Friday, March 31, 2006

Good Friday Painting

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

So this is the painting I submitted for the Good Friday exhibit. As usual, I had trouble getting a good photo. It's actually bluer than this with no patches of tan or beige anywhere (I don't know how it looks on your monitor, but mine is showing it with some funny colored patches.) It's acrylic on a 16x20 canvas.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


It's weird, I was expecting to really enjoy this time off, but it's been kind of sad. I've been working on my Gethsemene Jesus painting for the Good Friday exhibit and I keep wondering what it must have been like to know that the next day you were going to be tortured to death in front of your own mother. Not a happy thought. And there is no loud baby running around the house to distract me. Well, I think the painting is finally done so tomorrow I'll hang out with mom and maybe start painting the bathroom walls. Talk to y'all later.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Just checking in

Has March been a crazy month for anybody else? Whew-y! I'm anticipating a nice relaxing weekend though, because Steph, Mark and Malachy are headed to Iowa to see the Stangers. I can't wait! Talk to you all then, Kim

Monday, March 20, 2006

Productive Day

I got a lot done today. I did the underpaintings for three little paintings Steph asked me to do for Malachy's room (they're based on the artwork of Simon Hart.)

I did a couple of warm up sketches for another painting that Steph has asked me to do for her bedroom based on a painting by Nydia Lazano.

And I did the underpainting for a Jesus portrait for the Good Friday show.

This kind of tonal underpainting is new for me but I've been watching Helen Van Wyk videos and she uses them so I thought I'd give it a crack. I found I like it a lot better than the charcoal drawings I was doing before and I don't have to worry about applying a fixative because you do the underpainting in acrylic.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


I had a welcome addition to my life on St. Patty's day. No, not the kitty, the inhaler! Beautiful as a daffodil! Here's how I scored it - I went into the ER and informed the nurse that I thought my massive thyroid had finally burst it's borders and was crushing my trachea... a few tests and six hours later my nurse informed me that I was having a bronchospasm and sent me home with an inhaler.

The overwhelming feeling of the last couple days is RELIEF. I feel thirty lbs lighter and ten years younger. My stamina has been amazing and at night I actually get some sleep. (Knock on wood.) Thank God for inhalers!

The ER ruled out an infection as the cause of the bronchospasm but didn't speculate as to what might be causing it. I've had breathing problems for as long as I've had fibromyalgia. I've had EKGs, chest x-rays, a pulmonary function test (AWFUL), and been tested for cat allergies - no answers. (I wish we'd tried the inhaler years ago, but back when this was going on I had hyperthyroidism and high blood pressure, which would have made albuterol a no-no.) I'm wondering if it is the FMS. FMS can cause muscle spasms just about anywhere.

Anyway, I just wanted to celebrate the good news with y'all!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Llama Drama Painting

I painted Piper's favorite victim for my still life this week in class. I used a palette knife to apply the fur, and a brush for some fine tuning. If I had it to do over again I would do a darker background and spend more time on the table top and face. I completed this one in about two hours. It measures 16x20. Those little specks on the surface are dirt from the ECC parking lot. Half way to my car I dropped the painting face down on the ground...oh well!
As you can see, I flattered the llama a little in my painting by not including that unseemly bald spot at the top of his left leg. That's where Piper knocked him into hot candle wax and I had to trim off the matted hair.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Tiley and "The Studio"

Tiley Frost, the head of Studio at the Creek (the visual arts ministry at Willow) is profiled this month in Celebrate! Chicago Christian Woman magazine.

In addition to being an amazing artist, entrepreneur and fledgling author, Tiley is the Director of Visual Arts Ministry for the Willow Creek Community Church of South Barrington. THE STUDIO at the creek is a group open to all visual artists from all media and skill levels.

Their mission statement is, “Visual Artists reflecting God’s love through our gifts.” “In each congregation there are unidentified visual artists occupying seats. Given the opportunity they would jump at the chance to be vessels through which God can bless all of us.”...

Last Spring at Willow Creek, THE STUDIO at the creek artists hosted an art exhibit for Good Friday and Easter. “For four days I watched in amazement as thousands of people were moved deeply by what they experienced. God reached out through paintings, sculptures, and photographs, touching lives. One woman, having been through the gallery could barely speak. After a long pause she simply exclaimed as tears welled in her eyes, ‘Thank you … thank you for doing this.’”

To read the whole article and see one of Tiley's beautiful paintings click on the orange link above.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Happy Party!

Why aren't you watching the Situation with Tucker Carlson? Yesterday he had the Moscow Cat Circus on his show, today he discussed this interesting story: (reported here by Jennifer Harper of the Washington Times)

Who are the happiest people in America?

Conservative Republicans are among the most joyous, according to a survey released yesterday by the Pew Research Center for the Public and the Press, which found that 47 percent of respondents who were both conservative and Republican said they were "very happy."

