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Tag Archives | painted quote

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.

In the Beginning was the Garden

Today’s reading, John 1: 1-5, was much more comforting than yesterday’s. Yesterday was all trials and tribulations. Today is about the Light that outshines darkness. Thank God.

Today, my darkness was time. I ran out. I needed more time, but I don’t have it, so I’m going to post what I have. I see things I want to edit, but I’m not going to obsess.

Plant A Garden © Jen Norton

Plant A Garden

My daughter turned to me the other day in the car and started one of those “car conversations”. You know the ones…deep philosophical questions that hint at your kids trying to figure themselves out. She stated (in a somewhat condescending manner), “You seem like one of those people who’d be happy living in the country. Is that true?” Yes, it’s true. I notice geese flying, color shifts in the sky and leaf patterns on sidewalks. My 13-year-old just rolls her eyes. She’s all about pop culture, make-up and things that are shiny and pink. She’s always been that way. I’ve always been a nature girl. She loves to dress up. I love to stare at trees. It’s just the way we are.

I know that we both have our place in the world, as do the million different kinds of pink flowers. Or the other million kinds of yellow flowers. Creation is abundant and there is room for all. Each has its purpose. I have always found the presence of God in the patterns of repetition and variation in nature. I don’t know how the beginning began. I still can’t figure out how something could have always existed and I’ve been pondering that concept for 46 years. (I guess I’m a bit sheltered, having only lived on Earth.)

But I observe the passing of the seasons. I know that springtime, with its myriad of flowers, follows the dark winter. Simple science can explain the How. Not sure anyone can explain the Why. Except that God is an artist, and a fellow artist I know you cannot continue to create beauty unless you are loving the process of creation. He’s found a way to remind us yearly that life is a cycle. President Lincoln’s speech writer once penned a line for use in good times and bad: “This too shall pass”. Everything we know will pass away someday, but I take comfort in knowing that something that is alive in Christ will live forever. He has created a priceless work of Art and Love that will last through Eternity. Death and darkness will not overcome it. Sometimes I doubt. But then I go work in my garden and I find the truth again.

This painting turned into an abstraction, painted with a palette knife, which offers very little control. It features a quote by writer Robert Brault, used with permission. I see things I’d like to change in the composition, but hopefully the meaning will overcome its faults. I’m too close to judge, and I’m not going to obsess.

The quote reads, “Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden?” —Robert Brault. I like this quote and will probably paint it again differently. If you’d like to buy this piece, I’m offering it for a great price here.