VBS Set Construction

Our church’s Vacation Bible School (VBS) is coming up in June, and I am the team lead this year for construction of the set.  Here are a few photos of some of the props we have made so far for the theme, ‘Shipwrecked, Rescued by Jesus’:

Anchors and chains
4′ high anchors made of Styrofoam with chains made of foam pipe insulation
Assembled oar paddle
Close up of an oar paddle created out of Styrofoam and shaped with a hot knife
Liferings ours vs storebought
Our life ring vs. a store bought one:  ours is on the left, and is a Styrofoam disc wrapped in white tape, then red tape and yellow rope
Liferings
More life rings
Lynley with finished oar
Lynley, one of our wonderful team members with a finished 7′ oar.  The paddle is attached to a wooden tree stake with spray foam, then wrapped with rope for a finished look

I will post more photos as we get things done, and I hope you have a blessed day!

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Way To Go Bro!

I have to give a shout out to my brother, Alan, who is one of my best friends (hoping it is reciprocal!).  In February, he was able to move into a house, right across the street from us.  He has worked for the past 17 years with an insurance company and has always wanted his own house.  Thanks to our dad, who purchased the house, Alan is able to make payments on a rent to own basis and he knows the landlord pretty well.

So, for the month of February and most of March, we have been busy painting, especially the doors, windows and trim, plus cleaning the house as well as the apartment he moved out of.

Als house
Alan at home

He wears a leg brace from the hip down due to a birth defect, Klippel-Trenauney-Weber syndrome, and a luxating patella, so he just needs a little extra help.  It will be nice to have him so close.  He truly is an inspiration to others, as the doctors said when he was little that he would never be able to walk very far.  However, in Philippians 4:13 the Apostle Paul wrote, “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me”.  Amen to that!  Alan is an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America, has white water rafted and earned the Swimmers merit badge by swimming a mile across a lake in Michigan, plus showed horses in 4-H.  Way to go bro, indeed!

Al and his 2013 Equinox
Alan and his Equinox

Alan has lived in apartments for over 16 years, but he loves the peace and quiet of the country.  We are in the middle of farmland, with cattle on three sides, and he loves it here.  Next door there is a herd of sheep and the man that owns them has asked if he can fence in the back of Alan’s property to extend their pasture.  Of course he said yes, (less mowing for us) and he is looking forward to watching them graze as he sits with a coffee or iced tea out back.  After all, its the Southern thing to do!  Congratulations Alan!

Jonathans new lambs
New lambs at the farm next door

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

remy-christmas-2016-w-cr-notice

It has been way too long since my post at Thanksgiving, and way, way too long before that one.  I thank everyone who does look at my work, and want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year.  I pray it is full of blessings bestowed upon you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  God bless you all and remember to stay safe this holiday weekend!

Made to Create

As artists, musicians and other creatives, we often question ourselves and our abilities.  We listen to the voice of the one who is against us and after a while we begin to believe the lie:  “What difference does my art really make?”  I create it, then what?  Even if it sells, it doesn’t change anything.  That is where as creatives and believers we are wrong.  Dead wrong.

Last month along with 20 to 30 other artists, I attended the ‘Made To Create’ workshop given by Deborah Gall of Abide Studio Ministries and hosted by Grace Chapel in Franklin, TN.  It was a wonderful time of worship and learning, all while giving glory to God the Father.

Deborah is completely in touch with God and listening to and doing His word.  She is passionate about reinforcing to the creative person the fact that we as artists were made to create, its in our genes and we are to go about it with purpose, passion, and as artistic warriors.

Made to Create, Denny Martindale,
One of the exercises at the Made to Create workshop

Taking us through a series of exercises over the course of the day, Deborah revealed how the scriptures not only give affirmation to craftsmen, but also command us to use the artistic gifts the Creator has given us to further His kingdom.  She offered scriptures, book references, as well as break out sessions for artists to worship and create in whatever form they desired.  Many painted, some played instruments and/or sang, while still others wrote poetry or in their journals, while another even danced.

Made to Create, Denny Martindale
One of the breakout sessions of free artistic worship

By the end of the day, each of us was filled with the Holy Spirit and a renewed sense of purpose for our art and life itself,.  We were deemed ‘artistic warriors’, and charged with Deborah’s mantra, “If you want to change a culture, change it’s art”.  Sometimes just hearing truth to the fact we are on the right path helps us to take the first steps to making change happen.  Thank you Deborah!

Faith and Perseverance

Over the past few years, I have seen my ability as an artist grow, as well as my portrait business itself.  Then, 2008/2009 happened.  Most of the artists I know saw a dramatic tumble in their business.  Commissions dropped to very low levels, so I took my second job, as a server in a restaurant.  I do enjoy it, although not as much as painting for hours at a time.  I am forced to watch the clock more now when I do paint, as I have a tendency to get lost and forget time even exists.  I have had a problem over the past year, questioning whether I should remain serious about my art, will business pick back up, and, at times, is my art any good?  (this would fall under the “beauty is in the eye of the beholder department, I ‘m sure)

    Our talents are gifts from our Creator, and the enemy is constantly trying to control us, especially with our thoughts.  If he can make us think we are not good at our craft, that it is not worth anything, that we will never succeed, then he feels he has won.  However, if we look at what we can accomplish, through painting a portrait for a mother of her daughter who has passed away unexpectedly,  or the pet that really was man’s best friend, we can see that there is more to it than “business”, and it may be a huge blessing to the recipient.   These moments make creating art most enjoyable.

      We must overcome these times of doubt, and the best way is to have faith and perseverance.  Faith that business will pick up, faith that our work is good, and faith that the Lord gave us this talent to use for His glory, whether it is obvious to us or not.  perseverance that we can overcome these hurdles, perseverance when someone makes a snide or hurtful remark in regards to our talent, and perseverance when it feels like everything is against us to succeed in just performing the talent we have been blessed with. 

     I have had to work over the past year on both faith and perseverence in many aspects of life.  I am also beginning to see the fruits of it all.  Commissions are starting to come in again.  I am able to put the poor thoughts out in the compost pile.  I have been able to enjoy painting, instead of feeling rushed or behind, even though I am not.  Plus, if someone does not care for my art, that is alright too.

      Thank the Lord for His mercy and grace, and for giving us the ability to create art and to have a passion for the creative process!