The Mountain Man…

IMG_7165This my second attempt at a more spontaneous painting style. This is also on a drum head. Actually it’s painted over The Seal Hunter illustration that was about 12 years old. So the fur and feathers are already on the drum. This crusty old dude will be fighting a wolf pack when I’m done with everything.

The Living Stone…(color comps)

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What you are looking at here is a color sketch for M. B. Mooney”s book The Living Stone. This is just a concept sketch and doesn’t necessarily represent the final piece with any great deal of accuracy. Though this helps me get a feel for what the author and publisher are looking for. When I was at The St. Louis Museum of Art a couple of weeks ago I couldn’t help but notice the vast number of drawing’s that one particular artist rendered just produce one finished work of art. All too often in our modern age we skip some steps in an effort to get to final piece. A fellow artist asked me how looking at all those preliminary drawings made me feel. I said, “Lazy.”

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Detail of the color sketch, this gonna be a cool book cover if I do say so myself!

The Watcher…

 It’s been a long time since I have completed a painting of this size and dramatic impact. This was one of those images that just sort of popped into my head one day. I had been thinking about how most of the angels I’ve painted in the past have no wings though the book of Revelation does mention an angel “flying in mid-heaven” (wherever that is) so I figured some of them must have wings. However they they may not be anthropomorphic in appearance. The ones in Isaiah certainly sound more like dragons than men. Seraphim can be best described as a firey flying serpent.

I painted over the Land of the Giants because it didn’t seem to give me look I was going for. However I will paint that particular subject, just not in that format. I really felt t lacked the visual tension that I wanted for a battle of that nature. I guess you could say that I’m finicky about what projects I’ll complete and which ones get scraped. I won’t insult your intelligence by explaining why I named this the Watcher. The shofar in his hand is the ancient horn of renown that was used in the Old Testament to do everything from summoning the armies of God to bringing down the walls of Jericho. The priests used it to summon the children of Israel to the tent of meeting and it was also synonomous with the voice of the Most High God. Click on the image to get a close up and then use the magnification tool to get up close and personal with the Watcher….

Oh yeah, and in case you are wondering I added the mushrooms in the lower right hand corner for mood contrast. A very whimsical move on my part. Just for fun.

The Woman at the Well….

I am a woman, of no distinction, of little importance.

I am a woman of no reputation save that which is bad.

You whisper as I pass by and cast judgmental glances; though you don’t really take the time

 to look at me or even get to know me.

For, to be known is to be loved and to be loved is to be known.

Otherwise, what’s the point in even doing either one of them in the first place?

I want to be known.

I want someone to look at my face and not just see

two eyes, a nose, a mouth, and two ears.

But to see all that I am and could be

all my hopes, loves, and fears.

That’s too much to hope for, to wish for, or pray for, so I don’t.

Not anymore, now I keep to myself.

And by that I mean the pain that keeps me in my own private jail;

the pain that’s brought me here at midday to this well.

To ask for a drink is no big request.

But to ask it of me?

A woman unclean, ashamed, used and abused,

an outcast, a failure, a disappointment, a sinner.

No drink passing from these hands to your lips could ever be refreshing,

only condemning, as I’m sure you condemn me now but…

You don’t.

 


 

 

The Return of the Jedi…

I haven’t blogged anything for a long, long time. I finished this painting on a spur of the moment just to get it done and I’m glad I did. Today I discovered why. There is something going on all around us in the lives of our children that needs to be addressed. Just got off the phone with my wife, who informed me that what I was telling her that I believed God was saying about our adolescent kids should be written down. So here goes. (I’ll use Jedi terminology when ever appropriate.)

You may never have watched any of these movies by George Lucas but, the whole premise of the story is not only the struggle between good and evil; it is how evil will corrupt good into taking a short cut in an effort gain power and effect change for the better. One of the characters Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s father ( Luke is pictured here squaring off with Darth Sidious, aka Emporer Palpatine), was seduced to the dark side out of fear of his wife dying and his own confidence in his superior abilities compared with the other Jedi (the good guys, the bad guys are called the Sith Lords).

