Friday, December 31, 2010

I wasn't always Like this - Sometimes I was worse!

Okay, so I wasn't always this way... And this wasn't quite the angle I was going for ... Still they are nice Ruby Slippers ... but I was hoping to look more like Dorothy than the Wicked Witch of the East under a house ... But you gotta love what can happen when you are trying to take your own pictures ... And, no, this was NOT PLANNED. But it is a mighty good lesson. Now, If I can just think of what that lesson might be... No, nothing is coming to mind...
But the future is looking quite optimistic... I actually have Ruby Slippers. The other pictures turned out okay. I was not hurt in the fall. My camera still works. And I had a great laugh when I got up and got back to the camera... which was set on a timer. And it has inspired a whole new set of artwork based on chairs - namely ones that have not tipped over when I went to sit in them. :)
I say the future is optimistic because of Proverbs 31... Which I read on December 31 which tells us that a woman of courage can smile at the future - And I love that. And if I can't smile at the future I now have this nifty "self-portrait" that will always make me laugh. Because there was a day when if I fell down, I couldn't laugh; I couldn't smile; and I certainly didn't want a scrapbook style photo of the event. But I am different now. What a wonder the grace of God.
So back to the point of the my picture taking session in the first place: Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been paid for the original Ruby Slippers; there were only 6 made for the actual movie. One pair resides in the Smithsonian Institution and they say people stand and cry when they look at them. I totally understand this. I watch the movie just hoping for a glimpse of them. But I mostly just adore their message. You always have the power to go back home... and There's no place like home. It may take a round about journey of struggle, and humility, and fear, and forgiveness - And it make take a few friends: some courage, some heart and a sound mind, but there is no place like it...
And one day, we have the opportunity of standing before a Holy God who longs to have us join Him in His Home... He has prepared a place for us - What a glorious thought.
So as I stand here in the wee hours of a new year I am grateful for a home; the friends that helped me here along the journey and the fact that I can take a new picture - 'cause it's a new year after all - And I am looking forward to this new journey.

And by the way, Happy 2011!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Embracing the Mystery"

"Embracing the Mystery"
Charlotte Holmes Murray
9 x 12 Mixed Media

As I come to the end of 2010 I am reflecting on the fact that I have never had a busier year of my life: From weddings to funerals, from stretches of time at home to many long trips, from the planting of our garden to the raising of chickens, from art classes and art shows to having the Studio and our home on an Arts Council Home Tour - Phew! It has been B-U-S-Y! And it has been good - very good.
This most recent painting, completed this week, actually sums up the whole year as it represents for me the mystery that is our existence: precious and precarious. We hold onto life gently and reverently and we wait: sometimes with great anticipation and other times with dread. My nest series continues to fascinate and intrigue me as representational of "the home" and all the ways we embrace a place of refuge. We are writing a history. It will be read by someone... and very often by those that we didn't even know were reading it.
I look at 2010 as the year that had a "mind of its own" and though at times I feel like I was just "along for the ride" it held for me many of the keys to a journey that I love more and more with each passing year. It is a journey of faith. Faith that is absolute truth and absolute mystery: It is why I love Jesus...
"who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to
be equal with God but made Himself of no reputation and took upon
Him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men..."

The key for me this year has been to embrace the mystery of our journey of faith and allow God to be God. There is no vacancy in the Trinity and I do not have to have all the answers. I can trust in simple faith that God is in His heaven and all will (ultimately) be made right with the world. I do not have to do it. (This fall I was enjoying some painting time while in St. Augustine and USA Today carried a front page headline: "What America Thinks about God." I thought to myself - Isaiah 40 - and promptly began a new artwork on the concept of the world and God. Read Isaiah 40 and see what you think about the world, America! It is not going any where until He says so. )
Thankfully, EVERYTHING is not a mystery. Some things God has clearly revealed in His Word. If we do not obey what we DO know, we cannot expect to be handed any more light for things we don't yet understand. Deuteronomy 29:29 is my favorite on this subject - and I will close the year with this:

The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Amen and Amen.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Little Yellow Bird and a Great Big Thanksgiving

