Monday, September 28, 2009


For a number of years, this question came to mind. At some point, it was ‘asked’ daily and several times a day. I thought the question was being asked as a challenge; that may be partially true. But just now, the reason, the application of the question was broadened.

I’ve heard that as we get older our interests and priorities change. As I approached 40, I was shifting my priorities. I was earning more than I had ever earned and was caught between wanting ‘more’ – meaning ‘stuff’: better cars, better clothes, bigger house and the ‘finer things’ in life – and wanting to shift to a life with more meaning. Some of my more stressful moments have found me declaring: “I WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!!”

Well, I’ve learned “what I want” is to make an impact on the world. And I’ve found doing art is a doorway to favorable impressions. When I’m doing art I am expressing my thoughts, feelings and insight of life. What do I want? To make a difference through my words and images.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I have to scream it, if only in my head. At the moment, there isn’t rage or pain, just joy that I am properly responding to the call on my life. Years ago, at the age of 12, I had a few dreams where I saw myself standing in the pulpit, preaching. I was certain it was what I should be doing. I told my father the same thing and based on his ‘fatherly’ advice, I decided I wasn’t ‘serious enough’ so I put the thought in the back of my head. But at 21 years of age, on the heels of graduation from college, I prayed a sincere and heartfelt prayer. I asked the Lord what I could do to show my appreciation for all the blessings he had given. His reply was clear and concise: “Answer my call.” I asked the question twice; not because I didn’t understand the response but because I thought I knew the importance of that response.

Little did I know at the time that “calling,” if only for me, was more than preaching. Some 25 years later, I see “calling” is responding to the broader implications of the expression. In my life, it is the joyful as well as dutiful expression one is guided to. It is counseling, teaching, preaching and most importantly, touching the lives of others through the visual arts.

I know I’m an artist; about now, with greater fire, passion and intent, this one expression of my calling is so powerful, I don’t mind sleepless nights. I spend all day, every day, soaking up light and shade, examining textures and surfaces for the minute details are rendered. I recently told a friend, the very sight of a blank, stretched canvas, sitting in my work area, had me so excited I almost broke into a praise dance! And in that moment, I knew this is true: I AM MADE FOR ART ~ I AM AN ARTIST!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Definition of His Words

His Words is about “expression.” But the title is greater than mere expression, as I have come to understand. First of all, I continue to fathom the depths of the title. It definitely feels bigger than my conscious mind can understand. Years ago I had this big idea to produce greeting cards to use as encouragement. I got the idea after I was encouraged, reading simple poems with watercolor images in a booklet. I was going through a tough time and praying and crying like crazy. But those simple words and the images lifted my spirits like nothing else!

So reflecting on that time, having begun to write a bit, I thought of what I could say to lift other’s spirits. The missing part was the images; I could not, at the time, imagine getting back to art. Well here I am; I am drawing and painting and choosing to believe the title given to me at the time, is a viable one.

His Words, for the time is about artful expression. Encouragement, hope, and making whole a world that is broken, shattered is my desire. It’s a continuous process and so is the defining of his words. Think “Blank Page” or a blank canvas. That is His Words, today.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sketch for Predawn Light - Finalized!

Okay, this is it! I can't add much more to it without taking away from the 'integrity' of the image. Working on it this morning, it was a bit disconcerting; I found myself pushing past what was there and what I thought should be. All the while reminding myself it's only a sketch and the painting remains to be done. This can be treacherous ground. Sometimes one starts something with purity of intent and suddenly, the thing itself takes on a personality of it's own. Mind you, this is only part of the final image. And yet, it stands by itself, now. It has become it's own entity.

Friday, September 18, 2009

In this Moment...

In the last month or so, I’ve spent a great deal of time ‘reverting’ to my former self. The former me anticipated, look forward to, and dreaded. Life wasn’t lived or experienced in the moment; living meant looking at my empty hands. I would look back on my life and wish to go back. I looked to the future and it always felt like “tomorrow never came.” When I got ‘this’ or ‘that’ as soon as it was accomplished or achieved, ‘it’ lost its luster and excitement.

