This is one of my favorite paintings.
A friend posted a video on Instagram of her daughter running by on a dreary winter day — it’s a split second long. I loved the complementary colors and motion, so I thought I’d try to capture both on a small 12″ X 12″ canvas. … Read the rest
This is one of my favorite paintings.
This is acrylic on a 24″x 30″ canvas. I took a photo of Olive in a blueberry field on Christy Hill in Sedgwick ME on an overcast day and thought it would make a good composition, if I made up a horizon and cloudy sky.… Read the rest
I noticed something about women’s fashion while working for the Postal Service: many, if not most, blouses, tops, or business attire for women don’t have pockets!
Most of my career was spent in Post Offices where I was the Postmaster or manager, so they were set up for me. I had pens located at a few stations I visited often during the day like the retail window, the desk, or the area set aside for receipt and notification of mail. But, I kept a pen in my pocket for the dozens of other places I would visit throughout the day.… Read the rest
I was looking at photos and video from our trip to Maine in July 2016. I wanted to paint these girls playing on a float on Blue Hill Bay in a way that would communicate activity and the passage of time. I decided to create a series of five small paintings in a left-to-right timeline depicting the girls in different positions on the float as they moved from one side to the other, in order to look at a crab they found. But, I was unsure if it would communicate what I wanted — and, that was the downfall of this project.… Read the rest
I spent a couple hours arranging my upcoming book and, so far, it looks like I’ll have a 175-200 page general Introduction to the Baha’i Faith for Christian Readers. Actually, I’ll try to make it accessible to any reader, but it will be written from my perspective as an Evangelical Christian — I’ll be presenting the material in a semi-autobiographical fashion. There are a couple of reasons for this approach, but the most practical consideration for presenting this material to someone new to the Baha’i Faith is where we find ourselves in history — we are entering in on the “ground floor” of Baha’i history and development as a distinct religion.… Read the rest
Back in 1988, I received my first promotion to become the Postmaster at Camptonville CA. In 2014, I would become the last Postmaster of Camptonville, but that’s another story and another post. This one’s about the failure of musical education in the United States.
I needed a radio for my small rural post office with a good adjustable antenna to pick up stations from the Bay Area. It was June and I went to the local Long’s Drug Store (now, CVS), because they sold consumer electronics at the time. I found a ghetto blaster that looked promising: it had an impressive telescoping antenna, tone controls, headroom, and a cassette player.… Read the rest
I’ve been wanting to return to the blog and have a number of posts in the queue — strange that this will be the first one published since back in March. It’s not a subject I felt compelled to write about in the past, but Denise and I just finished watching the Grateful Dead documentary, Long Strange Trip, on Netflix.
We were real live Deadheads for a short time and this film pulled back the curtain to reveal why we never felt that compatible with the band’s following and eventually lost interest in the Grateful Dead, a band we enthusiastically embraced almost 50 years ago.… Read the rest
I knew Winston Churchill was a painter, but only recently heard of his essay, Painting As A Pastime. Former President George W. Bush credited this little book with both his deliverance from “sitting on the couch, eating potato chips” in retirement and awakening in him a newfound passion for art and painting. I thought I’d read the essay online, but The Estate of Winston S. Churchill has a tight hold on the former British Prime Minister’s massive collection of writings and correspondence.
I read the reviews and found this gem on Amazon.com “used” — it was actually new and I picked it up for about the price of a sugary, dairy-based corporate coffee drink.… Read the rest
So, you are concerned about children in poverty, consumerism, nutrition, and the harmful effects of fossil fuels on the environment? Why place your hope in politicians, administrations, and government institutions that swerve back and forth with each new Congress or administration? Try doing what we do: buy stock and become a shareholder in some of the more progressive corporations on the exchange. As a shareholder, you have rights and the ability to move those companies in the direction of positive social change.
This constructive way forward to influence culture and policy came to me through exposure to the divestment movement and its questionable effectiveness.… Read the rest
It’s 2017 and President Obama is free to enjoy a well-deserved season of relaxation — being President of the United States has to be one of the most difficult jobs on earth!
I didn’t vote for President Trump in 2016 nor do I plan on casting my ballot for him in 2020, if he’s a candidate. So, I have some sympathy for those who were disappointed back in November, but little patience for much of the hysteria that has followed his inauguration.
I plan to move forward in 2017 in much the same way I planned to if Secretary Clinton had won the election and have done through past administrations.… Read the rest
Let me begin my post about this book with one of the endorsements from the back cover:
… Read the rest
Offenses will come. It’s a given. Unpacking Forgiveness wisely prepares us for the aftermath. Grieving the loss of our six children in a van accident and then being reminded of that loss throughout thirteen years of subsequent battles forced us to search the Scriptures concerning the issue of forgiveness. Chris not only has confirmed answers that we had found but has thoroughly sorted out what it takes to be right with God and man.
I’m a new artist and had this conversation with Denise the other day: “My drawing skills are horrible and I’m so impatient that I’m not really observing my subjects at all. After I get going, the process slows me down and I begin seeing everything I missed.” Denise, as she typically does, listened patiently to my exposed inner thoughts and acknowledged my concerns. Then, she continued with her reading. This is a “conversation” we’ve had at least five times over the past couple of months and it was just this last Monday I engaged in the self-flagellation one more time.
My latest urban landscape is Bubba’s Bagels, a familiar sight to most Nevada County residents. It is acrylic on canvas, but I wanted it to have a more printerly look. The colors are all desaturated to some degree with the ultramarine blue of the Arco sign being the closest to a pure hue. I wanted to create interest in a very mundane scene by placing elements exiting the frame in different directions, while drawing the eye into the center of the piece. The actual color scheme of the shop is captivating when you drive by it — so, I tried to get that just right.… Read the rest
I had the opportunity to attend the Andrew Fuller Conference at Southern Seminary this past week. On my flight home, I read a book I’ve been looking forward to for years — D.A. Carson’s Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor: The Life and Reflections of Tom Carson.
