Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Im stuck.. Im working on a painting and Im stuck.  I have a problem with confidence, I always feel like Im about to wreck the whole thing and this is a large painting. Im doing the painting for a silent auction to benefit The Friends of the Great Smoky Mountains.  It a really high end affair and has some high end artist that participate.  I am honored to have been asked and nervous about not measuring up. I'm about halfway done and I haven't been able to work on it for 3 days now.  I'm so clever at finding so many other things that must be done instead of buckling down and finishing this painting. Like reworking my website www.serendipityartist.com which is what I did today instead of painting (it did need it!).

It's fear that has control.

Fear that I will screw it up.

Fear that it wont measure up.

Fear that I am not able to do an amazing job on this.

Where fear is in control God is not so I know I must let it go and give it to God, to let God have control.  I have to let go of the ME ME ME, stop worrying what people will think and just do it.... Easier said then done sometimes.

Whats amazing to me is that I never plan what I am going to blog about, I just start typing and the answer to my problem just shows up! Well sometimes anyway, but this is one of those times I think. Tomorrow I will endeavor to finish this painting but before I start I will give it to God and seriously pray over it!

In other news, still waiting on a closing date for the house my sister is purchasing but hoping to be moving within the next two weeks.  This will be seriously helpful as I will have studio space.  Right now I am rather cramped with studio being in my bedroom. Things have fallen together concerning the purchase of this house that only God could have orchestrated it so well!

This will be my studio space although I have been told I can't have the whole room, it will still be plenty of space compared to what I have now! God is able has been a recent theme I have been seeing lately and I believe it!

Sunday, October 05, 2014


Brrrr 45 degrees out,  fall is here in full force today!  Seems like just yesterday it was 80 degrees ... ohhhh wait.. it was!

But anyway...

A few changes coming down the pike for me I hope.  In a couple weeks I will be moving (so long as God willing things work out) and I will actually have some studio space!  I may also start teaching at Michael's stores in the area, which should be fun.  Im trusting in Jesus that things will work out to his will.

So for quite some time now I have been trying to figure out how to use my art as a ministry or as a way to glorify God, it is something I struggle with.  I have been reading the Purpose Driven Life for the last month and it has been enlightening.  When I finish maybe I can articulate better what I have learned from it.  Finding out why I am here, what I am to do.. how to proceed, this is what I am searching for, and sometimes it just seems easier to do nothing.

Which is what I have been doing a lot of...

Although I did do this painting of a shelter cat, and pet portraits are something I would like to concentrate on in the next month.

Bird Watching
Pastel 5" x 7"

I will hopefully get back to you with some good news in the next week or so!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Surrendering, whats that all about?

Wow I am a terrible blogger, its been 3 months since I have posted here.  It isn't that I have forgotten, honestly I have thought about it many times, its just that I never quite know what to say, or that anything I have to say is that interesting.  I haven't painted as much as I should have either. But what I have done is I quit smoking (YAY!) I am still using e-cigs, but no more cigarettes, tar, smoke and the 4000+ chemicals that go into cigarettes now a days.  I bought my last pack of smokes on July 5th.  I also quit drinking soda for the most part and have been drinking mostly water.  I have had a couple cream sodas this week but its mainly been water.  So I am making some positive changes.

I also am trying to change the dynamic of my painting classes.  I am offering classes at home and at a local coffee shop and well we will see  how that works out.  I have laid it all at the feet of Jesus and I refuse to worry over it.  Certainly could use some prayers over all that..  :)

So I suppose my topic should be surrendering to Jesus (I never know what I am going to blog about until I have typed a paragraph or two!) This has always been a topic that confuses me somewhat.  We are told that we need to surrender it all to Jesus, our problems, worries, etc.. That we need to die to ourselves ... but what does that all mean? How do I just lay the problems at Jesus feet, surrender to him my daily worries and still make the daily decisions and such that need making?  Am I taking control by making decisions, I know it does not mean I should just check out and couch potato it all while Jesus handles it all.

