Thinking and Writing about Jean Honore Fragonard’s Painting, A Young Girl Reading

I hope you’ve been enjoying the art activities in the last couple posts. Here are some thinking and writing activities to finish our study of A Young Girl Reading.

A Young Girl Reading wikimedia commons

Thinking and Writing about Art

Project 1, Thinking about Fragonard’s Painting

  •    What do you think the young girl is reading?
  •     In the 1700s did most girls learn to read?
  •     Do you like her hair style and her dress?
  •     Do these styles fit where and when the artist lived?  (Paris,  1700s)
  •     Would these styles fit with our time for any activities or not?
  •     Who do you think Fragonard made this painting for?
  •     Where do you think it would have hung? (remember, it didn’t always hang in a museum!!)

How could you update this painting’s subject to today’s world?

  •    What would the young girl be wearing?
  •    What would her hair look like?
  •    What else could she be holding to read?
  •     Where else might she be?

Project 2, Writing about Fragonard’s Painting

    Write a story as if you are this young girl. Here are some sentences to get you started:

 Bonjour, my name is______________________. I live in ________________________.  Monsieur

 

Fragonard painted this picture of me for_____________________________. I enjoy reading

 

about_____________________________. I have a pet_________________, and its name

 

is___________________.  My friends and I like to___________________________.

 

Project 3, Writing about You

 Writing or Drawing

     Write about or draw a picture of your favorite spot telling or showing why it’s special. Is it quiet or noisy? Are you alone or with friends? What do you do there—read, play games, watch TV, daydream?

__________________________________________

 I hope you’ll have fun and let me know in the comments how you enjoyed these project. 

I have a couple writing deadlines coming up in May, so I need to take a short break to finish these, but I plan to be back in June with a whole new artwork to study and enjoy with various activities . 20170724_203723

Molly’s resting up to get ready, so you get ready, too! Sign up to receive these posts by email.

 And don’t forget to visit my website to see the art workshops and other types of presentations I’m available to do! See the details at:      www.kathy-oneill.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gesture Drawing, based on Jean Honore Fragonard’s painting, A Young Girl Reading

Drawing Helps us Look More Carefully

Project 3. Gesture Drawing 

A Young Girl Reading wikimedia commons

   Remember the girl’s pinkie finger? It’s perfect for a gesture drawing, one method artists use  to learn how to look carefully at things. It’s a sketch, done in just a minute or two, that ignores details. The artist tries to capture the gesture of a hand, a whole body, or even inanimate objects like pillows and teapots!

  Gesture drawings are pretty scribbly; artists don’t stop to erase unwanted lines—they just keep drawing over old lines until they get the gesture right.

  Activity

Try some gesture drawings of your hand in different poses. Challenge someone to copy your gesture. The more you practice, the better you’ll get.

You don’t need special equipment--sketchpads are nice (they’re good if you want to hold on to drawings) but not necessary. Any paper works just fine.

Drawing pencils are helpful, as well as an artist’s kneaded eraser (these erase the graphite without taking away as much paper surface) but also not necessary. In fact for gesture, I prefer crayons because it makes me work larger and I’m not tempted to erase but just keep going!!

Here I am trying to curve my pinkie in the way the girl in the painting does. First I found it almost impossible to curl it like that (I think Fragonard exaggerated a little!) and then I had trouble getting the gesture right…as you can see! Also see how I keep refining my lines to get closer to the gesture.

Here’s another gesture where I got a little closer, but still no details and lots of lines that come closer and closer to the gesture.

 

Try drawing a teapot. A pillow.

Here are two very differently-shaped teapots (the tall one was my great grandmother’s and actually for cocoa!) As you can see, I’m still using my crayon and refining lines as I go–no erasing. As I look at the spout on the short pot, I see it needs to be longer.

As I worked on the tall pot, I saw that the handle was very rectangular at the top and rose above the lid, which I hadn’t drawn that way at first.

Now a pillow!

At first I thought this pillow had no “character” and would be easy to draw, but the more I looked, the more I saw and this gesture drawing proved to be one of the harder ones!

And last but not least here’s my dog Molly, who keeps me company whenever I’m working (well, at least when she’s not racing to the window to bark at something!) She’s going to show you how helpful gesture drawings can be  to make your final drawings more accurate!!20170727_201131

Molly is a corgi and do you see how on the first gesture drawing (the one on the bottom left) I didn’t show how long she is? I noticed it right away and on the second, gave her a little more length!! Still not enough, but I’ve learned something important about her if I go on to a more detailed drawing. I also saw that I needed to make her nose shorter and her legs stubbier!

