Michele's Watercolors

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Unveiling #50: “He Enables Me”

Unveiling #50:  “He Enables Me”

 

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3:19

 

 

 

Recently the Lord put Habakkuk 3:19 on my heart to pray over my friend. As I read the verse, my own spirit testified as I reflected on this year-long challenge that I committed to. While I do not regret at all taking on the challenge, it did evolve into far more than I ever knew I was signing up for. MANY weekends I was up until 4 AM, 5 AM, 6AM… working away so I could have it finished by Monday each week. But that was only part of it; the actual challenge was so much harder for this perfectionist than I ever dreamt. I share all of that only to say, it was the Lord alone that enabled me to stay with it each week and “tread on the heights”.

 

I would have thought that by week 50 it would all go a little easier for me…but n-o-o-o. It wasn’t the deer that gave me a run for my money, but the sky. Yep. Man, did it ever beat me up. I drew the whole thing out and just could not get the sky right so I kept layering and layering (on that first one I was trying to do a sunset to represent the ending of this challenge). So I redrew the deer and tried again, only to over-layer that sky too. Well, my family was in town for Christmas and all of this was taking me away from them. I left for the Christmas Eve service so discouraged because I was DETERMINED to nail the sky WITHOUT layering since this was my last piece, yet, I knew I needed it done in order to post Monday evening…which would mean more time away from my family that I only get to see twice a year. Well, during worship in the Christmas Eve service God released my spirit from the self-imposed ‘law’ that I needed to post it on Monday. It was awesome as I literally felt the weight and stress lift. While I had many goals with this challenge, at the heart of them all was to gain freedom. God gave me that on Christmas Eve.

 

The only thing that was important to me was that I post this final challenge while it was still 2016…which it is! …albeit, just barely. 🙂 Once my sister and her family left on Thursday I headed back out to the studio to tackle this final piece. Unfortunately, I again struggled terribly with the sky. The larger the area that you work in watercolor, the harder it is to create a smooth look. I believe I did 7 attempts at the sky before I nailed it on this one.  Thankfully, once the sky was done, the rest flowed.

 

“He Enables Me” is an interesting final piece to me as it is a perfect blend of everything I fought so hard for all year (loose brushwork – in the ground and less layering – in the sky) as well as what comes so naturally for me (detail and a tighter style). I really like the way they play off each other and would not be surprised if this is a harbinger of what my work will be like moving forward.

 

I really cannot believe 50 weeks have come and gone. I have learned so much through this experience; yes, about art, but countless life lessons and more. That said, I plan to write a post each week in January to share with you some of those treasures that will hopefully resonate with you in your own story. In the meantime, let me take this opportunity to say a HUGE THANK YOU to those of you who so faithfully supported me throughout this year. It may have simply been clicking “like” on Facebook, but you will never know how that translated into cheers, encouraging me to keep going. And for those of you who commented and shared with me in person your support, THANK YOU. Your words were treasured in this struggling artist’s heart. You all made this journey that much more special and doable for me. Thank you again and I wish each of you a Blessed and Fruitful New Year!!

 

If you missed my post which explains this year-long challenge, please read You’re Invited To The Unveilings.

 

Unveiling #49: “All For Him”

Unveiling #49:  “All For Him”

 

I am a huge fan of this time of year. Okay, no, not all the stress, but all of the beauty and festivity that permeates this season. While so so many are missing the true meaning of Christmas, and are even fighting to keep that meaning OUT of Christmas (???), all the decorations and hubbub are all for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. They can argue, but that is what Christmas is…period.

 

 

I love decorating my studio for Christmas with retro accents. It takes me back to my Christmases as a child at my Grandma Morrison’s house. Such great memories! My entire tree is filled with old vintage Christmas balls, so I thought that’d make for a good challenge. I am really excited over this week’s as not only is it loose, but I didn’t over-layer it for once!!! Woo hoo!!!!! It is hard to believe I only have one more week left in this challenge. If you missed my post which explains this year-long challenge, please read You’re Invited To The Unveilings. I thought I’d give you a peek into ‘Christmas in the studio’…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health and Card Update

Health and Card Update

 

I want to begin by thanking everyone who prayed for my surgery this past Wednesday. Everything went very smoothly and I was actually able to come home later that evening!! That was a first for me! I was just sharing with my sister today how weird it is to be living life as ‘normal’ right after surgery as I have always been in a body cast or not allowed to bear weight for weeks/months after surgery. Plus, I did not do a spinal this time, so I have not been battling the nausea and severe headaches that plagued me with my last few surgeries. So I am one happy camper as I move forward without feeling like I ever had surgery…aside from a hip and leg that is sore and mummied with layers and layers of gauze!

