Saturday, April 21, 2018

Digital Doodling

I haven't posted anything for a while, but I haven't been stagnant either.  I've been trying my hand at digitally creating art, and there is quite a learning curve for me.  Yet, I am enjoying the immediacy, the vibrancy and ability to morph and transform what is being worked on with relative ease. 

The need for me to use art to try to help brighten the lives of others still needs to be a constant for me, so I have been trying to figure out how to use the digital image in connection with the "envelopes" that I have been sending to others previously.  I tried printing right on top of the envelope and it didn't come out well.  So, I decided to print the image on photo paper the same size as the envelope and am putting them right in the envelope with the letters that I send off to accompany the doodle.

Here are the last two that I did.  Again...a work in progress, and I hope to increase my ability by continuing to play with this medium, but these went out to two individuals that I care about, and that have recently faced some very challenging situations.

The first, I did because....(NEWS FLASH)....I love insects.  But also because I recently listened to an amazing discourse on the need for us to act similarly to the monarch butterfly.  You can hear the brief discourse was very inspiring.  The gentleman who received this letter has been an example of how to unite, how to love, how to watch over and help others, and I have been the beneficiary of his kindness.  He recently lost his wife to Leukemia, and this went out to him with my love, condolences and a wish that I was back in Georgia to enjoy his presence again.

The second was done for a friend who has been facing the very real challenges of raising a family and watching a child make decisions that are self-destructive.  It's been inspiring watching her trying to determine how best to help, to love, and yet, to continue to reinforce acceptable boundaries.  The letter I sent to her spoke of the realization that I had, when younger, that the true determination of something's strength can only be found when it is put under stress or trial.  For example, a spider's web, although beautiful to see and to watch being made, is only brought to it's full purpose and potential when something is putting pressure on it.  Interestingly, something as frail looking as a spiders web has been found to be stronger than steel or Kevlar.  I sent her this little doodle to remind her that the test, although challenging, is what may help her see her own strength, and purpose.

I hope you enjoy. 

These were both done in Procreate.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Wings for another friend

This week's envelope goes out to another neighbor who has been facing the challenge of their first born baby wanting to come much earlier than it should.  She and her husband have been at the hospital indefinitely while they work through all options to keep baby in the womb for further development. 
I chose to go back to painting a butterfly.  One cannot watch the transformation from a caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly without looking at the process, the struggle that each phase presents to the insect, and the resplendent result without seeing meaning in their own life.  Trials, if reacted to patiently, give us strength and beauty.  Somehow, this struggle for my neighbors, in time, will give radiance to them.  And, no doubt, the ability to soar through future challenges.
This is done in gouache.

Sunday, February 04, 2018 gladden the heart

In a conversation with a family member this last week, I listened to someone that I care about express her frustration about the challenges that she is facing, about feeling adrift at times, not knowing quite what she should be doing and questioning what the future will look like.  It was hard to hear that she was struggling.  Yet, we have all been in those fiery furnaces wherein we have to make decisions to either continue forward with faith, or to shrink.
My thoughts have gone back to her repeatedly this week, wondering what counsel I could give, or what reminders I might send to help her to see herself, and the world in the light that would help her in this struggle.
I came across a scripture this week that was impactful, and meaningful in this regard.  It states:

"And inasmuch as ye do these things with thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances...with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance—
Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth;
Yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards;
Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;" --Doctrine and Covenants 59:15-20
I was struck by the reminder that all the things in this world, even down to the tiniest creeping thing, were created for the use of man, God's children, and that he has an anxious desire to please our eye and gladden our heart.  It was helpful for me to remember that this is one of his characteristics, a desire to see us happy.  Knowing that, and knowing that we can call upon him for assistance through the rough parts, is comforting.
So, today, I painted a little bug envelope for my family member that I love, but who is struggling.  I sent her a letter to remind her that even the littlest, beautiful things were given to us to help us be happy, and that the same being who was careful enough to create beauty in the little things, is anxious to orchestrate happiness in our lives, as we permit Him to do so.
I also used a little insect, because this person's knickname when just a little girl was "bug."
This was done primarily with Gouache and Prismacolor.

Monday, January 29, 2018

As a hen gathereth...

