The Dreams of the Elderly

The Dreams of the Elderly

Ours is a society of youth. Technology is constantly changing; everything seems to be getting faster.

We’re constantly looking for the latest young celebrity, while the older ones are being pushed off to the side to make room for the new.

And those who are old are being propped up to look younger, so that they can still be an acceptable part of society.

Years ago, we used to appreciate and respect the grey-haired for their wisdom. The older people were the living links to the past: they could share historical events first hand, what they learned, and pass it on to the next generation. But recently, we have increasingly diminished their role in society, often leaving them in nursing homes with little to no contact with family.

Over Thanksgiving break, we went to see my wife’s grandmother in the nursing home. Although she didn’t remember us very well, I think she was thrilled to see her children, and especially her great-grandchildren. Our two year old daughter connected with her over a stuffed animal that she shared with great-grandma. Earlier, I visited my grandmother in the nursing home before she passed away a couple years ago. I am glad I did, and now I don’t have any regrets. Now my grandmother, too, at the end, was not very lucid and so it was a bit awkward to visit.

But even though she couldn’t communicate, who knows how much ideas, hopes, and aspirations were still circulating within her mind?

Here is an excerpt from the book I illustrated, “The Boy in a Tree.”  As I’ve shared in the past, the story follows Nick, a boy with special needs who loves climbing trees throughout his life.

At the end of the book, we read how, as an old man, he is still dreaming…

 

Elderly person, children's book, Matt Philleo

Excerpt from “Boy in a Tree,” by Pamela Boodle and Illustrated by Matt Philleo, featuring Nick as an elderly man

 

Interestingly, the Bible shares that sentiment with us–that the elderly are vitally important, and have great ideas. They have excellent, lofty ideas that have been founded upon wisdom and experience–perhaps dreams that never made it to fruition–and now they lack the strength to carry them out.

It is for us in the next generation then, to carry on this torch, to retrieve the baton, and keep the vision of the previous generation alive. 

We see that with Moses passing the baton to Joshua, who finally entered the promise land in his lifetime, even though for his predecessor, it was only a dream.

We see that with Martin Luther King, Jr., who we all know from history had a dream that the white man and black man would stand together in equality and harmony. We’ve made steps toward that as a society, but obviously, as we see in current events, have a long, long way to go. Although he was not elderly at the time he gave his famous speech, if he were still alive, he would be an old man today and his dream would still most likely remain unfulfilled. But the dream is good, and the hope of it lives on.

We see that with Simeon, in the New Testament, who was waiting the long-promised Messiah, the deliverer of Israel. He dreamed that one day He would get to see this child that would the change the destiny of nations in person, and for him, the dream became reality, when Joseph and Mary entered the temple to perform the cleansing and dedication ritual for their Son. The elderly Simeon held baby Jesus of Nazareth in his arms, and he knew that his hopes of the healing of the nation of Israel–and the world would be realized.

Jesus is the fulfillment of all good dreams. 

Peace on earth, goodwill to men, and everything good that we long for, is found and will be found in Him–this perfect man and God, in the form a humble human servant, who ultimately demonstrated this posture of service in laying down his life for us on the cross, to bring us forgiveness of sin, and the restoration of humanity.

Finally, God Himself promised, “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” (Acts 2:17)

Hear the dreams and aspirations of the elderly. Maybe these dreams can become your dreams too, and even become a reality in your life.

 

Boy in a Tree Childrens Book by Pamela Boodle and Matt Philleo

Excerpt from “Boy in a Tree,” by Pamela Boodle and Illustrated by Matt Philleo, featuring Nick climbing a tree

 

If you live near the Eau Claire area, the author of “The Boy in a Tree,” Pam Boodle and I would love to have you come and visit us at our book signing event this Saturday, December 3.  More about that here.

As we get into the Christmas season, may it be a blessed one for you and your family. 

