Project 1, Post 8: A Little Pizzazz! And a Prayer

12a

Reflection:

The background of my painting definitely possesses a “coolness factor.” As I described in Post 1 of this project, I reused my canvas and created this painting over the top of one that I had already made, but wasn’t fond of. In addition, I glued squares of aluminum foil to my canvas and then painted over them. Thus, the background of my painting is lumpy and bumpy, full of texture! I love it! Looking at my flowers, however, I decided my work needed one last touch…

I set out to add texture to my flowers. What did I have to lose? After all, from its inception, this project was all about experimentation. The key, though, would be adding pizzazz without taking away from the integrity of the flowers; to enhance, not detract.

The nature of my challenge defined: to help, not harm

How could I act in the best interest of my blue flowers (helping, not harming) and also act in the best interest of my entire painting? What would be the best way to enhance the flowers while also benefiting my painting as a  whole  (again – help, not harm)?

In philosophy, it is called “Consequentialism,” a viewpoint that is focused on producing the best overall results (consequences).  Love is a key element of consequentialism. Loving all people is central: We try to create the best outcomes and benefits for others impartially, as long as helping one person does not harm others.

“Everything you do should be done in love.”

1 Corinthians 16:14

As I rummaged through my art supplies in search of that perfect “ingredient” to enhance my blue flowers, I began to philosophically ponder the state of our country through the lens of consequentialism. This contemplation then led me to realize I have not been doing my part, I had not been regularly praying for our country’s leaders.  Perhaps you too have forgotten this duty lately.

Leaders have pretty tough jobs and often need our prayers.If America’s leadership is to help its citizens without adversely harming them as well – consequentialism – then we must support them through the power of prayer.

When Harry S. Truman took up the office of the Presidency after Franklin Roosevelt’s death, he wrote down a prayer for himself. His prayer was…

“…At this moment, I have in my heart a prayer. As I have assumed my heavy duties, I humbly pray Almighty God, in the words of King Solomon: ‘Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad; for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?’ I ask only to be a good and faithful servant of my Lord and my people.”

God has instructed us on the power of prayer and he has instructed us to pray for our lands and our leaders, assuring us that he has the power to direct the hearts of our kings (Proverbs 21:1). And so, that we must do…

We must pray for the city in which we live and the country in which we live, for “…if it prospers, so too will you prosper” (Jeremiah 29:7).

We must ask that those who lead be given the gift of wisdom and that they “serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling” (Psalm 2:10-11).

These things we must do; through humbleness, benevolent prayer, and giving thanks we shall be able to live out a “quiet and peaceful” life (Timothy 2:1-2).

And so  my  work begins, so too  your  work begins… I will keep reminding myself of my duty to pray for my country, my duty to pray for those who serve and for those who lead my country. And, I will also pray that you will take up this cross with me as we continue ahead, day by day.

Amen.

Artistic Process:

I came across two bottles of fabric paint (that’s right, fabric paint); one yellow, one gold. This medium provided an excellent 3-D quality without overpowering the piece itself. First I used the yellow to loosely outline each flower petal, choosing squiggly lines to avoid unwanted rigidity of appearance. Next I used the gold paint to follow the petals again, this time placing the gold paint just to the inside of the yellow paint.

Next, I dripped a couple of tiny droplets of water on a couple of petals on each flower. I used my finger to smear the water into the fabric paint to blur the yellow and gold paints together in just a few select places. This was done simply to give another element of light and depth to the flowers.

Finally, I added dots of gold to accent the center of my flowers.

Viola!

*This was the final step of my painting. Next, I will create a post to display the final product.

Project 1, Post 5: From Blue Blobs to Blue Flowers, Having the Strength to Stay the Course

Project 1, Post 5: From Blue Blobs to Blue Flowers, Having the Strength to Stay the Course

Prelude:

I love springtime! My favorite color happens to be blue, so I decided on painting simplistic, blue flowers over my canvas’s background. I wanted to paint in the utmost simplest of fashions, omitting my usual artistic flares or intensities. First I simply laid out the general area of the flowers by painting a blue base color to form the general shape of three flowers.

Ah! For some reason it startled me! I can’t articulate exactly why, for even I still don’t entirely understand my sudden and strong emotions that my actions induced. I was just startled.

“Oh no!” I thought to myself, “I’ve ruined my painting!”

“What was I thinking?”

“I can’t do this right.”

Well, there is a well-documented and long, long history (from the beginning of time, really) of us humans acting based solely on emotions and feeling. This action of events has rarely lead us flawed creatures in the right direction. After all, emotions have a tendency to take over our typically rational selves and turn us into “non-thinkers.”

I realized, “Why am I questioning myself?” “Paige, you know how to paint a flower!”

“Why on Earth would you be second guessing yourself over this?”

Ding! Ding! Ding!

So, I charged onward, staying the course.

Reflection:

A lot of things in the world today evoke a great deal of emotions. Christians are typically very empathetic and our sympathies can often lead us to question our own Christian beliefs and can sometimes even lead us to act against our own well-being or against the well-being of others. The course of events in life and in politics can be very, very confusing. Sometimes we may feel at odds with our own religion, especially as the world and our society begin to replace basic Christian morals with new, “progressive,” worldly morals of right and wrong.

It is extremely easy for us to slip down the wrong road and allow our compassion and empathy for others to convince ourselves that we silly Christians had simply been misunderstanding the unchanged words of God and Jesus for over two thousand years.

This is acting on emotion. This same act can also lead us into a new kind of arrogance, as if we “new Christians” know better, are smarter and are the only all-knowing, true Christians. Ah, but BEWARE! There is no virtue in being arrogant and smug. Nor is there any virtue in assuming the word of God can be deconstructed to conform to any set of ever changing worldly ideologies.

Instead, we Christians must stay the course, steady in His truth.

This is not an easy task. So, I offer the following scripture as a bit of encouragement and guidance to help you stay steady on your feet and on the true path of the Lord: (1 John, 2:15-17)

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world; for all that is in the world – the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride of riches – comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God will live forever.”

Artistic Process

First I laid out the location for the three flowers using a medium blue base. I did not focus on the precise shape of a flower, as those details take away from the freeing element in artistic process. Next, I used a darker blue from the same blue-toned family to add variation. This was done using free, quick strokes from a medium-sized paintbrush. I made sure to leave the lighter, base blue color visible around the edges to form the illusion of petals. I made sure not to apply the darker blue in a uniform way. God’s natural world is not uniform. In real flowers, the positions of the petals and the direction of lights, as well as things like other leaves that might obscure the light, create a varying shade within each individual flower petal.  Instead of getting too caught up in where the darker blue “should” go, it is important to remember that you can always paint over it.

*Next, I will be adding more depth to my flowers…. The process continues!