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? Although you may be tempted to give up, don’t. I want to give you 3 reasons why: 1. You will save time, paint and materials. Let’s face it. Painting is a labor of love. As artists, we could choose more lucrative jobs, where our exchange of time for money paid better. But we put a lot of hours into creating a high-quality unique work of art. So if you have put several hours into a painting only to scrap it and start over, you lost that time. In addition, you lost money with the cost of canvas, paint, and wear and tear on your brushes. Now, even if you paint just as a hobby, it’s frustrating to take the time to create something and then have nothing to show for that time you allotted in your busy schedule. Finishing the painting makes sense then, even from a purely material standpoint. 2. Pushing past a difficult point in your painting will build your resilience and grow your “artistic muscle”.  It’s easy to give up. Sticking with something when your thoughts and emotions are screaming, “This looks terrible…I’m done with this!” is way, way harder. This is similar to weightlifting. Serious bodybuilders know they won’t get great results unless they push past the pain. As they break down their...
A Smoldering Wick He Will Not Snuff Out, Part 1

A Smoldering Wick He Will Not Snuff Out, Part 1

What do you do when you feel like you are at the end of your rope? I recently finished a painting called “Smoldering Wick,” which I’ve shared on Facebook a little bit, and many people have asked what it is about. Even though I just finished the painting just at the end of last year, the idea came to me several years ago. I was feeling discouraged about certain things in my life that weren’t measuring up, my failures and mistakes glaring me in the face, and I wondered if God could forgive me. Many times when I feel this way, I get on my knees, open up my Bible in front of me and ask God to speak to me out of His word. Although I know God is forgiving and that He also will help me in all my discouragement and difficulties in life, I want to experience this forgiveness and goodness from God. I want to know He is right there with me. Some people may be able to, but I have a hard time shutting of the floodgate of my feelings. When I feel down, I can’t just put a smile on my face and pretend everything is OK when, inside, I feel like I’m drowning. And I’ve found from experience that nobody knows me like God, not even myself. And nobody cares to listen to me pour out the bitterness of my soul like God. And nobody has the answers that I so desperately need like God. And so this is what I do. I seek the Lord until He comes and reigns His...
The Light of the World Shining in Our Darkness

The Light of the World Shining in Our Darkness

Several times, I have wanted to give up being an artist. The end of last month was the most recent time. After Thanksgiving, we had our “Small Business Saturday” sales event at Artisan Forge Studios. But the day before I was very discouraged. The month of October and especially November were slow months, with not a lot of art sales or commissions. Rent was overdue.  Our landlord called, after getting a partial payment on rent, and he wanted to know when we would bring our account up to date. I didn’t know the answer to that question. I didn’t know what to do–and I had already tried everything I knew. I felt like throwing in the towel. Sharing these sentiments with my wife, she matter-of-factly and truthfully advised: “God has always provided. He’s not going to stop now.”  Feeling just a tiny bit better, I went to bed. The morning of the show I prayed, “God you’re a big God, so I am going to pray a big prayer. I pray that I would sell ‘Smoldering Wick’ (my biggest and most detailed painting, a 30″ x 40″ ) today at the art show.”   There was only a trickle of people that came in. But I smiled even though I didn’t feel like it and talked about the painting and the message behind it to whoever showed interest. During the middle of the show, two middle-aged men came in, and drawn to the painting, they asked me what it was about. They listened openly to the spiritual message behind it, and although they didn’t seem to quite share the...
Just Passing Through

Just Passing Through

On my way to band practice at church last Thursday, I saw a vehicle with its flashers on. Instinctively, I pulled over and asked if the motorist needed help. Apparently the clutch went out on his car, and to top it off, his cellphone didn’t work! So I let him use mine. He wasn’t able to get a hold of someone to help, and since he was on his way to work, he asked if it wasn’t too much trouble if I could drop him off.   “Absolutely,” I said.    During our brief drive I got acquainted with him a little more. He was effusively thankful that I took him to work, even though I was supposed to be at band practice. He apologized that he caused me to miss my appointment.   “You are more important than that,” I shared. “God has been good to me. And so I just want to show that love to other people.”   As I chatted with this man, I discovered he was a Muslim. I briefly shared with him how I came to know Jesus (Isa is what Muslims call Him) and why I know I’m going to heaven not based on anything good I have done, but because of what He did for me.    We did not argue theologically at all. He just listened to me share, and then he shared a bit about his beliefs, and about his job. And by that time, I dropped him off at his workplace and he thanked me again.    “I want to let you know I love you, and may...
Father and Son Reunion

Father and Son Reunion

Will we get to see our lost loved ones again after we die? This is a question that has both haunted and comforted humanity for thousands of years. The answers people have given to this question have caused the rise and fall of empires from ancient Egypt to the schism in the Catholic Church during the Reformation. No book discusses this issue more plainly than the Bible. In its pages, you can find the meaning of life today and discover amazing hope for the next life as well. The Bible teaches clearly that all who believe in Jesus for salvation will get to see their lost loved ones, who have also believed, after death. It will be a glorious, happy reunion, where God promises to wipe every tear. Here is what Jesus said about it in the book of John 11, verse 25: “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.” Earlier in the month, I finished this commissioned 16″ x 20″ drawing for a lady named Karla I met on Facebook through a mutual friend from church. She went through the unfortunate, tragic event of her husband disappearing almost four years ago and being declared dead. Then her son, who had special needs and health problems, died several months ago. What incredible suffering and loss to have to go through! I could scarcely imagine it. She asked me if I could draw a portrait of what their reunion might have been like in heaven. I was thrilled to be able to draw this for her, to capture that special...
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...
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