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"Paperboy"

     I've begun a new painting commission.  

     A sweet old yellow Labrador Retriever named Cody has had a job since he was a pup:  he brings the morning newspaper from his family's front yard into the house, sits, delivers it to his "man", gets his daily wage (a biscuit or two does the trick), then takes a break.  (I loved hearing how, when Cody was young, his owner stepped onto the front porch one morning and discovered every paper from the neighborhood all piled up, with the dog hovering over them proudly as he waited for that biscuit!).

     So this artist's task is to capture Cody doing his job, bringing the paper, aiming to please, driven by the sweet, gentle, God-given nature nestled deep in his little soul, which just can't rest until that newspaper is where it belongs.

We took video footage, and I found just the right moment for just the right pose.  

This is the sketch I created for a composition to show to Cody's owners.  

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The Glorious Process

   

The Kids At Loch Ness (oil on canvas, 18" x 24")

copyright 2007, Daniel Grove

 

      Some years ago my neighbors lived in England.  While there, they visited Loch Ness in Scotland. It is a beautiful place, and among the pictures taken, there was one of the three children, all pre-teen and younger at the time.  The image is full of motion.  The wind whips through their blond hair, and churns the waves in the lake behind them as they peer out through an ancient castle window.  Young, happy, and probably a little chilly, they look like a good gust would have landed them out in the deep...(somewhere near that monster, probably).

     Years later, when the family moved across the street from us, and discovered that I am a portrait artist, it was decided that this occasion deserved more than a snapshot in their history.  It was a grand moment in time, and it needed to be painted.

     You can see the process in the images shown here.  I knew I had to nail it, since...well...they're my neighbors.  Upon primary completion, mom said that one of the kid's noses was just a little off.  I took the painting home and saw the error.  After that, we were good.  And if mom's happy, everybody's happy.

     The glorious process of painting settles over the artist like a highland fog, or maybe like some song, enfolding us in its own rhythm and blues.  Back and forth we go, color to brush, image to canvas, vision to reality, doubt to triumph.  I sometimes say if I don't scare myself to death at least once a day, I'm slacking off.

     But we churn on like the waves.  We keep coming at it until we know we've exhausted and emptied everything we have in our arsenal up to that point.  Richard Schmid says, as much as possible never let a canvas leave your studio with one wrong brush stroke.  

     So we strive for that kind of perfection, knowing we will, if we are successful, only move the bar further away.  There it will stay, singing that siren's song to us again when the next grand moment comes along.

               

     

The Glorious Process.  Images copyright Daniel Grove 2014.

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It's A Boy's World

     Gabriel's Flower (oil on canvas, 14" x 18") Copyright Daniel Grove

     Every shape is an adventure, every sound a mystery to be solved.  Run, don't walk--you might miss a dinosaur or two.     
     I paint "Portraits Of The Ones You Love", and this one is loved.  His grandmother is a friend of ours, a designer with whom I've worked for years.  Just up from a nap, hair tousled, he wandered out into the garden to see what the universe had been up to for the last half hour.  Still sleep-walking, still coming to, he found an adventure in the shape of a flower.  This was the perfect subject for a painting, and I had the privilege of capturing a soul-on-the-go, right before his scheduled flight to Mars, or Andalucia.

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In Praise Of Old Dogs

     Having just completed a portrait of "Chief", a sixteen year old grand champion English Pointer, I've been in an "old dog admiration" phase, thinking back through the various pets I've owned, and the bittersweet brevity of my time with them.  

    We love those dogs, don't we? They guard us when we're toddlers and play with us when we ourselves are pups. They ride along in our back seats as we conquer our universe...and sometimes guide us when we need their help a little further down the road. Other than parrots, who can outlive many of their owners (and giant tortoises I guess), most of our little best friends come and go way too quickly.  I'm sure that fact contains a lesson which none of us wants to learn, but we all must:  Life is short, so live it!

     For heaven's sake, by the grace of God, live it!

"Field Commander" (oil on canvas, 16" x 20" copyright 2014 Daniel Grove

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The Grace-Filled Artist: Pressing On

   "...forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14.

I'm sure I will make some New Year's resolutions.  It's deep in our nature, this urge to clean house and start fresh.  But I am grateful, as a believer, that I'm not limited to my own "hoarded resources" when it comes to changing the really important issues in my universe.  My vows generally don't last until Lincoln's birthday.  But God's strength is made perfect in our weaknesses, as we continually bring them to him.   In this way we draw close to him, which is what he wants most of all.  And he pours his mighty grace into our lives, which is what we need, most of all.  Happy New Year,   from Dan and Jan.

