iPainting: The Sahara Lions Series

I love technology.  When used productively, it offers all kinds of options.  People criticize filters on photographs, but artists have used various “filters” for years. Van Gough painted two versions of his famous haystacks.

Long before Warhol, and his variation soup cans, Gilbert Stuart painted 130 variations of his portrait of Washington. By the way, he never finished the first one.  It was called The Athenaeum, he used it as a template. You’ve seen it though, it’s the picture of President Washington on the one dollar bill.

In keeping with that, I painted a simple picture of a Sahara Lion using a different digital tool than my iPad mini.  As odd as it may sound, the original was painted using Microsoft Paint.  After that, I applied some filters in PowerPoint to it.  The variations themselves make for an interesting series we call, “The Sahara Lions”.

SaharaLion1

SaharaLion4

SaharaLion3

SaharaLion2

 

I Don’t Know, And That’s Ok

questionmark

Psalms 133

1 LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.

2 Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul [is] even as a weaned child.

3 Let Israel hope in the LORD from henceforth and for ever.

One of my favorite Psalms is nestled away in a section known as The Song Of Degrees. I say it this way because, it isn’t talked about very much. It sits quietly waiting for someone to read it, and to realize how valuable it is. This three verse Psalm contains a message that has kept me through the years of my life.

We live in a world of wonder, in regards to technology and knowledge. Information that once filled the volumes of libraries, places restricted to the well breed and financially stable, now flood the internet. Growing up, one of my cherished possessions, was a set of encyclopedias that my parents bought me. Today, more information than could fill those books, is just a click away.

When I was younger, I used to think that one of the worst sentences that I could speak was “I don’t know.” It took me a while to learn that, not only was there things that I didn’t know, some other information I would never know. Today, one of the most liberating phrases in my vocabulary is, “I don’t know.”

What made the difference? People who were smarter than I was taught me that not knowing was ok. They were, and are amazing teachers that God placed into my life to explain that I didn’t have to know everything. They gave me the courage to learn.

I am a fan of knowledge. When someone talks about a subject like history, or makes a discovery, I’m a cheerleader. I’m a fan of individuals that most people never heard of, men like Baron Von Stockmar, Henri Guisan, and James Sherman. So it may seem an oxymoron to say, that not knowing helped increase my knowledge, but it’s so true.

When you’re afraid of not knowing, you’re too busy being scared to learn something. If you accept the fact, that there is so much more than you understand, it shuts fear down. You’re not too stubborn to learn, you’re not incapable of learning, you were just afraid of not already knowing.

The Psalmist understood this very well, oh David was smart. He was the man who had a heart after God’s heart. This was the one who composed countless Psalms, received the blueprints for Solomon to build the Temple, and fought countless battles. Oh, he was smart. Smart enough to know that some things, he would never understand.

So after countless Revelations, Prophecies, and Victories, God uses him to pen this Psalm. The first verse is my favorite. It’s the one that I held on to when nothing made sense, it’s the one that I still hold to when nothing makes sense.

People look at Christians and many pity us. They consider us old fashioned, and out of date with modern society. As a result, we have attempted to prove what we know to be true. I can tell you, without doubt, that we have more scientific proof for a Creator than for mutating amoebas. I can set down with a number of highly intelligent people and explain to them why I serve a loving and caring God.

I’m not talking about ignorance, God made us to know everything we can. This is why He said to “Study the Scriptures to show thyself approved, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed.” It’s also why, in the book of Job as well as others, He points us to the stars to understand science and nature. What I’m talking about is something more.

David never said he didn’t exercise himself in matters that he could reach. A child will play with anything it can pick up. However, even a two year old knows that it can’t reach something on the roof of a building. That is what I’m talking about with this article. When I was younger, I tried to reach the ceiling with a step stool. Today, I watch as God climbs down the ladder to meet my need.

1 LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.

To paraphrase, the Psalmist is saying, “Lord, I know my limitations. I’m not arrogant enough to act like I know more than I do. I don’t try and walk in areas that are above me. I don’t try and stand on my tip toes to reach what has been placed out of path for safety.” In the past, I would have tried to grasp what I couldn’t handle, and hurt myself in the process.

Today, if I don’t understand, I pray for the understanding. If it comes, I walk in it, God has placed it on my level. If the understanding isn’t revealed, I leave it to my Father. I trust that He is smart enough to take care of it. I may not understand it, but I do understand Him. I know that He cares for me. I know that He loves me. I know that He will protect me. In the end, when it comes right down to it, that is really all that we absolutely have to know!