All the best,

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Matt

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How I do Shading with Acrylic (Video)

How I do Shading with Acrylic (Video)

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. I know I did. It was rejuvenating to take a little time off from the studio, and spend it with family. Sometimes as an artist, you feel the crunch of having to create a lot of artwork, and your creative energies get tapped out. Thanksgiving’s a fantastic time to recharge, give thanks to God for all the blessings He’s given, be with family, and of course, eat a wonderful home-cooked meal.

Back to the studio tomorrow.

While teaching art classes lately, I’ve discovered one of the most challenging things for my students to learn is how to shade.

For artists and art appreciators, shading is a mysterious thing. We wonder how to do it, or how others did it.

Shading– the transition from a dark value to a lighter value in a two-dimensional work of art–is one of the most important techniques you can master to make a painting or drawing look realistic.

I’d like to share a video (hosted on YouTube) I created earlier this week about that, with you. This is my first art instructional video–in fact really the first serious video recording I’ve done, since the old days of playing around with a VHS-C camcorder with my buddies after school. We made some pretty crazy movies back then!

Somewhere towards the end of the video–maybe about 2/3 of the way through–is where I really get into it: how to do shading with acrylic and make it look real.

Hope you enjoy this video, and let me know if it helps you in your painting. Let me know, too, how I can improve it in any way, so going forward I can create some videos that are more helpful, or informative for you. Or maybe you don’t paint, but you are interested in the process of acrylic painting. Again, let me know if you’d like to see more stuff like this in the future!

And of course, as I always ask, please share this with your friends! Thanks!

Blessings,

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Matt

P.S. I will have the painting featured in the video on display at the art show this Saturday at my studio. (1106 Mondovi Rd, in Eau Claire, 10-4pm)

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“The Boy in a Tree” Interview

“The Boy in a Tree” Interview

About a year ago, I was asked to illustrate a children’s book called the “The Boy in a Tree,” written by my sister’s friend, Pamela Boodle, a resident of Schofield, WI. We now recently published the book–a 30 page, full color story of a boy with special needs named Nick who has a fascination and relentless interest in climbing trees. And not just any tree. He searches for trees “with branches made just right for climbing and up, up, up he goes.”

Nick has a different perspective on life. He simply enjoys being out in nature and being himself. He is not distracted by all the things that most people are and is free to love, to be silly, and to spend time with the people he cares most about.

 

special needs, cognitive disabilities, tree climbing

“The Boy in a Tree,” pages 9 & 10

The story in this book really spoke to me, as I can relate. I have a son with special needs as well. While reading the manuscript, I was nearly moved to tears, and I felt the connection. I knew I needed to illustrate the book for Pam.
A few days ago I did an interview with the author, asking her about the inspiration behind the book. I’d like to share her thoughts with you…
Me: Tell me a little about yourself.

PamI live in northern Wisconsin with my husband of 38 years. We have two married children and eight grandchildren. We are guardians of a niece and nephew who still reside with us. I have been involved with various children’s ministries for over 25 years. My heart’s passion and joy has been working with children with special needs.

Me: Where did the inspiration/ idea come for this book?

Pam: Our nephew, Nicholas, was born with cognitive disabilities. His love for the outdoors and especially climbing the perfect tree was the inspiration for the book.

Me: Why did you want to get the message contained in the book out?

Pam: Nick’s child-like outlook brings a newfound sense and appreciation for “what matters most” in life and the beauty that is all around us if only we take time to see it.

Me: What things do you think people will gain by reading it?

Pam: I believe readers of all ages could benefit from this story as it seeks to draw awareness, but most importantly, instill a greater appreciation for those with disabilities and what we can learn from their lives.

Me: Have you ever written books or other pieces of writing before? If so, what?

