Do Animals Play?

Do Animals Play?

Playing-Jungle-HD

“Playing Jungle – Print, wallpaper, textile and stationary design”

Cats crack me up. They seem to think they’re panthers and stalking prey is their task. Forget that they have their own special bowl with their name on it. You can’t take the natural behavior out of any animal.

And this leads me to ask, do animals play? This is baby rabbit season and I have  enjoyed the little bunnies literally chasing each other around my yard. They seem to be enjoying their “play.”

I began to start drawing some animals for a design brief I’m working on and took the idea of animals playing to create the above print, textile and wallpaper design. Just a simple idea or observation can morph into something useful and beautiful.

From a few of my design colleagues:

“I adore this pattern.  Wallpaper for my daughter’s room, please!” – Natalie Couto

“It’s got the feel of historical textile design but you’ve made it bang up to date with the colors and the illustrative characters.  The cats look so cheeky; If I were the bird I’d watch out.” – Rachael Parker

“Such a stunning design!” – Rachael Taylor

It’s nice to know you’ve created something people like and isn’t that the goal we designers have for all our work? Hope you enjoy it too.

This design is available as a print and other products you might like at my store on Society6 and also Fine Art America.

 

Giving and Brown Sugar

Giving and Brown Sugar

Give-Freely2-550

The principle of giving and receiving is a simple one and it comes from Jesus: “Give and it will be given to you” – Luke 6:38. He made it plain that in what ever measure we give, that same measure it will be returned to us, or come back. If we are generous we will receive generosity in return.

How do we measure our generosity? The verse goes on to describe that a good measure is “pressed down, shaken together or running over.”

When I bake something using brown sugar, I have to press it down firmly into the cup because there are air bubbles between the granules by the nature of its composition. White sugar doesn’t have the resistance that brown sugar does. Brown sugar must be pressed firmly into the cup as the correct measure of sweetness for the recipe.

To me that describes a kind of generosity that doesn’t skimp on flavor or sweetness. I know that if I’ve measured the brown sugar correctly, the recipe will have robust flavor as expected. If I’m stingy with the brown sugar, I’ll be disappointed with the result.

Giving generously has practicality. I will get back what I give so why not give freely and with anticipation? My immediate return is a heart filled with joy at the giving. It’s fun to purchase just the perfect gift for someone you love, wrap it up in a special way and present it with the hope that they will really love what you’ve given them. It’s exciting to watch their face as the gift is revealed.

That’s how God gives to us, with joy and excitement at anticipating how we will receive it.

Here’s a new print to express the joy of giving, available from my store on this site, or as various other products from my stores on Society6 and Fine Art America.

 

There’s No Right Way To Do The Wrong Thing

There’s No Right Way To Do The Wrong Thing

No-Right-Way

Isn’t it true that we often struggle and strive to justify our actions, when all along we’ve chosen to do the wrong thing in the first place?

My friend Christie uses this expression and it always rings so true to me – so much that I had to create this print. It reminds me about my motives for doing anything, thinking a particular way, making choices. What I choose has impact on so many other people, so I’m not choosing only for myself.

Breaking Bad is Biblical in its story structure, even Shakespearean, which is why I love this TV show so much. I can watch it over and over. The choice one man makes starts out with the motive to leave his family financially sound after his impending death from cancer. (Spoiler Alert – but you’ve had enough time!) Then it becomes a march toward the death of so many, along with his marriage, his family relationships, his friendships, his career, his identity, until he has left a pile of corpses strew about the bleak New Mexico landscape. A man makes a choice to do the wrong thing and justifies the “rightness” of it until almost everyone in the story is dead including himself. What a cautionary tale!

I don’t always make the right choices because I’m human and come with ego, neediness and all kinds of ugly attributes. I need the kind and merciful work of a Savior to fix me. For Jesus, I’m deeply grateful. I still don’t always make the right choices. When I don’t, I have some place to go and someone to go to who will show me how to make better choices the next time.

Meanwhile, this statement should be in front of my face at all times.  If you’d like a copy, please visit my store at Society6.

 

 

 

 

 

Ask the Stars, Or Ask God?

Ask the Stars, Or Ask God?

Truth-Is-the-Stars

In college I took one astronomy class but it was enough to create a passion for the stars. I studied the constellations, spent time in our planetarium looking at all the seasons of stars and their patterns. Who would have known that I would be so drawn to patterns in the skies that I would make surface pattern design my vocation later in life?

Sometimes I wake up and go outside at 2 am just to see what God has done. It wasn’t always that way for me.

I also studied Astrology. I was attracted to the complexity and mystery of it, sure I could discern people’s personalities by knowing their astrological signs. I guess I thought we were somehow ruled by a random universe.

Today I hear many people refer to “the universe” as a powerful force, or higher power in their lives. I often hear them say things like, “whatever the universe decides,” referring to their fate or actions. They also put their wants and desires “out into the Universe” seriously expecting answers.

Throughout civilization, people have allowed their lives to be controlled by whatever attributes they assumed the stars held over them, even worshipping the stars. According to the Bible, in Job 9:9,10, it was God who created all things, including the stars which He set in the sky. The universe answers to God alone. The stars themselves are mere balls of fiery gas and energy. If they have any effect on me it will be if they explode and fall down on my head!

Astrology is a man-made attempt to assign stars tasks over our lives so we can blame balls of gas for our flawed personalities and behavior. That’s kind of irresponsible.

Instead the Bible tells us that the stars point to the real truth – That God made them for His plan and purpose, and by the Word spoken from His mouth – perhaps the big bang. He also tells us in James 1:5 that if we lack wisdom we should ask God and He will tell us what to do. The stars do not promise to answer – they are fiery gas balls.

Since God does promise to answer, I will ask my Creator for wisdom rather than the objects He created.

This print is available here as a hand-signed giclee print and other products from my stores on Society 6 and Fine Art America.

 

 

Could You Explain Christmas, Please?

Could You Explain Christmas, Please?

Christmas-Birds-24

I’ve always wanted to design Christmas gift wrap because I see a lot of commercial wrapping paper that disturbs me. Much of it reflects what our culture thinks Christmas is all about – buying stuff and more stuff. I’m not opposed to really great stuff; I just want it to have meaning.

Isaiah 9:6 states the meaning of Christmas for me: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  The prophet Isaiah, in Isaiah 7:14 even describes the manner in which the Prince of Peace shall come into the world:  “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”

This statement puts in perspective what has been lost in our culture – that Christmas is about a baby who was born, but not just any baby – A Savior, a Redeemer, a Wonderful Counselor, the Everlasting Father, Mighty God.

Jesus came across galaxies, across the expanse of the universe to reach us. He beckons with outstretched nail scarred hands to say, “Follow me.” It’s a simple message with life-changing impact to those who decide to follow Him. I am certain of it because He has changed my life and continues to do so when I simply follow Him.

Most Christmas gift wrap designs are devoid of any spiritual meaning in order to reach a wider non-spiritual audience. Taking a spiritual stand with art can be dangerous. Or I can just be me and tell it like it is – that Christmas is about the Prince of Peace who also brings joy and hope to those who believe. I designed the pattern above with 3 birds in a forest because it reflects what Christmas means to me. The complimentary pattern below will join a collection of Christmas patterns I’m working on for next season in gift wrap, stationery, greeting cards, etc.  (When I was designing these I’m sure they also reflect this unusually cold December in Southern California!)

Christmas-Forest

Finally below is a Christmas greeting card. I think this one best sums it up for me – that Christmas is light, born out of darkness to show the way. May you find Him at the center of it all. Merry Christmas.

Christmas-Card-2015