Thanksgiving…to Whom?

Thanksgiving…to Whom?

It’s that time of year again. The trees have shed their leaves, the cold and frost have settled down on our lawns, the hunters are busy. The cooks in the kitchen are getting their turkeys thawed out, the sweet potatoes ready, the pumpkins prepared for a lavish meal fit for a king. I love it. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. I love the food, I love the family get-togethers and great conversation. I love the fact that it’s a time of year especially set aside to give thanks. If you can get past the constant barrage of Black Friday ads, you’ll hear people right now urging us to stop and be thankful for all the things we have. That’s great; we should. But the question is not so much what are we giving thanks for, but rather… Who are we giving thanks to? Let’s face it: God is not popular in our popular culture today. We’ve become self-sufficient,  we say we don’t need Him, He doesn’t exist, and pushed Him off the side. Or, we’ve reinvented Him, despite the fact that He already tells us who He is, right out of the pages of His word, the Bible. But the tradition of Thanksgiving, founded centuries ago in this country remains. And we like our traditions. So, if we slow down enough to reflect on our lives, we pause and give thanks, because, well…it’s Thanksgiving…it’s what you do. Let me ask you a question: Fast-foward a few weeks and let’s say it’s Christmas. You give me a nicely wrapped, meaningful gift. What would you expect me to say? “Thank you,”...
Time to Move On

Time to Move On

I‘ve been doing art from my home part time for the past ten years and full time for the past two. It’s been great in many ways to work from home, to be available to help with household tasks from time to time, and get that tax break, but it has its limitations. Sometimes clients would like to visit and see my studio. I’m glad for that, but when your studio is a small bedroom up some narrow, winding stairs in a small apartment, it makes it difficult to have visitors. Not that I’m complaining. I just went with the flow and worked with what I have. But about a month ago, an opportunity for a more adequate studio space opened up. I got an email from Jackie Boos, facilities director of the newly formed Artisan Forge Studios here in my city of Eau Claire, asking me to check out their new studio spaces for artists. A successful metal fabricator and sculpturist, Greg Johnson, bought the old MidState Trucking building on Clairemont Avenue recently and began converting the 20,000 square feet space into a potential melting pot of creativity where artists could work, hang out, meet with each other and people in the community. I thought, “well, I should at least meet with Jackie, and if nothing else, at least I’ll learn about the place and get to know another person in the art world.”  In the back of my mind, though, I was thinking, “How much is studio rent going to cost me?” Most studio/ office spaces in Eau Claire start at $1,000/ month. It was time to...
New Drawings and the Encouragement of Companionship

New Drawings and the Encouragement of Companionship

The dog is a man’s best friend. We’ve heard that saying so many times that we don’t even think about why it’s true. What is it about dogs that make them such great companions? Over the years, I have been commissioned to do many pet portraits. Every single one of them was of a dog, by the way. Sorry, cat lovers. I’m sure there are a lot of you out there, but it seems that across the board, dogs win this contest, hands down. ( If any of you cat lovers would like to tip the scale onto your side, you can always commission me to do a portrait of your cat for you… ) Oh, and by the way, I like cats too.  😎 Here’s 3 reasons why dogs make great companions, and I think that why, as a portrait artist, I’m often asked to draw or paint them. 1. They are smart Without question, dogs are extremely intelligent creatures. The things they can learn are amazing. I believe God created dogs specifically for the purposes that we see them being utilized in today–friend, house protector, police work, assisting the disabled, therapy, hunting partners, even carrying things up in the frozen North. This wasn’t just the product of chance or evolution. Their brains are wired to learn. 2. They are accepting One of the reasons why many feel so close to their dogs, is that these animals become very attached to their owners. They show affection primarily to one person–usually the one that brought them home the first time. I remember my mom had a little Chihuahua/ Terrier...
Be There

Be There

I want to talk today about taking time to enjoy the scenery around you. How often are our minds actually present when we’re doing something? We usually think about the next place we have to go, the next meeting we have, the next person we need to meet, the next thing on our schedule, but how often do we actually interact with with what we’re doing at the time? This is a painting I did–a mural for the Montessori School District in Eau Claire in their IMC,  their library. They asked me to paint a picture of these kids sitting on a bridge at the Rod and Gun park here in Eau Claire, and you can see they’re just enjoying themselves, their legs dangling over the edge, as they just look into the river and just take in the scenery and enjoy being with each other and being in nature. The boy is scooping his hand down in the water,  trying to grab a frog, or touch a rock, or pick up some slimy piece of moss–but whatever this boy is doing–he’s just having a good old time. He’s not worried about what’s going to be going on in the day– if he has any cares at all, he’s totally forgotten them, just sitting there looking at the scenery taking it in. And I have to say I’m probably preaching to myself here… how many times do I sit at home when I should be totally engaging with my kids, spending time with them? Instead, I just work on something on the side–a project on the computer, something I...
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