The survey was specific. This isn't just ho-hum happy. This is emphatically happy.

The group was eclipsed only by well-heeled Republicans with more than $150,000 in annual incomes -- 52 percent were very happy -- and people who attend church at least once a week, with incomes of more than $50,000 a year. Half of them also said they had a happy mind-set.


The findings revealed that the Republican Party has an upbeat history: Republicans have been consistently happier than Democrats every year since the survey began in 1972, with up to a 17 percentage point lead. Republicans topped their rivals by 11 points even during the Carter and Clinton presidencies, according to Pew.

"The GOP happiness edge over Democrats has ebbed and flowed in a pattern that appears unrelated to which party is in political power," the survey said, noting "a significant partisan gap."

28 percent of liberal Democrats were in the "very happy" group; the figure was 31 percent among conservative or moderate Democrats and 45 percent among moderate or liberal Republicans.

Good feelings don't seem to hinge on money, either. Considering household income, "Republicans still have a significant edge: that is, poor Republicans are happier than poor Democrats; middle-income Republicans are happier than middle-income Democrats, and rich Republicans are happier than rich Democrats," the survey stated.

For example, 30 percent of Republicans who made less than $30,000 a year were very happy -- compared with 19 percent of Democrats in that income bracket. Among those with annual incomes of more than $75,000, the figures were 52 percent and 38 percent, respectively.

Sorry about the highlighting, once I started I didn't know when to stop!

Anyway, I thought this was fascinating! One thing I've noticed is that the Republicans I know have more faith in their fellow human beings than the Democrats I know. Republicans are less likely to interpret ambiguous behavior as malicious or deceitful than their counter-parts are. (I think my Democratic friends might call this naivete or wishful thinking.) Of course, this doesn't apply across the board, and the exceptions, when they occur (think Bill Clinton and Bill O'Reilly), tend to be conspicuous.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Promiseland Conference at Willow Creek

The second conference of the season kicks off tomorrow morning and I'll be there helping out. I've been told my job is to stand back stage with a flashlight so that the Out Loud kids don't trip. I guess my flashlight holding skills did not go unnoticed at the last conference.

Since I started volunteering in Promiseland last year I've been impressed over and over with the incredible energy, intelligence, fun and focus of this ministry. This will be my first Promiseland conference, but if it has even half the spirit of a typical weekend in Promiseland it's going to be amazing!
Then after that I'm rushing to ECC for my painting class! Busy day!

Oil Painting Landscape

I'm taking a six week oil painting class at ECC taught by local artist, Louis Padro. This is last weeks effort. It measures 16x20 and represents about 1hr 50min of painting. I didn't get to put in the patchy little fields on the far hill, but maybe I'll do that once it has dried a little more.

Sorry about the photo quality, I'm having a hard time eliminating reflections on the shiny oil surface so I had to take this photo with barely any lighting.

In tomorrow's class we're going to be using palette knives to create a still-life. I'm really looking forward to that!

recent sketches

This is a sketch of Heinrich Hoffman's painting, Jesus at Thirty-three. It was done almost entirely with the side of an HB sketching pencil held overhand (as opposed to underhand, the way you hold a writing utensil.) The result is a softer, more painterly look that I really like.

I'm still sketching my way through Drawing People by Barbara Bradley. Here are a couple of ladies in their underwear.

I desperately need practice in facial experssions and proportions so, when I come across one of the many floating heads in the book, I usually sketch it.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Willow Arts Conference 2006

The WCA has finally put the finishing touches on the Arts Conference page at their website and it's pretty darn spiffy. Click on the link below to check it out.

From what I've seen, it looks like they are going to do a better job of including the visual arts this year. The theme this year is pretty interesting - collaboration. It's not the first strength that comes to mind when you think of artists, so I'm sure that this conference will be eye-opening and challenging for many of us.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Putting a Face to a Name

In Murder Must Advertise Miss Meteyard describes Lord Peter like this; "Tow-coloured, supercilious-looking blighter...Cross between Ralph Lynn and Bertie Wooster."

Ralph Lynn

Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster

Now Hugh Laurie as Peter Wimsey - that would be awesome! Not exactly "tow coloured" but "supercilious" for sure, and, maybe most importantly, capable of conveying Wimsey's feverish, almost manic, intellect.

The BBC's first attempt at casting for Peter was alright. Ian Carmichael was great with the dialogue and had the right energy, but he looked nothing like Peter and I'm permanently scarred from the sight of him in the harlequin's costume. Yikes!

Ian Carmichael

In the 80's the BBC took another stab at it, casting Edward Petherbridge. Edward looked a lot like Peter, but came off strangely dour and his attempts at some of Peter's outbursts were just plain awkward. Oh yeah, and he couldn't keep the monocle from falling off his face!