That’s what’s so great about starting with a quick sketch or gesture of your subject–it helps you look more carefully at what you’re drawing and as you keep refining your lines, you see more accurately for if or when you do a more detailed drawing.

______________________

Project 4. How Lines Affect a Painting’s Mood

Here’s another project about lines

Remember that horizontal line in A Young Girl Reading? Here’s why it’s there: Lines have power to affect mood in a painting. Horizontal and vertical lines are quiet lines, increasing the peace and stability of a composition. Diagonal and curved lines are active and add excitement.

  Activity

   Compare A Young Girl Reading to The Battle of San Romano by Paolo Uccello

https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/paolo-uccello-the-battle-of-san-romano to see the difference line can make to the mood of a painting. See how many diagonal lines you can find in The Battle of San Romano! 

     Can you make the mood of one of your own pictures change from exciting to peaceful by changing the type of lines you use?

 

 

I hope you’ll have fun and let me know in the comments how you enjoyed these projects

In my next post, I’ll have some thinking and writing activities to go along with A Young Girl Reading. It’s so amazing to me how much we can think about and learn from great art!!   Sooo….Be sure and sign up to receive these posts by email.

 And don’t forget to visit my new website to see the art workshops and other types of presentations I’m available to do! See the details at:      www.kathy-oneill.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Activities to Learn about Color, based on Jean Honore Fragonard’s painting, A Young Girl Reading

In this post you’ll find activities to help you understand how artists use color. While there are 2 basic projects, each project has suggestions so you can make it as individual as you like.

The second project helps you discover how Fragonard used color in A Young Girl Reading, and then has an activity for you to use this knowledge.

I’ve decided to further break up these activity posts, so the next one will be about line and drawing.

Project 1. Making a Color Wheel

 Step 1. Draw a large circle on paper. Use a compass or draw around a plate or bowl. Place 3 X’s evenly spaced around the circle. (see picture)20180331_154810

20180331_155512Step 2.  Color or paint a blob each of the primary colors, red, blue and yellow around the outside of your circle, one color one each X. (see how they are evenly spaced around the circle in the picture) Primary colors can’t be made from any other color

Step 3.  Next add orange, green, and violet (purple) to your wheel. But WAIT! Don’t just put them anywhere. These secondary colors  are made by mixing 2 primaries. So we place them on the outer circle between the 2 colors they’re made from.Follow the picture to see what to do.20180331_161234

If you are using paint, you can mix the secondaries yourself, but markers or crayons will give you the idea.

Variation 1

Try drawing something special inside your color wheel and color it in all 6 colors. (I chose a hot air balloon and used crayon to color it). Remember these are the 6 colors God uses in a rainbow!20180401_115009

Variation 2

Jazz up your color wheel by drawing your circle as a wavy or jagged line. You can also draw and color rockets or dogs, etc. instead of making blobs.

My wavy circle reminded me of a sand dollar, so I chose fish that are blowing colored bubbles at each other! (I drew and cut out one fish and traced around this pattern so my fish looked the same, but you don’t have to do that. Try drawing something different for each color)

 

Project 2. Using Your Color Wheel to Learn More about Color.

Explanation:

In A Young Girl Reading, notice that the ribbons are violet, and of course, her dress is yellow.

A Young Girl Reading wikimedia commons

Where are yellow and violet on your color wheel? Right, they are opposite each other.

We call colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel complementary colors. When they are next to each other, as in this painting, the resulting high contrast is eye-catching.

Red/green and blue/orange are the other complementary pairs. When you look at other paintings, notice how often artists use these complementary colors to get your attention.

But God thought of it first!! He used complementary colors when He created flowers because that shimmery high contrast attracts insects and birds to help cross pollination. Look at pictures of flowers or the real thing if you can, to see how many flowers with complementary colors you can find. (violet and yellow pansies and blue crocuses with orange centers are two)

Activity to use your knowledge of color

Write out or (print with a fancy font on your computer) Matthew 6:28-30, where Jesus says that God has clothed the lilies of the field with more splendor than Solomon’s robes. Leave space between lines and decorate the words with flowers that God robes in complementary colors!

 

Let me know how your projects turn out, and be sure to tell me if any directions or explanations need to be clearer. If you use any of these projects or ideas from my other posts with a group, please tell them about my blog and let me know how things go.

