December 12, 2012

Church

To continue from last night... I do not have more things to ramble about, really, but I do have an update on my life that I had hoped to get to last night but was unable. First, I want to mention that I am thankful I have removed external links to this blog. If I had not done so up until now, I would be doing so now. Even now I consider making this blog, somehow, more removed from the outside world. I enjoy being able to record my journey on here, along with my personal walk with Christ and struggles, with peace knowing that only a handful of people even happen upon these writings.

Over the last few years my Husband and I have felt ourselves slowly sliding backwards when it comes to our Christian faith and walk. In the last year, it has gotten worse for both of us. Since moving to Chicago we have focused on a church community that is quite a distance from our house, roughly 45 minutes. In the beginning it was not so difficult as that I only went to school 1-2 days a week and Brad worked overnight. In the last couple of years it has slowly become more difficult, with us both working 50+ hours weekly, to be involved with this community and to attend church regularly. Our desire for both has dwindled significantly and this became very obvious to us as we attempted to return to church after missing so much during the summer months.

When Brad was in the hospital, I did not attend church for months. The thought of having to drive 40 minutes and then to try and explain our circumstances to the church community was daunting to me. I didn't want to talk to anyone really...add to this the distance involved and it became all too easy to miss church each week. Because of our distance from our community, outside of a few visits early on from our Pastor, no one visited us during this time. Originally Brad wanted no visitors and many people did not know what we going through as that it was kept private. But in the later months, I felt very alone. Some of it was wanted as that I found a way to exist in the trauma. But, in many ways, I needed love and affection. I needed to be hugged and encouraged and loved. I don't blame my community at all, I never expressed these needs and I did not expect them to drive an hour to only visit for half that, only to drive an hour back. But this did injure my walk with Christ more than I could have imagined. I see now how much we need other believers, especially in our darkest moments.

As Brad and I attempted to return to church in the fall we realized how difficult the journey was and how disconnected we felt from the community. I regret that more people were not made aware of what happened with him. Despite knowing most people by name, we realized how surface level our friendships were with many. It was not their fault or ours; a deep relationship cannot be built by only seeing a person once every couple weeks for a few minutes on Sunday. We need more than this.

So we have decided to leave our church and find one that is in our local community, no more than 15 minutes from where we live, though we have already found some that are much closer. This is a big change for us, but it is a good change and one we are both excited about and feel a great deal of peace.

I regret a lot of things about this year. About things done and not done. But...I am thankful all the more for God's grace and love. As I mentioned last night, I believe good things are coming in 2013 and, for the first time in a long time, I feel a great deal of peace and excitement.

As I am writing this, I hope to keep this blog updated as more of a journal than as simple image updates or writings. It was originally created to be "my journey of learning to sing into the darkness". This is an expression adapted from an old hymn about singing in the darkness; singing praises to God during the dark moments of our lives. Singing when there is no reason to sing at all, but yet we are able to see His light and His beauty, and this is what makes us sing. And this singing is what lights up the darkness around us...




Quiet Ramblings of Thankfulness

Unfortunately I have not updated this blog as much as I would have liked. I will try to post a few new drawings in the next couple of weeks. : /

I have been rather reclusive the last couple months...My focus has been on spending time with my Husband, spending time in the studio, and spending time learning to walk with my Lord. I do miss friends, but I mostly desire to be alone. Being in the studio has been nice, and quite honestly I am shocked at how much God has blessed the work of my hands and how I am improving. I believe good things are coming next year and I have peace in many ways...

The last few months have been quite difficult. Sometimes, even after the miracle comes, it is hard for life to return to normal. People are the same, but we have changed. And sometimes it takes a long time for us to heal after going through something traumatic.

In many ways I miss the times of my life when I had quiet devotional time with Christ. I don't want to live in the past, or see it with rose colored glasses. I know those times were equally difficult in their own ways. Yet, there is a part of me that longs for them again. When Brad and I first moved to Chicago I was a stay-at-home house wife for 6 months. Those were some of the best times of my life. Days of waking up and spending hours in the morning reading and praying, alone with my Lord. I had an overwhelming peace in my life because of walking so close to Christ.

It is funny, but we rarely realize the best times of our life while we are living them. It is only when we look back...

When I first began training at SORA and had to commute downtown 2 hours each way...it was so painful, especially on those freezing cold mornings. But God taught me how to love people during that time. How to really love people. I was given the opportunity to listen to strangers and even to pray with some I met on the bus. I was able to talk with homeless people and listen to those in need. I hated the journey at the time, but looking back I realize how much it did to change me and how amazing of a time period it was in my life.