Peter Petherbridge

The most famous actor to play Peter was Robert Montgomery in MGM's Haunted Honeymoon(1941). Sayers was not a fan of the film, and she'd have had a lot of reasons not to be, including Montgomery's portrayal of a Wimsey completely devoid of eccentricity or brilliance.

Robert Montgomery

Artists have also attempted to put a face on Lord Peter Wimsey.

Very heroic looking. I think Peter would have been amused.

This guy is trying to sell us something.

This portrait belongs to Balliol, where I guess they honor their imaginary alumnae as well as the real ones. The artist scrawled "after Sargent" at the bottom of the painting. If you say so, buddy.

Maybe someday I'll do a painting of Peter and let the world know, once and for all, what he really looks like.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

As My Whimsy Takes Me

Peter on money: "If you've been brought up to havin' it it's a bit awkward to drop it suddenly. Like baths, you know."
-Clouds of Witness

Peter: "Truth in advertising is like leaven, which a woman hid in three measures of meal. It provides a suitable quantity of gas , with which to blow out a mass of crude misrepresentations into a form that the public can swallow."
-Murder Must Advertise

Peter on employing spinsters: "People want questions asked. Whom do they send? A man with large flat feet and a notebook - a man whose private life is conducted in a series of inarticulate grunts. I send a lady with a long, woolly jumper on knitting-needles and jangly things round her neck. Of course she askes questions - everyone expects it. Nobody is suprised. Nobody is alarmed. And so called superfluity is agreeably and usefully disposed of. One of these days you'll put up a statue to me, with an inscription:

-Unnatural Death

Peter: "How fleeting are all human passions compared with the massive continuity of ducks."
- Gaudy Night

Harriet to herself:"With tobacco and literature one could face out any situation, provided, of course, that the book was not written in an unknown tongue."
- Gaudy Night

Harriet: "Do you find it easy to get drunk on words?"
Peter:"So easy that, to tell you the truth, I am seldom perfectly sober. Which accounts for my talking so much."
-Gaudy Night

Peter: "Would you have your youth back if you could, Harriet?"
Harriet: "Not for the world."
Peter: "Nor I. Not for anything you could give me. Perhaps that's an exageration. For one thing you could give me I would want twenty years of my life back. But not the same twenty years. And if I went back to my twenties, I shouldn't be wanting the same thing."
-Gaudy Night

Peter: "What's the good of making mistakes if you don't use them?"
-Gaudy Night

Dorothy Sayers about Harriet: "She went to bed thinking more about another person than about herself. This goes to prove that even minor poetry may have its practical uses."
-Gaudy Night

Peter: "I avoid serious thought like the plague."
-Gaudy Night

Peter: "I do know that the worst sin - perhaps the only sin - that passion can commit, is to be joyless."
-Gaudy Night

Monday, March 06, 2006

Quotable Quotes

I couldn't think of anything interesting to say today so I thought I'd look for a Peter Wimsey quote because he is always interesting. This is the only quote I could find on the internet:

A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought.

How apropos!

Anyway, that got me thinking that there really ought to be more Wimsey quotes available on-line. Maybe I'll do the world a favor and go through the books with a highlighter so I can edify y'all with his wit and wisdom. So stay tuned!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

recent sketches

I'm trying to really improve my drawing skills this year and this is one of the books I bought to help me practice. I'm on chapter 6 now and I've already noticed some real improvement in my technique. Most helpful have been Ms Bradley's instructions on "overlapping" and "wraparound." Here are a few hands I've done using those concepts.

I've also done a couple of sketches of Emily in preperation for a portrait I'm doing for Crystal. I'm using the photos of Emily at the window that Crystal posted on her blog a last month.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

More Conference Goodies

I was looking through old photos this evening and came across a ten year old flyer for the 1996 Student Ministries conference. Actually, back then it was called SILC - Student Impact Leadership Conference. Had a nice ring to it, didn't it? (SMNGLC just doesn't roll off the tongue the same way.) Instead of Third Day and David Crowder think Michael W. Smith and Church of Rhythm (BOOM! Take back the beat!)

Just in case you missed it, those are the Traynor sisters listening attentively to Bo. Awful, horrid picture. At least Steph looks cute.

"Choose to Lead" Conference Bloggers

A Bite to Chew On

if you know me at all, you know that the very words 'willow creek' have generally been followed by (at least) a sort of growl when they come out of my mouth. i've never been real fond of 'mcchurch' of which i've always seen willow creek as the model. 'they do it this way at willow creek' has been a good way for me to gauge how not to 'do' church (typing those last two words made my hands hurt)...

Party Like Heaven

I think that its awesome that God values such diversity amongst the churches. Humans are so different and the churches need to be as well. The important thing is to focus on Christ. He is really all that matters.

