Sunday, July 31, 2016

New page! :)

I have moved over to my new page http://www.eobrienart.com

I will slowly be moving the old blogposts over there, but all new blog posts are being posted there!
Thanks for coming by!
:)
Erin

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Elmano.

I haven't blogged for quite some time. A lot of things have stayed the same and many have changed. I'm in a different season both spiritually and artistically. I was blessed with a woman who encouraged me to create a little bit Everyday--if even just the tiniest bit. I've really taken to this idea and have been blessed by it. Most of the time I spend 5 to 10 minutes each morning creating a simple doodle based on what I'm reading or meditating on. Not only does it give me a visual of what the word says, but it helps me to remember that throughout the day.


I have accumulated many doodles, but this one, is not typical. This isn't something I would do every day, or really ever. It is a representation of beauty and sorrow. To be honest, I don't have any experience drawing, especially when it comes to human form. I've never really attempted to draw another human being so to draw something so significant seemed almost wrong. Because if I didn't get it right ? what kind of honor is in that? 

But then my heart and my frame of mind changed. In this season of life I am constantly reminded that in our hearts we are to be progressing ever brighter until the day of Jesus. So to say I can't draw this perfect little beautiful soul because I won't get it right is just a copout. It's chickening out. It is not pushing myself to see the deeper things in life – the meaning, The substance,  the deep heart of things. Not, I repeat NOT perfecting how things appear, but getting to the HEART of it. So when I give my humble offering of a little drawing to a little boy who was lost to poverty I give it to the best of my ability where I stand (in a sleep-deprived state- in a house of three little wildfires, running amok).

 And that's OK. In fact that's just how God wants us to come He desires us to come with an open heart, willing to show our feeble offering trusting that he will receive the heart behind it and grow us where we need growing.

Back to the very imperfect doodle. My little doodle has a name, Elmano- a sweet little boy who died of complications of starvation. His mom had gone away, leaving her treasured blessing with family,  to look for food. When she returned he was on death's door.  A wonderful group of servants took this little boy in and gave him comfort and love as his body gave way and his soul entered the Perfect arms of His Creator. Perfectly loved. Perfectly nourished. Perfectly WHOLE. 

The doodle, for me, is a still frame of this life. A moment, a blip on the map of existence. Where this beautiful soul, wrapped in nothing but a tent of flesh, endured torture no child should. It turned my stomach, but at the same time was unmistakably beautiful. Make no mistake there's no beauty in the suffering, but the stark LIFE that I could see in his soulful eyes- beautiful evidence of our eternality held but for a brief moment here on earth. Here for moment, but a vapor. And he is rescued for eternity now.

I see suffering. I see a need. I see a call. To be present. To understand the brevity of life. And to have my heart, eyes, ears, and mouth prepared to do the right thing, come what may.

This blog is all over the place. I'm sorry if it doesn't make much sense. I share it because maybe a part of it or even all of it will be to someone's benefit for the glory of God. I could probably write it five times and it would still be just as messy. Because how can you even write of something so incredibly huge? Answer for me is, I can't. At least not for now. So in the spirit of coming where you are, here it is. 

Elmano.
ink on textured paper


Friday, October 9, 2015

"Planted"

 

Psalm 1

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners,
    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
    Planted by the rivers of water,
    That brings forth its fruit in its season,
    Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper...



I have parked my rear down to write this several times and I trip over my words. I cannot say it better than God (duh, Erin). When we tap into the "rivers of Water" (God's loving word/direction) and we LIVE there, we will come along in perfect timing.  Our souls will grow just right- not too fast that our roots are too shallow and not too slow that we miss our "season" of growth. In that season, we will offer the world the LIFE-CHANGING sustenance of His character (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self control) and we will be prosperous in ways that are far more gratifying than we/this world could ever provide. 
 
Sounds pretty great right? Sign me up. The key is in the description just before the chapter: "The Way of the Righteous..." The Way is Jesus Christ. No one can come to the Father or any thing written above without Him. He IS the stream of living water that keeps us from the colorless, bitter world of sin, scorn and ungodly actions. The Way is also meant to be constant.  Like the beautiful color of life that drains from the flesh when our spirit departs our earthly body, so it is in our souls without that CONSTANT spiritual nourishment.