Pam: I have written personal stories and songs for friends and family.
Me: How did you choose an illustrator for the book?
Pam: I truly believe God brought us together and feel blessed to have Matt as the illustrator of The Boy in A Tree. He is a gifted artist that brought “life” to this project with his sensitivity to this subject matter. But mostly, I appreciate his passion and how he prayerfully pours his heart and soul into all his art, for the glory of God.
Me:  Do you intend on writing more books in the future?
Pam: I would love to as the Lord leads. I am currently working on a children’s series on the character of God.
Both Pam and her husband Jeff were so kind and generous to me in the production of this book. You can meet Pam and learn more about this book and the inspiration behind it in person. Pam and I will be having a book signing event Saturday December 3rd, from 1-4 p.m at my studio–Artisan Forge Studios, 1106 Mondovi Rd. in Eau Claire.
You are invited! We will have copies of “Boy in a Tree” available and we would love to sign a copy for you. There will be refreshments available as well.
Boy with special needs climbing a tree in a children's book

“The Boy in a Tree” Bookmark for Book Signing Event with Pam Booodle and Matt Philleo, Dec 3, 1-4 pm at Artisan Forge Studios, 1106 Mondovi Rd, Eau Claire, WI

Hope to see you there! In the meantime, here is another post I did about this book that you can check out. Please let your friends know about this event–especially if they have or know children with special needs. I believe this book would be a great encouragement to them.

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A Portrait of My Veteran Friend

A Portrait of My Veteran Friend

It was November 11, 1919.

A year ago on that same day, Germany and the Central Powers agreed to put a stop to the war, laying down their arms and agreeing to the terms of peace set forth by the Allies. President Woodrow Wilson wrote a message to the people of America on this first commemorative Armistice Day:

“…The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men. To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with – solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.”

Cafe on the Somme World War I historical painting

“Cafe on the Somme,” 24 x 30, Acrylic on Canvas, 1993, by artist Matt Philleo

Armistice Day was later officially changed to Veteran’s Day in 1954. This is a day that we honor veterans, not just those who have died in service, but the living as well.

Both my grandfather and grandmother served in World War II. My grandfather was a pilot who did bombing missions in the Philippines, and my grandmother was a troop transport pilot, spunky and zealous enough to get in the army at age 16 (beats trying to get in a bar under-aged, right?). They met there during service and later got married upon returning home at the conclusion of the war.

My brother in law is a veteran from the Iraq conflict, having served two tours of duty there. He sacrificed a lot of time to serve our country.

I know we say it so much that it seems cliche, but it’s true…

Our veterans served our country well and kept our freedoms secure–either by paying with their life, braving the ever-present threat of losing their life, or perhaps the worst: enduring the trauma of seeing their best friends dying in horrific ways.

We owe them a debt of gratitude.

A few years ago, I created a portrait for a friend from my church who served in the army. He lost his wife due several health problems, and I wanted to encourage him by giving him something to commemorate the memory of his wife.

This is the photo that he gave me to work from:

1950's wedding photos

Photo of Gerald and Mavis J., on their wedding day

Since it was black and white I didn’t know what the colors were on his uniform. He offered to give the uniform to me, but I thought, “No, I better just take a picture of it instead. I sure don’t want to get paint on it!”

As for the colors of the flowers, I didn’t think he would remember after nearly 60 years, but I asked my mother-in-law. Without any trouble, she advised, “Oh yeah, those must be pinks, and those are carnations, and here’s the colors they would probably be.”

So with that information, I got to work.

Here are some in-progress pics of the painting. I start off with just a sketch, and then build up several translucent layers of acrylic paint using the Renaissance Master’s glazing technique.

Photo to portrait painting

Portrait painting of Gerald and Mavis J, by artist Matt Philleo, in progress

A painting like this can easily take 30+ hours.  But when considering the final goal of the project: encouraging a friend in his loss, every minute is worth it. After he received the painting, my friend wrote:

“Dear Matthew:

RE: Wedding Portrait–

Your loving kindness and genuine concern has deeply touched my heart, and will impact the hearts and minds of other for generations to come……….

