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.

 

“Inscribed”, by pencil artist Matt Philleo, detail

 

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, died on the cross, and rose again to give you new life.If you are a believer, He sees the perfection, the righteousness of Christ all over you. You are a jewel in his eye. Yes, you have a special place on His hands and in His heart.

 

Jesus said, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out” (John 6:37) Anyone who continues on in sin and unbelief will end up in hell by default, but if you believe and trust in Jesus you will never be cast away. You will enjoy God’s love for you…forever!

 

Have a blessed day,

 

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 muscle tissue, they also break down barriers and limitations they previously had. With that, their muscles grow larger and stronger, because muscles don’t like to be in pain. Endurance and stamina increases.

Several years ago, I created a portrait to celebrate my pastor’s 80th birthday. It was a portrait of him and his wife, a 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas. During a certain point in the painting, it looked pretty bad. My wife came upstairs (where my art studio used to be) and peered in to see how I was doing. She said, “That just doesn’t look right. I don’t know if you can pull it off.”

Umm…thanks!

I thought for a moment, “Can I pull this off?” Well, God helped me to “pull it off” many times. He wasn’t about to quit now. I ignored the doubt and kept at it.

I figured I had a photo that shows me what it should look like. I had a roadmap, a blueprint to tell me how to get there, how to build. And even if I took a scenic detour for a bit, I’d get it where it needed to be, eventually.

A painting is never ruined. It’s just that it might take longer to fix than you would like!

3. You will learn ways of resolving issues in your painting that you can use in future paintings.

In the case of this particular portrait, I learned that even though mid-stage during the painting process, the likeness of the subject may be off, I can correct the facial features with additional layers and it will start to look like the person.

Here is the portrait in the beginning stages. Early on, there is a lot of excitement in creating a painting. I had great expectations for how it would turn out, and I cut myself a lot of slack, because I knew I just started it.

 

fine art acrylic portrait painting

Portrait of Pastor & Mrs. Philip Palser, 16 x 20, acrylic on canvas, 2005 by fine artist Matt Philleo, Step 1

But then as I invest more time into it, I expect that a painting should start “behaving” and looking pretty good, for all the time I put into it. However, that doesn’t always happen. In fact, for me, it usually doesn’t.

fine art acrylic portrait from your photo

Portrait of Pastor & Mrs. Philip Palser, 16 x 20, acrylic on canvas, 2005 by fine artist Matt Philleo, Step 2

 

Somewhere around these two stages. the painting looked pretty goofy, and it’s about at this point where my wife remarked, “I don’t know if you can pull this one off.” She said that the pastor’s wife looked like some weird “california girl.”

Even though I was tempted for a moment to give up, I thought something along the lines of, “I know what this needs to look like in the end. I’ve got my reference photo next to me. I’ve got some paint and a palette. Sooner or later, it’s going to look like it should and it will turn out alright.”

 

Acrylic Portrait on Commission by Artist Matt Philleo

Portrait of Pastor & Mrs. Philip Palser, 16 x 20, acrylic on canvas, 2005 by fine artist Matt Philleo, Step 3

 

After a few more hours, the painting started to turn the corner. Even though I think I had painted certain areas of the faces a bit too dark, I was able to layer over them with just the right mix of colors to adjust what was off.

When you are establishing values and colors on your faces, sometimes the accuracy you had in your sketch will be thrown off. Capturing these shadows are vital to making a person’s face look like the person you are trying to capture. Since shadows describe the contours and shapes of eyebrow ridges, noses, cheekbones, jawlines, and so many other parts on a human face, it’s important to realize that during the in-between stages, you won’t have an accurate likeness. It’s like a sculptor who has to chisel off many fragments of marble or wood to get the beautiful sculpture that was hiding inside the whole time.

Soon enough, I could see the likenesses taking shape.

That excitement of certain areas of the picture starting to look great then compels you to work even harder to get to the finish line of a signed portrait.

 

Portrait of Pastor & Mrs. Philip Palser

Portrait of Pastor & Mrs. Philip Palser, 16 x 20, acrylic on canvas, 2005 by fine artist Matt Philleo, Step 4

There was still a lot of detail work to do: many nuances to add in the clothing, details in the face and bricks in the church sign. It took a lot of patience, but it paid off. After about 35-40 hours, I had a finished painting!