We are fully capable of walking in our beautifully adorned flesh (you know, the life that looks just "so") filled with parched, colorless souls- that are pushed to and fro with the winds of this world. But, if we hold onto God's promise that He WILL bless the one who meditates on His law day and night-who takes up SOUL residence in the River of living water- we can live in FULL Color no matter the surrounding lands. Dry and desolate or overflowing with abundant resources, we will not waver--Because He does not waver. He promises that we will grow and flourish in broken, hard to live places, while we await perfect eternity.

I desire that life. I hope you do, too! Love to hear from you, wherever you are. Email me: erinobrienart@gmail.com
 
 
 "Planted"
Mixed media on Stretched Canvas
36"x12"x.75"

 

 

 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

"Fly Away" : The Middle- Between Salvation and Eternity

My mother-in-law told me a while back that deep thinkers are often artistic and use art form as a way to express their hearts. At first, I didn't think that applied much to me, but today I was reminded of it's truth.

I am head-strong, but not in the push people around/won't back down kind of way. I'm head-strong in the "chained" sense. Chains to my past, to my sins, to my fears and anxiety. I'm sure in some way we are all anchored to "prisons", but I have said several times to my husband that I feel as if I am a caged bird.

Before I knew Christ those deepest caged moments were so very dark and unnerving that it was almost maddening. Even knowing Him, I have moments when I feel as if my human frame cannot contain my overwhelmed existence.

But that is the beauty of the Cross. I can find freedom in Him. I know that in Him, those chains are broken and, while my circumstances may not change here earth-side, I know for a fact there will be Perfect solution when I meet Him. Knowing THAT and hanging on to that by my spiritual fingernails, truly brings a peace to this little caged bird-one that passes all understanding.

Today was a humdinger of a morning. It has been a busy week and a stressful weekend for many reasons. All was simmering low until the chaos of Sunday morning hit. You know, Sundays are supposed to be restful and a time to honor the One who gives us rest. Not surprising that Satan is here to make his best attempts to keep us from the Word, worship, and the rest that comes along with that surrender. It is hard work getting a family of five (and a naughty dog) prepared for AM church service. Mouths to feed, clothes to prep, hair to get done, and blah blah. Honestly, I'm tired before I get to church and then I have an 18month old to wrangle. I often leave church feeling tired, learning little, but thankful that I honored the Lord by going. ANYWAY, I lost my gourd this morning before church. I spewed out all the stress/angst that built up over who-in-the-world knows how long. My husband handled it with grace and for that I am thankful. I surrendered just enough to make it to church, not an ounce more. After all, dang it, I AM TIRED, PEOPLE.

Then, I went to church, heard the Word, and left both ashamed and grateful- ashamed at my rant and grateful to a God of many mercies. The song that came to my heart as I rocked my sweet boy was "I'll Fly Away."  I set out to worship God through the art of that song.

When the shadows of this life have gone,
I'll fly away;
Like a bird from prison bars has flown,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away)

Chorus
I'll fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).
 
 

"Fly Away"
10'x8" on glass
Original SOLD
 
 
As you can see, the chain has been severed from the prison bars, leaving the bird free to fly but the chain remains attached. I needed to remember today I'm that bird, and if you know Jesus you are the bird, too.  I AM IN THE MIDDLE. At the cross in Calvary He broke that bondage of judgment and death. There is no longer condemnation. While I'm on this earth, though, I will still feel the the lingering chains of this fallen world- pain, regret, doubt, heartache and brokenness.  I'm in the middle, promised eternity, but living in brokenness. I haven't made it yet, and that is ok, because Christ continues to wait with merciful arms until Heaven.  
 
I am no longer chained to the bars of my judgment, but with the knowledge that one day I will be FULLY free of the chains when I am with Christ. And THAT is the difference maker. That truth allows for peace when we navigate the darkest of days. It allows for healing that makes us "experienced" to offer support to others support when they hit those same dark spots. And it makes it possible to stop and STAND on the truth that we are here for a purpose rather than being *stuck* in the prison of doubt, guilt, or shame. We can get up and keep walking, head held high to Heaven--even if our steps are so weak we are crawling.
 