Over the summer, as I watched my Husband lay in the hospital for weeks, I had to deal seriously with the notion that I could lose him. Despite this, it was only later that I realized how close he had truly come to going home with Christ. Every day that I am with him now is a gift to me. I see his beautiful smile and the light in his eyes and I find myself often wondering "how can I be so blessed?". Apart from Christ, he is my world. He is my better half and it would be hard to smile each day if he wasn't here. I am thankful beyond measure that I still have him in my life and that I am his wife.

I don't expect many people to happen upon these ramblings...I wasn't really expecting to write them. I will post pictures as I can, but I feel that over time I may not post as many as I once did. I hope I am wrong, though.

Overall, I feel very thankful tonight. Thankful to Christ for saving my Husband and thankful to Him for saving me. I don't deserve this life, my Husband, or the studio where I study. I don't deserve His mercy and I don't deserve His love. But I am thankful for all of it. I just hope in time I can honor Him more and more with this life He has given me. I treasure every part of it. Praise be to God.

October 11, 2012

Quick update

Posting a quick update of my figure drawing (now at 13 days) and my (final) cast drawing on toned paper with white chalk, now at 10 days. :)



October 6, 2012

Fall Figure drawing

I returned to the studio two weeks ago. :) This is my first figure drawing on toned paper (charcoal & white chalk drawing). The time line below shows the drawing after 2 days/ 4 days/ 9 days. I have 3 weeks remaining to work on it.







July 3, 2012

Completed works

Two completed works from my last trimester and a two day charcoal study that was finished today. :) The Brutus Cast is my final cast drawing on white paper. My next cast drawing (and final one before I move on to painting) will be on toned paper and include both charcoal and white chalk.

The figure drawing was completed over the final 5 weeks of our Spring trimester. It turned out OK, but I am not that pleased with it. I had a lot of frustration from the charcoal I was using (the final straw that made me decide to change to a different brand) and a lot of issues going on outside the studio. : /

I like the two day charcoal study that I completed today. Truthfully, it is almost a 1 day study as that the first day was so overcast that I was able to only place the outline of the figure. I will do another 2-4 day study next week. :)

Happy 4th of July! :)





June 18, 2012

Summer School

School officially ended last Friday, but I will be busy over the summer finishing a couple projects and working on a Master Copy Painting. Below is the in progress drawing of our model, Melissa. The first one was taken on day 2 and the second one was taken on day 6. This was for our final 5 week pose, but I still have three days remaining to bring this drawing to a better completion. After being gone for several weeks, I think this drawing really helped to shake some of the rust off. I also learned a great deal about what not to do and how to better approach my drawing in the future. I will post the completed drawing later this week as well as my final charcoal on white paper cast drawing of Brutus.




Below is a picture of the Master Copy painting I will be working on this summer. I will post updates of my progress, no matter how horrible, as I attempt to recreate this Rembrandt masterpiece. :) "An Old Man in a Military Uniform" by Rembrandt.



June 17, 2012

The Meek Man

"The perfect church service would be one we were almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God." - C. S. Lewis

Over the last three months, after suffering complications from a surgery in March, my husband has been through an amazingly difficult period in his life. As his wife, it was a difficult and depressing experience for me as I sat by, helpless, to do anything other than try to ease his suffering. During this time, though, we have both drawn closer to the Lord and have such a deep reverence and hunger for His Presence in our lives. I have a deeper hunger to know Him and a desire to seek Him with all my heart. I want to draw and paint for His pleasure, that His name would be glorified on earth.

I have decided to take away external links to this blog as that I feel I can be more open and unhindered in my writing and artwork updates in knowing that this blog is less linked to the outside world. I will not go as far as making in private, but I am taking away the links from Facebook and from ConceptArt.org. I originally started this blog as something for myself, an outlet to write of my experience with God and to showcase my journey of creating artwork for His glory. I aim to move back to that place.

Personally, it is too easy for me to fall into the trap of caring what others think, of becoming a people-pleaser instead of a God-pleaser. Before accepting Christ, when we are in the world and follow the ways of this world, we base our worth and value on our Performance + Other's opinions of us. When we come to accept Christ's sacrifice and to know Him personally and walk with the Lord daily, our view begins to change. We no longer see ourselves as the world sees us, but we begin to see ourselves as God sees us - how He has now defined us. Our worth and value has changed dramatically. We have to learn these truths and hold to them, looking to God for approval and acceptance, knowing He sees us and accepts us as we are in Christ. We must work to let go of people pleasing and all these methods we have developed over the years of attempting to gain approval by the world's ways and standards. We must learn to look to Christ.