Realistic Acrylic Portrait by Matt Philleo

Portrait of Pastor & Mrs. Philip Palser, 16 x 20, acrylic on canvas, 2005 by fine artist Matt Philleo

I presented this to my pastor and his wife at his 80th birthday party. They loved it. That was 12 years ago, by the way. He is now 92, and still preaches (although not as much as he used to) today!

So again, I want to encourage you: if you are painting a portrait in acrylic, the next time you feel like giving up at a certain part in the process, push past it and keep going. Continually refer back to your reference photo, and paint exactly what you see. If you don’t give up, you will have the confidence knowing that you can finish what you started, and your paintings will never get the best of  you. But you will give your paintings the best, and have something excellent to show for your efforts.

I’m writing this post on Good Friday, and this whole idea of finishing what you started, pushing past the difficulty, and seeing what good can come as a result, makes me think of Jesus’ passion. He could have decided as the going got tough–incredibly tough–knowing in advance what He would endure on the cross, to abandon his plan of providing salvation for the world by dying on the cross for our sins.

But instead, he headed for Jerusalem, knowing what would happen to Him there.

In the garden of Gethsemane, when it would have been easier to turn away from the preordained plan of experiencing God’s wrath for sin and even having His relationship with His father broken for a time, he prayed, “Not my will, but yours be done.”

And three days later, we all know…”the rest of the story.”

Portion of “Perfect Servant,” acrylic on canvas, 2002, by Matt Philleo

All this to say, there is great reward for not giving up, both in this life and the next. Happy Easter…and Happy painting!

–Matt

Share Your Thoughts!

If you have any comments or questions about what I wrote, please leave me your feedback below at the very 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 at the bottom of this page. Thank you!
Smoldering Wick, Part 2: the Photo Shoot

Smoldering Wick, Part 2: the Photo Shoot

In a previous post, I shared before how when I was going through a difficult time, God encouraged me with a verse in Isaiah 42 that inspired the painting “Smoldering Wick.” I sketched out the idea, and then the sketch sat around for a few years before I got the chance to actually paint it.

Isaiah 42, the suffering servant, sketch

Original pencil sketch for “Smoldering Wick” by Matt Philleo

 

There were many distractions–a part time job, painting commissions, and my own procrastination. I wanted the painting to be just right. Waiting for the ideal circumstances, I delayed starting the project.

But finally, one day I realized unless I actually just took some steps to start the painting, it would never happen. So I asked my brother-in-law, Zach, to come over to my house for a photo shoot. Why a photo shoot? It’s not like I run a model agency! Here’s why…

When you are trying to do a realistic painting, you can’t just “invent” the realism.

At least I can’t. Maybe some can. But I think history bears out that the best realistic paintings of all time–like Rembrandt’s “Night Watch” or Caravaggio’s “Conversion of St. Paul” were painted using real-life models posed specifically for the artists to paint from.

In other words, they didn’t just paint from memory. They used a reference.

I am not comparing myself to either Rembrandt or Caravaggio, by the way. But their work inspires me.

One day then, Zach came over to my house, which I transformed into something like a theater stage or movie set. Well, one room at least. My wife gave me permission to do that for a few hours, as long as I put everything back in its place when I was done.

The “set” for “Smoldering Wick”

 

In the Victorian times, they had writing tables, simple and elegant. This is where the main character would be sitting. To recreate this look, I used a folded up plastic table and then made a fake top for it out of a piece of hardboard panel, which I painted to look like varnished woodgrain.

 

Then, I got my oil lamp ready, and made a fake doily (the knitted cloth things underneath that kept it from scuffing a table) for it out of paper.

My trusty oil lamp with a homemade paper doily.

 

Interestingly enough, back during those kerosene-light days, the servant would come along and tend to the lamps in a house. He would bring a small foldable wooden tray on legs, carrying his supplies–a wick trimmer, a metal debris tray to hold the ash,  a cloth to clean the chimney, and a can of kerosene. The servant would carefully trim off the burnt edges of the wick, raise it up higher, clean the soot off the chimney, and fill the lamp with fresh oil. The result would be a fresh flame that burns longer and brighter.

 

The wick trimming tray used by butlers in the 19th century

This symbolizes how God allows trials in our lives to “trim” the rough edges off of us.

Sometimes we hang onto to things that are worthless and keeping us from our full potential, from shining our light brightly. The wick trimmer is like the trial that cuts away the sins, the undesirable traits in us, and God employs this tool with precision, and masterful, loving care. His goal is not to hurt us, but to conform us to the image of Christ. And Jesus is the true Light of the World.

