Do you ever have days when everything goes wrong? When you hope for a door opening, it closes? When you waiting for a phone call, text, or email and nothing comes? When you cancelled a meeting because of a service appointment, but the service tech was a no-show? I had a week like that recently. I have been feeling a little (a lot) discouraged.
This weekend, in my worship time, I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. During that time, the number 100 came to mind. I had the strongest urge to look up Psalm 100. I kept putting it off, thinking it was just a distracting thought. However, when the Holy Spirit has a prophetic word for me, that is how He gets my attention. I keep getting the same words over and over again until I write them down. When I read Psalm 100, I knew it was the Lord speaking to me. I needed to start singing and praising more and not focus on everything that was going wrong. I also knew that as one of His sheep, my Shepherd was watching over me and had not left me alone.
I have created a free download with Psalm 100 and used the art from page 137 in my book, Keywords from Heaven. If you want to read that page,go to Faith Resources.
Print size is 10x8. For personal use only. Click on link below.
This is my keyword for the month. Taken from my book, Keywords from Heaven-Words That Will Change Your Life, Persist is on page 43. The words were given to me as I worshiped the Lord and written in my journal. What does persist mean? The dictionary of definition of persist is: to go on resolutely or stubbornly in spite of opposition, importunity, or warning
Are you dealing with some obstacles in your life, a lack of support, or even some opposition? My opposition is time. It seems like time is always getting the best of me, or I am arguing with time about not being given enough time to accomplish everything on my “to do” list. However, I think most of my difficulties do not come from someone or something else. No, it is self that is giving me the most problems. You know, the negative voice from within that immediately tells you that you will never do everything on that list or if you do accomplish something, self points out that you picked the wrong task to work on.
Today I am telling self to shut up! The Lord pointed out in “Persist” that I am not alone, that I do not have to be afraid to go forward, that I can take that next step. The most encouraging message of all is: “I am right beside you, waiting for you to take that next step.” In other words, persist in what you are doing because those against you do not stand a chance. So there, self!
I just posted on my Facebook page a short video about The Next Step and how my prayer journaling is connected. Journaling has been an important part of my life for years. I would have never been able to publish several booklets and two books without my journals. I keep a study journal, a praise journal and a prayer journal. As I worship and pray, I sometimes receive words from the Holy Spirit. Maybe you can recall conversations weeks, months, or even years after they happened, but I cannot. Even if the message is from the Lord and important. There is one teeny, tiny problem with my journaling. I have really bad handwriting! It didn’t used to be so bad, but after 30 years of having to document my care as a nurse in writing, my handwriting really suffered. I thanked God when we switched to computer charting! So now, when I write a message in one of my journals, I have to type it out as soon as possible!
I use a blank mixed media notebook, watercolor pencils and some water brushes for my prayer journal. I find using color helps me to focus on the conversation I am having with the Lord. Also, it’s a lot harder to drift off to sleep if you are doodling or coloring in your prayer journal. Check out my video and give it a try.
Right now I'm using a Canson mixed media blank journal. The watercolor pencils don't have to be artist grade. In fact, some of my favorite pencils are Crayola! Don't worry about getting the best brushes either. I think I got my last set of 3 at Hobby Lobby and they work for journaling.
Have you ever done something, then wondered “Why in the world did I do that?” or, with a sinking heart, cry out “Oh no, no, no. that can’t have happened?” Well, yesterday was a such a day. My schedule has been hectic lately. One of the things on my “To Do” list was to have my website critiqued. I am a member of the Created to Thrive Mentoring program founded by Matt Tommey. Yesterday was Question Day, where we can ask Matt questions related to art, spiritual growth, or business. I asked him to review and critique my website since I had made some major changes. I’m on the website committee for an artist guild I belong to, so I figured I had better correct any flaws in my own website.
Matt gave a very good critique and pointed out a couple of bad design choices. I immediately went to correct these flaws. I made a change but wasn’t happy with it. I went back to redo it and clicked on the Edit button, or, I thought I did. What happened next was more of a “Oh, no, no, no!” moment. I had wiped out my entire home page. All the text, photos, links, QR code. Everything was gone. This happened late in the afternoon. I had very little time, as I’m a caregiver and I had other things to do. I was upset with myself because of 1) making such a stupid mistake, and 2) not having recent website changes backed up in my website file. I never even thought to take a screen shot of my web pages for a visual reminder. Lessons learned: keep up to date on backups and include more visual aids! As you can see, I did get my Home page and other changes done. How do you like my newly redesigned Home page? I did make a few other changes. Can you find them?
Ever had “one of those days” that are just crazy? Well, I’m having one of those 2-week crazy times. Doctor appointment on Monday, dentist on Tuesday (and BTW, you have a cavity and need your crown replaced), watercolor class Wednesday and another doctor today. Next week it’s gutters, another doctor, art committee meeting and another business meeting. Add in normal, daily activities and my art business. It seems like there is no time to slow down and relax. I remind myself to take a deep breath, exhale, that everything is going to be OK.
It is during times like this that you have to choose between focusing on all the craziness or to focus on God. I am reminding myself to choose to praise God and focus on His Word. My key verse for this year is Psalm 119: 105, which I quote every day during my worship time. It is HIS Word that guides, comforts, shields and directions. It is His Spirit, dwelling in me, that reveals God’s love and direction for my life. I am thankful for my worship time, an oasis of calm in this mad whirlwind of life. I journal everyday and listen to worship music.
