Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘paint’

Our God, the Artist

Yesterday was a Konos-n-Art day. Because I have SO much to do, and because I have been blessed with standard 24-hour days rather than the requisite 48 that would make it possible to achieve all I have to do, I have split the school day over two days. This means that on one day we do Maths & English, and on the next day we do Art & Konos, which includes Science, History, Geography and Biology. We do Bible every day, of course.

It may seem as though this is not enough school, and I certainly believed that would be the case. But the results of Goldilocks’ recent exams speak for themselves. 91.5% for English. 63% for Grade 4 Maths, and we’re only doing Grade 2 Maths in school! And 69% for the the rest in a combined exam. In this case, the exam covered work we haven’t done yet, and didn’t cover some things that we have done. So I think we’re okay.

But back to my story: yesterday was an Art day and a Konos day. Because we have just started studying birds in Konos, and because we are discovering the shapes in objects in Art, I thought it would be a good idea to draw a bird for Art. And because we had just studied camouflage as well, I chose an Ostrich (Tony Hart, of course). It’s South African, and it has fairly good camouflage. We drew the birds, then used watercolours to paint them (according to their ACTUAL colours), and camouflage them to the background. (Painting is SO teherapeutic!)

The Parable (and the point of this post)

While we were painting, Goldilocks said, “Mom, don’t you think life is like painting?”

Not sure where this was headed, I sagely nodded and said, “tell me more.”

And here’s the parable she relayed:

“God is the Artist. The Holy Spirit is the Water, and we are the paints. Without the Water, the paint is dry and doesn’t really make any colour at all. With a little bit of Water, a picture starts coming, but it only really looks like anything with a lot of Water, and a gentle stroke from the Artist. The more Water you use the better the picture, and if you use a lot of Water, you just get a hint of the colour, and a very realistic picture because of the gentle shading the Water creates.”

Isn’t that a beautiful picture of our relationship with God, the Painter of our Masterpiece?

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Posting on walls

We’re so used to posting on Facebook walls that it’s become part of our social lexicon to talk about writing on walls – as if it’s a normal, natural part of what we do now. Which, I suppose, it is. My mom is a talented mural and fine artist, and always joked that she had a hard time telling her kids (and grandkids) not to draw or write on walls when it was how she made her living! Fortunately she is now a full-time teacher and telling kids (whether her own or others) what to do and what not to do is becoming easier and easier every day :).

Recently, I have been overtaken by a desire to draw and paint. I can’t really explain it, since I have an extremely creative job, requiring masses of design and writing work. Even so, the urge to pick up a pencil, sketch an object, then bring it to life with a few well-placed brush strokes is becoming harder and harder to resist.

Sadly, I have had very little practice. The truth is that I have next-to-no technical skill whatsoever. I know I can see, which all the best artists (and their books) tell me is the main ingredient. I know this because I can easily copy most line drawings. I have a good sense of colour (which is a necessity for my work), and I can shade and light images without a hassle. The problem comes with technique. I have no idea which paint or brush to use for which application, nor how they should be applied. I have a lot of experience with fabric paint, but recently discovered that I’d been doing it wrong all along. (Too much water. I like a soft, graded look, rather than the traditional, flat, bold colour look associated with fabric painting).

Part of this is the result of inappropriate or non-existent materials. I don’t have oil paints or accessories. I only have cheap, art-set-y water colours and the brushes that come with those. Actually, I do have some nice brushes, truth be told. I have acrylic paints but no training in their use. And I don’t have nice paper.

What I do have is an abundance of walls and a gracious landlord.

I’ve been promising my girls a mural since before they were born. My talented mom had created one for their room when I was pregnant with Goldilocks, but that room (and my mom) is 600km away now. The painting took some time to complete so it’s never been practical to ship the artist down for a redo – especially with us moving all the time. And besides, wanted to paint. Recently the girls and I decided (rather spontaneously) to use the inside cover of one of their favourite books, All These Things, as the source material for their wall. And this weekend, sneakily, while they were in the bath, I painted it onto the wall. What fun!

All these things: title page

All these things: title page

Love is kind and patient. Never jealous, boastful, proud or rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick-tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful and trusting. Love never fails.

~ 1 Cor. 13:4-8

I know that acrylic paint is probably not the right thing for this purpose, and I’m sure a mural should never take just an hour-and-a-bit to complete. But the girls absolutely loved it, and I felt thoroughly satisfied. Red even claimed that she would feel “much more comforted at night” looking at this picture. As the English say, “Bless”.

I think the words will remind all of us of what is truly important in life.

(Now the girls want their own art on their bedroom walls, too. What shall I do? Watch this space to see how it all unfolds …)

Lesson #2: One thing at a time (ctd).

When I posted yesterday’s post about doing one thing at a time, I went off on a tangent and completely lost the focus and point of the post. Let me back track a little and explain where I should have been headed with that.

There is SO much I want to do in life. By my calculations I’m between a third of the way and half way through this mortal coil, and I have accomplished less than that percentage of what I had set out to do at the start (when I became self-aware). I want to learn to play guitar (and piano, ‘cello and violin). I want to learn to speak Zulu fluently – not to mention Spanish, Italian and French. I want to be able to bake anything, draw perfectly, paint like a Renaissance Master, and dance. I want to plant a garden that survives my efforts, have a thriving vegetable and herb patch (that sustains us), build a fish pond and give the girls horse-riding lessons. I want to travel the world. I want to knit toys and blankets and clothes, learn to crochet, and make gifts with that skill. I want to write a book. (Well, books, plural). I want to … well, you get the drift. There’s a LOT I want to do, and in between all of that my deepest desire is to be doing full-time missions work in some remote location (that miraculously has both electricity and internet!). It’s not even that I’m an overachieving perfectionist. It’s just that those things all sound so cool, and we only have a short time here, so why not make the most of it, right?

What invariably happens is that I become so overwhelmed with the range of options and the complete lack of a starting point that I sit in mute horror staring at the whizzing-by-ness of my life, not doing anything at all. In other words, I don’t accomplish a single thing on my list, which is worse than only accomplishing some of it.

That’s what led me to the one-thing-at-a-time philosophy. I have picked a few key things, and I am starting with those. So this week, DD#1 will start learning to write letters. DD#2 will gain a little inner peace when she worries about the Lost. I will start to learn to draw butterflies. And we have all started learning Zulu. We can now say:

  • Sawubona (Hello).
  • Unjani? (How are you?)
  • Ngiyabonga. (Fine thank you).
  • Ngubani igama lakho? (What is your name?)
  • Igama lami ngu [Name]. (My name is [Name]).
  • Sala kahle. (Go well/goodbye).
  • Hamba kahle. (Stay well/goodbye).
It’s not much and it’s far from perfect but it’s a start, and that is the key thing. It is a lot more Zulu than we could speak a week ago.

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