God’s anointing on your work is a very special blessing–that reaches beyond the materials and talent–and moves with spiritual brushstrokes to paint love on the canvas of our hearts………….

E.M. Bonds says: God shapes the world by prayer. Prayers are deathless. They live outside the lives of those who utter them.’ Know that I am praying for you!

Like prayer–your work can be deathless, touching the lives of other for God’s plan through the strokes of eternity hidden in them…

Mavis always loved you–and I know she would be pleased and emotionally moved by your work.

Till she sees you again someday–thank you for your kindness and friendship and your Love.

“Shalom”,

Gerald

P.S. This small military remembrance is a token of our love.”

With that, he gave me some of his uniform accoutrements–buttons and his insignia. It was a blessing to be able to do that portrait for my friend and encouraging to get a letter like that. And here is the final 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas portrait.

 

Wedding Portrait painting from photo

Wedding Portrait of Gerald and Mavis J., 16 x 20, Acrylic on Canvas, 2013, by Eau Claire fine artist Matt Philleo

I am hoping I can run into a veteran tomorrow. Many times you will see veterans in front of stores and at the post office on Veterans day. It’s more than worth it to spend a dollar on a “buddy poppy” and shake their hand and thank them for their service. Do you know a veteran who’s shut in? Pay them a visit. Just spending some time with them will encourage them and you may find yourself encouraged too as you listen to them share their stories.

Who are some veterans you know, and would you like to share any of their stories right now?

Share Your Thoughts!

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave me your feedback at the bottom of the page! 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 on the side or below. Thank you!

 

After the Artisan Market

After the Artisan Market

This past Saturday, we had our Artisan Market event at Artisan Forge Studios. It was a great time, with a steady flow of people visiting.

In addition to all the artists, we had the wood fired pizza guys there as well as Soul Brewed Coffee. I grabbed a nice cup of a dark roast made in an aero press, which they then poured in my mug. Very unique flavor–it kind of grows on you! I’d like to get some more 🙂

During the show, I met some wonderful folks and some people I knew came in and visited as well. The main painting on display is a work in progress called “Smoldering Wick.” I’ll share more about that in-depth later.

On the wall opposite my easel, I displayed a print series of the 4′ x 28′ mural, depicting Biblical history with an emphasis on the gospel message, that my friend Dave Mattison and I completed in 2013 for Bethel Church in Eau Claire.

Prints of the 4' x 28' mural at Bethel Church, Eau Claire, WI

Prints of the 4′ x 28′ mural at Bethel Church, Eau Claire, WI

 

Portrait painter Matt Philleo mixing colors on his palette at Artisan Forge Studios on October 29, 2016

Portrait painter Matt Philleo mixing colors on his palette at Artisan Forge Studios on October 29, 2016

Most of the day, I painted on that canvas live (though mostly I just talked). A lot of people were touched by the message of encouragement, and had really incisive questions on my process in creating art. A few were interested in having custom portraits painted from a photo. At this time of year, getting close to Christmas, I tend to get a lot more of those kinds of commissions, which I am very thankful for.

Artisan Market at Artisan Forge Studios, Eau Claire, WI, October 29, 2016

Artisan Market at Artisan Forge Studios, Eau Claire, WI, October 29, 2016

Partway through, I met a gal that does some excellent photography work. Although an amateur photographer, she takes professional-quality portraits for people that can’t typically afford them–senior photos, wedding, engagement, etc–for free. I think that’s amazing. Here you can see some of her work:  

Photo from Treasuring Memories by Tricia Henchen

Photo from Treasuring Memories by Tricia Henchen

At the Artisan Market, there were people selling jewelry, paintings, sculptures, glass creations, stone carvings, prints and a lot of other great art. It’s exciting to be part of a place where there is so much energy–like a gallery and workshop all in one. I will definitely be looking forward to the next show. Thank you to everyone who were able to make it out there!

 

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 on the side or below. Thank you!

 

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