In the moment…the past cannot be recovered and the future remains out of touch. But in the moment…there is no thought regarding tomorrow. I am living the dream – NOW.

In the last month, I’ve been saying this a great deal: “what if no one buys it?” or “suppose none of my friends are interested in my work? What if they only want to ‘look’ but not ‘buy?’ Sitting here now, I have to slow down my heartbeat and anxiety and live in the moment. Enjoy the process of imagining and believing. When the future seems scary and the past is either a reminder of failures or lost glory, there is no better time than the present. What I’m feeling now, no matter how depressing is a symptom of a desire I believe will go unfulfilled. There is only now.

In the moment, at this time, there is only me, these words and my God. A moment lived in genuine wonder, thankful for gracious activity. A moment where my value isn’t defined in the opinion and ‘buying power’ of others. And deciding that this same moment defines my life. This is living; allowing my love of the exercise, then imagining someone with one of my paintings or drawings in their space. In this moment, someone is coming home and sitting in front of one of my paintings. In this moment, a child sits with a magazine in his lap, one of my paintings looks up at him and he sees the impossible.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

More detail for Predawn Light

Man, what happens when you don't go to bed? You're inspired to draw, paint, write 'just one more little bit!' And predawn finds you looking at the soft blue coming through the window, barely illuminating a sleeping figure. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Another sketch for Predawn Light

This is another sketch for Predawn Light Wow, I think there will be a number of 'dark' but soft lit images coming soon. This is a sketch I'm working on. As opposed to diving in and trying to paint 'from the hip,' I'm taking time to plan out images now. Especially when there's a distinguishable person to show. Moving to more subject matter. Let me know what you think!


Recently I posted my ‘state of mind’ for the last few weeks. I titled the blog “Keep the Fire Going.” But it seems those who commented thought I was “sore vexed.” At the moment, nothing could have been further from the truth; the dip of the serene – or the “serendipitous moment” – was passing. I was encouraging myself with the power of a life lived with purpose. But I was further encouraged when those who commented expressed concern and offered suggestions. A lesson taken from the experience is to remain transparent. What I feel is a mirror of others struggles, and triumphs, as well. Be genuine, I can’t go wrong when I admit I’m not the expert or ‘guru.’

I have plans and hope for an ideal tomorrow. And at times my plans remain in “lofty places.” Admittedly there are times when it seems those plans are about to fall out of the sky and crush me. I have days when I honestly don’t think I can be an artist – or at least one that earns money. I don’t know; it isn’t easy changing careers again! This is one of many (not too many to recall just don’t like mentioning the number). And yet, when my head hangs low, I walk into the area I use as a studio/gym/office and I see the paintings and drawing, the brushes and paints and markers and I say: “this is who I am; this is what I’m born to do!”

Yeah, I’m going to need encouragement. Heck, I need a mentor, someone who’s in the business of communicating via the visual arts. But to be honest, if no one makes themselves available, it doesn’t matter. I’m going to do this. I’m going to find people who are willing to purchase the work and I will continue to paint, draw and sculpt. God didn’t give me this talent to bury; he gave to me to indicate his glory!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sketch for Predawn Light

This is something I'm working on, a sketch from a few months. This will eventually be a painting - oil painting - but for now I'm working on the sketch. I'm working on multiple approaches to paintings, trying to better plan how the image looks when complete.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Definitive Work

There are many thoughts and plans going on in my head; I won’t be the first or the last to confess this. But something my sister pointed out helps me know those thoughts and plans don’t stop at my skull. That is history, personal, experiential history. Years ago, I decided of all things to be “when I grow up,” the best fit was artist. College was sold back then as the gateway to successful living and at 17, I was convinced it would be my path to a rewarding life.

Fast forward to now. College graduate, working in the field of software testing. Not what I pictured when I sat with school admission papers and an application for scholarship from Columbia College. But there’s a great deal of history that helps me realize now is the time for the definitive work. Rather than count my past against me, I am choosing to count it to my advantage. Though I went far a field of Fine Arts and painting, I gained valuable insight and added to my tool bag. And along the way, when challenges came along, though it felt like I was losing, each time I was learning more. Even when times seemed so dark, and I felt I was as low as I could be, each step in the direction of hope was a step in the right direction.