And to top it all off, Jesus said that when He would leave this earth, He would send the Comforter to us, that is, the Holy Spirit. In the Bible, the Spirit is often portrayed figuratively by oil.

For us today, the Holy Spirit is like that oil–an oil of gladness and joy– giving fuel to run on.

Without that joy, we will eventually burn out, even if we are busy doing great things.

Now, for the kerosene can, as a prop, I grabbed an old metal gasoline can from the shed.

Old metal gasoline can used as a reference for a kerosene container.

I created this butler’s tray using a foldable TV-dinner tray covered with a cardboard box that mimics the sides of the antique tray. Of course, when I painted it in the painting, I made it look like wood rather than cardboard. But the cardboard structure was enough to paint by. The wick trimmer’s debris tray was cardboard covered with aluminum foil.

My brother in law had his tuxedo on, a perfect look for a victorian-era servant, and I had a dress shirt with a vest, and combed my hair in an old-fashioned style, and even shaved my beard to look like 1870’s style mutton-chop sideburns!

Next, we mounted my DSLR camera to a tripod and snapped a series of photos. In all, we probably shot about 200. It takes a lot of photos just to get a few that turn out. With a low aperature and slow shutter setting, we were able to capture the light from the lamp very well. As long as we didn’t move much.

Zach Couture and Matt Philleo posing for the photo references used in the painting “Smoldering Wick,” 30 x 40, 2016, acrylic on canvas

I tried to think of the sadness of this man, and how I felt when I was discouraged.

As I played the part, some tears actually formed in my eyes, and I knew that was just the look I wanted in the painting to convey the despair, the loneliness, the longing of hope that he experienced just before the light of the truth dawned upon him.

Matt Philleo posing for “Smoldering Wick”

Zach did a fantastic job in posing for the servant. He portrayed a genuine compassion in both his facial expression, and his body language. The servant was to symbolize Jesus Christ without actually looking like the typical long-haired Jesus that we are so familiar with in the Western World.

Jesus is the suffering servant.

He was tempted in all points like we are, yet without sin. He is acquainted with sorrows, and knew what it was like to have people reject Him, hate Him, and ultimately kill Him. And so He can sympathize with our weaknesses with true compassion and mercy.

Zach Couture posing in an interesting but unused photo reference for “Smoldering Wick”

We won’t discover the fullness of Jesus, though, just by looking at a picture of Him. Although that may help, the true picture of Jesus is formed in words–the Bible.

When we read about all that He did for us on the cross in taking our sins upon His shoulders and rising again to give us new life, it fills us with joy (if we receive it) and what was darkness and despair now turns to light and hope. I see my role as an artist to highlight, or draw attention to the truths already proclaimed in the Word of God. It allows me to speak and share with people that may never read a Bible or are turned off by institutional Christianity.

Zach and I spent the better part of the afternoon doing the photo shoot, and I ended up with some wonderful images to work from as references. The last step at this stage was to go through the images on my computer and select the best ones to use for the actual painting.

Smoldering Wick, Isaiah 42, Jesus, suffering servant

Main photo reference for “Smoldering Wick”

By the way, you may have seen already on Facebook, but I do have prints of “Smoldering Wick” available for sale now. If you would like to purchase a copy, I will sign it and put it in a distinguished black and gold mat, with a clear plastic sleeve. This is a special limited edition printed up locally by Eau Claire Printing Co.; I am only making 50 prints total. I would love for you to have one! Here is more information on how to order.

Jesus, Isaiah 42:3, Smoldering wick, suffering servant, painting,

“Smoldering Wick,” 30 x 40, acrylic on canvas, 2016, by Matt Philleo

Signing a limited edition print of “Smoldering Wick”

 

In my next post, I will share more on the process of how I actually painted “Smoldering Wick…”

 

 

Share Your Thoughts!

If you have any comments or questions about what I wrote, please leave me your feedback below at the very 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 at the bottom of this page. Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

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 righteousness on me. I know if I spend enough time there before Him, sooner or later, He will break through the hardness of my heart, or mind, and unbelief will melt away, and His light will cascade down upon me, breaking through the darkness.

And this all comes through His word, in the Bible.