Yesterday I learned that a neighbor has to face the challenge of losing his brother to suicide.  I was so very saddened for him and his family, and wished that I could somehow know exactly what to say.  But, I think the reality is that during those types of challenges, we should do more listening to the families affected thereby, instead of trying to dish out counsel. 
I painted them this small chick, and expressed my condolences, while sharing the comfort that I feel that comes from the gentle teaching of the Savior,
"Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I Am, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins;
Who will gather his people even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, even as many as will hearken to my voice and humble themselves before me, and call upon me in mighty prayer." --D&C 29:1-2 
 I'm grateful that although I am as errant and do stumble around like a new chick, that there is one who is watching over, ready to gather, as I need it.
This is done in Gouache.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Fear Not

This last week I discovered that a friend in the neighborhood had to face the daunting decision of a double mastectomy based on recent findings of cancer.  She underwent the surgery a few days ago and is now recovering.  I'm proud of her for her courage, and her willingness to undergo a very difficult procedure, both physically and emotionally, while placing trust in the future as she moves through this particular challenge.  She's a great individual, and as I sat down to do an envelope this week, I thought again about the promise in Luke chapter 12 vs. 6-7.  Which reads:
"Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?  
 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows."
All of us are asked to face challenges, some of those challenges appear to be such that our very lives could be lost as we face them.  Yet the truth stated above is that God watches over even the most small, inexpensive and seemingly petty things (a sparrow) with intense care and alertness.  And yet, He takes the time to remind us that we are of much more value than the small things, and that  we can trust that He will direct our lives despite our challenges and trials.  It is comforting to hear the counsel from Him to "Fear Not."  It's also a nice reminder to us of His character and a gentle nudge for each of us to be more alert of all the small, but precious things that are around us every day.
So, as I have done previously, I painted a sparrow, and sent it off to her with a reminder that she is not forgotten, and that I have been impacted by her courageous example.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

...seen or unseen, they are always near

Recently, I learned that a dear friend lost his angel mother to death.  Over the past few years I watched as he took her into his own home because of her increasing struggles with dementia.  He and his wife tended to her needs, despite having young children with very large needs of their own.  They treated her with kindness and compassion, and served as a great example to me of what it means to "Honor Thy Father and Thy Mother."

When I learned of her passing, I contemplated the happiness that has come into my life knowing that my own Father, who I lost a number of years ago to cancer, still is an active, engaged participant in my life, but from a different part of the "vineyard."

A wise and trusted teacher once stated, "From the beginning down through the dispensations, God has used conveying love and concern for His children.  ...Seen or unseen they are always near." --Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

I believe that those that we loved in this life, that have passed on, are given opportunities to watch over us, when needed, and assist us through the challenges we face, just as they did while in this life, and that we, if we desire, will be given opportunities to do so now, and after we pass.

So, today, I painted this envelope for my friend, and sent a little letter thanking him for his example, and giving my assurance of the proximity of loved ones that go unseen.

Done in gouache and acrylic.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Olive Branch

This past week, I listened to a person in our neighborhood recount her experience of working through pain pill addiction after complications that she faced with the birth of her youngest child.  The sincere way that she spoke about her challenge, the learning experience that was long, but instructive, and how she finally was able to get to a point where she humbled herself enough to recognize how badly she needed help was extremely impactful to me.  I was so impressed with her courage to share how she turned to a strength greater than her own, and only then began to find the power to face her difficulty, and to begin the process of overcoming.  The account that she gave of the reality of a more divine assistance available to us as we humbly seek it out, was refreshing and served as a reminder to me that we need not carry our burdens alone.
The envelope that I painted this week went out to her.  I painted the olive branch, because of the symbol that it represents.  In this life we seem to be at war with so many things.  Sometimes it is a war with self, or our neighbor, or family, as we battle to survive through our numerous challenges.  But there is a peace available, offered to us through meeker submissiveness to a power higher than our own.  There is an "olive branch" that is available for every person that is "warring" with this or that challenge.
I need to be reminded of that more frequently. 
This went out anonymously to her recently with an enclosed note thanking her for her courage and counsel.

Painted with gouache, acrylic and pen and ink.