If you are feeling stressed or pressured, call a time out. Put some worship music on, sit down, and just listen. Start praising God for who He is and giving thanks for what He has done. If you are an artist, allow some play time with your medium. Do not aim for creating a masterpiece, but for something that reflects what you are feeling or thinking at the moment. If you do not have an artistic bone in your body, just grab a piece of paper and pencil. Start doodling. Sometimes you will be surprised by what “random” doodling will revel.
I stopped at my favorite cafe to treat myself to a Black Forest Mocha as another way of taking a time-out. I mean, chocolate, coffee, and cherries! What more could you ask for? Bliss.
Below: I call this one "Twisted Time!" It is a visual reminder of how my week went and that next week is going to be a repeat of this week. I know what is coming and how to deal with it. Do you?
I’m a digital artist, which means I use graphic software to create my art. I paint with acrylic and watercolor as a hobby, because I like to play with paint. I can’t be on the computer ALL day. Here are some fun suggestions of things to do with paint. I used watercolor paint for my samples, but you can try this with any type of paint or even try color pencils, crayons, pastels, etc.
Paint some samples on a piece of paper. Use watercolor paper if you have some, otherwise try white cardstock. The paint will absorb differently, but that’s half of the fun when playing. Hey, adults need to play as well as kids, although I see this as being a fun project that adults and children could do together. See what kind of random shapes appear.
For the next step, you need to scan in your samples. If you don’t have a scanner, try taking photos and uploading them to your computer. You really need to have some type of graphic software to play with your paint samples. If you have greeting card software, you should be able to do some simple cut and pasting to create different backgrounds. I scanned my samples in to Photoshop (Elements would work for this project) then started experimenting with using different distorting filters, blending modes, and colors to create the three texture backgrounds.
The next thing you can do is to create your own watercolor digital brushes. I found a couple of free brush sets to download, so I didn’t take the time to make my own, but it is really easy to create your own brushes in Photoshop or Affinty Photo or search for free software like Gimp. You can paint the shape of brush you want or just use random shapes. See brush samples below. Have fun and start playing with your paint.
On my website I have links to two different pages: Art Store and the newly renamed Faith Resources and Art. My website reflects both my love of art and my desire to encourage others in their walk with the Lord. My book, Keywords from Heaven was published to help people that are facing challenges, going through a loss, or feel alone and wondering if God is listening. That is why I decided to add another section on to my Faith Resources and Art page. This new section is called “The Next Step.” I will be revealing more in that section more about why I am doing this and a little of my background in this faith ministry.
On my Faith Resources page, scroll down until you see the banner pictured below. There you will find free downloads to help encourage you in your walk with the Lord. The downloads will be 8x10 inches and suitable for printing. I hope to have this new section up by the end of this week. I will post announcements on my Facebook page-LLeeM Art and my Instagram page-LLeeMdigital.
Are you a painter that wants to take photos of your art and need to have some basic editing skills? Maybe you have been asked to create a hand-out for your church or group and you cannot finish the project in Word. You have looked at graphic software, but the available tools mean nothing to you. I am going to share with you some basic definitions of some of the most common tools found in a graphic software program.
If you are looking into graphic software, you probably have heard of Photoshop, which is a photo editing, image creation, graphic design software. Photoshop is not the only graphic software available. I now use Affinity Photo most of the time. Photoshop is the most expensive, requiring you to pay a monthly fee to use the software. Photoshop Elements is a scaled down version and easier to use, but lacks many of the tools available in professional graphic software programs. Although each program is different, many of the most common tools are called by the same or similar names.
Layer Panel: View all layers in your file independently or in a group. Layers lets you stack your images as if they were transparencies. You can change size, adjust, and add special effects to each layer independently.
Background: First layer in layer panel.
Layer Masks: Used to mask part of a layer in a non-destructive manner or allow you to paint without covering up another layer. Similar to the use of masking tape, masking fluid, or even a crayon by painters.
Color Picker: Allows you to pick and blend colors to create your own colors or match colors. There is also a color panel.
Digital Brushes: Just like you have different sizes and types of brushes when you paint, there are different digital brushes. Size, roundness, hardness, angle and much more can all be changed. Add brush sets or create your own brushes.
Adjustments: Adjustment layers make changes on a separate layer, allowing you to keep your original layer intact. Think of Brightness/Contrast, Shadows/Highlights or Hue/Saturation/Lightness.
Filters: Allows you to add textures and special effects. It’s like using gel mediums, crackle paste, molding paste, salt or even a palette knife with paints.
Layer Styles: A group of effects bundled together so you don’t have to create the look from scratch every time. It’s like having on hand a tube of paint in a color you use all the time, instead of blending your own.
Blending Modes: Takes the color in your image, color you are adding, mixing the base and the blend color, adding or subtracting black or white. There are many different modes and each one does something a little different.
I hope this helps you to understand graphic software and digital artists a little more. Of course, this is only a brief introduction into some of the components in graphic software. These are very challenging programs to learn, but do not be intimidated! Decide on what you want to do and find out how to use the tools and techniques you need in order to accomplish your goal. I am always learning something new, even with some of the more basic tools like digital brushes.
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