My Mural and the Easter Story Part 3: “Alive with Him”

My Mural and the Easter Story Part 3: “Alive with Him”

Although this post is getting out a little late, seeing that Easter is already passed, I’d like to finish up on this series about the mural my friend Dave Mattison and I did. I saved the best part for last. In the previous post, I showed you the image of the cross of Christ, and people stained by sin, desperately climbing out of the mire to be cleansed by the blood of Christ. All of us are in that predicament, and if all of us seek after God, we will find forgiveness flowing out from Calvary. If we trust in the finished work of Christ–that He alone can save and wash away our sins by His blood, His death being the payment that makes us right before God, we are forgiven. The debt has been paid. But God doesn’t stop there. Why? Because Jesus didn’t stop there. He died, but He didn’t stay dead in the tomb. He rose again. The stone was rolled away and the bones are not in the grave. By the way, the historicity of Jesus resurrection is vital to the Christian faith. Jesus said He would rise again. His resurrection proved the claim that He is the Messiah who came not only to deliver the Jewish people but the Gentiles (most of us) as well. Like the Paul the apostle said, “And if Christ is not raised, your faith is futile. You are still in your sins.” (I Corinthians 15:17) Fortunately, proof of Jesus resurrection, although denied by some groups today, can be backed up by many accounts in the Bible, as well as...
Good Friday: My Mural and the Easter Story Part 2

Good Friday: My Mural and the Easter Story Part 2

Last week, I wrote about the 4′ x 28′ mural my friend Dave Mattison and I did for our church, illustrating the Gospel message from Genesis to Revelation. In that post, I showed some images of creation, the fall with the sin Adam and Eve committed in the Garden of Eden, the flood with Noah’s ark, and then the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments reveal to us, like a mirror showing any dirt on our face, how we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Being that it’s Good Friday, I want to share the middle section of the mural, what it’s about and what it means to me, and how I think it can speak to all of us. Before I do that, though, I’ll share the panel before it. There’s not a lot here, except a lot of darkness. This is how it is for all of us before God reveals to us the awesomeness of His Son Jesus Christ. The river flowing below is black with the venom of sin. Death, destruction, and devastation covers the earth. Above however, we do see the rainbow, symbolizing the promise of God that He would never again the flood the whole earth as He did in Noah’s day. I think it’s also a symbol of God’s mercy being extended to us. In the middle panel, we have the cross of Christ. Notice Jesus is not on the cross. Why? Because He is up in heaven right, seated at His Father’s right hand. There are churches depicting Jesus as being on the cross, and although I...
My Mural and the Easter Story Part 1

My Mural and the Easter Story Part 1

Easter is just a little over a week away and I want to share a mural I created and tell you what it’s about. I think this mural correlates well with the upcoming season. First of all, this mural was a collaborative project between my friend Dave Mattison and I, who God gave an art talent to as a middle-aged adult, when a co-worker asked him to draw a picture of a deer. His co-worker wanted to give the drawing to another guy at the factory who was goofing off and then caught like a deer in the headlights by the supervisor. Dave said, “You know I can’t draw very well, just doodles.” “It doesn’t have to be that good,” the coworker replied. Later on, Dave held the pencil in his hand, ready to draw. Wanting to come up with a halfway-decent drawing, Dave thought for a moment and prayed, “Lord, you know I can’t draw, but if I hold this pencil, you could draw the deer through me!” And that’s just what he did. The deer was very well done. I had just gotten to know Dave around this time when he told me the story. He had never really drawn anything well up until that point, but then the Lord gave him a talent to draw, just like that, out of the blue. Seeing the way God blessed him, I wanted Dave to be a part of this mural project, and he agreed to help me with it. The mural Dave and I did is 28′ wide by 4′ high, consisting of a series of 4′ x...
Meet Some of my Friends at Artisan Forge Studios

Meet Some of my Friends at Artisan Forge Studios

I‘ve been at Artisan Forge Studios now for over two months and, in that time, I’ve gotten to know several of my fellow artists and craftspeople here a little bit. I’d like to introduce you to a few of them. Artisan Forge is aptly named–it’s a melting pot of creativity within the Chippewa Valley area–a community of artists who work together, collaborate on common themes, and yet create in an incredibly diverse range of media: welded metal sculpture, blacksmithing, pottery, glass blowing, necklace making, and painting, to name a few. It’s a great place to be! Meet Chad Christensen, Glass Artist The first artisan I’d like you to meet is Chad Christensen. He does wonderfully amazing glass sculpture consisting of hand-blown creations. Most of his work is ornamental, decorative pieces that you would be proud to hang on your Christmas tree as well as above your fireplace mantle. Colorful striations twist around the whimsical forms of crystal clear glass, shapes that remind you of seashells or an amazingly decked out soft-serve ice cream cone. What got him started in this glass making adventure? It was winter layoffs in the roofing business and then the recent economic downturn that caused this former crane operator to seek an extra source of income. “I needed a garage hobby and a friend of mine had recently come back from Oregon, learned a lot about glass blowing out there, and I bought a torch in the winter and started working with him,” recalled Chad. He started glass blowing part-timeĀ as a hobby during the layoffs, and then when the bottom finally fell out of the...
Celebrating 25 Years of Doing Commissioned Art

Celebrating 25 Years of Doing Commissioned Art

It all started back in 1991 at age 14, when my mom’s friend asked me to do a drawing of her friend who had passed away and paid me for it. Backing up just a bit, shortly before that I had just learned how to draw realistically from a photo. I had drawn OK up until that point, but suddenly, faithfully reproducing the details of a photograph “clicked” for me. Here is that commissioned portrait, a montage of several photos put together into one cohesive drawing.   One of my first realistic drawings was of one of my favorite bands, Metallica. I did two of them, one of the whole band, and then one of the lead guitarist, James Hetfield. I don’t have that first drawing, but here is the second one–pencil on paper. While doing that first drawing of Metallica, I was so engrossed in what I was doing that I don’t think I took a break for hours. My eyes were glued to the paper, close in so I could capture all the detail. I came downstairs after several hours of working. My pulled me aside and asked me, “Matt I need to talk to you. Are you, umm…on drugs?” “Mom, you know me better than that!” “Well, your eyes are all dilated.” I then explained how I was drawing for hours (probably with poor lighting) and we both got a little laugh out of it. But those realistic drawings, if I remember correctly, is what she showed to her friend, and that spurred on the first commission. I had a couple more from teachers in high...
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