Don’t miss the next KathythePictureLady post. You’ll see how to do gesture drawings of hands, pillows, and teapots!! Oh, My!!  Sign up to receive these posts!  

I recently did a school presentation about the Vikings--how they traded, raided, settled new areas, and became Christians in the process. We looked at their beautiful artwork and drew a full-scale Viking ship outside, complete with a helmsman (we learned that these ships were steered with one long oar that was always on the styrboard or starboard side). We also had a lookout, a dragon prow, and lots of rowers! It was great fun! I’d love to visit your group! See available topics and workshops on my website.www.kathy-oneill.com

 

  

Guard Your Heart, a devotion based on A Young Girl Reading by Jean Honore Fragonard

A Young Girl Reading wikimedia commons

I first saw this painting on a poster I bought my first year of teaching. I loved the painting, and I especially loved the Bible verse printed on the poster. I always hung it in my classroom no matter where we moved. The verse is from Proverbs 4:23.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

The word “wellspring” really doubles down on its meaning as a source of life. The word well, something we draw water from, comes from Old English, meaning “to bubble and roll.” Spring, also from Old English, means “to come out or up with speed and force.”20150330_112626

So the picture is of the heart as a source of life that bubbles-up with a forceful or continual supply. Is this verse talking about our physical hearts, whose beats send blood around our bodies and the physical life we have because of that?

No, it’s talking about our spiritual heart—the center of our being—our innermost thoughts and desires. And life is not the life that will end in death, but eternal life.

The Lord is most concerned about that heart, because it is the heart that the Holy Spirit must change for us to believe in Jesus and receive eternal life. He changes it from a heart of stone to one of flesh so our inner most thoughts and desires change course and spring up with love for God.

20170505_122045But, wait, there’s more. Notice that the verse in Proverbs is a command, “Guard your heart….” We don’t just guard something important once and then forget it. Did Smaug in The Hobbit stop guarding his treasure? No, he slept right on top of it, and it was just gold and jewels!

 

How much more should we keep on guarding the priceless treasure of a heart that has been bought with the precious blood of Christ and now belongs to God? 

In the Sermon on the Mount, where He tells us how to live as children of God, Jesus says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt.:19-21.

Paul in Colossians 3:1 says “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.”

In Fragonard’s painting the young girl is reading a book, which can be a help to guarding her heart or not, depending, of course, on what she chooses to read or “put into her heart.”

We all make many choices each day as to what we “put into our hearts.” And today there are more ways than ever to do that— a wide variety of electronic devices to keep up with numerous social media sites, to play games, to read books, and to watch movies and TV.

How do you decide what goes into your heart? How do you guard your heart so that it is a heart that can continually bubble up in a life that honors and serves God and overflows with love for Him and others?

The place to start is spending time daily reading the Bible. Psalm 1 compares a person who spends time reading and meditating on God’s word to, “a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.”

20140711_142654We also need to make wise choices about all the other things we read and view each day. In the Parable of the Sower (Matt. 13) Jesus warns against letting the cares and wealth of the world choke out our faith, as weeds can choke up an untended spring or well, so it is no longer a wellspring of life.

In the comment section tell us how you and your family decide what books, websites, movies, and other media to spend time on.

Here’s one to start you off:   World, a Christian news magazine has reviews in every issue of music, movies, and adult and children’s books that are very helpful.  world.wng.org

I hope you’ll let me know in the comments whether this new format is helpful, and tell others how this blog can help adults and children enjoy and appreciate great art from a Christian perspective—as well as make some of their own!

Be sure to visit my website to see the art workshops and other types of presentations I’m available to do! See the details at:      www.kathy-oneill.com

Next Post: Activities for Digging Deeper  (based on A Young Girl Reading)

So…

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A Painting for Readers: A Young Girl Reading by Jean Honore Fragonard

Moments ago I could see Cheyenne Mountain and other mountains of Colorado’s Front Range stretching south into the distance. Then a blustery northwest wind swooped in with clouds and snow squalls, rubbing out the mountains as if with an artist’s gray eraser.

Soon the temperature dropped, the clouds settled in like a heavy slate roof, and I decided it was a good day to curl up in my favorite chair with hot cocoa and a good book.

In A Young Girl Reading by French artist, Jean Honore Fragonard (1732-1806), the subject is doing just that! Well, she doesn’t have hot cocoa, but her pinkie finger is curved as if she might have a cup of tea.

A Young Girl Reading
wikimedia commons

And while I opt for jeans and a fleecy blanket instead of a fancy dress, I do have a fluffy pillow!