Staying In Tune, By Grace.

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The Grace-Filled Artist: A Fresh View


     I've just redesigned my website.

     Actually, that's a stretch.  The folks at Fine Art Studio Online did all the technical things that would have sent me to Zanzidor and back (I don't even know where that is...just sounds like it's not around here).  I clicked a couple of buttons.  Take a look (DanielGroveFineArt.com) and let me know what you think. 

     While you're there, you can read my Christmas wish for you, if you like.  It's on the page, "The Freshest View Of All".  Feel free to comment. It is from the depth of my heart.

Staying in tune, by grace.

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The Grace-Filled Artist: Milestone #243 (Hide and Seek)


Painting the house, early in the process of

 "The Beekeeper's Farm":

The painting is now finished, my client is happy.

      A season completed, another one starts. I'm beginning to lose count of the chapters.  The overlap is good, but sometimes we have to invent places to breathe in between. "Life is what happens to you", John Lennon said, "while you're busy making other plans".  When there's no time to get away, how do you get away?  "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty" (Psalm 91.1).  In Psalm 46, the writer (probably David, the one who killed Goliath), talks about everything around him being in utter turmoil.  Chaos abounds.  Fear could overwhelm.  Then he pauses and says, but "there is a river"...and you can almost hear the gentle waves lap against the shore of his soul, my soul, your soul...hide here, rest here, breathe here. Jesus is here, now.  Seek him, now.  

     Psalms, I think, are David's diary.  And, for that matter, Jesus' diary.  Sometimes I feel like I'm intruding into their private moments as I read of their struggles, their processes, their triumphs. But I'm awfully glad that they left the book open when they left the room.

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The Grace-Filled Artist: First Steps

THE BEGINNING OF "THE BEEKEEPER'S FARM"

Looking back at the first steps of a new project...


Here I am on the first day.  After toning the canvas in a warm orange, I'm making the first strokes of the sky.  Since most of the painting will be green grasses and blue skies, a little complementary color peeking through here and there seems to make things interesting.

  

I think this is from the second day, as I am

laying in the main components of the painting.

So this is how the painting began.  

     I am now in the final stages of this work, almost ready for my client to see the finished product. I surely hope its owners enjoy gazing at the trees and fields, stirring up memories, traveling around in the imagery of their family farm.  I hope I have created a Moment Of Serenity with this landscape.  

     Next time, the finished product, "The Beekeeper's Farm".

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The Grace-full Artist: Breathing.

                                                                         

     I'm nearing the completion of my painting, "The Beekeeper's Farm", and here's a shot Jan took of me as we hiked the land last summer at the beginning of the process.

     Jan and I went down while my client and her husband (the gentleman for whom this will be a surprise, if he stays true to form and never goes near the internet!) were out of town.  It was my opportunity to take more reference photos, also an opportunity for us to each do some deep-breathing exercises.  We were glad for the break, realizing this would be the extent of our summer getaway for the time being.  One evening, together, sitting in the country quiet.  

     The sun's downing was beautiful, casting long shadows across the fields, bathing everything in warm gold.  So we walked those fields, I took my pictures, then we did what I enjoy most: spend time together.  Yes, the mountains, or the ocean, or the lakes or the coast of Spain would have been nice.  This year, none of those options were going to work.  But that summer evening was special, and needed, and I'm grateful.

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The Grace-full Artist


     There is a line in a song my friend sings (don't know who wrote it, sorry): the line says, "No mortal man would dare to stand before Your throne/Before the Holy One of heaven". The holiness of God is an awesome consuming fire.  He cannot compromise His perfection.  But neither does he compromise his love for us.  It is so easy to buy into the lie that God is trying to keep us out of heaven, when in fact He took the most drastic step, the only way possible, of getting us in!  Would you give up your only child to death to make a way for me to enter into glory?  In all likelihood we don't know each other.  The Bible says "while we were yet sinners Christ died for the ungodly".  I can't comprehend that kind of love.  I will never ever comprehend that kind of love, nor will I ever be worthy of it.  I can only accept the unspeakable gift and worship the One who gave it to me.  Thank you, Jesus, for your astonishing mercy in my life.

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