 

On a different note, I can finally say that the Christmas cards as well as note cards are available for purchase on my website here! If you want me to give them to you in person, please private message me through Facebook or subscribers, reply to this email and I will give you a coupon code to bypass shipping charges. I am so sorry that these are as late in coming as they are, but I will mail all orders out immediately using Priority Mail. They say good things come to those who wait! …I hope you will think these are “good things”. 🙂

 

Unveiling #48: “Lips of Praise”

Unveiling #48:  “Lips of Praise”

 

Last week was a bad week for me…a really bad week. If it could have gone wrong, it did. If it shouldn’t have gone wrong, it did. It came from all different directions and was to the point of ridiculous!!! Every day I was surrounded by frustration, exasperation and discouragement, but Psalm 34:1 states, “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” That is my heart and that is my goal; to praise my God when things are going my way and to praise Him when nothing is going my way. His worthiness and my circumstances have nothing to do with each other. Nothing.

 

lips-of-praise

 

So I decided to paint my lips this week as a reminder of Psalm 34:1. If you zoom in you will see plenty of loose brushstrokes (yay!!), but I definitely layered the lips more than I wanted to…a lot more. UGH!!!! Some habits are sooooo hard to break!!! Two weeks left and I am still NOT giving up!!! If you missed my post which explains this year-long challenge, please read You’re Invited To The Unveilings.

 

On a very different note, I wanted to let you know that I am having surgery tomorrow morning on my left hip to remove hardware from a surgery that I had in 2009. It has come up fairly quickly as I’ve been having issues with the hardware over the past several weeks. Overall, the surgery should be fairly simple, but prayers would still be appreciated!!

 

Coming NOT so soon – New Christmas Cards and Notecards

Coming NOT so soon – New Christmas Cards and Notecards

 

Unfortunately, my new Christmas cards and notecards will not be available tomorrow like I had told you, but now I am told next Friday. I am so disappointed and feel absolutely terrible for all of you who have planned to buy these to send and/or as gifts. Very little has gone the way I wanted it to this week, and despite my best efforts, I cannot move mountains. In the midst of all my frustrations I hear the Lord whispering, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) I told my friend today that I am trusting God to use all that has gone wrong this week for His glory, so all is well. Again though, I am really sorry if I have messed you up. In the meantime, let me give you a peek into the Artist Statement for each painting that will be printed on the back of each card.

 

god-with-us-wm

 

God With Us

Matthew 1:23 says, “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” — which means, “God with us.”   In this painting I have portrayed Jesus as a baby holding on to ‘man’ to communicate how God is with us. He is with us in every season. In Isaiah 43:2 we are told, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” God never promised us immunity from trouble, but He did promise to never leave us or forsake us. He is Immanuel, God with us.

 

Inside: May you feel God’s presence this Christmas season.

 

blessed-is-she-wm

 

Blessed Is She

“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” Luke 1:45 Just as Elizabeth spoke these words to Jesus’ mother, Mary, so are we blessed when we choose to believe that God is faithful to his promises. We may not understand the process He takes us through between a promise made and a promise fulfilled, but we don’t have to. He is God and He is accomplishing far more than our eyes can see on this side of our promises.

The orange Poppy is symbolic: Orange is often associated with fall, the season of harvest. Waiting on God’s promises is much like waiting for a harvest. Orange is also the color of fire which signifies one being tested and proven. Finally, the color orange represents boldness, intimacy and companionship with God.

 

Inside: Blank

 

individuality-wm

 

Individuality

This painting is of my mom’s hybrid Irises along what used to be a barn, but is now my art studio! I look at each Iris and see such uniqueness and am reminded of how uniquely God created you and me. The definition of individuality is “the quality or character of a particular person or thing that distinguishes them from others of the same kind, especially when strongly marked.”

Being born with a form of dwarfism, I was born distinctly different. As a child, I just wanted to blend in and be like everyone else. As an adult, I have learned not only is it okay to be different, but it is beautiful. When we wear our uniqueness proudly, it becomes the essence of our beauty; so, be the most beautiful version of yourself by shining in who God has made YOU to be!

 

Inside: Blank

Unveiling #47: “Whitetail Rack”

Unveiling #47:  “Whitetail Rack”

 

Where to begin? This week’s challenge was inspired by two different things. First, I love incorporating antlers in decorating…especially in the wintertime and especially at our cabin! Knowing my buddy was visiting his parents in Louisiana where he and his dad have (what I understand to be) quite the collection of deer racks and sheds, I asked him to grab me some! This was the treasure he picked out and that is soon to grace my room at the cabin! Thank you, Britt!!

 

whitetail-rack-wm

 

The other inspiration came last week when my friend and I were traveling. On the last day of our trip we were looking for things to do, when she found information on a shooting range in the area. Well, I have been wanting to go shooting with this friend for some time now, so it seemed like the perfect time go! To be honest, I wasn’t even sure if I’d have enough hand strength to pull the trigger, but I did! Cocking the gun, now that was another story. 🙂 I ended up shooting 50 rounds with a 9mm Glock 19…and loved every minute of it! It was sooo fun!! For those who don’t know me well, you will never ever find me shooting an animal, but if it’s a target, sign me up!!  Well, the same day that we went shooting, I came home to a big box from my friend. Inside…this whitetail deer antler rack! It seemed like the perfect arrangement… I got to shoot, I got antlers to decorate with, and I didn’t kill anything!! Haha.