I was first drawn to this book through a couple of podcasts and/or interviews of Dr. Carson when it came out. The book recounts the rather ordinary, yet significant life of his father Tom, a Baptist pastor1 in French Quebec through the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. There are a number of reviews of the book out there and I’ll link to a few at the bottom of the post.… Read the rest
Back in June of this year, Nancy Guthrie messaged to tell me that she was reading a review copy of a forthcoming book and I was quoted in it! Well, that was exciting news. I wrote Good Mr. Baxter about 25 years ago and it has remained in obscurity for the most part. I was just happy to see that someone read it and found something of value. You can find my semi-immortal words on page 49 of Dr. Michael Haykin‘s Eight Women of Faith!
This is my mini-review of his biographical sketches of eight historically significant Evangelical women, in one volume.… Read the rest
Sometimes what we call genius is actually the skill involved in paying attention to detail and developing the ability to identify and catalogue information. This is an article of quotes, so I’ll just point you to it: The Art of Observation and Why Genius Lies in the Selection of What Is Worth Observing | Brain Pickings… Read the rest
This year I had two entries in the Fine Arts competition at the Nevada County Fair. I received a Third Place for a Nevada County Scene with my Fudenjuce, which is acrylic on a large reclaimed yard sale canvas. It is one of a number of urban landscapes I am planning for the future. Although I received a third place, I was very happy with the result because I was competing across all skill levels including professionals.
From Thom Rainer’s book, Autopsy of a Deceased Church, the author lists some tell-tale signs to alert us that our church is in trouble. Here are the most telling, in my opinion:
- “The church refused to look like the community. The community began a transition toward a lower socioeconomic class thirty years ago, but the church members had no desire to reach the new residents. The congregation thus became an island of middle-class members in a sea of lower-class residents.”
- “There was no attempt to reach the community.”
- “More and more emphasis was placed on the past.”
- “The percentage of the budget for members’ needs kept increasing.
I suppose it’s fitting I write a review of Matt Perman’s book What’s Best Next (WBN) toward the end of a day that I’ve spent piddling, getting very little done, on the way to working myself up to settle down to watch a movie.
My cousin Nancy pointed me to What’s Best Next, while discussing our recent retirements. For Type A personalities or those of us who obsess over how much time we’re wasting, our first impulse is to prioritize and jump right into finding more time. That’s universal and, if you don’t believe me, just scroll through the thousands of productivity products and strategies on the web.… Read the rest
I’ve been struggling over the past year and a half, trying to get a routine down — to optimize my time and get some real work done. I am essentially self-employed now, even if I’m not earning a living by my efforts. Nearly forty years with the US Postal Service and twenty-four years as a bi-vocational pastor kept me working and focused, so there was an imposed structure to my day with objectives and goals to meet, as well as work to be done. Now, I have to plan my own workday, thankful that years of working for the USPS, Denise’s years of contracting and employment, the generosity of others, and personal planning have provided the financial foundation for labors of love that don’t necessarily pay.… Read the rest
I completed my acrylic painting class about two weeks ago and this was my final project: Olive At Seven. I’m generally pleased with it, although it gave me a bit of trouble in combining white with raw umber and, then, glazing and going to a gray. After encountering that problem, I created swatches and learned that raw umber has some blue in it, evidently. I found that by mixing in a little burnt sienna, it “warms” a bit and will go to a creamier tint. Oh, well. That’s why I’m taking these classes.
Next up are a couple of portraits and then on to my current fascination: urban scenes.… Read the rest
My first acrylic painting class is drawing to a close. This is the first time I’ve put serious energy into painting since high school, over 40 years ago. I’ve learned a lot from our excellent instructor, Sandra Miller, at Sierra College. And, I can’t say enough about the wonderful color theory course I had with Linda Byrne two semesters ago.
One of the most enjoyable projects was a mixed media assignment. I decided to parody (not mock) this familiar Paul Delefsen print, Serenity. Denise found it at the thrift store, heading out to the garbage. We displayed it in our patio each summer, in order to capture the feeling that we were in a cool redwood grove, on hot afternoons.… Read the rest
First up: There must be something wrong with me. I’d rather eat at a taqueria than Chipotle – there, I said it – I’m out – that’s just me – not hating or judging anyone. From an early age, I always knew I was different than the rest – but, that’s another story altogether. I don’t feel any different after eating organic/fresh than I do eating other kinds of food (unlike just about everyone else on social media). In fact, I recently ingested a bunch of home cooked fresh stuff and felt terrible.… Read the rest
Well, it’s been over a month since my last post. A few things have conspired to keep me away from writing.
First, a friend of the family was hit by necrotizing fasciitis, the flesh-eating bacteria. It’s so rare, I never thought I would know someone, personally, who would be stalked by this deadly foe. He is a young man, received a timely bit of advice from his pharmacist and a quick diagnosis by his first surgeon and, then, he was off to an excellent hospital. He’s come through with flying colors. Today, he just learned that his grafts had taken very well and he’ll be going home Friday, after a month in the hospital.… Read the rest
I’m back in school again, taking an acrylic painting class and a publication design course, learning Adobe InDesign. The strategy at this point is to take courses I need to move forward in my new career: writing, designing, laying out, and publishing books that hardly anyone will read, aimed at niche audiences, interested in obscure subjects. Doesn’t that sound super-bohemian?
the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, involving musical, artistic, or literary pursuits. In this context, Bohemians may be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds.
I’m feeling hipper and groovier by the moment.… Read the rest