Brushes in Life

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Ironically, i found myself painting more after i had eye problems. Funny how it’s only when we know we may lose something valuable that we start to cherish whatever we have. Far better to use it now than regret it later.

In order not to strain my eyes too much, i started painting smaller pieces. I also joined a group doing Still Life as well as en plein air. I found myself appreciating more of God’s creations when painting actual scenes instead of using photo references. There is a certain kind of joy painting live objects, under the warmth of the sun and amidst the atmosphere of a place.

I feel peace when i’m completely absorbed in my painting, even when i’m surrounded by people or other distractions. For once, I no longer have to worry about how others may judge my painting but just simply enjoying the process.

What’s more important is that i have since stopped asking God whether painting is really what He wants of me. Now, i simply ask Him what else He wants me to paint. Is there a message that He wants me to convey through my paintings?

In spite of my blurry vision, the doctor recently told me that the condition of my eyesight was still stable. I was surprised. But knowing that everything is in God’s hands, i decided to place my trust in God.

So here i go, letting my humble brushes paint whatever God inspires. Praise be to God always!       By Renee

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, That I may tell of all Your works.

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It is complete

Finally, my seven-month old neglected painting is complete, after painting it in three separate sittings. It is also symbolic of my desire and longing to return to my once-personal relationship with Jesus.

The self-taught artist in the painting (God sees man paints) travels everywhere to paint out of his love for painting. His easel is made out of an old camera tripod, fastened with a piece of plywood cut-out to hold his paintbox and water, along with an assortment of western and Chinese brushes, complete with a simple foldable canvas chair and a trusty old luggage bag. All these just to pursue his passion.

What is my passion?

Firstly, I hope to reignite my love for learning art in thanksgiving to God for healing my trigger fingers. Four years ago, i had difficulty holding a ladle to cook, turning on a tap or opening a can of sardines, let alone holding a pencil or a brush. Now that i can, i must persevere to paint while i am still able to. Far too often, we regret opportunities missed and talents underutilised; Graces ignored, unappreciated and wasted. And before you know it, a life has simply ended.

Secondly, i praise and thank God for saving my marriage and my family, and hopefully, through this humble blog, we can share with others His Love, His Mercy and His miracles in our lives. Now, more than ever, we know how much our marriage and our family is worth fighting for. By the Grace of God, we hope to never take any of these for granted.

Thirdly, and most importantly to me, i desire to keep following Jesus. To be a faithful and true follower of Christ.       By R

Then Jesus said to Peter, “Follow me!”  John 21:19 (NIV)

A Brush with the Ants!

Watercolor-yellow paint-brushesDead ants in yellow watercolor paint. A half-eaten No. 3 sable brush. It’s a sad, sad mystery.

I first discovered a few ants crawling on my paint palette last week. This week, as i was holding my brush to pick up some yellow paint, i was shocked to discover tiny dead ants half buried in it. It had never happened before. I can understand why the yellow sun birds kept visiting our yellow bell plants, but why do these black ants like only the yellow paint?

Next, i picked up my favourite No.3 brush to paint finer details of the painting “God is Love“. As i loaded it with water and pigment to paint the stigmas, i found i couldn’t load the brush to a fine point. Puzzled, i took a closer look. To my horror, i saw that the brush had jagged bristles that looked ‘half-eaten’ and several had already fallen off onto the paper! Since i only have several brushes, i used whatever i had to finish up the painting. This affected my subsequent ‘wheelchair’ painting too.

Brush and dead antsI still haven’t solved the mystery of the ants and the brush. I read that moths can destroy brushes, but in our country, we hardly see moths. Do ants or even unseen cockroaches nibble on brushes too? Now, i am at my wits’ end trying to figure out how to avoid future damage. Strangely, i have never encountered such problems since i picked up watercolor three years ago. Until now.

Incidentally, the ants are called ghost ants because of their transparent legs and abdomen. They are only 1.3-1.5 mm long. If i paint them any lighter they would be invisible except for their dark heads and thoraxes. I never knew i had to study and scrutinize ants under a magnifying glass till today.

But… Praise be to God! I enjoyed painting his tiny little creatures.  🙂        By R

Specially for You … with love

It took me two days and i’ve finally finished it!  It has been six months since i last touched the brush and paint. This is the second piece i did after a trial painting of the hand. It was very difficult. I had forgotten everything, what colour to use, tone, shadow etc. I had even forgotten where i usually placed my art paraphernalia!  I prayed before i started, asking the Holy Spirit to teach me and to use my hands for Him again. How i miss my art mentor. He’ll definitely have a lot to say.

For this first painting, i would like to dedicate it to all our followers and ‘likers’ for their encouragement and support, especially to those of you who have inspired us by their sharing and their creative talents. You know who you are.

I thank my husband for his support in my art. He is the patient photographer and the tech-guy behind this blog. I thank our daughter for her encouragement and nagging to get me started. She’s also the one who makes our posts coherent. I also thank our son for his quiet support, although he’s not the artsy type, and his occasional editing and input.

Most of all, i want to thank God, my loving and forgiving Father, for inspiring and enabling me to paint. I will never forget how He healed my trigger fingers so that i could take up painting.

These few days, i have received some inspiration for subjects to paint. I hope i can paint them, but however and whatever they turn out to be, i pray that i may always be God’s humble instrument.         By R

Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit;   1 Thess 5:16-19 (NASB)

The unfinished painting

The watercolour palette has been left to idle for six months. The paint has dried up. The painting unfinished. Picking up the brushes after six months is no easy task. Where should i start? How do i begin?

I have soaked and cleaned the palette.  I’ve also set up a table in our bedroom for  art. We have hardly any space in our two-bedroom flat to find a quiet little corner.  I’ve read on someone’s blog that it is helpful to maintain an art corner, easily accessible when inspiration comes.

For two years, i did my paintings on the dining table. Or on a portable easel, which i placed in our bedroom after flipping up the floor mattress, and using a small children’s table for my art stuff.  Nevertheless, i was happy whenever i found the time to paint every now and then; when it was quiet, when the chores were done and everyone was out. That’s me in a nutshell – the silence gives me inspiration.

Will i still be able to paint? The panic button kicks in. I have my doubts. I have not touched or drawn anything for six months. It’s like picking up watercolour all over again; it’s the same feeling i had when i took a two month break in 2013. But i know i must start somewhere.

God has a sense of humour. I kept seeing articles of art on newspaper. He also led me to art demonstrations. Even a variety show which we frequently watched as a family had references to art three times.

This morning, our daughter NAGGED again, “mum, i’ve already finished writing my novel, when are you going to start your painting?!”  She had been affected by our marital woes and had also lost her inspiration to write for a while. She is good in art too, but has found greater passion in writing. (Yes, she’s our in-house editor, and a very critical one at that.)

Perhaps i should stop writing now and start to paint too. Perhaps, like the cyclist who never forgets how to cycle, or the swimmer who never forgets how to swim, i too may not have forgotten.        By R

And this is my prayer:

A pure heart create for me, O God,

put a steadfast spirit withing me.

Do not cast me away from your presence,

nor deprive me of your Holy Spirit.   

Psalm 51:10-11   (JB)