So I pray and I ask Jesus to take it all and do what he will with it basically.  Take my painting classes Lord, take my finances, take my living situation.  And I am trusting that eventually unless I panic and grab control again, He'll bring me through and improve my situation. I suppose that the ability to surrender is also your ability to trust in Him.

 In the meantime, I teach every class I can, I work through the mire and paint when I get the inspiration and motivation (they don't always come at the same time.. and that's another topic for another day!). And everyday I learn how to surrender it all. Again.

This weekend I did do some painting, one painting I liked a lot, and one, not so much.

Winter Creek
12" x 6" Pastel
This one I liked :) 

Jersey Shore Sunrise
6" x 6" pastel
This one, not so much ... I loved the reference, I just don't feel I successfully captured the amazing beauty of it.  But that's just me, my own worst critic.

Matthew 16:24-27
Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Friday, May 09, 2014

The struggle to know Gods will

I know it has been a while since I have posted.  I have thought of it but always its too late, I'm too tired or some distraction presents itself. The last couple of months have been a bit of a struggle spiritually, as well as financially as I wrestle with what I am supposed to be doing.  Particularly with the painting classes I am offering to local resorts.  I knew it would start off slow but it has stayed slow and it is discouraging.... even though i know it isn't fair to judge it till summer.

I have always struggled with my purpose here.  I have always felt it was to be an artist and I continue to feel that way.  But although that's what I feel my purpose is, is that God's purpose for me?  How do you discern the will of God? If it was God's will would it be such a struggle? Or is the struggle God's will for me?

All I can do is continue on til He smacks me upside the head eventually with the answer.  In the meantime, since I have posted last there have been some ups and downs, I did not get into the Art Market Gallery but I had 3 paintings accepted into the Biscuit Festival's juried show. Although I have not had a painting class to teach in 3 weeks, I sold 2 paintings in 2 days this week! I also found out this week that the Wyndham Resorts classes fell through because of company policies (I am not quite sure what policies they are but there is so much red tape in that company its a wonder they get anything done). That was quite a disappointment as it is one of the largest resorts around.  The roller coaster  of my life.

One project I worked on since my last post was a painting I donated to my church.  One of the themes we have been following at church is that if you want to walk on water you need to get out of the boat.  There was a special offering last week and although I don't have much extra money to offer, I can offer a painting.
If you want to walk on water...
Oil on canvas
20" x 24"
Private Collection

I enjoyed painting it and although people are not my strong suit, it came out OK I think.. I prayed a lot over it and I know it is flawed, as am I. I think perhaps I need to step out of the boat myself..... and then maybe I will learn God's will for me. 

Romans 12:2
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

First Friday, the sign and patience and timing!

Up until January I had been working Friday nights for forever, really.  Knoxville has a First Friday art event every first Friday of the month and I had been wanting to go for .. well.. literally years.  Finally last Friday I went.  I wasn't sure it was going to happen, from Monday to Thursday I had a bad toothache and by Friday it was somewhat better.  By Friday night it was much better so I decided to go see how Knoxville's first Friday compared to Phoenix's.  Well, lets just say I was disappointed, but regardless, it was fun and I enjoyed myself.. and the weather was perfect.

The good news of this excursion is that I did find a really nice gallery called The Art Market and thoroughly enjoyed viewing the amazing artwork.  There was a decent crowd and a nice band playing ... which finished playing before I left.  That would be why it wasn't until I was leaving that I spotted the sign  (people were standing in front of it on the way in).  The Art Market was looking for new artist and jurying was Monday. Well of course that piqued my interest!  The sales person at the counter was busy but the sign said to visit the website for more information so I took a card so I could look it up when I got home. 

So after walking around a bit more and enjoying the evening (I brought my nephew Matthew with me) I went home and looked up the criteria for submitting artwork.  It was totally doable!  I went through all the necessary forms and requirements and spent all day Saturday putting it all together. I wish I had the funds and time to reframe my work, as I noticed all the framing was contemporary and my work was framed more rustic, but with such short notice it couldn't be helped.  Artist Statement, Bio, forms filled out, artwork selected and framed, I headed out Sunday (the last day to submit) to deliver the artwork.

