2017 Here I Come

Is February too late for new year’s resolutions?

Life was still a little on the wild and crazy side back in January. Thankfully, I’m finally catching my breath. Now it’s time to start catching up with my hopes and dreams for 2017.

I rarely pick a word for the year, but it is glaringly obvious to me that my word is OBEY. You see, I tend to be an information gatherer. You know… reading all the books and blogs, listening to all the podcasts, watching the webinars, taking the classes all before taking that next step. Lots of information going in, but not a lot of action going out.

The thing is, I already know the assignment I’ve been given. My job is to make beautiful things using the gifts I’ve been given for the good of the world and the glory of God. In order for that to happen, I need to show up and do the work of creating, one painting at a time. I don’t need to go looking for more assurance. I don’t need to learn how every single other artist on the planet does it. I also, believe it or not, don’t need all the answers to all the questions. I am done searching for the perfect road map because when does God ever provide that in advance?!

I’m not a fan of the word resolution. I prefer to set intentions. So this is my intention for 2017:

I commit to obediently walk through every door that God opens for me in 2017, confident in His plan, trusting His purpose, supplied by His provision, equipped by His Spirit, and resting in His love.

 

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Resist the Resistance

do the work 2

“The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.” ~Steven Pressfield. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

It’s been hard to call myself an artist these days because there’s not a whole lot of art making going on around here. I’ve got resistance coming from every direction. No time…no space…no quiet…more important things to do…things that need fixing…mini-emergencies…places to be…mom jobs…you name it. That kind of thinking tempts a girl to hang up her apron and retire the brushes because life just keeps getting in the way.

But then I remember.

I remember making 100 Faces.

I remember how just a few minutes a day and a few scraps of paper and the corner of a desk was all it took to make a little art. I remember how a little art = lots of happy.

I remember how day after day, a little art grew into a lot of art, and then that art landed itself on a gallery wall, and now that art is heading for Art Prize with over 1,500 other works of art, where it could potentially be seen by tens of thousands of people over the course of the next three weeks.

Wow. Just wow.

I don’t think I’m ready to retire quite yet. Nope, not even close. Hopefully not ever.

God wrote this story, and all the resistance in the world isn’t going to change who He made me to be…

an artist.

I have to go now. My brushes are calling.

What’s calling you?

 

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Always Be A Dreamer

Watercolor by Kristi LYnn Studio

Me having a blog is such a terrible idea. Really.

In fact, you could consider me an expert on how to have an unsuccessful blog. Here’s my expert advice:

#1. Never post anything.

#2. Post so infrequently that you forget your own username and password. (everysingletime.)

#3. Write all blog posts in your head where nobody can read them.

Maybe this blog is an exercise in futility, but I feel like I need to finish telling my story.

Last time I wrote I left you hanging…for a very long time.

I’m alive and well, so you know everything turns out in the end, but it was a dark time. God was performing open heart surgery on my life and it hurt. I was angry. I had fought hard for my dreams and letting go felt an awful lot like giving up. Letting go felt like losing. Letting go felt like failure. So I believed the lies and the constant nagging voice inside my war torn head. I believed I had somehow failed. Or worse yet, God had failed me. I threw in the towel. I was so done. Done with dreams, done with faith, done with giving a rip about anything.

You know what’s weird? I was clearly deeply depressed, but in some strange and unexpected way I felt free. The burden of constantly trying to figure things out was gone. Instead of filling my head with plans for some future dream life that was the apparent key to my happiness, I saw no choice but to accept that this, right here, right now, was it. This was my life. I had better learn to live it.

Something shifts inside when you start to live your life right here, right now, as is. It doesn’t happen over night, but gradually you start to appreciate what you have and wonder how you could have missed it. With time and practice, this new thing called contentment settles in and you realize that the life you have going on might actually be pretty darn good. I love the saying, “Gratitude turns what you have into enough.” Let me tell you, this is such a better place to be.

I’m not trying to say that dreams and ambitions are bad. They aren’t! But they can be if we let them take us to a place of discontent and ingratitude like I did. I’ll always be a dreamer. I’m just holding those dreams loosely now, knowing that my dreams, no matter how good or godly I think they are, might need a little remodeling from the Creator and Ruler of the universe from time to time.  Don’t believe for a second that suddenly my life is now just a bowl of cherries and I spend my days in a state of blissful gratitude and acceptance. Nope. Life is hard and I am human. I’m also one of those humans that is wired for perfection and control, who thinks thoughts 24/7, and feels ALL the feelings. I will always struggle to let God take the wheel. Which is actually quite ironic because I hate to drive and will sleep in the car every chance I get. Go figure

I’m rambling. I was telling you a story and then got all preachy on you. Let me be concise:

I had big dreams that would fix everything I thought needed fixing.