The Artist

Fragonard lived in Paris most of his life. As a teenager he was apprenticed to Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin, who was a master of still lifes and genre scenes of domestic life.

Fragonard later trained as a history painter in Paris and in Italy, but when he returned to Paris, he chose to do small works for private collectors. Many portray the courtly life of the aristocracy in the fluffy, cotton-candy-colored Rococo style.

Later in life Fragonard returned to Italy, and drawings from then show he still enjoyed working on genre scenes. A Young Girl Reading captures one of those everyday moments. In Paris, though, art styles had changed, and Fragonard died in 1806, mostly forgotten.

The Painting

Several things can help us understand artworks:

  1. Subject–what it’s about
  2. mood–what feelings we get from it
  3. composition— how the artist arranges shapes, lines, and colors to get us to notice the subject
  4. style and/or technique–in what manner the artist works

Artists have to learn to put all these together to create a satisfying whole. Nothing is there by chance, at least not in the artist’s opinion!!

Subject:

  •  What is happening in this painting? Does the title fit the subject?
  •  Is the girl focused on the book or looking away—maybe daydreaming?

Mood: 

  •  We ask: Is the mood quiet or noisy?  busy or peaceful?  Does it fit the subject?
  •  I think most of us would say that the comfy pillow denotes relaxation. (Generals planning battles don’t sit with fluffy pillows!)
  • The yellows and reds also help create warmth and quiet.
  • How about the tiny book? Well, try holding a heavy book in that position for long. This way the book (part of the subject) stands out against that dark wall, which it wouldn’t in her lap. And how else would she show off her elegant tea-party gesture that perfectly fits her pretty dress?

Composition:

  • Why is her dress highlighter-bright yellow against the dark wall!
  • Why is she centered?
  • And what is she sitting on, anyway?
  • Well, her central position and that bright yellow dress say, “Hey, look at me! I’m the subject.”
  • So we do, and Fragonard has succeeded in drawing our attention to his subject. Now we look more closely at her face, and think about her. How young is she? Is she wealthy or poor?

Style and/or Technique:

  • Are things in the painting finished and smooth, or can you see the brushwork?
  • Are all parts done with equal detail?
  • Fragonard painted quickly, with loose brushwork that he didn’t blend much. The girl’s face is fairly detailed, but the ribbons are sketchy, and the book’s printing is just some lines of paint. Some critics would have said that this was okay for quick oil studies, but not for finished works.
  • Notice the violet highlights on the girl’s face and in her hair and the rust colors of the shadows on the pillow. These unorthodox colors and the loose brushwork are reminiscent of Rembrandt and look ahead to the Impressionists, who were also accused of using funny colors and sketchy brushwork. Berthe Morisot, one of Impressionism’s women artists, was a grand niece of Fragonard, and Fragonard’s influence on Renoir’s paintings of women and children is clear.

Voila !!  Subject + mood + composition + artist style = better understanding and appreciation of a beautiful painting!

Oh, you’re still wondering what she’s sitting on? So am I! But whatever it is, its long horizontal armrest does have a purpose. In your comments you can tell us what you think she’s sitting on, and in the activity post I’ll tell you what the long horizontal line is for.

Art Terms in this post

  • Genre   this often means a type of literature, music, but is also used in art for art that depicts scenes of everyday life, usually done in a realistic manner.
  • Still Life/lifes   paintings of an arrangement of everyday objects, that can include everything from flowers to sports equipment! And, yes, in art the plural is still lifes not lives!!
  • Rococo art   an over-the-top decorative art style in the 1700s that used swirls and curls on everything from furniture to horses’ harnesses. Palaces were decorated with this style, and paintings often portray the elegant life of the nobility. Caution: some Rococo artwork contains nudity and celebrates immoral courtly behavior.

You haven’t forgotten that little pinkie finger and the big fluffy pillow, have you?

Good, because an upcoming post will give you activities based on this painting, including how to draw the hand and the pillow! So sign up to receive my posts so you won’t miss the upcoming devotion and art activities.

Announcement: new format!!

  1. First post: overview of the artwork and artist.
  2. Second post: devotional thoughts based on the artwork. Even if it isn’t specifically Christian, God is Lord of all creation, and we can find His loving care everywhere.
  3. Third post: digging deeper into art, with hands-on, research, and “think about it” activities in art, writing, history, etc. based on the artwork. These can be adapted for all ages.