I believe A. W. Tozer said it best in the following passage (taken from "The Pursuit of God" and one of my favorites):

"The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort...he has stopped being fooled about himself...He knows he is as weak and helpless as God has declared him to be, but paradoxically, he knows at the same time that he is in the sight of God of more importance than angels. In himself, nothing; in God, everything...He knows well that the world will never see him as God sees him and he has stopped caring."

I will post an update later this week with my most recent finished cast and completed figure drawing. The figure drawing is lacking compared to some of my other drawings, but it was a good refresher after being away from the studio. I look forward to diving into the world of painting over the summer as I attempt to copy some Master Artist pieces. I will try and update this blog more often.

In Christ,


March 26, 2012

Update

Quick update on the progress of my cast and figure drawing. :) More coming soon... 

The figure drawing needs major work on the hands/lower arms. I plan to do this today. :)




March 17, 2012

The garden

I do not do writings, especially Scriptural ones, as much as I use to in the past. If I had the time tonight I would write a great deal. In one of Tozer's editorial publications, he writes that each person has a "secret garden" in which only the Spirit of God may dwell. Only God is allowed there to commune with the individual and it can be God and no other. If a person rejects Christ in their life, then this garden remains empty. And too often a person will spend their whole life chasing after the things of the world to try to fill this void that is felt deep within.

As I look back...the happiest, most joyful, most contented times in my life have been in those quiet moments when I felt the Holy Presence of the Lord. When I was able to just sit for hours and read Scripture, pray, and commune with Him. I could gain all the world tomorrow and I would gladly give it back to experience more of those little moments with Christ. He is my portion and my treasure.

I hope I am able to have more and more of those moments with Him in the days ahead. And I can only hope I bear witness to Him in a manner worthy of His character. He is amazing.

March 14, 2012

Man Holding Pole - Day 11-13

It is beginning to come back together... :/ This drawing still needs a lot of work, but it is slowly getting there. :)




March 9, 2012

Timeline of Man Holding Pole figure drawing

Below are 3 pictures taken over the last 2 weeks of my newest figure study. I am re-posting the picture of the initial drawing stage simply for reference. This drawing has been a challenge for me in many ways and honestly I am really unhappy with the progress I have made so far. I feel that it should have been kept (still needs to be kept) more unified and that it has become rather messy as far as charcoal technique is concerned. Thankfully a dear friend encouraged me. As we grow in all areas, in this case my drawing ability, we are able to see more easily the areas that need further growth. This is my case with this figure study. I have been told it is a good drawing and I am doing well with it, yet all I can see is how much better it needs to be. I guess this is good in that it always keeps us setting the bar higher and higher for ourselves. Thankfully, God sends us people to encourage us on our journey, as we make our way to the next marker on the horizon. :)




Timeline of Brutus Cast - week 1

Here are 4 pictures taken over the last week to show the progress of my Brutus cast. This cast is coming along much faster than any I have done before, for which I am very happy and thankful. :D Praise the Lord!

The final picture shown below was taken yesterday, after only 5 days (1 week) of work done to the cast. I did not get to this stage on my last cast (girl with tilted head) until the end of week 3. If I am able to keep going at this rate, I should be able to complete this cast in as little as 4-5 weeks. This leaves more time before the summer to complete my final charcoal cast which will be done on toned paper with white chalk.






March 1, 2012

Big update

Time has gotten away from me. I am now in my 6th week of school. Last week I finished my 2nd Cast study and my 5 week drawing of Jasmine. Both are shown below. I also began a new cast study and a new 5 week figure drawing, which are shown below as well. I was also able to do well on the most recent Monday night drawing session (roughly a 2 hour sketch in graphite), for the first time in months! :) I am posting it as well. Sorry for the massive upload, but glad to finally have a few free minutes to post all these.










February 6, 2012

Jasmine 2.0

My Jasmine drawing after 2 weeks of work. :)


January 31, 2012

Jasmine 1.2

Pose from last week with an additional 2 days work. :) I corrected some errors with the legs, specifically the leg on the right. I also increased the contrast. The arm on the right (her left arm) needs a lot of work, which I plan to do tomorrow.

I'm going to start doing self-portraits in charcoal in a couple weeks. If you are a friend of mine who happens by this blog and would like to be drafted for a free portrait, please let me know. :)


January 27, 2012

First week back

There is so much to write, unfortunately I will have to another time. The cast drawing shown below is my 2nd cast drawing and I plan to be done in 2 weeks. I have already spent 3 weeks on it. The new figure drawing began on Monday and below is the "in-progress" photo after the first week. 

More updates coming soon (as well as some writings). :)