Birthday Cards

Happy New Year!

I thought I’d share something a little different to start off this year with: Birthday Cards

For fun, I tend to make birthday cards for family & friends based off of movies, TV Series, and different topics that will make them laugh. I have a few below which I thought I’d share with you.

“He that is of a merry heart has a continual feast.” — Proverbs 15:15

Jim Dandies Card – This was designed after the episode “The Invaders” in The Big Valley TV Series:

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Cream of the Crop Card – It is based on a clip in which the wrestler Macho Man was being interviewed:

One More Thing Card – This was designed after the famous detective, Columbo:

Lady Catherine’s Cake Card –This features everyone’s favorite version of Mr. Collins from Pride and Prejudice 1995. I included the front & back for this one:

I made these cards with Watercolor Color Pencils & Sharpies. Which one is your favorite? It’s uplifting to our hearts when we include joy and laughter in what we do. This New Year, let’s decide to encourage those around us by sharing this uncontainable joy every day.

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The Birth of Christ

The Birth of Christ was such a pivotal moment in time that would change the world. I attempted to capture that moment in this piece that is based off of Isaiah 9:6:

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”-Isaiah 9:6

This verse perfectly captures the moment that I attempted to create. For materials I used Scripture for the background, Earth, Thread, Plaster, and Acrylics to create this mini Christmas piece. Everything was placed and created with my non-dominant hand because I needed a challenge.

When I was creating this piece a song came to mind that welcomes our Savior to our world:

This Christmas, I encourage you to think about that moment in time and tell others about the greatest gift given to the world! Let me know which part of the Christmas story in the Bible is your favorite. Merry Christmas!

Hustle Culture

Small confession: As an artist, I’ve felt as if I have had virtually zero productivity as far as completing my ‘normal’ amount of artwork for this year.  It took a while to realize that there are times when we push ourselves into the current hustle culture which can be beneficial…to an extent. Finishing a project gives the artist a sigh of relief for a moment, and then the thought of ‘Okay, what’s next?’ comes in like a train wreck. It’s good to take a break and enjoy the moment, and it is great to push yourself to greater things, but leave some time in between to appreciate all that you’ve accomplished so far. The hustle culture (in my opinion) leaves no room for taking the time for restoration. In order to be restored, we need time to develop and become stronger – it doesn’t happen overnight. It reminded me of this verse:

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” -1 Peter 5:10

He is the one who does the restoration part, but we need to take the time to let Him do it! It’s as if I’ve misplaced my desire to know Christ more into doing more art & more work, when I should let Him lead me in His time and not be confined in my own ‘hustle culture’. Hopefully, I’m not the only one who has felt like this.

It certainly is difficult letting go of toxic mindsets when it seems to being ‘normal’ system for a while. It makes one feel lighter on the inside while bringing a joy one can’t describe when you take the time to give yourself a much-needed break. I’ve been listening to this song by Petra for a while and thought I’d share it with you. It’s called Beat the System which I thought was appropriate for this post! Beware; the official music video is from the 1980s so the visuals may trigger weird 80s nostalgia:

What is next? We’ll have to wait and see. Speaking of restoration, I have restored one of my older pieces into its former glory – Locomotion. The sculpture was created with a carving board, Acrylics, Charcoal pencil, and Plaster. I’ve included a birthday card I designed for a friend too. I used Watercolor Colored pencils, White Charcoal pencil, and Ink. For the purple lantern, I put ‘kindness’ and the Blue lantern says ‘goodness’ in Japanese. If you’re wondering what the dots of the right are for, I had their name in Japanese but I blurred it out for privacy. I hope you enjoy!

Let Joy Overtake You

This piece was a mixed media Master Study of one of Joni Eareckson Tada’s pieces. I used sand for the background, some plaster for the angel, carpet fibers for the leaves in the foreground, and blue jean fibers for the leaves in her hand. I know it’s meant to be displayed near Christmas, but I need to be reminded to have joy every day of the year, not just in one season of my life. It reminded me of the verse from Isaiah:

“Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” -Isaiah 35:10

Let the gladness and the joy of the Lord overtake you today as you rest in His love. This song Never Have I Ever by AGAPAO Worship brought a smile to my face and inspired me to post this today. Enjoy:

A Million Lights

This commissioned piece reminded me of this verse:

 “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork.” – Psalm 19:1

The Master Artist knew what he was doing when He created such beauty for us to enjoy. Attempting to replicate the different colored galaxies was much more difficult than I had previously thought – perseverance was the key. I used acrylic paints for this painting and sealed it with a fixative spray. When I was working on this project I also thought of how much He cares for those stars that He calls them by name:

”He tells the number of the stars; he calls them all by their names.” – Psalm 147:4

If He knows the innumerable clusters of stars by name, surely He knows your name too! We reflect His light in this world, and when we let this light shine, the world will see the glory of God. This song, ‘A Million Lights’ by musical artist Michael W. Smith reminds me of what we are to do with this light – let it shine!  Just for fun: I hid a few spaceships in this piece – see if you can find them!(There are four in all)

Follow the Master Artist…

Rendition of Ron DiCianni’s Holding Heaven

For the past two months, I’ve been teaching my students how important a Master Study is for emerging artists to improve their artwork. However, it is easier said than done for the teacher to pursue improving their own work of art! So, I decided to do a Master Study of one of my top ten Favorite Artists of all time: Ron DiCianni! His piece, Holding Heaven, holds a tender place in my heart since most illustrations/renditions have Joseph somewhere in the background or on the side apart from Mary and Jesus. It must have been an incredible moment realizing that Joseph is holding the greatest teacher in the universe!