If you don't know Christ, this may sound like quite the rosy painting of suffering and suckiness that comes with life. Like a "Jesus" way of explaining optimism. But optimism without follow through is shallow and fruitless. He will follow through. The suffering will ultimately be met with FREEDOM from pain and suffering. There IS beauty beyond our understanding in eternity with Christ. If you want to know Christ, email me at erinobrienart@gmail.com.
 
 



Sunday, September 6, 2015

"Many Plans"

Proverbs 16:9 says "Many are the plans of a man's heart, but the Lord determines his steps."

I actually started this painting with a different verse in mind.It was full of color. Lots of warm circles of yellow, orange and red, surrounded by a stormy sea of cool blues. Then, between my first and second day painting, my heart was no longer moving in that direction.



I know I could have left it-come back to it, but that just isn't my style. I feel like I need to see a painting through before I can start another. It is as if my heart is hanging out there distracted by it until it is DONE.

Also, I just *know* when a painting is finished. I always marvel at the thought, that my feelings keep working themselves out on the canvas until they are a completely free and untangled sight to see.

So, in this case, the fireball that was there the day before was smoothed away little by little-- A myriad of colors made their way in circular motion until I stepped aside and said, "Finished!"

This time, what I set out to do wasn't at all what came to completion.  Yet, it was exactly what it was meant to be all along. You see, I believe somewhere out there is someone who is meant for this painting, and this painting meant for him/her. I love that thought so very much.

So, since the heart of the painter moved, so too, did the paint on the window. The previous verse no longer fit and Proverbs 16:9 called to me. "Many are the plans of a man's heart, but it is the LORD who determines his steps."
Sometimes life is so clear; things we walk out are straight-forward and sure. But in so many ways, I think some of the sweetest moments in life are born out of complete dependence on the Creator to determine our steps-to take us to the beauty only He can see on the other side.

When life takes a turn or my plans look to be shattered, I can take two perspectives: frustration and disappointment, or complete trust that God's not through yet. That His path is ultimately to an infinitely better destination. I believe this whole-heartedly and my life is so much sweeter when I keep my eyes on that truth. Trust me, I spend too much time on the other side. When I do, I'm left with discontent, confusion, and a whole lot of self-focused wheel-spinning.

Oh, but when I spiritually release my heart and mind to the Creator, like a baby finds safety and security in the lap of Momma, it is the ultimate sweet spot.

I'm not saying when we do this our worlds will be magically free of pain, cancer, abuse, grief, or any of the other head-shaking God doubt-makers out there. Oh but Satan sure would love for us to hang there in that despair.  Instead, I'm encouraging you to see the TRUTH of the Perfect God who doesn't need magic to win my heart, to win yours. The truth of One who promises that He sees this fallen world with all it's fallible, painful circumstances. The One who promises an eternity free from all of this. Yes, eternity.

 If you don't know Him, please know He desires to pull your heart up to His Sovereign chest and keep you safe from spiritual harm. He desires to guide your heart across a dry and weary land. He most certainly desires to give you joy and peace as you walk out a life that often doesn't feel right or good. He desires to guide your life steps back to Him for a perfect good. See? Even a glimpse?  Even a spark of curiosity? I sure hope so and He does infinitely more deeply than I. What would it hurt to give those weary steps over to this "Perfect Creator" of Whom I speak? If I'm wrong, it will just be another little side walk. However, if I'm right your life will be eternally changed for a good so deep you and I can't wrap our minds around it. Want to do that? I'd love to hear from you. email me at: erinobrienart@gmail.com.

For my followers who know that Truth, let the Lord continue to win your heart with His goodness, in the straightforward times, and the confusing ones. Choose to lift your chin to Christ and keep walking upright as you lean into His shelter. Let Him fill you with joy in the land of suffering and sorrow. Many are the plans...

Love,
Erin


 
"Many Plans"
Mixed Media
42"x24"x2.5" on Vintage Glass






Friday, August 7, 2015

Rain

He provides rain for the earth; he sends water on the countryside. Job 5:10

I love rain. I love the sound and the smell. I love a good, healthy non-threatening thunderstorm. The sounds remind me of His great might.

Did you know that thunder is actually the sound of lightning? Essentially, when lightning is discharged, the intensity of it's heat expands so rapidly we actually *hear* the air being ripped apart. Frightening, really. Powerful, to be sure. But NOTHING in comparison to the might of God.