 

iPainting: Wall Art

I was in a showroom the other day, and I saw all kinds of artwork with an abstract look to it.  They were big elaborate pieces in a style that I’ve never been a huge fan of. Still, it was a challenge to see if I could paint something like it myself.  Here are the interior design pieces “Staying The Course”, “Mammoth”, and “Man Of Steel”.  Please let us know what you think of our art experiment @ pruittwrites@gmail.com, with the subject “Wall Art”.

image

 

 

image

 

ManOfSteelTJ

The Italian Hatmaker: I Wouldn’t Have To Ask

“Then we will make camp here. Princess, after we and your soldiers setup camp, they will tie Ethan and myself up. If either King investigates, they will find their cousin a hero. You will give us to whichever King arrives first. This will rescue your life, and buy us the time.”

Giuseppe didn’t wait for an argument, he simply started gathering wood for a fire. Ethan froze in place. As the Italian Hatmaker walked into the woods beside their new camp, the Princess spoke to Ethan. “He’s brave isn’t he? To volunteer for captivity is gallant.”

Ethan looked at her, aroused from his shock. “It’s better than dying isn’t your Majesty?” This time it was the Princess who froze momentarily, then she whispered. “Perhaps, but captivity is not easy.” “No your Highness, I guess it isn’t, even if it’s from a palace.” With that, Ethan went off to help his friend.

Now, Henri joined her. “You take to many risks your Highness.” “I suppose I do Henri, but my brother knows how desperate I am. I left him a letter before I volunteered to be ‘kidnapped’ by our English cousin. In it I explained that I would die if I married for any reason other than love.”

Henri looked at the strong young lady that he had grew up serving. “What do you suppose his response would be?” She laughed a laugh that was both painful and cruel. Although the cruelty was not hers, it was a mimic of her brother. “Then marry for love of your kingdom my sister. You’ll learn to love my ally in time.”

“I take it you’ve had this part of the conversation with him before?” “The night before I left Paris, I escaped, I suspected that I would never find love if I hadn’t.” Henri smiled. “I suspect that the hat maker’s friend was right, you think you may like him?” “I don’t know him Henri, but I would like to see what he looked like minus the beard and mustache.”

“I suspect, it would have to be but spoken, and he’d be willing.” She shook her head no. “I would not ask that on a whim. If he loved me, I wouldn’t have to ask at all.” With that remark, the Princess walked towards her horse.

Henri found Giuseppe and Ethan. “The Princess favors you my friend, but not your companion.” Ethan immediately took offense. “I’m not partial to her either!” Henri laughed. “Not you my friend, the one that protects Giuseppe’s chin. She does not like his beard, nor his mustache for that matter.”

Giuseppe flashed with an anger of his own. “I have had them both since I was a young man. Why should I shave them for a woman that called me ugly!” Henri laughed. “It was not you of which she spoke, it was of your companions.” “Why should I care?” “Oh, but you do don’t you. I know it is asking a lot, and she did not ask. The Princess would not be pleased that I am here.”

“Then why are you?” “My Wife and I were walking through Paris one day. We passed by a small flower cart, filled with the most beautiful flowers. I commented on how I enjoyed the carnations, but my wife preferred the lily.” “And Henri?” “We have such beautiful rows of lilies outside our home.”

“I can say goodbye to the beard, but not the mustache. My Mother remarked how much it made me look like my Father.” “I wonder what your Father gave up to see your Mother smile? For now, remove the beard. See if the reaction you receive will warrant saying goodbye to the other as well.”

He handed Giuseppe a razor, and walked away. The Italian Hatmaker returned to camp minus his beard. He would forget the other old friend, the one under is nose, just as soon as he saw the smile that graced the Princess’ face.

iPainting: Guarding Gotham

We hope you enjoy our gift to you on our birthday. The new Sketch of the artist’s favorite hero as he fights the elements to keep the city safe in the Sketch “Guarding Gotham”.

 

image

Evaluate, Value, Valuable

Gold

Isaiah 46:4 (NKJV)

4 Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear;Even I will carry, and will deliver you.

Isaiah 46: (NLT)

4 I will be your God throughout your lifetime — until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you.   I will carry you along and save you.

Isaiah 46:4 (MSG)

4 And I’ll keep on carrying you when you’re old. I’ll be there, bearing you when you’re old and gray. I’ve done it and will keep on doing it,   carrying you on my back, saving you.

Evaluate, value, and valuable. Those three words are weighed, both by the intrinsic value of a person or thing, as well as the perception of its value. Seven years ago, my wife would not look twice at a 1987 action figure in a thrift shop, it held no value to her. Today, she would probably leave the store with it, even if it cost ten dollars. Why? Because if it involves a certain crime fighter, she knows it is valued by her husband.