So it was that one day, that I sought the Lord in my time of need, and I came across this promise in Isaiah 42:

Isaiah 42, the suffering servant, Jesus

Isaiah 42:3 ” A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out…”

 

In another translation it says, ” a bruised reed He will not break and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out…”

As I came across this verse, my heart was lifted up with joy. I felt the presence of God right there with me!

I knew that if I had even a flicker of a flame left burning for Him, He would not snuff it out.

In context, this verse, written by the prophet Isaiah around 700 B.C. was speaking prophetically of Jesus, who would be that suffering servant, God come in human flesh, the One would know what it was like to experience our pain, and could sympathize with us when were weak and beaten down.

And that’s exactly what I felt that day. It didn’t matter what I was going through, really. The trial that brought me up to this point, even if it was my fault. (Which it probably was) All that mattered was, God was in the house! God was in the room with me! And in experiencing that intimacy with Him: of His love, His faithfulness, His mercy, His gentleness, His kindness–I had everything I needed.

And so I wanted to commemorate this moment. Back in the Bible times, when God showed up, the ancient Israelites would put up a monument or a memorial stone to help them remember what God did for them. And so in the same way, I wanted to paint a picture to commemorate how God brought such encouragement to me! Also, I thought, “this may bring encouragement to someone else, if they get a glimpse of how kind, how patient God is with us.”

So I sketched it out. The title “Smoldering Wick” came right away. And then I thought, “I need to pick a time where they would use kerosene lamps to illuminate what they were trying to see,” so I picked the Victorian era.

Isaiah 42, the suffering servant, sketch

Original pencil sketch for “Smoldering Wick” by Matt Philleo

The servant would symbolize Jesus, who shows compassion on us when we are discouraged.

I wanted the pose of the man to communicate that feeling, with his hand on his master’s shoulder. The man would be obviously distraught, but reading the Bible for comfort.

Because I wanted this to be a large painting with a ton of detail, it wouldn’t be started for another couple years after doing this sketch. I was still working part time at delivering newspapers and later working at a local recycling facility, and between that and commissioned artwork, I didn’t have a lot of time to work on one of my own paintings.

But I had the sketch, and the idea was recorded. When the time was right, the next step was to get together the photography for the painting, so that it would look realistic enough to convey the emotion and the concept to whoever looked at it.

Share Your Thoughts!

If you have any comments or questions about what I wrote, please leave me your feedback below at the very 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 at the bottom of this page. Thank you!
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.
Artisan Forge Studios, a place of collaboration, painting, sculpture and more!

Artisan Forge Studios, 1106 Mondovi Rd, Eau Claire

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 same perspective I had, they loved the luminosity of the brushwork and the compassion portrayed by the people within the picture.

 

Then, out of the blue, one man said to the other, “So, do you want to get it?”

 

My ears perked up. And I thought, What did I just hear you say?

 

And they discussed where they were going to put it, and if I took credit cards. I told them I could take their card on the spot with Square. So we rang up the sale and it went through! “Congratulations!” I told them as I shook their hands.

 

After they left, I prayed “Lord, what did you just do? I asked for that painting to sell and you answered!”

 

Well, needless to say, my family had rent money.

 

I later learned that the collectors of this painting  just happened “by chance” to show up at Artisan Forge Studios that Saturday, the day of the show.
Acrylic painting of realistic figures in Christian inspirational art

“Smoldering Wick”, 30 x 40, acrylic on canvas, 2016, by artist Matt Philleo of Eau Claire, in collector’s home.


The Lord has done this many times for us. You would think I wouldn’t worry, but I still often do. But my faith is growing little by little, and I’m amazed at what God does. And so, yes, it isn’t easy being a full time artist in some ways, but it’s an exciting ride! This is what I’ve been called to do. So I’m just stubborn enough to stick it out (with some encouragement from the right people) when many people maybe think I should have packed up my brushes a long time ago, and given up on the fantasy of being a full-time artist.

