Thursday, August 30, 2007

The peaceable office ...

An average workday – as you can see, Bailey has settled quite nicely into the new office space.

... and here’s Ray in his favorite spot in front of the fan:

Monday, August 27, 2007

I guess Faulkner is good for some things

(Please forgive me, all you Faulkner fans!)

Morning Light in August
© 2007 Karen Mathison Schmidt
16 x 12 • acrylic on 2" cradled Gessobord
This painting will be available for purchase during my show at the
LSU Medical Library in Shreveport, Nov. 1 - Dec. 31.

Hi everyone! Here’s the finished painting – I adapted the title from William Faulkner, whom I’m NOT a big fan of (WAY too convoluted and full of Southern angst for me – although I have gotten more than a few laughs out of reading past entries in the annual Faux Faulkner writing contest, which I don’t think has been held for a couple of years now). Nevertheless, I love the poetic sound of this book title, A Light in August..

While I was finishing up the painting Saturday afternoon, my husband said I should name it You Can’t Hurry Love. He said this over his shoulder as he was walking through the room, and really didn’t give an explanation of any kind – I guess since he’s a musician he’s more in tune with the names of songs rather than novels. I thought about his suggestion for a while, and even for a very brief instant considered You Can’t Hurry August Light but in the end decided to stick with Faulkner for this one.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Work in progress ...

Proverbs 3: 5-6 (the Message)
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don't try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he's the one who will keep you on track.

work in progress • 16 x 12 • acrylic on deep cradled gessobord

Good morning, all! Here’s what I’ve been working on, painting-wise, this week ... still in progress ... an early morning view of our farmer neighbor’s yard, about half a mile down the road from us. This is another painting for my show at the LSU Medical Library here in Shreveport, Nov. 1 through Dec. 31. I’m working extra hard to get as many more large paintings finished as I can by the end of October, which is sneaking up fast! I can’t believe the summer is almost over ... lots of activity makes the time fly, doesn’t it?

I wanted to share that my 96-year-old grandmother was put into hospice care this week in San Antonio. A sad time because she will be missed, but a joyful time because we know she belongs to Jesus, and she is going home to be with Him. Grandma went from the nursing home to live at my aunt’s house, with a 24-hour hospice care nurse to help care for her.

My sister who lives in Long Beach, California, told me that ’way back when Grandma was 92 she said she was “ready to go!” She said, “I just don’t know why God doesn’t take me now – there’s nothing else I need to do here; all my work is done.” Well, maybe when she gets to heaven God will let her know why He kept her here for 4 more years!

Sorry my posts have been few a far between lately ... thanks to all of you who have been checking in!

I know I had the above Proverb in a previous post, but I’ve repeated it this morning because

a) it’s one of my very favorites

b) I need to read it often ... to keep reminding me! and

c) it goes right along with the reading I’m sharing today (which includes a poem and a prose passage) from my little 1884 book of devotionals:
“Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead Thou me on;
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on.
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step is enough for me.”

– J. H. Newman

God only is holy; He alone knows how to lead His children in the paths of holiness. He knows every aspect of your soul, every thought of your heart, every secret of your character, its difficulties and hindrances; He knows how to mould you to His will, and lead you onwards to perfect sanctification; He knows exactly how each event, each trial, each temptation, will tell upon you, and He disposes all things accordingly. The consequences of this belief, if fully grasped, will influence your whole life. You will seek to give yourself up to God more and more unreservedly, asking nothing, refusing nothing, wishing nothing, but what He wills; not seeking to bring things about for yourself, taking all He sends joyfully, and believing the “one step” set before you to be enough for you. You will be confident that even though there are clouds around, and your way seems dark, He is directing all, and that what seems a hindrance will prove a blessing, since He wills it.

- Jean Nicholas Grou

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

NOW we’re cookin’ with gas!

Midsummer Morning
© 2007 Karen Mathison Schmidt
16 x 16 • acrylic on 2" cradled gessobord
SOLD • private collection (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Just a quick post to show you the finished painting ... and to make the big announcement:

Not only do we have running water, now we have HOT water! The propane tank is FINALLY hooked up to the gas lines. Ain’t life grand?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Keep a quiet heart ...

Deuteronomy 15:10 (from The Message)

“Give freely and spontaneously. Don't have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God's blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures.”

My place of lowly service, too,
Beneath thy sheltering wings I see;
For all the work I have to do
Is done through strengthening rest in Thee.

– A.L. Waring

Today I'm showing you a painting I did a couple of years ago ... it's a picture of a hiking path in Chimney Rock State Park in North Carolina, and I sold it on eBay to someone who lives in Seattle.

