Wednesday, February 28, 2007

TOSEBO postcards

I've spent some time working on postcards for our beloved Camp Tosebo. I ordered them through I've done some art postcards with them and been very pleased with the results. I can't wait to see these- I also can't wait to go back up to Camp Tosebo when winter fades. It's a retreat for all seasons, but I try to avoid winter as much as possible!


Monday, February 26, 2007

the weather today

I guess this photo fits the Lenten theme of recent posts AND lets you know what the weather is in Michigan today. Everything is coated with a thick icing of wet goopy snow. It makes getting around yucky to but I must admit it is beautiful. While driving past this old cemetery, the scenery drew me in to stop and enjoy the view.


version one

This is a work in progress

version two (so far)

Saturday, February 24, 2007


The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.. his eyes are closed. Albert Einstein

Thursday, February 22, 2007


This piece has some repeated elements of the first two, but on this one crowds of people have turned up. The 'congregation' and 'saints who’ve gone before' and 'onlookers' are witnesses to the story of redemption through the death and resurrection of Christ.

Orchard Hills Lenten show

Orchard Hill Reformed Church is at 1465 Three Mile Rd NW in Grand Rapids. My friend Jim Fissel made this marvelous poster. I have 38 pieces displayed in their large, beautiful narthex.

When Jim Fissel asked if I’d like to have a Lenten show at Orchard Hill, I was inspired to revisit the essence of the first Salvation Collage for a series of work centered on the cross and the open tomb. This new style of mixed media involves stencils and pencils and paint and pastels and layers of tissue and some block printing.


This is the first of the 2007 versions of the last post. I worked on 6 pieces at once, so 'first' is rather arbitrary. I see this one the most introspective. A fellow artist named Justin said my work has 'a faint storyline and open meanings'. I like that. All of the shapes here have meanings to me, but anyone can read into them whatever it says to them.

I see the triangle as a Trinity symbol, the labyrinth as a symbol for the spiritual path, the rainbow as a reminder of God's love and covenant, the shrouded figure might be me or you or whoever is approaching God, the puzzle piece stands for the mystery, the black and white squares are darkness and light as well as the open tomb. The Celtic cross is a nod to the history of the church. The pieces that look like quilt squares remind me of the way our lives are stitched together.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


This first collage was done in 1985. It was inspired by a sermon given by Rev. Bob Bast.
He pointed out that the cross is an odd symbol
for Christians because while it does symbolize Christ’s sacrifice and death, our faith would be in vain without the open tomb. The victory over death through His resurrection is the real miracle and our faith hinges on that fact, not only on his suffering. This led to doodling with the ideas of stones and tombs, positives and negatives. At that time I was painting in watercolor and also making quilts and handmade paper. All of those threads and thoughts came together in this piece.
I used stitching on the paper and when part of it shredded, I inserted a piece of gold paper behind the tear on the right- like a hint at the glory that is to come.

This year I revisited the imagery in this piece and I'll be posting the new pieces related to it during Lent.

Lent is a time of contemplation for Christians.
It's a time for spiritual renewal and prayer. There are forty days from Ash Wednesday (today) until Easter April 8.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day

These paintings were done by 2nd graders almost 20 years ago in one of my classes when we were learning about warm and cool colors. I thought I'd dust them off and post them for Valentine's Day. Each student got to do two paintings, one at a cool table and one at a warm table.

While I was teaching at Community College, the 'little girl' who painted the warm hearts was a student there! I don't remember how we made the connection, I think she recognized me. She was amazed that I could walk to the back of the room and pull out a folder and find a piece of art she'd done so long ago. I miss painting with little people!

Have a good Valentine's Day! Show love.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I just found out that this piece was accepted into the Lowell Regional Art Competition. It's a very competitve show since the gallery is quite small. I'm very pleased to be included!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Thomas Merton prayer

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

- Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"

This prayer is one I used in devotions over a year and when I worked on my enigma variations series, I was going to use this on a notecards with one of the images. Then it occured to me that this was his work and his prayer and that I should/could speak to God with my own sentiments that might be similar to the ones Merton expressed, but yet my own. It's in the following post with Enigma Variation #9 as an illustration.



Oh LORD, my GOD~
Do you see my life?

Are you sure this is how
it’s supposed to be?

It seems like a tangled mess.

How will all these hours,

days, weeks, years
work together for good?

Guide me to where you want me to be.

How can my feeble efforts
bring glory to you?

Bless me LORD in the weaving of my life,

be in the knots that I tie
in the complicated patterns
of connections around me.

I’m stitched into relationships.

Do they all make sense to you?
Use me to bless the lives of others
though I may know nothing
how that may come about.
Tie me into your love.

I trust in you and your vision for my life,

Even though I can’t see you
understand the way you are leading me.

I trust that you are leading me.

Thank you, LORD.

Friday, February 09, 2007


My dad died four years ago today. This is a piece from a series I was working on back then. This quote is also a nod to trusting God's calculations.

"Beautiful is the moment in which we understand that we are no more than an instrument of God: we live only as long as God wants us to live: we can do only as much as God makes us able to do; we are only as intelligent as God would have us be."

Archbishop Oscar Romero, from his last homiily, March23, 1980

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

This piece was accepted into the Celebration show at First United Methodist
in downtown Grand Rapids. Should be an interesting show.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


Here's a detail and the finished version. I'm simply calling it PRAYER. I had to photograph this stage on the kitchen table, since my photo spot in the basement has been dismantled because we found TERMITES! Why did we find them? Because in planning for the recent show I took a painting off the wall in our bedroom and replaced it with one from the stockpile against the wall downstairs and found dirt on the frame. Moving everything against the wall revealed dirt against the edge of the wall and deterioration along the baseboard. It will cost at least $900 and can't be treated until it warms up up here! At least the critters stay away from the light (they don't come into the room and work on furniture or picture frames) and they don't consume at the rate they do in cartoons! Praise God for that!