Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Birthday Giveaway

My birthday is coming up in a few days, and I want to give something away. Don't get me wrong, I love receiving presents as much as the next person, giving some too just feels like the right thing to do this year.

Specifically, I'd like to give three of my small paintings to three of you! It might be a piece you've seen on my small art blog, or it might be one I never got around to putting there (as you can see, I never got around to taking the paintings there off of the 50% off sale).

To get your name in the hat, just comment on this post by midnight on Sunday, February 28th. On March 1st I'll draw three names and each will receive on of my paintings!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ash Wednesday & Lent

Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of the season of Lent in the western church calendar. I've been asked by a couple of people what this actually is. I didn't really know how to put it into words until hearing the sermon during the Ash Wednesday service.

Ash Wednesday is a day to reflect on your sins and imperfections. The Ash Wednesday liturgy is a service of penitence, and ashes are place upon our foreheads as a reminder that we are dust, and to dust we shall return. (So if you saw people wandering around with a big black smudge on their forehead on Wednesday, they most likely just came from just such a service.) By the end of the service we are shriven - completely forgiven of all our sins.

So what's Lent about then? you may ask. Since all many hear about Lent is "I gave up _______ for Lent", they assume it's a depressing time of deprivation and solemn penitence and suffering. But it's really 40 days to work deeply on your spirituality, to put your spiritual life first on your list of priorities. It's a time to slow down and look within, to get centered and clear away distractions, to "patch the holes where your soul is leaking out", to become a stronger spiritual container. So the "giving up for Lent" part is really about creating a discipline that can help you to do that. For some, it's giving up a certain food (traditionally it's meat, but many give up caffeine or chocolate). For some it's taking on a discipline like reading scripture or meditating. Basically, something that helps you become conscious of your actions.

The giving up of a food has never really worked for me, so this year I'm cutting back on television watching. While I was sick I got very used to having the TV on all day, and it's difficult to stop that habit now that I'm well again. So my hope is that I can reclaim some of that wasted time and use it toward more spiritual pursuits. And hopefully that will become a habit that stays with me long after Lent is over.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Slow Recovery

I'm finally over that cold. It came back, then it turned into a sinus infection, then I had medicine head… Bleh.

I've been struggling with my art for quite a while now - months really. At first I told myself that it was just a down cycle, that I was just in a creative lull and tried to keep my hands moving anyway. But recently I've come to the realization that I'm actually full of creativity, it's just that what's being expressed isn't what I've come to expect from myself. My art is changing, and I don't really know what to think about the direction it seems to be taking, so I've been fighting it.

One good thing that came out of being sick was having a good long time to think about this, and to get to a point where I can let myself let it happen. I also came to recognize that one of the new elements that's trying to become part of my artwork is narrative.

I'm very curious to see how this is going to turn out!

And just so there's some color in this post, here are some random photos I've taken this past month.