Well, I realize once again that almost a whole week has gone by since my last post! A week chock full of work ... with a very nice surprise visit Wednesday from a lovely close friend who now lives all the way on the west coast; and a fun impromptu visit yesterday from our “next door” neighbors (the mom of the family and their two daughters, ages 10 and 6). They are also working on fixing up their big, not-quite-as-old, house, and we had fun comparing notes! We went on a tour of our house, then I went over to their house and toured their progress ... a lot of fun, getting encouragement from each other. I was especially impressed at the painting Mark (the dad of the family) had done on the walls of the girls’ rooms: big flowers and butterflies for the 6-year-old and bold, colorful shapes and designs for the 10-year-old, who, she emphasized, had pre-approved the design before her dad painted it on the wall!

The scripture and poem above are from my reading today in the little book of devotionals I mentioned in my last post (of course, the scripture was in the King James version, not The Message!) Also in today’s reading was a longer quote I want to share – I’m really growing to love these words of encouragement spoken by voices of generations gone by! This is a really good one for those times we get so frustrated at life’s interruptions that keep us from working on our art (or whatever work is your passion!) as much as we’d like. I don’t know about you, but I tend to think of a day full of interruptions as a modern trial, characteristic of the times we live in, but note that this was written by Annie Keary, an English novelist who lived in the 1800’s:
I think I find most help in trying to look on all interruptions and hindrances to work that one has planned out for oneself as discipline, trials sent by God to help one against getting selfish over one’s work. Then one can feel that perhaps one’s true work – one’s work for God – consists in doing some trifling haphazard thing that has been thrown into one’s day. It is not waste of time, as one is tempted to think; it is the most important part of the work of the day, – the part one can best offer to God. After such a hindrance, do not rush after the planned work; trust that the time to finish it will be given sometime, and keep a quiet heart about it.

– Annie Keary

Thanks, Annie, I shall do my best to “keep a quiet heart about it” when I experience any interruptions that come my way today (listen to me, I'm even starting to talk like a 19th century person!)

Happy Friday, everyone!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Unexpected Blessings

Psalm 103: 1-2

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits

This one is almost finished, I think. Some more work on the foreground, maybe soften up the background a little more ...

Shortly after I started working on our house last summer, I found a wonderful book of daily devotional readings selected by Mary W. Tileston, Daily Strength for Daily Needs, first published in 1884. I’ve grown to love this little volume; I wanted to share with you all what I just read from it. This is actually the reading for August 6, but this morning I was overcome with the urge to put it in my blog, which makes me think that maybe somebody out there needs this today – I was really blessed by it!
Into all our lives, in many simple, familiar, homely ways, God infuses this element of joy from the surprises of life, which unexpectedly brighten our days, and fill our eyes with light. He drops this added sweetness into His children's cup, and makes it to run over. The success we were not counting on, the blessing we were not trying after, the strain of music in the midst of drudgery, the beautiful morning picture or sunset glory thrown in as we pass to or from our daily business, the unsought word of encouragement or expression of sympathy, the sentence that meant for us more than the writer or speaker thought, – these and a hundred others that every one’s experience can supply are instances of what I mean. You may call it accident or chance – it often is; you may call it human goodness – it often is; but always, always call it God’s love, for that is always in it. These are the overflowing riches of His grace, these are His free gifts.

S. Longfellow

I hope you are blessed by reading this as I was. My prayer today and every day is that God would grant me the privilege of using me as His instrument to express to someone in my path “the unsought word of encouragement or expression of sympathy, the sentence that meant for us more than the writer or speaker thought.”

I pray the help of His Holy Spirit to keep this uppermost in my thoughts as I go about my Saturday!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Midsummer Morning progress ...

The heat and humidity was a real drain on my energy today – I didn’t feel much like doing anything after work, but I made myself paint some more on this today. I’m glad I did, because I really like how it’s coming along ...

I don’t know about you but I’m so glad tomorrow’s Saturday!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Back in the Saddle ...

Midsummer Morning: the beginning

Not a long post ... I FINALLY got back to painting today and I just wanted to show you all this new one I’ve started. This is from a reference sketch I made this morning, and I’m painting the colors from memory. Normally this itty bitty bayou would be nearly dried up this time of year, but we’ve had so much rain this summer that the water is still pretty high. It was slightly foggy this morning, so I’m going to soften the colors way down, but I wanted this underpainting to be vibrant. So far it has just the feel I wanted. I think I can finish this one tomorrow ... it sure feels good to be painting again!