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Tag Archives | floral art

Love is Patient… (1 Corinthians 13)

Love Is Patient © Jen Norton. A painting of 1 Corinthians 13 done in a floral motif.

First Corinthians, verse 13. We all know how this one begins… Love is Patient, Love is Kind. If you’ve ever attended a Christian wedding, you’ve probably listened half-heartedly to this reading. And that’s the challenge of this verse… to not LIVE it half-hearted. To not practice it only with the people it’s easy to love, but with those we’re not so crazy about. Whole-heartedly.

How would your life change if you consciously chose not to be jealous of others? How would our society be different if no one ever acted selfishly or in a quick-tempered manner (even on social media)? Would you feel more loved if someone let go of a grudge held against you? What if we sought truth, cared about the “whys” behind the “whats”? If you hold someone else’s well-being as equal to your own, you do bear, believe, hope and endure all things for the purpose of Love. Jesus did it best. We should at least try.

Like a flower, Love can be easily crushed by a harsh word. It can wither and die without attention. But it can also be nurtured, gathered, and grown. Give it daily watering and pruning, action and prayer. The harvest is beautiful, something to be held in adoration.

Love is patient, love is kind.
It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude,
it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,
it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.
(1 Cor 13: 4-8)

This original painting will be available through The Sacred Art Gallery after January 23, 2017.
Art reproductions and other gift items are available in my Etsy store and in my Pixels.com store here:
Art Prints

The Joy of Imperfection

color inspiration

Making art can be a lot of fun, but it’s not always easy. At times it can be down-right torturous. My perfectionist mindset kicks in, saying, “You should be able to command divine inspiration at will… You have to make a great piece of art now…  Maybe you’re not as good as [insert name of another artist here_________].”  Boy, what a creativity killer. I might have the skills, eye, and years of practice to know I can find a solution. But as a human, I have to do the work to unearth it. Every time. So how does a left-brain-dominant girl access her right-brain creativity?

I tell myself little white lies. Yep, fight fire with fire, I say. I will start by messily painting color and texture, telling myself it’s only a surface for a future painting. I will point out that whatever I’m working on today is only a rough idea of some future final piece. Or I’ll destroy an old finished painting that never sold. As I mindlessly dabble, coffee in hand, my whirlwind of frustrations quiet and I begin to hear my truths again:

• There is beauty in imperfection.

• It is most natural for me to express emotion through color and texture.

• I am only part of the process. When I let go of fear, Creativity flows.

Before I know it (and because I’m no longer thinking about it), I’m in the rhythm of making art, delighted by the happy accidents and revelations that materialize. You may be surprised to know how many bad paintings I’ve created by thinking, “I’m going to make a great piece!” I almost always avoid that train of thought. Almost.

matilija poppy ©JenNorton

I am currently enrolled in an online course by agent extraordinaire Lilla Rogers, who is known to profess, “People buy your Joy.”  While working on a recent assignment for the home decor market, I found myself having to stop and ask myself once again, “What brings me Joy?” I began this project inspired by some photos I’d taken recently at the Santa Barbara Mission and Botanical Gardens. I was going to use my hand-drawn line style with some color and texture fills (see plate #1, below). In my mind, the idea looked great. But after several hours of work, it just wasn’t bringing me joy. It was saying, “nice enough, but who cares?” I didn’t.

I tossed and turned all night, re-drawing and painting it in my mind (do other artists do that?). By morning I knew I had to return to my painterly style. Same subject, similar layout…but more fun. More depth. More emotion. And, most importantly for me, beautifully imperfect. (plate #2, below) I purposely promote all unfinished and broken edges and blocky brushstrokes because those are the things that bring me Joy. I allow myself to paint and re-paint things as a reminder that I don’t have all the answers up front, but that they will come. In the end, I am enamored with this piece for a possible plate design.

Poppy plate designs ©JenNorton

I do my best as a humble human to paint what brings me Joy so that I can share some happiness with you. And if I’m lucky, I am rewarded with divine inspiration.

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Come to the table

"All Are Gathered" by Jen Norton

“All Are Gathered” by Jen Norton

“Hospitality is one form of worship.”  -Jewish Proverb

This painting began as a demo for a workshop I was teaching with my friend Lorraine. I thought it would be a good class subject simply because it had flowers, some table setting elements and the opportunity to explore color. When I got home and continued to work on it, it began to take on more meaning for me, as my paintings often do.

I was reminded of a passage from Genesis (29:3) “Only when all the shepherds were assembled there could they roll the stone away from the mouth of the well and water the flocks.”  In the story, Jacob has come upon a well covered by a large stone with three droves of sheep nearby. They’re waiting for all the shepherds to arrive and uncover it so they can drink. This is one of those obscure passages that doesn’t get mentioned often, but that carries much meaning. The sheep are waiting. They’re waiting for water to quench their thirst. Only when everyone is ready do they get to drink. If they missed the time when the well was open, they would miss out. They had to be ready.

A dinner party is like that. The table must be set, the wine selected. The food is prepared, the room decorated. Guests arrive hungry, but must wait until the host is ready to serve. Ideally, only when everyone is present and the scene is set is the dinner served.

What if we set the expectation that every dinner should be served when everyone is at the table. No eating in front of the TV or standing alone in front of the fridge. Present, with others. Would it change your experience? How?

Original 24 x 48″, Acrylic on gallery-wrapped canvas, $3200
Open edition prints: 5 x 10″, matted to standard 11 x 14 frame size. $25
Limited edition canvas-wrap prints available upon request.