Soooo... jurying was yesterday and results were mailed out today.  Somewhere amongst the United States Postal Service is either an acceptance letter or a rejection letter heading to my mailbox.  I honestly have  managed to not worry or be anxious about it because I know God's got this.  If the answer is yes then party on Garth! If  the answer is No then I wasn't ready for this and it isn't my time just yet.  I'm ok either way. 

Romans 8:24-25 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. 

Ecclesiastes 3:11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end.

I'm willing to wait on God's timing .. after all, it took me about 2 years to get to First Friday and it was just happenstance that i spotted the sign.  If not this time, then there will be a next time.

These are the 4 paintings I submitted.  All Pastel

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

A door closes...

In May of 2013 a friend and myself opened a small gallery in the arts and craft community in Gatlinburg.  Before we opened it we prayed about it and some things seemed to fall into place rather easily... we really believed God had opened the door for us to proceed.  Or maybe not..

Things began falling apart rather quickly and without going into much of what happened, I think it was a case of over zealous excitement to do this.. a dream of mine for years, and a lack of experience, a bad location, and I think most importantly for me, it was the inability to be able to give it 100% because I had to continue working my regular job to have an income. Whatever it was, we closed the doors to our little gallery last weekend. It was a sad day for me but i know i learned some valuable lessons along the way.

So I ponder, does God really open doors? Did he open it and I failed him in some way? Thats certainly a possibility I considered. Or is God opening and closing doors just a myth? I mean I would think Paul getting shipwrecked might be seen as a closed door but it didn't stop Paul... The persecution the apostles endured would look like a closed door to some people...  I honestly don't know. 

Revelation 3:8 "I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me.

1 Corinthians 16:9 for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

Good things did come of this venture.  I painted A LOT!  I started teaching painting classes at local resorts.. that may or may not have happened as I was already teaching locally before opening the gallery. I learned alot and met some great people. 

Anyway.. to soothe  my sadness I painted a beach painting, something I haven't done in a while since we catered to a "Smoky Mountain" clientele.


Snow at Sunrise in Bay Head
9" x 12"

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Painting a vision

There is much to tell but I will wait a bit to get my thoughts together before attempting to blog it.  But while I am doing that, a couple weeks ago I had a facebook friend contact me.  A year  or so ago a young family member had a traumatic experience with abuse.  It is not my place to go into detail but this woman really had to struggle with her faith after this.  She said that she had a vision that has helped her overcome her struggle with faith and wanted someone to paint it.  So she explained it all to me and so i painted it for her as best I could interpret it.  In the end, she was very happy with it which is good and what i aim for.  I'll post the photo of the painting below, but again, it is not my place to explain its meaning.  :)

Untitled 9"x12" Oil on Masonite Board
There is still a bit of wet paint glare on this photo

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Cool Snowburst!

I just had to share this cool photo I took tonight while walking Finnie at the Elementry School in my neighborhood.  I thought the snow was pretty cool illuminated by the spot lights on the Flag, but was amazed when I captured a "snowburst" I love how amazing God's world is :)

Snowmageddon in the Smokys 2014

So we are in the midst of snowmageddon 2014 here in the Smoky Mountains and so I'm not planning on leaving the house for the next day or two.  I'll be spending the time reorganizing my work area (today) and painting tomorrow.  They are calling for 5 to 10 inches although there has been a great deal of uncertainty with this forecast. 

Uncertainty can be frustrating and scary.  Most people like a safe and predictable course and when something upsets that they can become discontented, stressed out and can make some hasty bad decisions.  Been there, done that.  But uncertainty is all a part of life, and it is in uncertain times that we need to rely and trust in God more then ever. No one can know what will happen tomorrow, only God knows that.

Matthew 6:25-34 ESV
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Right now I can honestly tell you I am in one of the most uncertain times of my life.   I worry more then I should and I know I need to trust God more and worry less... or rather, trust God COMPLETELY and worry NOT AT ALL. but I am human... and I do trust God completely.. but I still have to deal with the consequences of my decisions and actions. Trusting God does not mean all our problems go away.  Anyway, I am making an effort to worry less, to not let uncertainty rule my thoughts or decisions.  Whatever happens, God's got this.

