Nothing Too Small

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I’d like you to meet my friend, Shannan Martin. I call her my friend, even though we’ve only met in person once (which was the craziest sleepover party I will probably ever experience in my life.) She might not recognize me if we ever met in the salsa isle of the grocery store, which is fine because I would probably get all sweaty and nervous and embarrassed that I hadn’t showered yet. But then again, she is the realest deal around, so I’m guessing I’d find her still in her sweats too.

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Shannan just wrote a book, Falling Free: Rescued From the Life I Always Wanted. You absolutely must read it when it comes out. Do like me and preorder a copy on Amazon. I started following Shannan’s blog, Flower Patch Farmgirl, back when she was living the dream life in a picture perfect farmhouse down a tree lined lane. I’m not going to give the story away, but she and her husband had a hunch that God had better ideas for them than a comfy cozy life on the farm, so they let go of what they thought was their dream come true and traded it in for an unmapped adventure with God. It has been quite the ride.

Who doesn’t love an inspirational story? I think we all do.

But let’s be honest. Big stories make me feel small sometimes. Like a drop in a bucket.

Ker-plink. Ker-plunk.

It’s tempting to think bigger is better. It’s tempting to think the best story wins. I know in my head it’s not true, but in my heart I tend to feel otherwise. Why hasn’t God asked me to do something bigger and better? Something radical? Something important?

I’m about to get real here when I say I might even be jealous of other people’s stories. It’s the ugly truth. Inspiring stories make me wish my own story had a little more glamour and flash. How’s that for dirty laundry? (aka sinful nature?) But seriously, how often have you heard the phrase, “tell your story” or “your story matters” and thought your own “story” wasn’t good enough?

The world needs big radical Jesus loving world changers. I know I need them. I learn from them. I read their blogs, buy their books, and follow their feeds. They inspire me. They open my eyes and break open my heart and move me to act. They point me to Jesus.

But here’s the thing I need to remember:

The world needs the everyday ordinary Jesus loving world changers too.

You know what that means?

That means I get to do that thing that God whispers in MY ear today.

It’s a very simple two step process. 1. Listen. 2. Obey.

While it’s true that nothing is too big with God,

it’s also true that nothing is too small.

Because if God asks me to do it,

it IS important.

*linking up with Lori Harris for her series #onethingrightnow

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January Resolutions

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It’s January, the month of fresh starts, new beginnings, and resolutions for a new and improved whatever.

I could quickly come up with a mile long list of things that I think need improving, but that’s not the way I want to roll anymore. I’ve chased “a better future” for far too long. Let me tell you, running into the future is a race that is never won.

Instead, I’m working really hard on contentment and joy in the right here, the right now, and the as is. It’s easy some days. Other days it’s a battle. Who am I kidding? Most days it’s a battle. Why? Because I’m a fixer and a do-er. If I go too long without any “fixing” or “doing” I get reeeeeeally cranky. Just ask my husband. Productivity and progress are two of my favorite words. Unfortunately, this make me quick to lose sight of two other valuable “p” words: patience and presence.

I think it is natural as an artist and creator to imagine “what could be,” and to desire to create it. The problem is when the “what could be” becomes more important and worthy of my attention and affection than the “what is.”

So no big glamorous inspirational resolutions for me this year.  I’m simply going to keep on keeping on with the already good, good gifts I’ve been given. Or maybe I do have a resolution–to be present, to be grateful, to do the work of today, and to leave the outcome up to God.

Happy work is best done by the man who takes his long-term plans somewhat lightly and works from moment to moment “as to the Lord.” It is only our daily bread that we are encouraged to ask for. The present is the only time in which any duty can be done or any grace received. ~C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

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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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Mr. Churchill Saves the Day

I saw a pin on Pinterest and I just had to paint it.

I created this  painting the very same day.  My daughter is a big  Katie Daisy fan, and this is very much inspired by her art.  Besides, this time of year I NEED FLOWERS!  I think I shall continue to paint flowers until every drop of snow has melted.

Floral Painting by Kristi Lynn Studio

I am crazy about this painting! The flowers, the colors, the texture, the style…YUM!

But those words are what really get to me. Oh, they are good. So good, and yet so very hard to live out.

Why? Because being brave with your life also means accepting failure along the way. I mean really, who likes to fail? I’d prefer guaranteed success, wouldn’t you?

The very first art class I offered for children was a complete fail. True story. I didn’t promote it well and I had a very limited target audience. Still, not a single drop of interest? OUCH! I took it pretty hard. Harder than I expected. Harder than I should have.

Floral Painting by Kristi Lynn Studio

A year later, I tried again. The one class I planned filled quickly and I was able to offer a second class to accommodate more. I think I cried happy tears for a whole week.

For the the next session, I offered three classes and filled 24 spots in 24 hours with five more trickling in later. Boo-yah!!! More happy tears!

But for the next three weeks? I have just 9 kids signed up for Monday and 2 kids for Wednesday! WHAAAAAT????? (in my best minion voice)

I contacted the Wednesday families and cancelled that class. Is that a failure? No, not really, but it still FEELS like failure. It’s so tempting to let my disappointment become a stumbling block.

Floral Painting by Kristi Lynn Studio

Providentially, a friend posted a quote on Facebook the same day I cancelled my class.

This quote very quickly changed my perspective as I scribbled it down in a journal:

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”  ~Churchill

Why, thank you for timely reminder, wise Mr. Churchill, you are so absolutely right.

Floral Painting by Kristi Lynn Studio

I’m totally looking forward to my smaller class. Less people means less crowd control and more connecting. Whether I have 29 kids or 9 kids, I absolutely love what I do, and what they do, and our time together. Kids are so smart and so creative. It’s just such an honor to be a part of a little artist’s life and to provide creative experiences for them to grow.

Floral Painting by Kristi Lynn Studio

So yes, cancelling class was a bummer. I could stress myself over the whys and analyze all the variables. I could take it personally and be blue. The truth is, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. I’m okay with that. I 100% believe in this calling, even if I have to “fail” sometimes.

Besides, with one less class to plan, prepare, and teach, I have extra time for planning something else. Something I’m very excited about.

Something I’ll tell you about LATER!

 

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