You Are Enough

You Are Enough

I want to share about a recent watercolor I completed.  It is a piece that came out of a prompt from Fellowship Bible church ministry of Spectra.  The opportunity was given to whomever wanted to create a piece of art telling your story / your faith.  I was nervously excited to participate.  Brene Brown says it is a good thing to be vulnerable and what better way for me as an artist to share in my language of art.  So here is where I went with it…

I follow an uber talented artist, Kathleen Giles .  Her work excites me.   She paints in watercolors and her work of people is stunning.  I want to paint like her.  The shadows, the light and dark contrast in her paintings are brilliant and illuminating.  So I used this Spectra challenge to practice painting like Kathleen.  I used these images of hers as a map to follow.

My story my faith journey is about not feeling enough and looking to the world’s standards for validation.  Then slowly learning (still in the process) of exchanging the world’s standard with God’s standard for me.  Accepting that I am already enough without “doing”, “earning” or “striving”.  He made me perfectly imperfect.  Just as he wanted me, born already enough. Psalm 139

13You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body

and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

14Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!

Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

15You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,

as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

16You saw me before I was born.

Every day of my life was recorded in your book.

Every moment was laid out

before a single day had passed.

17How precious are your thoughts about me,b O God.

They cannot be numbered!

18I can’t even count them;

they outnumber the grains of sand!

It is a bumpy acceptance because of the enemy’s voice in my head that keeps interrupting God’s voice.  My journey is ongoing, forgetting and then remembering to ask for His guidance and strength to step around the enemy who is always trying to trip me up.

My life since giving Christ Lordship of my life has been God revealing to me, his best for me.  When I invite him into my struggles and joys he gives me this inner peace and direction that always leads to love.  Love for myself and love for others.  On my own I resort to selfishness.  The closer I draw near to him the more I recognize his voice.  Holy Spirit helps me differentiate the voices in my head and put off the enemy’s taunts and lies. 

My journey is ongoing, imperfectly perfect. I am enough.  

So back to my art piece connecting the story of my faith with my painting.  My daughter Brooke has a tattoo on her arm that says “You Are Enough” in hebrew.  To remind her and others she comes across, just that!  In Him, Christ, You Are Enough.  I knew I wanted to paint her and her tattoo to help tell my story.  I wanted it to be a painting that matched Kathleen Giles style.  I began taking photos of her trying to capture a good reference of light and shadow.  I wanted the tattoo to be highlighted but also a natural pose.  It is hard to pose someone and have it not looked posed…  here are a few that I took:

then my husband Joe took this candid picture of Brooke on her way to OBU for the new school year.  I loved it for the reference I was looking for.  Her tattoo showing and the dance of light and shadow.  So this picture became my reference photo to create a watercolor telling my story, my faith.

Here is my set up.  My painting in progress, with the magazine and article on Kathleen Giles process next to me to refer to.  My ipad with the color photo of Brooke to be able to zoom in on details.  And the black and white photo copy I used to trace her onto my watercolor paper with chaco paper.

Here is a progression of the painting:

then, the completed painting!  This was so fun to paint and be able to connect it to the telling of my story, my faith.

the value of value

the value of value

This week in my classes that I am teaching at The Art Location we are focusing on value.  I admit I am still a student of value myself.  So this lesson is for me and those in my class.  The virtual instructor gives us a good definition here: Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.21.31 AM

value can also be a part of describing atmosphere in a landscape or any painting that has shapes or subjects behind a main subject.  The “Helpful Art Teacher”  Has described it very well here:

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 7.27.27 AM

click here to find out more about what is going on.


Now an interesting twist in watercolors is that you do not typically use white or black to lighten or darken a color.  Not using black or white watercolor paint is to be a “purest” watercolorist.  To increase the colors to a high key value you just add more water and less pigment.  See the note in this link about white paint in watercolors and how it changes the transparency.

I will end with an example of a  high key painting of mine…image

my super bowl entertainment

my super bowl entertainment

super bowl sunday activity.

I looked for a way to keep my hands busy instead of in and out of a chip bag, I decided to work on some collage notecards.  Also with the intention of these being sketches for future canvas collages.  I used cut up magazines,  textured papers and photos.  IMG_6578












collage in progress

collage in progress

In the theme of our collage class of “food and drink”  Here is my example.  My inspiration behind this collage is my special coffee mug.  It’s a  “just because”  gift from my daughter Brooke.  She thought it looked like me.

So here is the photo I took of it, I really like the surroundings of The Art Location Studio and the paint splashed table and my lipstick on the rim of the mug, very artsy:IMG_6487


To make the collage I squirted a gold acrylic paint in the middle of a wooden canvas and squirts of umber around the edges.  Then I spread the paint with a brush to cover the surface, while also scratching in some random strokes with the back of the paintbrush.  keeping the middle golden and edges brown.  After paint was dry I began placing my “pieces” to apply to the canvas in different arrangements until I liked the outcome.  On the left side, I used a torn dryer sheet for some texture. I glued down the pieces with modge podge. When that was dry,  I darkened the edges with a darker brown and wispy strokes.   After this layer dried, I put a turquoise crayoned edge, using a ruler, around the coffee mug photo.  I dotted pops of red to finish it off.  When all was dry I covered the whole surface with a final coat of modge podge.  And “ta da”, a personal collage to display.  I am looking forward to what the students will bring to work on this theme next week.

things I used to make this collage:

wooden cradled canvas 8 x 8″

acrylic paint

photos from myself and the internet



dryer sheet

modge podge








Julia Cameron of The Artists Way recommends that people write non-stop on anything that comes to mind, whether it makes logical sense or not, every morning for 15 minutes, as a way to create mental and emotional space. She proposes this makes way for new insights and ideas to come through. She also suggests this tool as a way of beginning one’s day fresh, present, and open to inspiration and new solutions to persistent problems.

Do any of you journal?  How often?  Any tips you have learned?  Has it helped in your creative process?

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