Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lesson in Perseverance

Those who follow this blog will note that it's been almost a year since I've finished a portrait. When I completed my digital painting of my pastor's wife in July, I felt pretty traumatized by the thought of any more "serious" artistic endeavors. I started focusing on quick and easy projects, avoiding the possibility of another frustrating mishap.



But every so often, I'd scroll through photos on my hard drive, and I'd always pause on a photo that John took several years ago at our church's Vacation Bible School. It was of a girl in her early teens. Each time I looked at her, I knew I wanted to paint her.



So in January, I took a deep breath, and cautiously drew the shape of her face. I saved it (yes, in the correct format), and then closed Paint Shop Pro. Maybe a week later, I opened the project again, and drew the whites of her eyes. A few days later, I drew her pupils.


Then I took a break and played with hearts in Paint Shop Pro. I wanted to alternate serious work with fun work. But I kept returning to my "African Teen," concentrating on one element at a time, and praying that the Lord would teach me to persevere. I want to learn this kind of calm, steady persistance in all areas of my life. So I kept painting the intricate details of her scarf and the shaded folds of her shirt, resisting the tempation to ignore those finer points.

And today, I finished her!

African Teen

Monday, April 21, 2008

Time to Go to Boston

Spring is finally here...and John's chair is misbehaving, so we can't go out! Yet we're chomping at the bit for new Boston adventures, after such a long, snowy winter. We're praying that his chair will be repaired quickly so that we can resume our weekly adventures. Boston's such an exciting city, and I don't want to waste it!

We did get to Boston Friday, before his chair started having temper tantrums, and it was beautiful! We had lunch at Quincy Market, which was swarming with people. It was busier than it is during the peak of tourist season, which I attributed to people playing hooky from school and work to enjoy the fantastic weather. But John reminded me this morning that today's the Boston Marathon, so we could have been seeing runners and the people who travel with them, as well as others who came to watch the race. Yup, I moved to an exciting place!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Playing With Fire

Yesterday, I decided to look through my all too vast collection of Paint Shop Pro tutorials, which I love to save to Favorites, but seldom actually try. Okay, I admit it--I really just wanted a new avatar to use for my forum posts on Faith Community Network. (I'm totally vain!)

Anyway (ahem), I noticed a tutorial on my Favorites list called Flame Tutorial Using Brush Variance. Not exactly a pretty title, but it definitely explained what the tutorial would teach me. Normally, I merely use tutorials to gather ideas, which I them modify and develop into my own techniques. But since my mama taught me never to play with fire, I only substituted logs for a match, and added the text of Hebrews 12:29.

Still, I think it's a dramatic avatar. Don't you?



Friday, April 11, 2008

Danny's Question

Seems like, online, we rarely talk about our pasts or share our memories. Offline, I very frequently tell stories from my life, and probably bore people to tears!

My favorite story goes back to the early 80's, when I wrote and directed the childrens' Christmas plays for church. Each year, I'd start off talking about my disability, just to get the kids comfortable. One year, I gave my spiel, and for some reason I found myself saying, "Feel free to ask me anything." As soon as the words left my mouth, I realized they could ask The Dreaded Bathroom Question.

Sure enough, Danny raised his hand immediately. My heart started pounding, my palms get sweaty, and I started silently praying for the Rapture. I decided I just couldn't go through with that discussion, so I pretended not to see his hand. But he kept it raised, determined to ask his question. For a few seconds, I continued pleading with God to rescue me, but Danny was relentlessly waving his hand. Resigned to my fate, I took a deep breath and acknowledged him.

He furrowed his brow in all the earnestness of a ten-year-old and asked, "Are we gonna have a real tree this year, or another fake one?"

Monday, April 7, 2008

Guest Blog

My friend Chris recently told us about her son's basketball season. It sounds like a Disney movie, only it really happened! I'm so glad she wrote about it in her blog, If you want to read a "feel-good" story (and who doesn't?), please click on the link below. Happy reading!

They Are The Champions

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