Monthly Archives: July 2013

through the garden gate

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There’s a beautiful “hidden gem” in the middle of the famous St Andrews of Scotland that has nothing to do with golf whatsoever. It is the botanic garden begun in 1889 and developed further in the 1960s. I am always intrigued by the colours and textures that fill such a place.  Weeks of sunshine and heat followed by rains pushed the growth of this garden to new levels. I enjoyed exploring it all… 

Thank you for taking this walk with me. I hope it inspires you to discover the hidden beauty near you!

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a swirl of words

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What if we could dive into the perfect conversation? what would that be like? who would it be with?

Here’s a conversation I had with one of my paintings, speaking of divine exchange and deeper things…

There is an ocean of words swirling around us most of the time. We have the choice over which ones to keep and which ones to let go. Treasure the better part. Be encouraged.

east, west, home is best

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The west coast of Scotland is vastly different from the east coast of North Carolina…the colour of light, the movement of water, the cut of the earth’s edges. Being raised to love the southern coastline, it took me some time to find my bearings here, to redefine what “going to the beach” meant in my heart. Deciding to find the beauty made all the difference. I went to hunt for treasure…and now I never come back without some.

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Our children love going to the beach as much as I did as a child. Yes, they may need water shoes and wetsuits. They may bring home more beautifully coloured rocks than shells. They may not ride waves but they do get fish and chips! Their experience is different but it’s just as fun, full of adventure and love. And that helps me to find more treasure, to see more of home…through their eyes. May this encourage you today to see the beauty that is around you, especially in the unfamiliar places.

our littlest one on the run for tiny flounder caught on the sandbar

beyond redemption?

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It was bad. And that’s the truth.

I had painted it for so long through so many different shifting moods and atmospheres that the work had become parts and not a whole. Some pieces held promise but there was too much undone, too much overdone. So I didn’t look at it again (who would want to?) for 6 months. Then I brought it back into the light, back into view for a while. Was this thing worth saving? At first I thought only the board itself was of any value, that I would need to white it all out, remove the history before starting fresh. But I sat on that action for a few weeks and kept taking a look at the picture. Maybe I would just blot out the tree – that terribly overworked, every season’s colour leaf pile. I assembled my instruments as if to do surgery, full on titanium white at the ready. But then I realized something – I could redeem the tree! It had good roots, it had sound structure…it was worth saving. So carefully I began to move the work forward, one leaf at a time…

Sometimes we need a clean slate. We need to wipe things out in order to start fresh. But can I encourage you to take a step back before you crumple all that time and toss it into the bin? Maybe there is something worth saving – something of the effort you made in your working – that has a value you have not seen…yet.