I got away to St. Augustine recently to paint for a few days. The weather was so wonderful that I had doors and windows open for all the fresh air and sunshine... and while standing in the kitchen I heard a thud against one window and before I could bolt out the door to see what it was, I heard a second thud against a second window. I stepped out the door just in time to see a little yellow bird floundering on the ground and gasping for air. I did not think I could take the poor thing dying while I watched, so I picked it up and actually began praying out loud for the little thing. I blew air toward its little beak that had been opening and closing, and it just sat there... so I blew more air. This went on, me praying and little bird trying to breathe for at least a minute, and then it occurred to me to take a picture... so I grabbed my camera and snapped a few shots, hoping for a happy ending... and then just as I finished the pictures, little yellow bird flew away to the bushes. This was the ending that I hoped for. How often does a bird hit the glass, not once, but twice and still fly away? I was very happy, and I would like to think, so was little yellow bird.
So today, I am giving God the thanks for the second chances that He graciously gives... Sometimes, even when we have run into the glass for the second time! I am grateful for my family, friends, being at home, God's amazing Word and His unfailing love.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Yemassee, South Carolina
Hi Y'all, Fall is in the air and I am excited about upcoming art classes and workshops!

DISCOVER THE ARTIST IN YOU classes begin Tuesday Evening September 21 (5-6 pm for a "meet, greet and set up" with session beginning at 6pm and lasting until 9pm) . Each 3 hour session will cover drawing techniques, color theory and brush strokes, creative art philosophy and history and students will complete a painting during each session.
At the end of the six weeks we will send out invitations and have a Student Art Show - but don't let that intimidate you! We are in this for the fun, the friendships and the fearlessness of painting and really enjoying ourselves! This Course is great for beginners and more experienced artists.
Included in this course are 18 hours of instruction, a great wooden artist's box with paints, brushes, apron, paint knife, palette, canvases and more, PLUS a really fun art show to celebrate your work! Cost: 280.00

ONE DAY WORKSHOPS will be held on an interest basis. These workshops, usually a Saturday, are comprised of six hours of instruction in basic drawing skills, color theory and brushstrokes with personal instruction to finish a 16 x 20 painting. Call if you have any interest in this type of workshop day. You will need to bring a sack lunch, but all art supplies are included. Cost for the Day Workshop is 95.00

If you have any questions or would like to get signed up please send an email to or call me at 843-384-9650. I look forward to hearing from you!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

In the Company of Amazing Women

This past Saturday I had the privilege of being in the company of amazing women. We painted. We dined. We laughed. We cried. And I, for one, remembered why I am so blessed to be in the company of women.

I was visiting my sister Julie (shown at left) in Charlotte, NC. She is a wonderful mom to her three children Kyle, Chad and Lexi; a dedicated employee at "Anita Goodesign" and a loyal friend to those in her life privileged to call her such. I am proud to call her my sister, and awed to be counted among those who love her.

We had been wanting to have a "Paint Out" at her home for years and this weekend became what will be known as the first of many! We called it our "Soul Sista' Studio" and invited a couple of other women over to share the time. Shelley and Karen joined us and it was a great beginning of what will surely grow to include more women and more dates on our calenders.

Karen began work on this piece with the tree and a "quilting"effect around it.

Shelley worked diligently on her painting even though allergies beset her all day. We were all thrilled with her ability to mix these colors from a basic set of five primary colors.

Julie began this painting of the beach.

And I continue to be enthralled with nests and the theme of the home. This mixed media piece is a new foray into texture, found objects, and recycled art materials.

I am excited about all of the potential that this continues to hold... And I am also delighted to have found a home in the company of these delightful women... they are wives, mothers, friends, teachers, artists and sisters, but mostly, they are amazing!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Red Highlights of my Paris Trip

ow this is
a page out of my dreams... brought to you by my amazing son David Paul compliments of Photo-shop - but really, it looks nice, oui?
But I did have the pleasure of breezing into Paris last February and thought it was about time I shared some of the photo highlights of my trip.

