My First Fish Painting

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Flamboyant, mixed media on canvas panel, 16″ x 20″

I got bored of painting landscapes, flowers, and buildings, which have been my favorite things to paint.  So I decided to paint a fish.  When I came across a photo of the mandarin fish for the first time, I could not believe my eyes.  I have never seen a more colorful, exotic looking fish.  I love fish.  I used to have an aquarium, but gave it up so I could have the 3 cats I have now.  The fish tank was a lot of work.

I have a great love for color, and this subject matter sure fits the bill.  My color palette was Permalba white, lemon yellow, cadmium yellow dark, cadmium scarlet, permanent rose, cerulean blue phthalo, ultramarine blue, and burnt umber.  For the body of the fish, I used the cerulean with a bit of yellow mixed in, and cadmium yellow dark with a touch of cad scarlet added.  I love the various warm and cool blues.  I used glazing in pure ultramarine blue and Liquin for the transluscent fin on the side.

This is oil, on an acrylic background.  It was a labor intensive thing to paint, but I’m very happy with it, and enjoyed painting it.  I am in amazement at the creativity of God, to make such a creature.

The Super Spiritual People

So many persons consider themselves spiritual.  You know the type.  Always lecturing others to count their blessings, quoting famous spiritual writers and the bible, and in general feeling very pleased with themselves about their spirituality.  Many of them are very active in organized religion.  They look down on others who don’t go to church, or aren’t as active as they are in service and volunteer work, or who have a lot of struggles and difficulties in life.

What I’m wondering is this – if there are so many super spiritual people in this world, why does the world seem to be spinning out of control?  Why is there so much more violence, immorality, and poverty?  Why are so many nations at odds with each other?

What I’ve noticed is, that when I have an issue, or am upset, these super spiritual people, instead of coming alongside me in compassion and kindness, they tend to lecture at me, preach at me, judge me, and criticize me.  It is as if they are using my misfortune to lift themselves above me, and give themselves a quick feel good boost emotionally.  They tend to come off as arrogant, harsh, cold, uncaring, judgmental, and sometimes even condemning.

Here is what Jesus said about religious people who lack love:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.  1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 KJV

I don’t know if it is just something in American Christianity, or worldwide, but it seems as though many Christians have lost the spirit of love.  And the Bible says “God is love”.   The Bible says that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control.  Yet, more often than not, what I personally witness is Christians who are arrogant, self righteous, harsh, cold, quick to judge, and rudeness.

Could it be that many of us have become the whitewashed sepulchers that Jesus talked about in the gospels?

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2: 8-9 KJV

Could it be that 2 Timothy 3 is becoming even more relevant today, as we near the time of the return of Jesus Christ?

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

Jesus’ most scathing words were reserved for self-righteous Pharisees.

Beautiful Day in Forest Park “Time is Forever”

DSC_0019I gave myself a wonderful gift for my birthday.   I went to Forest Park here in St Louis

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Time is Forever, 14″ x 18″, pastel on pastel board

Missouri to paint en plein air.  My sister came out and joined me for part of the painting session, which was an added bonus!  I painted the visitor’s center.  This is one of the many charming old buildings in this town.  St Louis has much beautiful, older architecture.  I remember spending hours with my art teacher at age 8 learning to paint cubes, cylinders, spheres, etc.  and learning how to shade them to make them look 3 dimensional.  This is probably why I enjoy painting buildings to this day.

It was a perfect spring day.  The sun was DSC_0027shining, and it was warm without being hot.  I had lots of people stop by to talk to me, and they were all very gracious.

Blessed Are the Rejects

This Woman Writes by Carolyn Henderson

Maybe it’s because we live in the country and don’t have a proper lawn, but I really like dandelions.

Dandelions original painting impressionism girl and mother in green field of flowers in springPeople with the minds and hearts of children see and understand with a wisdom denied to the canny and clever. Dandelions, by Steve Henderson

To most (urban/suburban) people focused on keeping that living carpet pristinely green, dandelions are a scourge, a pest, an abomination that need to be trampled upon, plucked out, and sprayed at all costs. And while the hostility is understandable, it’s also a bit sad when we consider we’re talking about a bright yellow flower that covers the hillside in spring with its blooms.

As a bonus, the flowers turn into white puffy rounds that many of us remember, as children, blowing into, oftentimes while making a wish.

Such is the difference between the thought process of an adult and that of a child, and while there are…

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Boxwood Garden in Pastel

I’m very pleased with how this pastel painting turned out.  It is of the boxwood garden at the Missouri Botanical Garden.  I really like the contrast of the vertical brickwork in the foreground left and the fountains on the lower right, with the horizontals of the garden behind it. It is very colorful.  There is a warm, sunny feel to this piece.  You can see the gazebo through the round opening in the brick wall.  I really enjoyed creating this painting.

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“Boxwood Garden”, pastel on pastel board, 24″ x 18″

Buddha, Seashell and Fruit

Here is a still life I painted with an artist friend at her place.  It is an interesting juxtaposition of a large conch shell, a jade buddha statue, and some pears and apples.  I did this in soft pastel.  I used more of a linear approach this time instead of using the side of the pastel stick, and I like the texture.  I accentuated the light by making the darks a bit darker than they actually were.  I also simplified the background by making it abstract.

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“Budhha, Seashell, and Fruit”, soft pastel on pastel paper

Carondelet Pavilion

I did this painting with my painting buddy Jane.  It was fall, and again in Carondelet Park, which is just a few blocks from my home.  This is one of the old pavilions in the park.  This was a bit more challenging than just a regular quadrangle, since there is a semi-hexagonal section in the middle.  I love the older Victorian architecture in many of the city parks in St Louis.

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“Carondelet Pavilion”, pastel on pastel board