The truth is on a spiritual level this goes on all the time especialy with kids that want to serve and follow Christ. There is alot to be tempted with. The scriptures refer to it as “the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life” 1 John 2: 15-17. But thats kind of ambigous if it’s presented in raw form to a group of teenagers. They’ll ask, “How does that apply to me? I’m trying to be one of the good guys. I’m not out causing trouble.” Well it works like this. Lets start with the Grand Master Jedi himself Jesus Christ and how he was tempted. This is Matthew 4: 1-11:

1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He [a]then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’”

 5 Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6and *said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,

   ‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU’;

   and

   ‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP,
SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’”

 7 Jesus said to him, “[b]On the other hand, it is written, ‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’”

 8 Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; 9 and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and [c]worship me.” 10 Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND [d]SERVE HIM ONLY.’” 11 Then the devil *left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.

Was that dark side sedduction or what? The devil offered Christ a short cut to what God already had in mind to give him. God wouldn’t let his son starve to death in the wilderness. He and his disciples were pretty well fed most of the time. You can take my word for it or look it up. They went to dinner parties, weddings, and the even ate out of a wheat field one time. But God always supplied for Jesus’ needs as well as the needs of those who were with him: the catch of fish that almost swamped the boat, the fishes and the loaves, etc., etc.. Wow! Talk about exceedingly abundantly beyond what we can think or ask.

Let’s look at line item number two: protection or knowing that everything will be OK and turn out for the best. At one point the people were going to throw him (Christ) off a cliff but he walked right through their midst and went on his way. Another time they picked up stones to stone him; that didn’t happen either. I’m sure there were more experiences like that that God arranged and delivered His son out of to show His love for him and us.

Number three (and probably the worst): “Bow down to me and I’ll give you the kingdoms of the world. They’re mine and I can do with them what I want.” I think at this point I’ll just show you what 1 John 2: 15-17 says in the Message:

15-17Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

I’ll let that speak for itself. But, what is it you want? This goes for young and old alike. I personally know of people who wanted to travel abroad. They wanted to go to exciting and exotic places like India and Africa. They didn’t save up every dime they made to travel and take a vacation. They didn’t go to a travel agent and purchace a travel package with their credit card. But God saw the desire in their heart. Some of them are in Africa even as I write this. Here’s how it happened:

 Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

 There is a Young’s Literal Translation that calls it “the petitions of thy heart.”

The problem is many times people, young or old, (you and I) don’t delight in the LORD, we delight in getting our dreams fulfilled or or wants met. Or, we are afraid something may or may not happen if we don’t take matters into our own hands. “Oh. I may not get to do that or I may not get to do this.” or “I’ll never get to go anywhere or have any fun.” Perhaps you should read the blog of a young man who dream’s of being a pilot. Not just any pilot but a missionary pilot. I know of young guys that take lessons and learn to fly. They get they’re license and they’re set. No problem right? Maybe you just need to read Austin Park’s blog http://austinpark.blogspot.com  and see the adventure he’s on. Because of his delight in God. Or maybe I should say he’s delighted by God and with God.

Maybe you just want respect, or to be well thought of, to look nice (please don’t get tripped up here, I’m not suggesting there is anything pious in being ill kept and dirty) have nice things, have fun, (being bored and working all the time is no more holy than being dirty) and doing exciting and adventurous things. I hope you are taking what I am saying and referencing it back to what I wrote above including the scripture verses. I’ll leave you with one las thought from 1 peter 5: 7-9.

Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.

B&W/Sepia Photography (for John)…

    I took a bunch of color shots today around the marinas and at a light house. They were ok then I started playing with the B&W app. What a difference! Instant Ansel Adams, well, not that good but I got a wonderful antique effect. I may frame some and enter them in a show. They would make great shabby chic decor.

  Boat at the Dock

 

 

Little Girl on the Dock

 

 

Storm Damage

 

Bad leak

 

