The Brevity and Blessing of Life

The Brevity and Blessing of Life

I was recently asked to do a pencil drawing, a memoriam portrait for my neighbor Laura, whose boyfriend had just passed away several days ago. I had been to their home a few times, reading the Bible with them, and praying with them. Unfortunately, the man’s health was declining and he suddenly took a turn for the worse and was gone, at age 53.

It makes you realize how short life is. I’ve gotten to know quite a few of my neighbors and I’ve seen many of them pass away at younger ages than you’d like to see people go.

But when it’s time for someone to go, it’s time. Death is an appointment we all have to keep.

The Bible says “…it’s appointed for man once to die, and after this the judgment.” But we also have a great promise that Jesus Christ conquered death by suffering the penalty of sin–death–on the cross for our benefit. Then, He rose again to prove that the work was accomplished! All we have to do is trust in Him, what He did for us–taking the punishment of sin we deserve (death) and receive that benefit of eternal life. And the reason God sent His son to die for us is because He loves us!

Life is too short to avoid the risk of sounding a little preachy. If you’re reading this and don’t know Jesus, think about what I’m saying–what God is speaking to your heart. Take it in.

What sounds like bad news–the brevity of life or certain trials and difficulties–can become your greatest blessing.

Many blessings are hidden in things that look dismal, dark and unattractive. Diamonds look terrible as they’re drawn out of coal, but hidden in all that dark and dirty material is a gem waiting for the seeking person to find. Pearls are created through the irritation the clam experiences from sand within the shell. A forest fire leaves a wasteland behind, but it’s that very same scorched earth that is the perfect soil for new plants to grow in!

Sketch of Paul, 11 x 14, pencil on paper, by portrait artist Matt Philleo

Sketch of Paul, 11 x 14, pencil on paper, by portrait artist Matt Philleo

This pencil portrait sketch of my neighbor Paul took me about 2 1/2 hours to do, an 11 x 14. I used the side of the pencil lead for most of the dark areas, and wiped with a tissue to blend it in. I prayed as I drew the picture that God would use it to comfort my grieving neighbor.

When I handed the drawing off to Laura (the bereaved) earlier this week, her eyes just lit up with joy and she gave me a big hug. She came by our house a couple nights ago again to thank me and asked my wife and I to pray with her.

My wife had been listening to her and encouraging her while I was away at the studio. We are praying that the God of all comfort would touch this dear lady and make His love so real to her in her time of need. If God leads you to do so, please pray with us. Thank you!

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How to Paint Highlights in Acrylic (Video)

How to Paint Highlights in Acrylic (Video)

For quite a while, I’ve wanted to do some instructional videos on painting and drawing. Here is my very first video! This is very off the cuff, and impromptu.

Basically, I’m just talking and showing you a behind the scenes peek as I work in my studio on a current painting commission, which is in progress, about 70% done.

In the future, I plan on doing more instructional videos, courses and live courses at my new studio at Artisan Forge Studios in Eau Claire. I don’t drink anymore, so who knows, maybe I’ll do a “Paint and Dip” event where you can create your own painting while enjoying a nice side of chips and homemade guacamole! ( l love guac and making it fresh from scratch!)

This video does cut off abruptly–which I do apologize for–but let me know me know what you think!

(Click the link below to see this video on my YouTube channel)

How to Paint Highlights in Acrylic

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All Moved In

All Moved In

It’s been a little while since my last post. The craziness of the holiday season is over now, and it’s time to get back to writing.
Lately, I’ve been busy setting up my new studio at Artisan Forge Studios. (1107 Mondovi Rd., Eau Claire, WI–across from Walgreen’s on Clairemont Ave)
They put up some of my art and info on their website too, if you’d like to check that out. 
It’s easy to underestimate the amount of work it takes to move your business, equipment, and supplies, even out of a 9′ x 13′ room. But stuff had been accumulating for a while tucked neatly (sometimes) onto shelves, but once the shelves came down I realized half of it isn’t needed and it’s not coming to the new studio.
 