I hope this new format will better fit your busy life. I’d love it if you’d share my blog with your friends, especially those who want to help children learn to love art.

Taken together, I pray that the combined posts on each artwork will come alive from a Christian perspective.

 My next post will be about how this painting can help remind us of the importance of our hearts to God! Sign up now!

 But wait!! Here’s a really BIG announcement!! I now have a website, and I’m open for business to speak or do workshops in person or by Skype for children and adults. See the details at:

                                                   www.kathy-oneill.com

 

 

 

 

Gospel Book Stolen by Vikings

Codex_Aureus_(A_135)_p023.tif

Chi Rho page, Codex Aureus Wikimedia

Ealdorman Alfred and his wife Werburg lived in southern England not far from Canterbury in the mid 800s. It was a dangerous time, and they feared not only for their country and its people, but for Christianity itself.

Beginning in the late 700s and continuing for over 200 years, bands of Norsemen sailed southwest to spend the summer raiding England, Ireland, the Low Countries, and France. They ran their long ships up onto the sandy beaches of the coast and up navigable rivers to plunder towns and rich monasteries, then slipped away before any defense could be mounted. By the mid 800s some Viking bands, now interested in conquering and settling, had increased to hundreds of ships that even attacked Paris and London.

In 851 one of these large warbands attacked Canterbury, and then for the first time, didn’t leave with the fall storms. They overwintered on Thanet, a nearby island, and in 853 defeated an Anglo-Saxon army there. These were dark days as people were killed, and homes and crops destroyed. It was a dark time for Christianity, too, and Alfred and Werburg mourned as monasteries and their libraries were looted and burned. This godly husband and wife were especially concerned for a beautiful gospel book we now call the Golden Book or the Codex Aureus.

Experts believe the Codex Aureus was made around AD 750 either in Canterbury or by the nuns of the convent of Minster-in-Thanet, who also produced books for Boniface, the great English missionary to the Germans. When Boniface grew older, he wrote to the nuns asking them to write larger as his eyesight was failing and also to add more gold to impress the pagans.

Codex_Aureus_(A_135)_p043.tif

undyed page, Codex Aureus, Wikimedia

The Codex Aureus is impressive. It has alternating undyed and purple-dyed parchment leaves, and the purple leaves are written in and heavily decorated with gold and silver. Its original cover is long lost, but a few covers that did survive show these were embellished with gold and precious gems.

Codex_Aureus_(A_135)_p033.tif

purple-dyed page, Codex Aureus, Wikimedia

The Vikings were so impressed that they stole the Golden Book in a raid and held it for ransom. And that’s when Ealdorman Alfred and his wife, Werburg acted with great courage. I’ll let an inscription they added to the Golden Book tell what they did. It’s written in Old English above and below the decorations and Latin words on the Chi Rho page of the Gospel of Matthew:

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I, Earl Alfred, and my wife Werburg procured these books from the heathen invading army with our own money; the purchase was made with pure gold. And we did that for the love of God and for the benefit of our souls, and because neither of us wanted these holy works to remain any longer in heathen hands. And now we wish to present them to Christ Church [Canterbury] to God’s praise and glory and honour, and as thanksgiving for his sufferings, and for the use of the religious community which glorifies God daily in Christ Church…”

The monks and nuns who copied and embellished beautiful gospel books such as the Codex Aureus, looked on their work as a form of worship. And Irish and English missionaries used the books to evangelize Europe, including Scandinavia, in the centuries following the fall of Rome. Cassidorus, an early Italian monk, said these gospel books “preach[ed] with the pen.”

The Bible is so readily available to most of us today, that we may be tempted to take it for granted, but there have been many times throughout history when it was not so.

Let’s follow the example of Ealdorman Alfred and Werburg in holding God’s Word in reverence and teach our children to do the same. Alfred and Werburg knew that the Golden Book was not precious for its outward beauty but because in it is God’s Word, which is truly “more precious than gold, than much pure gold….” (Psalm 19)

Further Activities

For Children: After writing out a favorite verse/s on sturdy paper. (if needed, write out the verse for younger children), use markers, crayons, or  paints to decorate the words, letters and spaces around the verse/s. The artists who embellished gospel books didn’t usually illustrate the verses with pictures as we do today. They often used vines and flowers, geometric designs and bright colors to make God’s Word itself look beautiful.