“The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”-Philippians 4:9

Whenever I decide to follow something seemingly simple – I slowly realize how intricate the original piece is compared to my humble beginning. Experimenting with cloth for the figures of Jesus and Joseph, scripture and sand for the background, blue jean fibers for the facial hair, and plaster to bring out Joseph’s arm/hand made the project seem impossible. But the moment I recognized why Ron DiCianni created light/shadow in specific areas, the faster and simpler it became for me to follow. In short, the longer I studied the original, the closer I came to the Master Artist’s Masterpiece. The longer we study the Greatest Master Artist of them all – our Heavenly Father – the easier it becomes for us to recognize Him working through us touching the world with every reflection of His light we share. Merry Christmas!

CouCou The Parrot

The amazing design of the parrot always captivated me because unlike common birds, it has brightly colored wings which immediately captured my attention.  It must have been such a wonderful sight for Adam and Eve to see these creatures for the first time, and Adam may have had a challenging time figuring out appropriate names for all of the exotic animals he encountered!

These creatures must have made God smile too, because: ‘God saw that it was good.’

“Then God said, “Let the waters swarm with fish and other life. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind.” So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that scurries and swarms in the water, and every sort of bird—each producing offspring of the same kind. And God saw that it was good.”- Genesis 1:20 -23

I decided to create CouCou the parrot, which is based off of the yellow-headed Amazon parrot. Just as God said that ‘it was good’, my hope is that this little parrot will bring you a smile too! This project was inspired by the Nancy Drew PC Game Series. Enjoy!

Be Still And Know That He Is God

The intricate design of butterflies tends to make me stop what I am doing and appreciate their beauty.  Taking time to pause reminds me of this passage in the Psalms: “Be still, and know that I am God.” –Psalm 46:10

There are those times in life when we should be still in the moment and enjoy the incredible creation God has provided for us. This butterfly project was an extensive undertaking of time and surprising research when it comes to the types of butterflies that exist today. I hope you enjoy the butterflies designed in this piece as much as I did when working on them.  If you see one outside, take a moment to be still and know that our heavenly father created this creature of incredible grace and beauty. If you think the butterfly is amazing, just imagine how amazing you are to God. He sent his own Son into this world to take our punishment and give us a new life. God willingly sacrificed Jesus to die for us; the least we can do is to joyfully live our lives for Him.

The process: I bought butterfly decorations at the dollar store, the original ones were made out of feathers which made the texture much more realistic. I had to add feathers to the ones that did not have the feathers included in the package. The background was originally a framed calendar, which I just replaced with thick paper and a little brown pastel to provide a faded, vintage appearance. The butterflies originally came with a wire which I numbered with masking tape to keep them organized.  After I researched butterflies that I liked the most, I would number them and write the technical names on a sheet of old paper to give the appearance of age. Some of the bodies on the insect were either too big or too little in terms of the size I needed for inclusion in this collection. To remedy this, I used a glue gun and acrylic paint. The wings were too weak on their own, so I added masking tape under the wing’s back side to provide support. I created the moth located in the middle of the collection using the glue gun and left over wings that I cut off for the smaller sized butterflies. Enjoy!

• Restoration •

Did you know that God loves to make things that seem too old to have any use left to them into a new thing with an even greater purpose than before?:

 “Do not remember the former things,

Nor consider the things of old.

Behold, I will do a new thing,

Now it shall spring forth;

Shall you not know it?

I will even make a road in the wilderness

And rivers in the desert.” –Isaiah 43:18-19

Be encouraged! When you think that you have nothing left to give, God will provide a new path for you to continue on this journey throughout life. 

Speaking of old things…

This was a vanity desk that is from either the 1940s or late 1930s. I decided to paint it white/yellow to match the rest of my bedroom. This project took me about three days to complete. It reminded me of how God takes the seemingly ‘ugly pieces’ in our lives and makes them new again. You may see a visit or two from Bingley the cat…Enjoy the transformation!

Small Things

When life goes on in a slow pace, there are times when I have wondered, does God care about these small things in life? He clearly answers this question:

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” –Luke 12:7

“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?” –Matthew 6:26

Do not be discouraged, He indeed cares about the seemingly small things in your life, but He cares for you immensely more than anything else on this earth. Remember to rest in His love for you and know that He will not only take care of all the ‘small things’ but He will take care of you too.

Here are a few small things that I have finished this year, enjoy! These projects were inspired by items found the Nancy Drew PC Game Series with different alterations.

“I will be like dew to the people of Israel. They will blossom like flowers.” –Hosea 14:5a The Flower Dome piece looks similar to the Anthurium Scherzerianum flower species. It is a tropical plant that looks almost as if it was made for a different world!

 “In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” –Job 12:10 The sculpture resembles a small house cat (Yes, I love cats).  I enlarged this piece and added more paint texture to give it more vibrancy. It reminds me of all the joy my previous cats gave during their lives, and it makes me smile in reminding me to cherish every moment.

“I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”-Esther 4:16 The Wooden Puzzle Box project took a while for me to complete, but it was worth it to achieve a captivating visual on the life of Esther. She was just an everyday girl who was called by God to live an extraordinary life!