My crowded old art studio.

My crowded old art studio.

A lot of mess!

A lot of mess!

This is really the first time I’ve moved anything major in over 13 years. Even though it’s not a whole house move, I forgot the dynamics of moving and all the downtime involved.
My new studio room is a 12′ x 12′. It’s a little bigger than my old 9′ x 13′ studio, if you measure by the floor plan, but vertically, it’s like comparing the Wells Fargo building in Eau Claire to the Sears Tower. My old home studio just clears my head at about 6 1/2 feet, but the new studio is nearly 10 feet tall. Goliath’s head would just barely be touching the ceiling of my new studio, whereas in my old one he would look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame! I’m glad to have this extra space for storage and working on larger canvases.
Here’s a little more of the backstory on why I decided to move out in the first place.
My studio at Artisan Forge, 1107 Mondovi Rd, Eau Claire, before painting.

My studio at Artisan Forge, 1107 Mondovi Rd, Eau Claire, before painting.

The new studio is great, but I wanted to “tweak it a little” to make it my own. I didn’t care for the boring grey color it was painted in, so I freshened it up with two-toned off white and chocolate brown, separated by a white stripe, mimicking a chair rail. The colors are close to my business/website colors and they’re a lot brighter to reflect the light in the studio. The more light there is, the easier it is to paint and draw!
My studio at Artisan Forge after painting.

My studio at Artisan Forge after painting.

After letting the paint dry, my next step was to put up shelving. I reused some neat metal shelves with adjustable brackets from my mother-in-law’s old house (Thanks, Mom!) that are kind of like the shelves you see in department stores. Very handy.
My main shelves.

My main shelves.

 

Oh, actually, before that, I did reassemble my drafting table, and my palette shelf on wheels. I love this drafting table. I got it from a friend and church over 10 years ago. It’s better to work on than an easel for smaller canvases.
Got my wind up clock going again too, after sitting in our basement for 6 years. Hopefully hearing it chime on the hour will help keep me productive.
Display wall and clock reminding me to get some work done!

Display wall and clock reminding me to get some work done!

One of the walls in the studio will be reserved just for displaying new art. They will also give me a little display space outside my studio too. I’m excited to have a place to show my art publicly, meet with new clients, and people in the community.
I’ve already met some cool people. One of my studio neighbors makes bead creations, the other is a sculptor. There’s an architecture/ design firm there and a guy and gal who make really amazing custom guitar pedals featuring unique sounds you can’t get anywhere else.
I’ve prayed and dedicated this room to God, to be used to serve His Kingdom purposes and for His glory. I want to continue to do paintings that bring encouragement founded upon the truth of the good news of Jesus Christ and Biblical principles, and even more than I have. I’m looking forward to meeting people in the community, sharing ideas, collaborating on projects, teaching, and gaining inspiration from the other artists who work and exhibit here.
This morning, I finally got my shelving set up, and am officially at work. I modified this TV stand into a palette cart/ paint shelf. It’s on wheels, and just the right size to hold my palette while I paint, and all my paint below. It tool a little work to cut wood to size for the shelving and screw it in, but it’s done and the sawdust is swept off the floor.
My new studio at Artisan Forge Studios, 1107 Mondovi Rd, Eau Claire, WI 54703

My new studio at Artisan Forge Studios, 1107 Mondovi Rd, Eau Claire, WI 54703

This afternoon, I worked on a couple sketches for portrait and illustration commissions. It felt good to finally be doing art and not carpentry!
My drafting table and easel.

My drafting table and easel.

Thank you everyone for all your wonderful, encouraging comments throughout this transition. I plan on having an open house event in the not too distant future. I will keep you posted on that, and of course, you’re all invited!

Share Your Thoughts!

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave me your feedback below! I will personally get back to you. Can you help me spread the word? Please share this post with your family and friends by using the social media links below. Thank you!
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