So.. In honor of Snowmageddon

Winter cabin
12" x 6"

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Ground Hogs Day and Distractions... with a side of Superbowl

Well happy Ground Hogs day.. that silly ground hog saw his shadow so its 6 more weeks of winter ... but then again... its still 6 weeks and 5 days till Spring.. so.. duh!  :)

I was born in the 60's, raised in the 70's and went to high school in the 80's.. and well, lets not even talk about the 90's...  but as time marches on, and most especially in the last 3 decades, the amount of things, gadgets, and technologies has us more distracted then ever!  We are distracted from our families, from our friends, our jobs, and most importantly from God with things like video games, on-demand movies  and tv shows, and particularly social media.  More often then not when a group of people get together, at some point at least half the group will be staring down at their phones, facebooking or tweeting, checking emails or playing angry birds or fruit ninja insteadof just enjoying the company.

Thats the world we live in where technology has us hooked to the point that most people feel they couldn't live without it,. I'm totally guilty.  I allow so many distractions to keep me from creating artwork,  Facebook is my biggest weakness. I love to read all the facebook post, I love to watch all my artist friend create and post new art to their timelines and to groups, so much so that the 10 minutes i figured I would give myself to "check" my facebook turns into an hour or two.  By the time I finish its time to start dinner or I just feel I havent left myself enough time to get started on a new project.

I also have let Facebook and other technologies distract me from spending time with God, in his word and just simple time with him.  Going back to the artwork, when I'm painting I feel like I'm spending time with God, as it was God who gave me the talent to paint, and God who created the world around me that i paint. So His hands are all over it and when I allow other things from keeping me from enjoying my time painting, Im also allowing myself to be distracted from God.

Friday night on Facebook I announced I was taking the weekend off of Facebook and wouldn't be back on till Sunday night.  I was going to use that time to create art.  That lasted til about 2 pm Saturday... sigh. The good news, is that I did create some art.... and I will be making a conscience effort to avoid the distractions.

Oh and there is a Superbowl on tonight.....
One Last Ride
9" x 12"

Friday, January 24, 2014

As an artist and a Christian, I sometimes struggle with pride and humility.  I think I am a rather humble person but others may disagree. In this day and age of Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, ect... artist (including myself) are putting their artwork out there for the world to view, often in hopes of feedback, critique or compliments.  The compliments feel best and where pride can rear its ugly head.  I am often proud of the work I do but I try not to ever be prideful.  But whats the difference? Thats a tricky question and one I have given a lot of thought to.

To be proud of something I think, is to be content with it, or unashamed of it, without the need to obtain praise from others or to praise yourself to others.

To be prideful I think, is when you are proud of something and desire others to praise your efforts.  Also when you feel the need to praise your own efforts to others is being prideful.

Proverbs 29:23 ESV  One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.

Proverbs 27:2
ESV Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.

1 John 2:16 ESV For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.

I'm certainly not saying we shouldn't, as artist, share our works.  After all, many of us need to make a living selling our art and to sell we must put it out there for the world to see.   The ability to create art is a God given talent, whether you believe in God or not.  That's something I try and keep in the forefront of my mind with every painting I do.  My art does not need to be "Christian" in nature, so long as what I do paint I paint to glorify God. Humbly and to the best of my abilities.

9" x 12" Pastel
This was one painting I proud of, it was also one of my first sales.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Seems it has been awhile since I have updated this blog, so I am giving it a facelift and changing the focus a bit.  It will definitely still be about my art, but I also want to explore how my art and my faith shape my life, how they effect each other and how they might effect other people.  Sharing my faith is not my strong suite but I enjoy sharing my art. So... expect to see more art and some pondering.

Now my art is not "Christian Art" but it is about trying to capture a glimpse of the amazing and beautiful world God created using the talent that He gave me.  I do not claim to be a great artist, or even a good artist.  I know I still have much growing and learning to do in both my faith and my art so that I do not become stagnant in either.  For now, I will leave you with a recent painting I did a couple weeks ago of the field of wildflowers in my backyard.

Summer Wildflowers
9" x 12"