you so you can see it as a work in progress. So like us, huh?
Some other artwork I’ve done–oils, watercolor, pastels, polymer clay and photographs–continue below.
The Beauty of a Textured Life is a 30″ x 40″ acrylic I painted for the Spark of Life Annual Gala’s Live Auction on June 27. (It’s meant to be lopsided:)
It is from the series: Openings & Closings, Windows & Doors, Opportunities & Venues into What God has in Store.
“Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.” Proverbs 8:34
Jesus said: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-7
The door was painted from a photo I took while on a cultural art exchange with the mayor of San Miguel del Allende. This beautiful European-like city is filled with art galleries and a Gothic cathedral that draws an international crowd. The door to this house was on a mountainside that overlooked the city.
Not all paintings have to be carefully thought out. Some are meant to be a moment’s expression. Spontaneous at best, we get to submit to that urgency to make art. To risk sharing the 15-minute paintings, opens one up to the scrutiny of Rembrandt Realists. So I remind you and me, art is too vast, emotions too strong to confine. Simply enjoy. AER
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org