God said something along the lines of “Sorry, we aren’t going that route.”

I said, “What?! Are you kidding me?! Why not?!”

I let go, but not without an ugy fight.

He forgave me for that ugly fight.

I no longer felt the soul crushing desperation to fix my life. It didn’t need fixing.

I started making art.

I can hear what you are thinking.

“What the heck does art have to do with anything?”

Well, friends, it has everything to do with everything, but you are just going to have to be patient until I have the time and mental fortitude to tell you why. Apparently the writing part of my brain shuts down after about an hour and the perfectionst in me will need to spend the next three hours picking apart every word. I promise I will be back (even if it breaks rules #1-3) and I will tell you how God started to move when I finally got out of the way.

 

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SHINE

Watercolor by Kristi Lynn Studio

(Prints available on Etsy!)

I love Matthew 5:14-16 as it reads in The Message:

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14-16

Now, go bring out some God-colors in your world!

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BLOOM

Watercolor by Kristi Lynn Studio  “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs.

Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that.

Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

– Howard Thurman

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Be Still and Know….

"Be Still"  Watercolor painting by Kristi Lynn

“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God,  above politics, above everything.”  Psalm 46:10 (The Message)

Who, me? Be still? The last few weeks have been anything but still.

This painting was born as a reminder to myself– a reminder to step out of the traffic of my life and take a long loving look at God. He’s got it all under control.

Ahhhhhhh. I feel better already.

 

 

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Mornings in the Studio

Kristi Lynn Studio

In the morning, the house is quiet. The computer is not yet humming with it’s usual distractions and the day planner will wait. In the morning, the responsibilities of the day have not yet chipped away at my time, the inner critic has not yet chipped away at my heart, and the resistance has not yet chipped away at my conviction.

In the morning, I turn on the music and the muse and I create. This is when time stands still. The hours feel like minutes and my heart is full with possibilities. I say yes to God’s gifts and promise us both that I will never again let them go. It is a time of giving thanks and giving back to the Giver. It is a time of birthing the beauty He places on my heart.

In the morning, I delight in creating for and with my Creator, and He delights in me.Because He First Loved Me

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My Botticelli Study

My most recent painting comes from a study of Botticelli led by the talented and lovely Jenny Wentworth as a part of the online class “Studying Under the Masters.”

Come and follow along with my Botticelli journey from beginning to end…

Sketch with charcoal on gessoed birch board. Under-painted sky in Payne's Gray.

Sketch with charcoal on gessoed 11×14 birch board. Under-painted sky in Payne’s Gray.

 

Underpainting the landscape with yellows and greens.

Under-painting the landscape with yellows and greens.

 

Completed background.

Completed background.

Burnt Umber wash for hair and shadows

Burnt Umber wash for hair and shadows.

 

Under-painting a wash of gold for skintones and hair

Under-painting a wash of gold for skintones and hair.   Starting to look like Fiona from Shrek?

Begin layering skin tones with washes of mostly white

Begin layering skin tones with washes of mostly white.

Opps!  Lost too much shadow.  Add eye details.

Opps! Lost too much shadow. Add eye details.

 

Change hair. Warm up skin. Start reds for gown and lips.

Change hair. Warm up skin. Start reds for gown and lips.

 

Added charcoal shadow and really dislike that. Errrr....

Added charcoal shadow and regret that. Errrr….

 

Add wreath and necklace.

Highlights to hair and add wreath and necklace.

 

Re-work skin tones: burnt umber, cadmium yellow, titanium white.  Complete gown and jewels.

Re-work skin tones: burnt umber, cadmium yellow, titanium white. Complete gown and jewels. Work on eyes.

 

Decided to add veil. Wishing I had done it BERFORE the wreath! Veil is done with titanium white and glazing medium.

Decided to add veil. Wishing I had done it BERFORE the wreath! Veil is done with titanium white and glazing medium.

 

Brush on some red and orange pastels for the blushing cheeks.  Call it finished!

Brush on some red and orange pastels for the blushing cheeks. Call it finished!