Snow was falling as I took the train in from Charles de Gaulle. I had my cafe au lait with this view of the light rain at the intersection just outside Le Petit Trianon, my hotel.

I love the wet streets and street lights of this scene along with the angles of the buildings. I have wanted to paint this scene ever since.

Coming to Paris on Valentine's Day Weekend was perhaps not the best choice when travelling alone - but I was limited in my travel date options and that is another story altogether. But this particular weekend did offer the most beautiful Parisian Flower Bouquets I have ever seen. And, as you know, the flower stores are everywhere and wondrous to behold.

Everywhere you look in Paris there is something to ooh-la-la over, or to cry over, or to paint...over and over and over again. If it's not the door-knockers, it's the doors; if it's not the architecture, it's the gardens; if it's not the chocolates, it's the ice creams and candies! Really, it is overwhelming the pure sensory overload. So it was my A to Z RED weekend!

I showed amazing self-restraint by not going in and buying these right off the shelf...

Plus, I love all the elements of color and design in this photograph - especially the sky blue backdrop and the tree in the upper left hand corner. And the Kartell store was just one amazing wave of color after another. I love the St. Germaine area for all of it's glorious store fronts and luxurious cafe dining on the broad street.

Maybe it's just me, but on every trip I go I am cruising for color and texture as i search for my next painting inspiration. It was too cold for plein aire painting but I do hope to return to the French Countryside one day for a painting vacation.

More to come...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Yaaaaa ! First Chicken Egg

Yes, I am raising chickens. 46 of them to be exact. Started out with the little peeps when they were one day old this spring. Some of them came from a feed store; and some of them came through the mail. Yes, they send the little darlings in a cardboard box, if you can believe it. I'll post some pictures of my little nieces going with me to get them - It was hilarious!
And last night when I got home (late) David Paul said he had a surprise for me. He grabbed a flashlight and out to the chicken house we went. Inside everyone was on their roost - but lo and behold, an egg was in our newly strawed nesting box! I was thrilled. He had waited until I got home so that I could be the one to bring it in!

The egg is from the Buff Orpington Chickens (shown at left), which are the ones we got first. The Ameraucana Chickens will begin laying next; I got them a month or so later, and then I got another "batch" after that. It is kind of addicting... the little peeps are just darling! And if you get one, well you just want a hundred! But I showed a little restraint and we only have, like I said, 46.

They are sweet, actually, and are just a joy to have around... And the eggs are going to be great!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lessons on The Fear of Failure in Art

As I have begun thinking about, praying about and planning out new art classes for the Fall one thing continues to go through my mind... Why are we so afraid of "messing up?" When I speak with women about art, they all sound hopeful and doubtful at the same time: "I can't even draw a straight line", they say in exasperation. Or they say "I don't have an artistic bone in my body." It is a common refrain... but most women would love to just try... but this fear keeps them from it, or keeps them from enjoying it.

I thought about all this because I recently painted a mural on my bathroom wall. The picture of it looks miles better than it looks in person, but it is nice. It only took a couple of hours and I was done with it. Over it, and was not doing any more... and no, I don't want a job doing them. It was fun, it turned out nicely, but it won't be there forever... I will get tired of it and will one day paint over it. But as I painted I thought about the myriad other strange and funny things I have painted (recently the inside of my chicken house - but that is another post for another day) and why I paint them so suddenly and with such reckless abandon... And it hit me:


I am not so concerned that it won't look good, or right, or be beautiful enough, or perfect enough... because IT IS ONLY PAINT!!! What is the worst thing that can happen? Nothing really bad actually - and the same is true when you come to the canvas... What is the worst thing that can happen when you put paint on a canvas? You may not like it, BUT, it is not a life or death situation. There is nothing to be afraid of.... It is not like you are packing your own parachute!!! You can paint over it! (And I love doing this from time to time - very freeing!)

Upon further reflection I realized that I am just not afraid of failure... Failure in my life has become like an old friend that points me in a new direction. Ask Edison. I have failed at so many things in my life - but I realize now it was just narrowing down my field, honing me in on my desires, tearing away the excess... burning away the dross... and that brings me out less scattered, more focused, less encumbered, more pure... And I need all the help with that I can get.