Katie 

The Second Giant, Unbelief…

     My wife has a sign that says: Faith is not believing that God can, it is knowing that God will. Unbelief is a powerful force that the enemy uses to short circuit God’s work in the earth. Most of the spys that came back from the survey of promised land didn’t believe that God’s people could overcome the giants that they saw there. “The land through which we have gone, in spying it out, is a land that devours it’s inhabitants (settlers)….. There we also saw the Nephilim and we became grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13: 32&33. Notice that they say: “in our own sight, and so we were in their sight”. I find it very interesting that how these men viewed themselves is exactly how they were viewed by the inhabitants. That is because what they believed in their hearts is what they became. I think it says somewhere in the Sccriptures that “as a man believes in his heart, so he is”. I also see that Caleb came into his inheretance at this point when he said: “Do not rebel against the Lord; and do not fear the people of this land, for they shall be food for us. Their shadow has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” Numbers 14:9  Notice too, that Caleb mentions fear twice in two sentences (the first giant). He also addresses their beliefs: “they shall be food for us”, and ” their shadow has been removed from them”  (they’re an apparition). I love that. Obviously God did as well.  They will be food for us. Sound familiar? Jesus said his food was to do the will of the One who sent him. John 4:34  The second point Caleb makes is that they don’t have any substance, no shadow. Do you remember the old “Star Trek” T.V. episode where Spock has to convince the rest of the landing party that what they see is not real; in order that the bullets of their advisaries won’t kill them? This is the picture that I get when I read what Caleb said. In essence he is saying that this is a problem only because you believe it is. Caleb didn’t see it that way. He saw it as an opportunity to see God’s power and glory manifested in the presence of his people. He also saw it as an opportunity for God to show the rest of the world who his people were and, who He is.

I’ll leave you with one final thought: Do you live your life in such a way so that God can show the world who He is and what He is? Do you and I obey God in such a way so that the world see who His people are and those who are not His people? Do we believe that God will, not just that God can? Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote this in his book The Cost of Discipleship: ” Those who believe obey, and only those that obey show that they believe.” After all, what we do is what we believe, not what we profess to. By the way, perhaps you should know that when God’s messengers declare Him to be Yahweh of Hosts; they are telling everyone that He is a Tribal War God. Joshua 5:15 I understand that there is alot of questions around about God’s love and mercy these days. I personally subscribe to what Rich Mullins wrote it in his song“Awesome God”:

 “His judgement and wrath He poured out on Sodom, His mercy and grace He gave us at the cross. I hope that we have not too quickly forgotton that our God is an awesome God.”

the Life that was revealed…

     There is alot of discussion going on these days concerning the existance of Hell, if there is such a thing as eternal punishment, and is God really loving and merciful. The arguements for and against are various and sundry. I suppose you could determine a winner by the number of scriptures that the debater has in their column. That’s how it works in basketball, football, and soccer. That all seems mind numbing and without end. So, what about fruit? Which approach bears the most good fruit? Saved by grace v. scared of damnation and number brought into the Kingdom of God. (I personally am a combination of the fear of God approach and the mercy of God approach.) I suppose both have some good points and bad points. However, this only leaves us with a lesser-of-two-evils scenario to choose from if you ask me. What then is the tool used to measure truth from falicy? Is there a way to clear the smoke and find the answer?

     Personally, I don’t care for the point system. I don’t play basketball, or soccer. I practice Karate. A sport (though in the classic sense it’s not a sport but a personal discipline) or a match that in ancient times was won by creating a situation in which your opponent quits. This is achieved either by knock out or the creation of extreme pain through the use of a submission hold. Today, there is a point system but, the points go right out the window when you find your elbow and wrist about to be broken by a very painful arm bar. Tap out and quit the match. You can also choke your opponent until they pass out from lack of oxygen. Admittedly there are some people who won’t quit even when their airway is blocked and at that point the ref should stop the match. But those individuals are probably insane and if you find yourself in a match with one walk away. Paul makes a referrence that being a disciple of Christ requires the discipline of a boxer in 1 Corinthians 9: 26. I agree and whats more there is alot of the mind set of a Karateka that directly applies to being a disciple of Christ. Rule no.#1 being that the worst opponent you’ll ever face is youself. Which is what Paul was saying: “I discipline my flesh and bring it under strict control..” 1Cor. 9: 27. With that in mind, let’s take our place and assume our fighting position. What is about to take place is called “sen no sen” in the Japanese language. Fair or equal combat . Everybody ready? The ref drops his raised hand and shouts, “Hajime!” (begin).