When I am startled by a huge thunderclap, I ALWAYS think of that raw power and the Power of the infinitely more Powerful One. He could crush me. Easily. In the instant that I heard that crash of thunder, His wrath could fall upon me. And guess what? I'd deserve it.

In the eyes of a Perfect God, I will never, ever measure up. A good storm needs two big ingredients, a cold front and a warm front. We bring our COLD, wretched selves up to the Heat of the Perfect flame of justice and it is a recipe for a massive storm of judgment. But he knew that before we took our first gulp of air, and He sent His Perfect Son on my behalf and on yours.

It's like the gentle drops of rain that come with those mighty storms. Drip. Drip. Drip. Cool and soft, reminding me of the perfect balance only Christ can bring at the cross.
With each sin we have committed and the ones ahead to be surrendered, His sacrifice pays our price, and whispers healing words of forgiveness and worth. Because when we surrender and accept that pardon we are no longer held for that ransom. Instead we are free to believe the sweet, calm words dripping down from above: "I've paid the price. You're redeemed. You're set free. You are of infinite worth."

 
"Rain"
Mixed Media on 24"x42" vintage glass window
Original Available
The picture doesn't do it justice. Come on over to get a peek :)

Monday, July 13, 2015

"Tucked Away"

Phillipians 4:13 says " I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."

I'm a "can't-er." There, I said it. God has made me, in His goodness, an encourager of others, but when it comes to myself, the resonating screams of "I can't" often bounce wildly around my brain. Then from my brain into my soul, until I'm forgetting the One who ALWAYS can. The forgetting is never, ever a good thing.

I was talking to my mother-in-law, whom I aptly refer to as my mother-in-love, last night. She is such a beautiful example of grace and wisdom. She tells the truth seasoned with such humility, it's truly remarkable. Anyway, She mentioned to me that artists are often deep thinkers who use creativity as an outlet. This obviously makes sense, but it really struck a chord in me.

When started painting a few years ago I was just beginning to understand being in the thick of a full-time wife/mom. I traded my Chuck Taylors and clinic hours, for diapers and 24/7 crazy-mommy lady.  Point being, I spent a great deal of time serving others, and lost most (almost all) time for understanding or expressing myself. While I wouldn't change one iota of that gift (children now up to three :)), I can see how painting made its way to the surface. The first little painting I did was completely freeing, but when I thought of others seeing it, the "I can'ts" were flying. Fastforward to actually painting for others... oh, what my poor family and friends had to hear come from this self-conscious nitwit.

To be honest, I still deal with the "I can'ts," but there was a BIG change this spring. I let go and said, "If when I paint I'm only worried if You'll be pleased, Lord, then I can paint whatever I want." LIBERATING. SO, amazingly liberating. If my only criteria is that I paint to honor the Lord, then it doesn't much matter if one ever sells or if Bobby down the street thinks I'm a total lune-ball who paints things that look like his dog barfed up. I am, for the record, I lune-ball, but I hope my paintings don't make people think of dog vomitus.

For Pete's sake with the digression, SORRY. Anyway, I wanted to see if I could do detailed landscape with lots of color because *I* can't even cut straight with scissors. But, with Christ, I can do anything He allows.
****Side note: We can do ALL things through Christ, in His will, with His permission, for His Glory. I'm definitely not saying, that when you become a Christian you can do whatever the dickens you want- sometimes including good, awesome Godly things. But, when you know and love the Lord,  I do believe He delights in blessing us in ways that bring us joy. Accomplishing an "I can't" brought me immense joy.

Mooooving on :)
Years ago if I were able to see this painting I would have most certainly said, "I couldn't do that." And back then, I couldn't. I hadn't tasted and seen the goodness of God as I am presently. I didn't have the Godly confidence to paint that then. I will look back on this moment, too, Lord willing, and see how His love has made me grow/mature in my heart and my art.

I've learned just as this little cabin is tucked away in nature's splendor, our souls have potential waiting to be unleashed, As we surrender and lean into God, may we experience His intricately personal  "All things through Christ."

**if you're interested in purchasing this painting or a print, please contact me at: erinobrienart@gmail.com.
"Tucked Away"
20"x16" Acrylic on stretched canvas