So - onward to new painting classes with fearlessness!

Next weeks lesson: Packing Your Own Parachute!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Me in St. Augustine and the St. Augustine in me

Here's a picture of me in St. Augustine with one of my newest pieces... It is the second in a new series on "Home" as a concept, a refuge, a question and an answer. I am looking forward to the others that are coming to me... Time in St. Augustine always seems to act as the needed catalyst for my newest work. I love the air, the water, and the way St. Augustine rushes through my veins infusing me with vitality and strength in every dimension of my life. I pray that this new series will in some way move people the way it has moved me during it's gestation and beginning pangs of birth!

Inspiration is where you look for it!

INSPIRATION IS WHERE YOU LOOK FOR IT! Or maybe more appropriately - Where you pray for it... We were headed to the Burnsville Art & Craft Fair here in NC and I prayed, Lord, let me come home with inspiration and motivation! And sure enough - He answered and I came home and began watercoloring and having a grand time of it. (and those of you who know me, also know that I do not consider myself smart enough to water color)

I modified my "Nest Series" with some splattered paint and began to have a lot of fun with some of the same ideas that have been playing around in my head. Met a precious artist at the fair - Michelle Stewart - and really hope to invest in one of her original pieces. Also read some really funny lines: My favorite was this "I laughed so hard that the tears ran down my legs!" Now, those of you who REALLY know me know how often that happens in my life. I count myself really blessed to get to laugh so hard on a regular basis!

Looking forward to returning home and planning out the final details and schedule for art classes to resume this FALL. It has been a while - but I am ready and wanting to begin!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Loosing our Burdens with Reconciliation!

Even as I completed time in the Word this morning I was learning more about how to translate my dream into reality. I see that when women and girls get together our focus must be on the larger ministry that God has given to all of us... to be ministers of reconciliation (II Cor. 5) and then the how of working that out as women in our homes and in our community. It seems to first ( as always) begin in our hearts as we are reconciled to God in our personal lives, then as we are reconciled in our families...Only then can we begin to reach out and be a catalyst for change in the world around us.

The greek words for mutual change and reconciliation are so close... and interestingly the greek word for "guest" means to loose burdens. When Jesus told Zaccheus that He must be a guest in his home it literally meant that Jesus would loose his burden at Zaccheus' home... and here's the exciting part: Both of them were changed! When Jesus shows up we are all changed! How thrilling!

And aren't we all aware of the fact that when we are reconciled to God and to one another our burden's are loosed! Woo Hoo! I know that is true for me. I look forward to delving into this amazing truth some more in the coming days!

Overcoming the Generation Gap

Here's what's on my mind... how to share the biblical view of womanhood with women and girls in an inter-generational setting that inspires, motivates, challenges and honors God and His Word and that transforms us from hearers to doers! Is this too much to ask.

As I look at the church today I realize that if we don't overcome the "generation gap" here, it will not be overcome. If we don't reach young women and set them on a Biblical path while they are here with us, it will be exponentially more difficult to set them on that path in their future.

I know this is a paradigm shift for most... but I envision women and girls of all ages meeting together to study the scriptures and deal with life's questions in an honest and respectful environment... older women teaching younger women...

I believe it can be a catalyst for mutual change for the glory of God. I pray that I will have the courage to do what He calls me to do.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why "One Palmetto State of Mind"?

I am a passionate Lowcountry Girl! South Carolina's lowcountry air is in my blood and in my soul. So when I begin to think about writing from this perspective I naturally thought of where I am, where I'm going and where I hope to be...

I also think of Psalm 1 that describes a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, its leaves do not whither and whatsoever it does shall prosper... and all of this because it is a man who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates in it day and night...This is what I want to be... Planted by the Rivers of "Living Water" meditating in it day and night, hiding it in my heart...walking it day by day...

I look forward to sharing some of this perspective in the coming days...

Great is His faithfulness...His mercies are new every morning!