    Your opponent throws a roundhouse kick to your midsection: “How could a loving God sentence His son or daughter to Hell?” The corner judge cries, “Ippon!” One point. That’s a fair question, every other judge agrees, the point stands. 1-0. That blow without pads would get anyone’s attention. Kinda takes your breath away and your lungs burn. This isn’t American pads and gloves Karate this is 15th century Kioto. The contact is real and remember, we’re not fighting against flesh and blood. Your advisary wants to destroy you. Resume fighting. I don’t do doctrinal debates or theological retoric. I follow Christ and He is my Sensei.

     “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have observed, and have touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life (Christ Jesus not the Bible)” 1 John:1 CSB

   “Ippon!” Back fist to the right temple of your opponent. His eyes see the the litle flashes of light commonly called stars and whats more he never saw it coming. It was delivered from below and out of his field of vision. All I know is what I’ve experienced. God has always been merciful to me and loving beyond measure. He has never done to me what I deserved. But He has also been very hard on me when I’ve forgotten that fact and required things of others He has not required of me. His judgements are righteous and true. I have learned to trust His judgement over my own even when I don’t agree with them. “Hajime!” Resume fighting, 1-1.

   “Wait, wait, we’re discussing Hell and judgement here. Yet I see people who say they love God, believe the Bible, and follow Christ being mean spirited; bad mouthing Gays and Muslems and rejoicing when they have awful things happen to them. It makes me sick. I thought the Bible says that God is Love. If that’s what being a Christian means then no thanks.” Reverse punch dead center in your solar plexis. “Ippon!” Wow! That hurt! Gee, I’m not sure I want tell anyone I’m a Christian after that. The judges don’t need to say a word I know that was a clean point. 2-1. At this point we discover that trading punches will loose the match if the first one to get three wins. If we’re going for a knock out then, whew! this guy punches hard. (This where the good fighter realises his opponents strategy and adjusts or just forges ahead and looses. I used to forge ahead. Not anymore.) “Hajime!” Get ready here it comes!

     “What about guys like Gandhi? He was more Christian than most Christians I know. He was a Hindu. Is he in Hell because he didn’t ask Jesus into his heart? And… Stop! I’m not Gandhi’s judge, God is! We all agree that what you do is the proof of what you believe not what you say. It’s what you do. Talk is very cheap, Pal! Wham! Spinning back kick to our opponent’s midsection. The air comes out of him like a gushing oilwell. Rule No.#2 of Karate: Learn to sense your opponent. Movement should be instinctual. “Ippon!” 2-2 Next point wins but you want a knock out. Go with what you know. Don’t wait go for it.

     ” Yeah, but the Bible says….” I’m tired of talking about death and Hell, I want to talk about Life….. “Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the Dawn from on High will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” WHAM! Another backfist to the right temple. Our opponent not only sees stars this time but he’s out on his feet. When will you people understand that Christ is the issue and not if there is a Hell. You are being distracted from the real subject and it’s not accept Jesus into your heart. It’s are you willing to give up your selfish, self-centered, and completely unloving way of life and start doing things the way Jesus Christ did and taught? He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the answer to your questions. Is there a Hell? Ask the Master, Jesus Christ. Is God loving? Look at Jesus Christ. If you’ve seen Him you’ve seen God. What about the end of the world? Does it matter? I’m following my Sensei. His name is Jesus Christ. I go where He goes. (Which if you think about it answers part of the Hell question.) He came to bring us a Life and a way of living. He didn’t come to keep me from going to Hell. I was already there. (By the way, if you think that when you die you just cease to exist, you might be right.)

     “Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:4&5.

    So the question is not, is there a Hell and would a loving God send you there? But is Jesus Christ your teacher and are you seeking to imitate Him? (Gandhi understood this. Do you?) 

           ~ The illustration above is the Archangle Gabriel announcing to Mary that she is going to give birth to the Light of the World.~

Check this out…

     They say that you can’t judge a book by its cover. But, that’s not how the marketing people approach this subject. Actually, many people are attracted to a book by its cover. It’s true that every once in awhile one might be disappointed with the contents. However, I’ve found from experience that; four out of five times I’ve been very pleased with my choice. Simply because, when a publisher believes in the work, they make sure the cover reflects whats contained within the confines of the cover. If you’re one of those people that think a good book is a rare find then, look at it this way: How often is it that the author, the graphic designer, and the illustrator all click at the same time on the same project? Not only that but, it happens on their first publication. You couldn’t get me to put money on that horse. Never the less here it is. God is good, all the time.