Dark Night of the Soul Watercolor Sketch


Have you ever gone through a dark time? Maybe you know why you are feeling down, because there is a specific problem in your life, or maybe, you have absolutely no clue why you are feeling down. Day after day, something just isn’t right. It hurts and you can’t fix it.

If I asked you, where is that feeling located? Can you put your finger on it?  You might say…No, it’s too deep.

The deep can be a scary place, but see there’s hope. God’s Spirit reaches your spirit in the deep.

Look what David wrote when he was really depressed and filled with anxiety:

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers have swept over me.
By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life.    Ps 42:7-8

He opened up. Distressed but still… by day love and at night, song. There is no hurt too far out of God’s reach, for He loves you. Let your profound rooted feelings speak from your deep to the deep of the One who cares. If you don’t know how to start, try this: “God, please help me.” He can take over from there.

I painted this watercolor sketch without the intention of a message. It’s funny how they just come out like that. Hopefully it has helped you, wherever you are.

Death, Time, and Purpose watercolor sketch



I’ve tried to sketch this dead tree many times before. It lives in a popular park that I escape to regularly. For one reason or another, I could never get close enough due to visitors.

It wasn’t time yet.

Yesterday I got lucky and was the only one there. As I began to sketch, a random memory came to my mind. I remembered looking at a dead tree once and a child asked me, “Why don’t they just cut it down? It’s dead.”

I proceed to explain that even thought the tree cannot provide life for new leaves, it was providing for others…shelter for the birds, food for the insects, which in turn means food for the birds, and a host for fungi.
It has purpose. Even some we can’t see.

It wasn’t time yet.

Now, my mind is bringing me to my Grandmother. A week shy of 95. In poor health. Missing mobility and all things independent. She wants to go home to the Father, but can’t.

I feel bad for her, for her season of waiting, and I secretly pray that I don’t live into my 90’s and end up in a nursing home. But then God whispers….

It’s not her time yet.

You see, this is how He communicates. While I’m sketching and painting, He directs my thoughts and gives me revelations. At just the right time.
If I had the opportunity earlier to sketch this dead tree while my Grandmother was not in the nursing home, then it wouldn’t have given me answers. But today she is touching lives that I can’t see. Whether it be for family, staff, or doctors, there is a delicate web of interaction. There’s a reason for all things. A time for everything. I feel comfort in this.

To Give Life – Free Artwork – Merry Christmas


We have traveled together on this journey called life. Sometimes it’s joyous, sometimes it’s scary, for nobody has answers in their pocket. We take one day at a time and observe. We grow, move towards that which builds us, edifies us, and makes us wise. We veer clear of things that harm, that hurt. I guess that’s how to do this thing called life.

One thing that I have observed is that life is short. My dear friend, Sharon, reminds me that all the time (rest in peace Sharon, you are missed). And that you’ll be able to take nothing with you when you go. Not even your physical accomplishments.  A sobering thought.

Another thing I observed is that the best things in life are free. Even more so if it dearly costs the giver.

My gift to you this Christmas is artwork.
Click here for free artwork (.PDF file):
“To Give Life”
watercolor on 140lb coldpress paper

To be honest it really didn’t cost me much. An hour of sitting still at the most. But my prayer for you this season is that you would know the True Giver that gave His life for you.  Christ came not to judge you or make you feel guilty, but to die for you, and be a sacrifice for your sins to make you whole. Clean before God.

A free gift. That which cost the Giver much…out of love.

2 Cor 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

The only thing we can give is our repentance and faith. Nothing we have in this world matters except for that.

I hope you enjoy this free artwork. Feel free to pass it along.
Have a wonderful holiday with family and friends.

Hidden Lake and a Strange Tree Sketch


cloud and mist

When cloud and mist subtract vivid color,
and strips loudness from the landscape,
A submissive hush befalls.

Nature takes notice.

Dried goldenrod, past its prime,
quakes tenderly in the silence.
A strange tree stands alone.

His poetry comes to life.

As daylight slips away from my grasp,
I bargain, but it’s no use.
Dusk silences me.
My submissive hush befalls.

Last weekend I had the chance to make a quick getaway to Hidden Lake. The scene was so beautiful, so delicate, so spellbinding, that when I was done painting I had to write this short piece. Not really a poem, nothing rhymes, but a deeper level of feeling a moment, translated into words on paper. A prayer.

This quick time-out was just what I needed to connect and recharge my batteries for the coming week. As I grow older, I find I need this more and more. And I find myself slipping further from the expectations that corporate society has on me to run the rat race and be stuck on that treadmill that leads to nowhere. Contentment without things. Oooo the secret the credit industry doesn’t want you to know.

