Sunday, January 25, 2009


I want to share this post from Deryn Mentock's blog, Something Sublime. It talks about meanness in our world. I teach art to almost every child in our school and occasionally bump up against meanness, squelching it every chance I get. My daughter was the special target of one child for some time. Blessedly, at this point things have been worked out, but watching a child be singled out makes my heart yearn to take it all away. Of all the things I wish for my children, I wish I could take away the meanness they will encounter in the world. Then I remember that these are the very things that shape us into who God wants us to be. Since we cannot escape the world, I am reminded to take the lessons into my heart and make each chisel stroke count for something. Otherwise, the world is just mean.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A bit of fun again

Here's an interesting little applet that creates word pictures.


This morning I am struck again by the beauty of the winter landscape. But it is a scary beauty, a sort of terrible beauty. The frost covers the trees like lace and the fog casts a delicate glaze over the landscape, unifying it, softening the harsh and hiding the displeasing. The snow absorbs the sound and forces a sometimes peaceful, sometimes eerie quiet on everything. Yet, I cannot let go of the thought of freezing and these same images take on a power that seems to underpin the beauty. Especially the ice.

It is the ice that catches my attention this morning. As we try to safely make our way to school, our car slides around the corner and then we take tentative steps into the building, hoping to not make unexpected contact with the pavement. I see the massive chunks of ice that have slowly broken loose from roofs and am amazed at the size this year, and glad to not have been near when they came down. Beautiful when the sun shines, rays of light finding paths through the crystals and cracks sparkle and the ice is lovely to behold.

All of which reminds me of two things. The first is the how God also fits so many of these descriptions. He covers our sins (Acts 10:43). He holds us delicately at times, knowing that we are dust (Gen 2:7; Ps 103:13,14). He desires for His people to be unified (Rom 15:5; Col 3:14). We can hide in Him (Ps 32:7). He gives us peace, which may seem eerie to those who do not understand (Phil 4:7). And He is powerful (Jer 10:12; Rom 1:20). Still, when I look at the snowy landscape what I see most is beauty and God is revealed to me through it, but revealed as the terrible beauty that defines what is sublime. Then I drink in the hush and sing praises in my heart.

The second thing of which I am reminded is the Robert Frost poem, Fire and Ice. It fits, perhaps in an odd way, with my meditations of the power of God, so I share it here. But maybe the connection is made only in my mind and I'm not sure I can adequately explain it because it puts in mind too many things for me to discuss here.

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

In this mood of musing I went out to take photos of our winter landscape, but my camera is not cooperating with its port this morning, so instead of my own photography I share with you an image from a young lady I know. And another photo from another friend, that sums up our winter.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Have I mentioned the snow yet this year?

While I haven't had to shovel my mother's barn this year, we have still been pounded with snow. We've had a week of thawing and freezing now, and we still have at least two feet in our yard. Here are some pics from before the thaw began.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

I Can Make That...

Here are some paintings that I've finished just this last month.

This small canvas piece is a collage tribute to my husband's grandmother, who died in October. She was my real-life Proverbs 31 woman and I made a similar 4x4 book page for a swap a few years ago. I gave this painting to grandpa for Christmas and we cried together as we remembered this very lovely lady.

In the spirit of the still life, this little piece only measures 3-3/4x5 inches and was based on a large green still life in a magazine spread (I've been cleaning out the secret magazine stash that lives underneath my couch over Christmas break). I simplified it quite a bit and left some very dark places like many of the still lifes of the Baroque era. I think the grapes still need work, but I'm living with it for now. Here's a peek at some of the still lifes painted by my students. I cannot tell you how proud of them I am. Remember, for most of them, this is only the third painting they've done--ever!

This third piece is on 6x6 inch Strathmore linen canvas for acrylic. I went shopping with a friend in November and we both stopped to ogle a little snowman card (we both like snowmen) and I thought what every creative person thinks at one time or another, "I could make that..." Okay, so I really thought, "I could paint that," and it isn't very like the one we saw in the store. But she loves it and I'm very happy with the way it turned out.

I really should be keeping count of the number of paintings I've done so I can encourage the students that we get better with practice, but at this point I can still count the number of realistic paintings I've done on all my fingers and toes. And I'm starting to be happy with them, so there's hope! So, if you have tried painting and been less than happy with the results, please remember what I always tell my students and frequently tell myself (although usually not in the same pleasant tone of voice--lol!) "Art takes practice--just like everything else."

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Oh bother! or lemon curd is nicer, even thinly spread

Well, our school's Christmas break is rapidly coming to an end and with early mornings looming near once again I decided to make waffles. You know--those delicious, slightly crispy breakfast cakes with butter melted into each individual square and topped with aromatic maple syrup. Mmmm...

What? We are out of syrup. It was on the list, but apparently the shopper did not go to the store where the best syrup deal is and consequently we are out. Which rather made me feel like the king in the A.A. Milne poem, The King's Breakfast, especially in the middle (or so) verse:

The King said,
And then he said,
"Oh, deary me!"
The King sobbed, "Oh, deary me!"
And went back to bed.
He whimpered,
"Could call me
A fussy man;
I only want
A little bit
Of butter for
My bread!"

I wanted to be crabby, but remembering what my dearest hubby has been telling the little people lately about how we CHOOSE to have bad attitudes, I thought it best to pull up my socks and be a big girl. (Bother!)

So, I set about digging through the fridge and came up with an option--lemon curd. Not just any lemon curd, I might add, but lemon curd made by a true English woman and gifted to me in celebration of The Saviour's birthday. (Which makes it extra yummy, don't you think?) My daughter added to the options by pulling out huckleberry jam from another dear friend, which prompted me to scrounge a bit more and find the blackberry from yet another friend. I don't can. I don't make jams. I barely like to bake. In fact, other than eating, there's not much that happens in the kitchen that I really enjoy. Maybe watering the plants... Anyway, all this antipathy toward kitchen duties makes me doubly appreciative of all such gifts and my three little jars from Esther, Patty and Susan (respectively) are like little pots of gold.

Little pots of yummy gold to top my waffles! The lemon curd was very nice on top of some gingerbread cookies I had, but my taste buds were eager to try it on that most northwest of northwest breakfasts, a huckleberry waffle.

For anyone interested, here's a scrumptious recipe for sourdough waffles:

2/3 cup warm water
2 tablespoons yeast
2-1/2 cups baking mix (my mom uses Bisquick; I use Jiffy)
1 cup milk
1 egg
We (my mom and I both) mix everything in the blender, then pour the appropriate amount into the waffle iron. I sprinkle frozen huckleberries into the batter before closing the lid. (Please be aware that this recipe makes waffle batter that grows, so it can pop the lid off your blender, if stored in said container.) Then top with butter and syrup.

Oh wait, not today. It was a difficult choice--each topping had its own merits. Huckleberry in double doses is definitely delicious. Blackberry added a bit of zingy bite. But I think the lemon curd was the luscious winner for me. Lemon and huckleberry are quite complementary (just like their respective colors on the color wheel. You knew I had to work art in here somewhere, right?).

Now, I'll have to find something to try the apple and tomato chutney on. Hmm, I don't think it's going to be huckleberry waffles. ;-)