Tangled Watercolor

Tangled Winter Trees

The cemetery guaranteed a quiet visit.

I parked on the side of the road and found myself under a tangled web of branches. One tree overlaps knotting and twisting, melting into the adjacent, interlaced in the air.

Icy twigs clank in the brisk gust. Is it the sound of chaos? No. Look on the horizon.
Hope.

I love to study trees in the cemetery. With the low volume of visitors, you can always position yourself or your car just right to examine whichever tree captures your interest.

On this day I found myself under an arch of twigs. One tree disappears into the other and cannot be differentiated. It reminds me of our complicated lives. Sometimes our problems do not reveal an end. And sometimes we cannot recall when the beginning even started. Or there are so many of them that you don’t even know where to begin. That is precisely the moment when you hand your disordered mess over. Think of gazing on gentle eyes when you read what Jesus calmly said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matt 19:26

So friends, go to Him who are weary and heavy laden. Cast your cares like you are throwing a rock onto a stilled, mirrored lake and watch the ripples race like vespers reaching heaven.

May you have a happy, safe, and worry free new year.

 

Merry Christmas Pine – Free Artwork

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Winter Music

An overnight storm blankets the earth and covers each bough, each twig,
But midday sun breaks snow’s grip.
As dollops of ice and snow slide off,
Lower branches become chords to this tree harp.
Various high pitched chimes ring in the frosty air.
I let the crystal notes swirl.
I am pine’s biggest fan.

Christmas_Card

As a Christmas Gift to you, I am offering this artwork.
It has the words “Merry Christmas” and “John 3:16” so that we can keep our minds focused on the real meaning of the season: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Your sins has been bought at a high price. May the free gift of Jesus’ sacrifice be your salvation and peace forever more.

Click here for a full resolution .PDF of Merry Christmas Pine

The link is a 5.5×7″  .PDF file that is around 12MB. You can print it on card stock to make cards.

If you would like a .JPG file (7MB) so that you can send it to Walgreen’s and have them make cards, click here for a full resolution .JPG of Merry Christmas Pine.

Another screen will open, right click on the picture and select: “Save Image As”, then save it in your computer.

Have a beautiful and safe Holiday Season, Friends!

East Branch DuPage River Watercolor Sketch

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East Branch DuPage River
Churchill Woods
40°F  Calm

A mild temperature cultivates an ideal setting for wildlife. There seems to be no end this day, as I notice abundant wildlife everywhere. Sitting next to the quiet river, a gaggle of geese tranquilly bobs up and down. Suddenly, half of them take flight for reasons unknown. The heavy beats of their wings splashes the top of the water, creating excitement like electricity in the once quiet air. I watch in slow motion as they accelerate in height as well as speed.

Looking up, a kettle of hawks glide on the thermals spiraling downward. Some screech as they glide making this human envious of their freedom.

Deer litter the field along the trail. They are hesitant while staring at me, feeling me out. They are quiet, gentle giants, giving me the benefit of the doubt. If I take a step forward, they take a step further, then stare. Step. Stare. Step. Stare. We perform this dance in nature between human and beast. Another dance takes place above as a male cardinal chases a female from twig to twig. The flash of red catches my eye, red against the brown of winter.

Melting Snow at Crabapple Lake Watercolor

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Crabapple Lake
Morton Arboretum
Lisle, IL

The midday sun did its best to melt the snow,
But only the hilltops relented, exposing green of grass.

Did remaining snow call in clouds for help?

Thaw on pause…
For now.

The day before Thanksgiving my workplace closed early, giving me the opportunity to steal some sketch time. I’m taking it. It’s rare. Sitting in the car looking at this gorgeous view, I had to capture this very moment before it is lost forever.

With the radio off and the precious silence of nature, I have to fight down worry creeping in the back of my mind. My home is host to out of town relatives and tomorrow is a big day with big duties, entertaining, and commotion. I have to literally quiet my mind to be able to paint. It’s a tug of war honestly and I wonder if that is why many people feel so uncomfortable with silence….it forces you to deal with the problems in your head. Silence demands attention.

Worry demands attention too. But what is worry?

This morning on the way to work, I was listening to an interview with Steve DeWitt (Pastor of several churches in Indiana) on anxiety. He said that when his child was a baby, she had a specific pattern when she was upset. First, she would flail her arms, hit her leg, then let out a big cry. He would always tend to her needs whether it be change her diapers, feed her, or the like….then he said something really interesting… He had this tremendous urge to somehow let her know that all of her needs are already met. He had cases of diapers in the basement, food ready and waiting, warmth, clothing, available.

Then he posed this question: Are we like this with God? Do we flail our arms and work ourselves up?

God has supplied all of our needs already. He sent His Son to take our punishment and make a way for us. Once we repent and accept this, we become heirs of God. If you can take a step back for a second and contemplate what this means, it will fill your heart with abundant joy in the midst of struggle. You have eternity with God.

This world is hard. There is chaos, killing, and evil, as we’ve seen in the news recently. Free will is allowed so there are such things,  but look what Jesus said:

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Not only has He overcome the world, but He wants to meet your needs right now. As a child of God, you can go to Him for your needs and not worry.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”  Matt 6:26

What is worry? It’s a form of fear. Fear is:
False
Evidence
Appearing
Real
There are hundreds of verses in the bible lovingly telling us to “fear not”. So friends with that, hang in there, don’t give up. You are loved and will be taken care of. Fear not. Put your trust in Jesus, and you too can overcome. Reread this every time you need to remind yourself.

 

Weathered Nesting Box Watercolor

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Weathered

Shelter, the defense against elements.
From scorch of sun to bite of frost;
From blast of wind to deluge of cloudburst
This haven worn by diligence,
Protects.

Nature does not relent,
Sweet but fierce,
Power by intent.

Some say the signs are in the sky,
I say it’s from what’s left behind.

Weathered.

This watercolor was done from a picture I took a few years ago. I was struck by the story of the nest box. The elements carved out such character, that its story had to be told.

Did you know that it is a myth to take down your birdhouses for winter? Birds need protection. You should clean out the old nest, but leave the house up. Better yet, you can make or buy a roosting box and put it up for the winter.

What is the difference between a birdhouse and roost box? The roosting box has the entrance hole near the bottom to conserve heat. It also can contain pegs inside for multiple birds to roost.

Here is a link to an easy roosting box blueprint from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, if you would like a nice weekend project.