 

shooting-range-duo

 

I am so determined to become markedly looser in my painting style before this year ends, so this week was difficult for me because the antlers are BEAUTIFUL. The colors are so rich and the detail on them looks like wood! I so wanted to paint it all, but forced myself to stop before I over layered the piece. Of course, having a very small window of time to work this week helped my cause. 🙂 If you missed my post which explains this year-long challenge, please read You’re Invited To The Unveilings.

 

COMING SOON – “Blessed Is She” and “Individuality” Notecards

COMING SOON – “Blessed Is She” and “Individuality” Notecards

 

So, I am not posting this week’s challenge tonight because it is sitting on my drafting table sketched out, but not yet painted. The reason being that I have spent the past 24 hours working with 3 different printers, writing, editing and designing 3 new notecards that I am really pushing to have available by Friday (it will depend on the paper availability). I’ll plan to post my challenge tomorrow night, but in the meantime I thought I’d give you a sneak peek at the two other cards that I will be offering in addition to the Christmas card that I already shared with you on Thanksgiving. I will be sure to let you know once they’re all available! Hope you enjoy!!

 

“Blessed Is She”

blessed-is-she-wm

 

“Individuality”

individuality-wm

A special thank you to my friend and photographer, Amanda, who captured me working on “Blessed Is She” in the featured image!

Unveiling #46: “Turkey Feather”

Unveiling #46:  “Turkey Feather”

 

We have a flock of wild turkeys that grace our yard every day. They seem to be a good security system for us as they tend to scare people away. 🙂 They peek in on me from time to time through my bedroom window, but more often, they keep an eye on me out in my studio. Ever wonder where the term “Peeping Tom” comes from? Haha!! Well, the day before Thanksgiving a turkey was having what seemed like an anxiety attack outside my large studio window. He was feverishly pacing back and forth, looking in the entire time as he knocked with his beak and clucked away. This went on for at least 15 minutes! I am pretty sure he was begging for a place to hide until Thanksgiving had passed. 🙂

 

turkey-feather

 

I thought about painting him for this week’s challenge, but a lack of time and a renewed determination to simplify, I ended up ‘dumbing down’ my plan to simply painting a turkey feather that I had found outside the studio. I want to finish this challenge in 4 weeks STRONG. I know very well how much looser my work is than before I started this challenge, but I am still missing the mark for the vision that is in this head of mine. I just desperately want to prove to myself that I CAN do this, despite 11 months of work that says differently. Please don’t give up on me, because I’m not giving up!!

 

If you missed my post which explains this year-long challenge, please read You’re Invited To The Unveilings.

 

COMING SOON – “God With Us” Christmas Cards

COMING SOON – “God With Us” Christmas Cards

 

In my last post I mentioned how I was down in Texas last week for a fundraising event at the Museum of Biblical Art. Well, this was my painting that was auctioned off along with over 100 other artists’ work. “God With Us” depicts baby Jesus holding on to us. Unfortunately, due to several variables, the cards won’t be available until the second weekend of December (2 weeks before Christmas), so that will be too late for most, but for those of you who tend to use that 11th hour like I do, it’ll be perfect timing! They will be priced the same as my “Immanuel” Christmas cards… One card for $4 and eight cards for $20. Stay tuned…

 

*A huge “THANK YOU” to my friend Bryan who won the painting and graciously ‘lent’ it to me to have it scanned so that I can have quality reproductions made.  It’ll be sure to beat the iPhone shot that I am posting here. 🙂

 

Unveiling #45: “Texas Longhorn”

Unveiling #45:  “Texas Longhorn”

 

I’m here! …a day late, but I am here. 🙂 I was in Texas for the past week and returned home yesterday with an incomplete challenge…thus my delay. I was down there for a big fundraising event at the Museum of Biblical Art and to visit several friends who I don’t get to see nearly enough. 🙂 Below is a picture of me in front of my donated watercolor (the third one in) that was being auctioned off that night.

 

mba-11-16-16

 

We had tentative plans to go to Fort Worth on Sunday where we’d go to the stockyards to see the cattle drive, but I knew if I waited until Sunday to photograph for my challenge, I wouldn’t have had time to draw and paint it before my flight out yesterday. So, I decided to get a head start on Friday by using a photo that I took a couple years ago when I went to the cattle drive. Well, unfortunately, plans changed and we never did go to Fort Worth on Sunday; so though I didn’t experience the Longhorns this time, they are awfully Texan which is what I wanted for this week’s challenge!

 

texas-longhorn

 

I struggled so much drawing out this big boy. One reason is that the photo I used was of a herd of Longhorns, so it was difficult to decipher whose legs and bodies were whose! Two of my buddies even helped me decipher and sketch it out. Thank you Bryan and Britt! Sometimes it takes a village. Haha. Overall, I did stay loose so that’s a good thing! I worked on this piece in more places than any other challenge yet. I started it at my friend’s house, then worked on it at an open mic night, then at my other friends’ house and then finished it today here in my studio. This guy gets around!

 

If you missed my post which explains this year-long challenge, please read You’re Invited To The Unveilings.