These days, I’m doing the work of responding to the “Call.” Each day I’m more aware that the “Call” is greater than the vision of my standing in a pulpit in a small church on the West side of Chicago. I’m painting my life as I speak. I’m redefining my life and seeing my “Call” as something greater than counseling, preaching, teaching, fatherhood, husband, and son or software tester. The definitive work is “in process” in me.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Do The Work

The other week, on a typical Saturday, I ended up on the floor of my church, taking apart a huge desk. I say typical, because of the many ‘hats’ I wear, I often end up doing tasks that aren’t my responsibility, and no one else will do. But as opposed to bemoaning my overloaded life, I decided to focus on this task. After all, a power tool in hand and music playing in my headphones, I was equipped to do the job. I began the process of unscrewing each screw of this desk.

Long before I reached the midway point of the process, it began to get difficult. There were a lot brackets and four screws for each. Each bracket was on the inside of the drawer compartments and it was a tight squeeze to get in there. That’s when the nagging thoughts kicked in: “this is ‘our’ task (the men of my church) and I’m the only one who showed up to do it.” Of course that lead me down the typical “woe is me,” path. But I continued the work. Pretty soon, I realized I still had a ways to go and the work wasn’t getting easier. But a new thought came to mind: “you knew this wasn’t going to be easy when you decided to take it on. Just keep working until it’s complete.” And that’s what I did.

Lesson learned: sometimes, we get excited about a task at hand and we expect the thrill of it all to carry us through its completion. More often than not, the task takes on a different look and feel when things aren’t going as planned. But the bottom line is anything worth starting is worth finishing. For me, this goes deeply into the work I’m moving toward. I don’t know how to price and sell art, but I can find out. I don’t know who to network with, or creative ways to sell, but I can ask around. And when it comes to feeling sure I have artwork that will reach to the heart of the beholder, I have doubts, but there are many ways to present it and see if it does.

Do the work, regardless of fears, anxieties or low self-esteem. Success doesn’t come because one knows every curve and bump in the road, but it comes when we continue on the road to a life worth living.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Moment

A whisper
Lost in the wind
A wish
Tossed with a penny in a fountain
A goodbye that lasted longer
But felt like a flash of lightning
As it fades away

The thrill of an early summer bike ride
Cold while the sun is so hot
Dripping and sticky
Sweet and delicious
Filling up your insides
Briefly, for a moment

When your eyes are all cried out
Coming from a memory that pops up
But as suddenly as your grin appears
It’s gone
Chased away by the icy cold of the here and now

A pleasant dream
With a cozy ending
Followed by a gentle stirring
As you awake to a sunny day
You stretch
Full of energy from your mind’s movie
But as your feet touch the floor
The haunting of the same old grind
The car that won’t start
And the….
Plus the…
Send that dream down the drain
Taking with it the joy you felt

A moment
Passes in a minute
Some are lost
‘Cause we are looking in the wrong place
Get called up to remind us
Caution us
Warm our hearts
Or stop our tracks
And somehow
They are lost
Brushed away like pesky flies
When we choose to focus on
The here and now
The “never will be”
And the lost happenstance

Yet they are there
Happening now
Happening way back when
And some are held in reserve
For later

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


Originally uploaded by Hudson Gallery
I haven't given this a title yet. When I begin working on this, it was charcoal only. But very quickly I felt the need for color. I've noticed my style is about fluid shapes and no matter how well my intentions are, I always end up blending colors.

So what do you think a title should be?

Red Windows

Red Windows
Originally uploaded by Hudson Gallery
Funny how we make windows to keep from seeing out or in. But in this case what is let in is the beautiful light. Short of a completely pitch black night, there's always beautiful light coming in around the edges. Each panel seems to have it's own character and glow.

A Sudden Wind

Movement; unexpected but sensed. A sudden breeze out of nowhere. The sound is felt as much as the brush against skin. That is the inspiration of my heart, a sudden stirring of my heart, a need to express the creative gifts in me! When I allow, the inspiration comes on me, like divine prophetic speaking, the inclination to render a color or turn the brush, marker, pencil or pastel or certain way. I am guided to render and express.