 

www.kristilynnstudio.com

The Botticelli influence is demonstrated in the landscaped background, which was painted first – as Botticelli would have done. Her tousled hair is adorned with a wreath and veil as is often seen in Botticelli’s work. She wears jewels, a gown, and rosy red lips inspired from a variety of Botticelli paintings.

As I look back at the progression of the painting and see the different stages in photos, I can’t help but appreciate this line from the book “Art and Fear” by David Bayles and Ted Orland:

“The truth is that the piece of art which seems so profoundly right in it’s finished state may earlier have been only inches or seconds away from total collapse.”

Yes, it’s true.  Art takes courage!

 

 

 

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Painted Paper Garden

There are hints of spring in the air here in Michigan, so we are going to plant a garden.

It’s still to cold for that outside, but take a look at what blooms inside at Great to Create!

Kristi Lynn Studio

Follow along to make your own Painted Paper Gardens at home!

SUPPLIES

tissue paper

cardstock or watercolor paper, any size

tempera or acrylic paints

white school glue

foam brushes

scissors

Step One: Painting Tissue Paper

Kristi Lynn Studio

Spread out cheap plastic table cloth to protect your table.  ( I don’t recommend newspaper–we had a problem with it sticking!)

Lay out tissue paper.  White tissue paper works well, but color tissue paper is also a fun option.

Squeeze desired paint colors right out of the paint bottle onto your tissue paper, just like mustard on a hot dog!

Take a wet foam brush and gently spread the paint.  If you are doing this with young ones I recommend taping the tissue down to the table as the tissue paper wants to move around as you paint it.  Let dry completely.

Step Two: Cutting and Gluing

Choose your background paper.   I recommend something heavy weight like cardstock or watercolor paper because of all the gluing involved in this project. We used light blue cardstock, but a painted sky would be beautiful too!

Decide if you want to compose your garden horizontally or vertically.  Either option is great!

Kristi Lynn Studio

Cut a 1-2 inch wide strip of green to fit across the bottom of the paper to create the grass. Glue down with white school glue.

Cut narrow strips of green in varying lengths for flower stems.  Glue down stems.

Now lets make the flowers!

At this point I encourage the children to experiment and create their own unique flower designs.  It helps to start by cutting out a simple circle the size that you would like your flower to be.Kristi Lynn Studio

Our  room was buzzing with creativity and exploration!   It was fun to watch these flowers bloom before my very eyes!

After about 20 more minutes of cutting and gluing, everyone had created their own colorful garden to take home and enjoy while we wait for the rest of the snow to melt.

Kristi Lynn Studio

Great job, paper gardeners!  I bet those gardens bring cheer to everyone who sees them!

 

 

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Irresistable Bugs

Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio

This fun project was inspired by an art lesson I found on the lovely blog of “That Artist Woman“.

It is called Pastel Resist Bugs and this tutorial will show you how we did our oil pastel resist in Great to Create class!  Not familiar with the term “pastel resist?”  Then you are about to learn something new!

Begin with a directed line drawing in pencil.  In other words, students follow drawing directions step by step to create the basic form of a bug.

Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio  Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio

I recommend doing a Google search for insect coloring pages if you need some bug inspiration to get you started.

Once we have the basic bug form, the students add their own details and designs.

This is where the bugs begin to develop their own unique personality. So fun!

Next, trace over the pencil lines with a black Sharpie.

Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio

Use oil pastels to fill in the drawing with colors and patterns.

We used many colors, but not too much green because we knew we’d be painting with green later.

Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio  Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio  Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio

Encourage the kids to use firm pressure with the pastels! This will help the colors pop after the paint is applied.

Leave small spaces uncolored which will allow areas for the paint to settle in.

Look at those gorgeous patterns! LOVE!Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio

The bugs look super fun already and you could stop here, but then it wouldn’t be a resist project, would it?

Go ahead!  Be brave and paint over each bug in a watered down wash of green tempera paint.

We chose green for the feel of a tropical jungle, but you could use any color.

Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio    Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio   Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio

Oh no!  We lost our bugs under all that paint!  Never fear, the oil pastels resist the paint!

Before the paint can dry, take paper towels and gently wipe or blot the excess paint from the paper, revealing the gorgeous oil pastel bugs beneath. (Even after the paint dries you can still remove some paint with a damp paper towel.)

Now the bugs are living in their lush green jungle habitats and our work is done!

Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio  Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio  Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn StudioPastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio  Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio  Pastel Resist Bugs - Kristi Lynn Studio

Well done, creators!  These bugs are ir-RESIST-able!

 

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