LIGHT ARISES IN THE DARKNESS:

A Journal of Comfort, Encouragement, and Inspiration


Inscribed on the Hands of God

Inscribed on the Hands of God

  One day, when I was discouraged and depressed, I read this passage in my Bible from Isaiah 49:   But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, And my Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me. I thought, “God still loves me!” He still loves me–even though I’ve been distant from Him and messed up again. And He won’t forget me. I was comforted by His limitless promise to be faithful.   I thought, I have to do a drawing of this idea.   So I held out my own hand as a model and drew it. This is called “Inscribed.” 14″ x 17,” pencil on paper.   You will find over 300 names written within the creases and wrinkles of these hands.     Be encouraged. God has not forgotten you either.   If you are a born-again child of God, this scripture passage implies that your name, too, is written on the palm of His hand. This means God will never forget you. He sees every tear. He knows what you are feeling and He knows how you may be failing. But He still loves you just the same.   And the reason He can do that is because, if you’ve allowed Him to, He’s forgiven every sin you’ve ever committed through the righteous sacrifice of Jesus on your behalf.   He shed His blood,... read more
The Things We Artists Do for Art

The Things We Artists Do for Art

  It’s amazing the things you have to do sometimes to get a painting to look realistic.   I’ve been commissioned to do a painting of the five loaves and two fishes for a book cover illustration, a commentary on the book of Mark in the New Testament. I didn’t want to copy a stock photo (illegal) but I didn’t want to just make it up (not very realistic)   So I bought some fish, some flatbread and a basket. Took the pics just as the sun was setting. Then I cooked the fish tonight and ate it with the bread. Best fish I’ve had in a long time! 🙂   Here are a few pics that I took…       Even though this is not my usual subject matter–portraits–it’s good to do a still life once in a while to keep up with your color, shape, and value rendering skills. Many of you have seen this painting on Facebook already, but I wanted to get this posted to my blog.      Have a blessed weekend!... read more
Why Not to Give Up on Your Acrylic Portrait Painting

Why Not to Give Up on Your Acrylic Portrait Painting

It’s easy to get frustrated in the middle of painting an acrylic portrait. Possibly your skin tones aren’t looking natural, or the values are off. Maybe the portrait just doesn’t look like the person you’re trying to capture. When you’re going for realism, and it just isn’t happening, what do you do?

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A Painting of Encouragement

A Painting of Encouragement

I am thankful for my job as a portrait painting artist. I am so blessed to be able to paint portraits for a living. Many of the commissioned portraits I do are given as gifts, and they are very meaningful, especially when it is given to keep a memory alive for someone who lost a loved one. Here is a miniature portrait I finished earlier this month. It’s a 5 x 7, acrylic on hardboard. I don’t do many miniature paintings like this, so it’s always fun to challenge myself and see if I can paint the details in such a small format. This portrait was commissioned by a woman from my hometown in Merrill. She gave this as a gift to her daughter for her birthday, a portrait of her and her dad, who passed away recently.   Here is what she and some of her friends wrote on Facebook:   “My mom and Randy came over today to visit and give me my birthday present early. I was so touched it brought me to tears. She had taken a very nice photo of my dad and I, but the picture was pixelated. With dad no longer with us, she had a very talented artist paint the photo. It turned out wonderful. Thank you so much mom and Randy!!💗” When I do commissioned projects like this, I’m always amazed at the love people show each other by giving such thoughtful gifts. I’m thankful that I can do this for a living! If you would like a commissioned portrait done, just let me know. I’d love to be able... read more
Portrait artist Matt Philleo painting a custom portrait from a client's photo.

About Me

Hi, I’m Matt Philleo. I create artwork to comfort, encourage, and inspire. For those who are discouraged, brokenhearted and experiencing loss, my artwork has special meaning, often by guiding them to the One who can bring true peace and lasting joy.

I’ve been doing art on commission and exhibition on a part-time basis since 1991, and exclusively full-time since 2013.  Currently, I live in Eau Claire, WI with my wife and three children.

"I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands."

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"Inscribed," Pencil on Paper, by Matt Philleo

One day, when I was discouraged I read a verse in the Bible, in Isaiah, 49:15-16, where it says, "Can a woman forget her nursing child And have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palm of my hands." This verse brought such encouragement, that I created this original work of art to share the incredible love of God with others, including you!


Get a free 8 x 10 copy of this drawing that you can use to print, share, or as wallpaper!

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