An item such as that isn’t inherently valuable, in and of itself, only in it’s perception. Truth be told, the same could be said of gold or silver. Like granite, they can be taken from rocks and caves. Society has evaluated some natural compounds to be more valuable than others. All these things have appraised value.

The question is then, what impresses a society to assess value on things that may not have natural value. The answer is that they value the opinion of the assessor. Whoever it was that once said, gold is more important than another item, they trusted their opinion. The assessor left a lasting impression in the minds of society, and humanity.

There are other things that you don’t have to convince someone to value. Water is valuable to all creatures, not because it is evaluated, but because it is vital to life. You must have water, even more than food. Water is intrinsically, naturally, valuable, because it sustains humanity.

In life, some value others because they have been taught to do so. A child may not enjoy school, so they do not value it, but their parent does. Over time, the child learns that, even if they don’t care for it, it is important to their future. In time, they will realize that learning has intrinsic value. Until they do, they will value it, albeit very lightly, because they love their Mom and Dad.

You do not have to teach a baby that their Mother or Father is valuable. You just have to hold them. You love them. You care for them. They know that they are safe in your arms. When life unkindly teaches them that everyone doesn’t value them as much as their parents do, they run to the arms of those who have always valued them.

As we grow up, in life, it may seem that we meet more people who do not value us than those that do. We will experience relationships, business situations, and conflicts that will attempt to convince us that we don’t matter. Many will try and tell you that your greatest value is in what you do.

From co-workers, to the enemy of your soul, people will whisper that you have no intrinsic or natural value. Fame is an illustration of this.  It will build you up for years, based soley on perception, until your evaluate your life, not by who you are, but whether you are in the public eye. Sadly, we value artists, not by their talent, but their popularity. Once you lose that, you will be tempted to think that your value is gone.

At those times, why not run to The God that has always valued us? From each corner, like an ocean flowing to your despair, Christ’s voice rings, “You are valuable to me!” There is One that stands from the beginning, who has never stopped shouting, that you are worth life itself.

He, The Great Assessor, felt you were valuable enough to take you from a thought in His heart to a child in His hands. God cared enough for you and I to create dust, just so He could shape us into existence. Other things He spoke into this world, including the dust that was our building material. We refer to ourselves as dust, as if we were worthless, but He created it, so He could create you. That makes the dust more valuable to God than the stars.

The ugly question hangs in your mind, you’re afraid to ask it, terrified to voice it. “What about all of my sins? What of all the pain I’ve caused? Can He still value me now?” The answer is a “Yes” so loudly that it echoes through time and space.   In the same chapter as the scripture above, He makes the following statement.

Isaiah 46:10

10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

He declared the end from the beginning, to do that, He had to have seen the middle. Since He saw Revelation before He acted in Genesis, this means that He also saw Golgotha. One great Man Of God said that before He created what He said “Was good”, He heard Himself whisper “It is finished.”

Can He assess you valuable after all your mistakes? “Yes!” He didn’t approve of Adam’s sin, but gave him free will.  Knowing that giving Adam free will could lead to a free fall into corruption. God never intended for man to make the choice He did, and warned strongly against it. Yet He loved us enough to create us. Placing Adam in Eden, resulted in Christ placing Himself on the cross to save us all.

My point is this. He loves us enough to create us, and to save us, and to sustain us. When you are told that you are not valuable, or that your only worth is in the service you provide to others, reject the lie. You are loved enough, and more than enough.

The evaluation of your life isn’t determined by the standards of this world, but by a loving God. One that said, “I will carry you even to old age.” He bears the scars on His back to prove it. He carried our sins from the whipping post to a tortuous death, all the time carrying us in His heart.

As we are valued, we are to value. Every morning He sets in motion a plan to prosper us. Let’s seek to do the same. When you get up each day, between leaving the house and arriving for work, make a plan. Who do you know that could use a kind word today? Who needs to know that they are valued, not for what they do for you, but who they are?

To do this, we don’t have to pry into their personal business. We can start by simply sharing a smile, and lending a ear. Ask how they’re doing. Show them that you are interested in whatever is on their mind. As they see that your only motive is friendship, they will realize that someone cares. That realization, in and of itself, can lead to a salvaged life, and soul.

Galatians 6:2

 2 Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

God doesn’t call us to evaluate people, but to value them. We are called to share the message that they are precious to God, and to us. This simple truth will make the difference in so many lives. In the process, it will open our eyes more to the needs of others. A side effect of valuing those around us, is that it will increase our value in The Kingdom of Him, who considers us the most valuable thing of all.

Profile: Armor

Neither The Sea Horse nor his arch nemesis, High Society know what to make of the mysterious Armor. Meet him in the adventures of The Sea Horse this fall.

20140705-195403-71643625.jpg