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Tag Archives | decorative art

The Spirit is a Movin’

“Spirit in the Wind” © Jen Norton

Oh, woe is me, woe is me…no one can possibly understand my pain and suffering! Well, yes, actually they can, and they probably have. In a spiritual realm, we are all connected. Pain or joy in any one of us has an effect in the paint or joy of all of us. If you’ve ever pondered why a teen can listen to the most hateful lyrics in a song and feel comforted, consider the fear and alienation driving the person who wrote it. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed with joy in a worship setting and wished you could re-create that magic at home, consider that perhaps the spirit needs a minimum of two to connect. If you’ve ever had a desire to help or pray for victims of a disaster half a world away, you’ve felt the Holy Spirit.

We’re all just hoping someone will step forward and say, “Yes, I understand…I’ve been there too!” We all want to know we’re all alone in a world that constantly tells us we need to make it on our own.

But we’re never alone. Recently, I was dealing with a stressed-out-kid situation. While my emotional energy was being spent in resolving it, my enthusiasm for making art was greatly diminished. Same with my online presence. I’m never sure who’s out there reading my posts, so I was surprised when a fellow creative I only know online emailed and asked if I was OK…that she had sensed something was going on with me. I was reminded of the power of prayer. I was reminded that when we ask, someone answers. We don’t know who, how or when, but it shouldn’t stop us from opening our hearts to the spirit that flows and binds us together.

This piece is an ode to that empathetic soul, a person who I know owns horses somewhere in Oklahoma. I call it “Spirit in the Wind.” The Holy Spirit is embodied in the horse who rides across time and distance connecting us with unseen threads.

Original: 10 x 8″, acrylic on cradled wood panel. $200. Contact me for availability.

Prints available in my Etsy store: 14 x 11″ matted, $28

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How can I keep from singing?

Today’s Advent meditation is from John 12: 35-36 (You’ll have to scroll down a bit. The link isn’t quite connected on that site)

Painted Bluebird Cole Porter Quote © Jen Norton

“Be Like the Bluebird” painted quote

In today’s reading Jesus hints to his followers that he will not always walk with them on earth. Dark days are ahead and they must know the light while they have the chance. A man in darkness cannot find it’s way.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to paint for this passage until I sat down last night to watch a DVD interview I did of my grandparents back in 1988. This taped dialogue by my 22-year-old self has been sitting in a box on VHS for years. My mom recently asked me if I still had it, so I had it copied to DVD and just picked it up a few days ago. Last night was the first time I’d watched it in over 20 years. Wow. If you’ve never taken the time to ask your elders about their lives, I suggest you do it! I have footage about life in the early 1900s with only gas lighting, impressions of San Francisco in the 1950s, and my grandmother’s opinion of the change in women’s roles over the years. Mostly I realized how much of the beliefs and philosophies I hold now were shaped by these people. They no longer walk with me, but I have their light to guide me.

My painting today is of bluebirds, with a quote by American composer Cole Porter. My Grandpa Mac’s favorite bird was the bluebird. He would sit on his porch every afternoon and watch them (Grandma wasn’t so big on their screeching, however). He also loved great musicals and especially after he lost his eyesight, you would often find him in his living room listening to recordings of  Broadway numbers. A self-made man, he always believed in me. Of all my family members, his words run through my head most often.

I tried to include a clip from the video here, but alas, I do not have the skills or technology today. For now, please enjoy the quote from Cole Porter. I know my grandfather would.

Be like the bluebird who never is blue,
For he knows from his upbringing what singing can do
– Cole Porter, Be Like the Bluebird, 1934

The original art is available here.

You can also purchase reproductions here or signed greeting cards here.