My prayer is that you too can find an oasis, even for just 10 minutes, so that you can connect and recharge as well and get back to what’s really important.

Let’s Paint Pines by a Lake!

The November landscape has inspired me to create a soft pastel painting. Do you want to paint one with me? OK! Here we go!

First, here is the scene that inspired me (minus the rocks)…


Now, before we begin, here is a sneak peak of all the steps in a time lapse…

Like it? YOU CAN DO THIS! Here we go.


Step 1: I am using a gray Ampersand pastel board 20×16. Why gray? For no reason other than I had it laying around. Using a pastel pencil, any light color will do because this will get covered completely, draw a rough sketch. I am using Derwent Pastel Pencils. ***Note: You can use ANY pastel brands you have and any colors. You don’t have to run out and buy the brands I use. :)


Step 2: Lay down color all over the board just to have a base to work with. Don’t worry about which color is the right color to use. Most of this will be covered. The secret to painting with pastels is, lay down “harder” soft pastels first then top with “softer” soft pastels. You will find certain brands are harder than others. I mainly use Rembrandt and Unison brands. Rembrandt is harder than Unison so they go on the bottom. However (there’s always an exception), Unison brand seems to be darker. The darkest Rembrandt can’t get as dark as a dark Unison…so if I need to go dark, I will use the Unison first.
In this step, I used all Rembrandt pastels and wasn’t too concerned with exact color.

After you cover your board, take a fat paint brush, like a cheap one you paint your walls with, and turpentine and paint over the pastel scribbles. You’re just spreading and moving the pastels around. Don’t worry about direction of brush stroke or anything.
Also, don’t worry how dark it will look. When it dries it will become lighter. Here is what it looks like dry:


This is completely dry. This step is important because it covers a lot of ground in little time with little pastel pigment.


Step 3: Now we are going to start layering. Using Rembrandt (medium blue) #506,7  make horizontal likes in the sky near the top of the board. Then take Rembrandt (light blue) #570,9  and paint horizontal lines in the sky above the horizon and in the center.
Going lighter, paint Unison #grey 33, in the sky on top and Unison (light blue) #A53, over the horizon and center of the sky.
Time to wake up your inner child….with your finger blend these colors in the sky back and forth horizontally. Fun! I know!!


Step 4: Now we are going to paint the base of the pine trees. Using Rembrandt (dark green) #627,3 paint in some pines leaving “sky holes”. You don’t want one solid mass.


Step 5: Now I notice, I have to go much darker. So, with these colors I overlap my pine boughs Unison (dark blue) #A37, (dark green) #Green 13, (dark purple) #DK 14. Looking great!


Step 6: Here we are going to highlight the pine, here and there, not covering the whole tree. Using Unison light green, paint in some pine tips.


Step 7: Using Derwent Pastel Pencil #Spectrum 11F Orange, draw in some birch trees over the lake in the distance. Go lightly.


Here is a close up so you can see what they look like.


Step 8: OK! Let’s anchor those pines to the ground by painting a dark color underneath them. Using Unison (dark blue) #A50, also paint the water by the edge of the ground to darken this area. Blend with your finger. Now using that pastel pencil for the birch trees, paint in their reflection in the water.


Step 9: Using Rembrandt medium blue, like the sky and Unison (light blue) #BV8, paint over the water, lightest color in the middle. Blend with your fingers.


Step 10: Now we are going to start layering the grasses. Darker color on the bottom. Using Dark Brown Rembrandt #408,3 and dark blue Unison #A49 scribble in some grasses. The lighter grasses I used a medium olive green Rembrandt #227,3.


Step 11: Here we are layering the grasses with lighter colors and highlighting the pine bark. In the grass area, scribble using a light sage Rembrandt #202,3, beige Rembrandt #236,3, and yellow Rembrandt #227,5. For the pines bark, I highlighted with a red Derwent Pastel Pencil #Deep Cadmium 6D.


Step 12: Let’s paint the lightest blades of grass and make reflections in the water. The lightest blades are light yellow Unison #Y15. Take some of your grass colors and paint them in the water. Then, take your finger and pull down.


Step 13 Final: In this step I added more punch to the pines. Using a very light yellow-green Unison highlight some pine tips. Then, sneak in some other striking colors like hot pink and purple…it gives it life. And you’re done!

If you would like a print or greeting card visit below:

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I hope you enjoyed this free step by step soft pastel demonstration of pines by the lake! Remember, you can do this!