Although I’ve already posted some images of the painting on Facebook, I’ve had a lot of people ask what the painting “Smoldering Wick ” is all about. I will share more about that and the inspiration behind it down the road, but for now, I want to say it has everything to do with the “the Light of the World.”
Jesus is the “Light of the World.”
“The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.” (Isaiah 9:2)
All of us were in darkness before Jesus came. Darkness in our sins, darkness in ignorance, or even willful disobedience. In my predicament here with the financial problem, I was in darkness. Not just the darkness of not having enough money to pay rent, but the despair of the feeling of hopelessness.  A lack of faith.
I think Jesus may have said to me, like He said to Peter, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?”
Nevertheless, He answered my prayer. I didn’t feel so confident when I prayed it. But God, in His mercy, answered it. 
Now, should I have had more faith?
Yes.
But, God still answered my prayer, even with the little faith I had.  And so it gave me more cause to thank God for how kind He had been to me, as I realized I got far more than my feeble faith deserved.
My wife, who teaches the children’s Wednesday night Bible class at church, used a line as a metaphor for faith. She shot out a line with a sticky end and reeled in the object she desired as the kids watched. As long as she continued to reel, she would get what was attached to the end of the line. But if she set down the line, because reeling it in (or trying to get the object to stick) was too hard, she would never get the object at the end.
This is a powerful picture of faith and I still remember it.
It doesn’t take a rope to reel in a big fish. You just have to keep reeling it in with the line you have and not give up.
But, now, I want to say more about the object of our faith: there are many objects we want to pick up at the end of that line. But whatever the object is–maybe a better job, a nicer car, a relationship restored, healing for a disease, even forgiveness of our sins–and these all  may be good things to desire–ultimately the goal of receiving these transient things is to receive the true object of our faith, Jesus Christ. In other words, when we see how good He has been in answering our prayers and providing for our needs in the midst of the struggle, we will see Him more clearly. His generosity, His kindness, His consistency, His love, His power to deliver, His glory will be unfolded to us. When we see Jesus for who He is, we will be amazed. Our natural response will be to thank Him, to praise Him. And I don’t think there’s anything that pleases Him more, than when we rejoice at who He is.
Smoldering Wick, Bruised reed and the suffering servant,

“Smoldering Wick” 30 x 40, acrylic on canvas by painter Matt Philleo, with Isaiah 42

“In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1: 4-5)
None of us have ever seen God, but we do “see Him” as we experience His truth in the Bible, coming alive as we read, believe, meditate upon, and live it out. We stand upon His promises and we watch them come to pass.
Jesus said as recorded in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Jesus will breathe life into the smoldering wick: the soul with a flickering flame that still yearns to burn brighter.
May God’s riches blessings come to you this Christmas, as the Light of the World shines brightly upon your path!

Share Your Thoughts!

If you have any comments or questions about what I wrote, please leave me your feedback below at the very 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!
Getting the Message Out

Getting the Message Out

This Thursday, I was excited to see the copy of the local paper, the Leader-Telegram, and the article they did on the book I illustrated, “The Boy in a Tree.” They did a great job in highlighting the main message of the book: being content, trusting God like a child, and seeing the value that people with special needs can offer the world.

The Saturday before, the author and I held a book signing event at Artisan Forge Studios, and we had a great time chatting with people interested in the story, listening to their stories, and eating too many cookies.

Special needs childrens book illustration

Author Pam Boodle and Illustrator Matt Philleo sign copies of “The Boy in a Tree” at Artisan Forge Studios in Eau Claire, December 3, 2016.

 

Special needs children's book event at Artisan Forge Studios

“The Boy in a Tree” book signing at Artisan Forge Studios in Eau Claire, December 3, 2016.

It was also neat that I had a chance to see an old friend that I worked with at Sears from years ago and catch up with him.

Today, a woman who had read the newspaper article walked into my studio and  bought two copies of “Boy in a Tree” from me. We chatted for several minutes, sharing stories about the children in our lives who have special needs, and talking about how thankful we are that societal attitudes have changed so much in the last few decades towards differently able people.

Children's book on special needs with full color illustration

“The Boy in a Tree” at Artisan Forge Studios in Eau Claire

I can recall a few years ago, when I had take take my son out of the store because he had a meltdown and, while trying my best to keep my composure, someone looked me in the eye and said, “Good job, dad.”

Just those three words made all the difference.

I thought, “this person gets it.” It gave me just a bit more of a spark, and I think helped ease the tension a bit. What an encouragement that person was.

So now when I’m in a store or other public place, and I see a child misbehaving, and I’m tempted to give a disapproving glance, or maybe even say something, I remember I don’t really know the child or the story behind that child. And, although I hate to say I was that judgmental person (I never said anything, but I sure thought it, and maybe I did give that ice cold glance unknowingly) since I’ve been there myself…

…it’s a different story now.

Share Your Thoughts!

If you have any comments or questions about what I wrote, 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!
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons