Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling
October 28, 2009
We were driving down a starkly drab industrial street in Dallas when a breathtaking sunset unfolded straight in front of us. Our daughter, Katey, a little girl at the time, said, "God sure does color good!"
Any array of flowers is evidence that He surely does!

A Progression

Once I was bitten by the watercolor bug, I stumbled upon an AWESOME website for artists called http://www.wetcanvas.com/. It is full of demos and articles from talented artists offering their help and encouragement for FREE. Anyone can post their painting (or sculpture or drawings...) and have it critiqued by some of the best artists all over the world. Even my first feeble effort received encouragement from a fantastic watermedia artist, Nicholas Simmons, who has skyrocketed to international attention. He WON the National Watercolor Society show last year with his fantastic piece "Fresh Sushi." http://www.nicholassimmons.com/.

Years ago, Nick had generously posted an article about painting Koi fish using "Fluid Acrylics." While I didn't have those, I learned much from his article as well as other advice he posted with techniques about painting large and textures. So I gave it a try with regular watercolor. We're so blessed in this day that the internet opens doors to get to know people all across the world. I called this painting "Koi-nonia" which means Christian fellowship. Last June, Artists' Showplace hosted Nick to do a workshop in Dallas. It was a privilege to meet him and learn more from such a talented artist.

Another favorite artist of mine is Ted Nuttall. I love his colorful, "sloppy dots" portraits full of vibrant colors. http://www.tednuttall.com/ Artisan's Studio offered a workshop with Ted and I painted this of my beautiful Grandma Birdie who is now 102 years old.

Trying my hand at a more contemporary painting, I painted  Dusty and Kylie. I call it "The Pacifier." Pacifier means: someone who brings peace.

Another highlight was the rare opportunity to attend a workshop by, arguably, one of the greatest watercolorist of our time, Soon Y. Warren. This modest little woman uses Corelle dinner plates as a palette and "whatever paint that is on sale" to produce the most amazing florals and crystal I've ever seen. Check out http://www.soonwarren.com/. I could stare at her paintings for hours and am in awe of the caretaking details God provided in nature for our enjoyment. Here are two that I did after her workshop. The red peony was a wedding present to Maggi and Tony.
So, after a long hiatus, I've decided it's time to pick up the brushes again. I am amazed by God's unique design and beauty of flowers. I call this painting "Folded." The grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of God endures forever." Isaiah 40:7

Thanks for reading the blog. Next time you see a flower, consider taking a deeper look of the care God takes for something that is here today and gone tomorrow. How much more does He care for us?

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well! Psalm 139:14

A Devoted Art

To introduce myself, I am Cheryl Devoto, AKA devotedmomof7 or Uma. (The last one is by my precious granddaughter, who is sure to be mentioned a few zillion times in the course of this blog!)

I hope to use this forum to offer praise to the Lord through works of art depicting His creation.

My personal journey in art, specifically watercolors, was birthed through the inspiration of my mother, Anne Bedford. (The first three paintings in this post are her magnificent works.) Self-proclaimed as a "Jack of All Trades and Master of None," she has dabbled in every medium of art imaginable. Anyone who has seen her painting and drawings, tasted her cooking, read her writings, received her gifts of crochet, listened to her play the piano, or heard her singing will quickly realize that self-description doesn't aptly portray her masterful multi-talents. When I was a little girl, my sister and I enjoyed our handmade sets of paper dolls that mother had cut from cardboard. She designed innumerable inter-changeable outfits that were elaborately designed with colored pencils. From toddlerhood, Teresa and I were taught to color in continuous circles to avoid directional lines, and we both picked up her propensity to doodle on every surface available. I remember how Mom spent TV hours cutting up tiny, tiny specks of color from magazines which were later glued together into magnificent collages that looked like masterful paintings. Her hands bear the scars from her brief adventure into carving. The carving kit was lugged along during our summer vacations to the east coast. I'm pretty sure there are very few of those creations around after the need for stitches in her hand put a damper on that pursuit. From Scherenschnitta to cross-stitch, Mom has done it all. Between my Dad's history-buff obsession and my mother's diverse artistic pursuits, we were, thankfully, exposed to vacations touring endless historical museums and art galleries. After my father died, and we moved to Texas, Mom started watercolor lessons with Sarah King in Garland and has enjoyed studying with other respected teachers such as Naomi Brotherton, Jane Jones, and Jan Kunz. Three years ago, she was awarded the highly treasured signature status in the Southwestern Watercolor Society - a two-decade goal.

While I've always been a not-so-closet doodler, I had never followed mother's footsteps into painting. One afternoon a few years ago, I picked up an unwanted watercolor set that had gone unused by my daughter and tried painting a rose, an onion and a couple of trees. That's all it took for my mother to rush to my assistance with tubes of paint, jarfuls of brushes, and every other tool needed to assist my progress in the medium. She's showered me with shelves full of watercolor books and introduced me to local experts to rub elbows with in order to glean their advice.

Today, my mother's illness prevents her from painting as often as she would like, but she incessantly draws and studies. I aspire to Mom's excellence.