Adults and/or Older Children: Investigate the later history of the Codex Aureus, which God continued to protect in its sometimes mysterious travels through the centuries. Today it is called the Stockholm Codex Aureus to distinguish it from similar codices. Here’s a link to get you started:

https://www.wdl.org/en/item/17185/

Or look up how intricate and expensive it was to produce the purple dye used in the Codex Aureus. Between its purple dye and its gold and silver, it must have been very costly to produce.

Please leave a comment and tell us what you and your family do to keep God’s Word “more precious than gold, than much pure gold….”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under Construction

When I was teaching full time, it was often overwhelming to keep bulletin boards current, let alone creative! I especially disliked putting up those big cut out letters. I had them sorted alphabetically, but it took time to pull all the ones I needed. And how many times did I have to change the color scheme or go with random colors because I couldn’t find one last red “e” or a capital “T” that had to be blue?

Even worse was getting the letters spaced evenly on the board. I’d measure and figure and measure again. How wide is the fat “O” compared to a skinny “I”? No matter what, I’d still end up with letters allsquishedtogetherattheend and have to start over. So I avoided letters whenever I could. Pictures are worth a thousand words. Right?

Then there was bulletin board envy as I visited a colleague’s room. Where did she get the time and energy to make 20 hot air balloons, decorate them with each child’s picture and favorite things… and get the title, “Up, Up and Away! Our Class is Soaring High!” spaced just right??

I did do some very creative bulletin boards, but they took many, many hours, and who has that kind of time on a regular basis? In a teacher’s store I once saw a sign that said “Under Construction,”under-construction-clipart-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-9k5LRn-clipart and I thought that was the best idea since spring break. It was ideal for that time in early March when green St. Patrick’s Day shamrocks needed to replace red Valentine hearts, but there was no time between lunch duties and report cards. Of course, there was a danger–the temptation to leave that sign up through Easter and Memorial Day and Flag Day and… oh wait. Is it time for fall leaves and squirrels already?!!!!

You’ve probably guessed where I’m going with this! I feel like I need to put that “Under Construction” sign on my blog and even on my life right now. We retired from full-time ministry about a year ago, and I haven’t posted since! We are so thankful to be able to retire, but we’ve been struggling to figure out this new part of our path–praying and seeking God’s guidance on what ministries to get involved in, what church to attend (we’ve never had to do that before), and how two people, one a planner, the other a-spur-of-the-moment person, can handle time together, as in: “You want to visit the botanical gardens TODAY??? I’m sorry I’m going to the Y at 9, meeting _______ for lunch, and then I have a dentist appointment at 3. How about we put it on the calendar for next Thursday?”  Then… there’s our differing space and noise needs: one likes silence, while the other likes music and TV.

 

One major direction the Lord has moved us is even farther West–to Colorado, where we are closer to a part of our family. I never thought this Maine girl would move that far west, but I thought that about Oklahoma and Texas, too. And we enjoyed Oklahoma’s wide skies and fiery sunsets and Texas’ warm winters and now miss the churches we served and the friends we made in those places. It is such a blessing, though, to be here in Colorado,

and attend soccer games and plays and be in on some of the upcoming wedding preparations!

So just as bulletin boards need to change with the seasons, I need to be open to the seasonal changes that life brings. One thing that will never change, though, is the Lord’s loving kindness. He will continue to guide us through those changes.

Where shall I go from your Spirit?

Or where shall I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there!

If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!

If I take the wings of the morning

and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there your hand shall lead me,

                           and your right hand shall hold me.                                                                                                                                 Psalm 139:7-10

Amidst the many changes, I am praying that the Lord will help me to continue my writing. I have had some devotions and stories published in adult and children’s magazines and have other things out there, including a children’s chapter book. Next month I am visiting a field research site to continue my research for a children’s nonfiction article. I’m excited to be able to go and see a scientist at work in the field!

And a fellow writer is working on a website for me, and I hope to use that to get back to speaking to groups about art and Christian history and doing some drawing and art workshops for homeschoolers and other adults and children.

Then there is this blog! Many of you have been so faithful to read it and have told me you’ve missed it, which I really appreciate. But the blog too, needs some construction work to stay current. The problem is I’m still looking for the Lord’s leading for how to reconstruct it. One day I think I should do more art projects for children. (Quite a few of you liked those). Another day I decide to do the Life of Christ through art. Sometimes I think I should chronicle this retirement adventure! I just don’t know yet

So until I know, I will leave my “Under Construction” sign up.under-construction-clipart-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-9k5LRn-clipart

Please pray with me for inspiration and not too much procrastination! And let me know if you have any suggestions.