David Crowder Band


Lanette Rajski

I just got back from the Willow Creek Student Ministry Conference and it was incredible! I don't know why, but I didn't have really high expectations, but it ended up blowing me away

C to the Beyenberg

hey yalls. well got back from chicago yesterday and lemme tell you. amazingness squared.

Dayspring Student Ministries

Stress is an agent of growth. The more I thought about my life and the lives of many students today - I thought well there should be no problem with growth in the lives of most students because it is usually FILLED with STRESSFUL situation and choices. BUT there is one KEY factor that helps those situations go from just a stessful situation to healthy growth - Jack called it "RECOVERY." He said Recovery HAS to be built into our everyday lives.

Third Day

Whatever it was, it was fun. If you've seen any of our shows in the past, you know that Mac likes to figure out where everybody's from. When he did that tonight we quickly realized that we had people from all over the country, nay, the world. People were there from Costa Rica, Korea, even Canada.

John Mulholand

Well, after a few directional errors, we made it to the conference, via the hotel first. on the way, we stoppped at mcdonalds. as i was eating my breakfast burrito, phil informed me of something he learned from the movie "super size me"...apparently a cheeseburger from there was dna tested, and there was dna from over 1,000 head of cattle in one hamburger. I'm lovin' it.


Willow Creek Church is hugebiglargemungusgiant just crazy large.

Nikomas Perez

I'm looking forward to next year when I can bring my student ministry leadership team. It's good to be alone, but it's even better to be there with friends.

Luke Dooley

If there is one idea that I felt most impacted me, it has to be the fact that Student Ministry is all about building relationships! Relationships with students....relationships with adult leaders... relationships with parents, etc.... I have always known this, but I now realize how critical this really is.

Lisa Copen Shares Some Thoughts

A couple of weeks ago we talked here about chronic illness, having one or relating to people who have one, and I linked to a great article by Lisa Copen. Well, a couple of days ago Lisa was kind enough to show up and add some thoughts:
Kim, Thanks so much for your post and reference to my article about "why can't people understand" [my chronic illness?] In regard to the comments of fellow bloggers, I agree whole-heartedly. Our society is made up of people who have many different personalities and ways of coping with difficulties in life. Some people will conquer anything with an attitude of "I can beat this!" while others will always choose to be the victim. Illness enters the life of every kind of person, so those with illness will be a cross-selection of the population too. It will represent those who are pretty-much emotionally healthy and just need a friend to SOMEHOW validate that they at least understand a small part of their daily challenges. But it will also represent those who will grab onto this illness as the newest [and perhaps most legitimate] reason to play "victim," using their illness to gain more attention.

Overall, I think there are very few people who actually "make up" an illness. 1 in 3 people in the USA have a chronic condition, such as pain from an auto accident, diabetes, migraines, arthritis, etc. And we can't ever REALLY know just how much pain someone is in. If it is painful to them and impacting their life, IT'S PAIN. Every time I have a rheumatoid arthritis flare that leaves me barely able to stand, it's amazing how wonderful those days of just limping now seem to be. Our scales of pain change every day, so it's best to just assume everyone really IS in pain.

But, I wrote the book "Why Can't I Make People Understand? Discovering the Validation Those with Chronic Illness Seek & Why" because I saw so many people living in a state of pure frustration that the world just "didn't get it." -- even their closest friends and spouses who generally care. I've attempted to teach people that those of us with illness CAN'T change those around us, or "make them get it." It's just not possible, like we can't understand divorce or the loss of a child if we haven't actually experienced it. We can adjust our own actions and attitudes, however. And for friends who want to help... I wrote "Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend" to try to give our chronically ill friends some resources/tools to better understand how they can reach out when they want to. Most people care but feel very ill-equipped at what to say, how to help and so they may do very little. Lack of caring is rarely the problem, but rather, a lack of communication between healthy and ill friends.

While writing "Why Can't I Make People Understand?" I realized that this question is asked by everyone on earth over whatever their plight is at the moment. We have a human instinct to need to have what we are feeling validated somehow and yet, even when it is, we still think, "But she doesn't REALLY understand! My situation is so much worse because [fill in the blank.]" This can be a normal emotion, but also a destructive one if we allow it to become a common thought pattern. If anyone is interested, both books are available at

God bless, and thank you for bringing this topic to light. Who would have thought I could explain my thoughts at 2 a.m. so well! I can't sleep from pain :)

Lisa Copen
Rest Ministries

Thanks Lisa!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Bachelorette Pad

How do you improve on such a good thing? With your parents' old sofa and lazy boy! I'm not sure where I'll fit them, but I'm looking forward to the challenge!

Praying for Noah

I call on You, O God, for You will answer; give ear to me and hear my prayer. Show the wonder of Your great love, You who save by Your right hand those who take refuge in You from their foes. Keep Noah as the apple of Your eye; hide him in the shadow of Your wings.

adapted from Psalm 17:6-8