Tuesday, September 28, 2010

the unveiling! NEW contemporary inspirational art

i am soooooo excited to finally unveil to you
my new line of contemporary inspirational art!

i have been dreaming about these for months now, and was just recently able to get them out of my head, off of the sketchpad, and into the digital realm.

influenced by several of the latest book covers i have designed for tyndale house publishers, as well as my research of the current art print market, and realizing that people are really wanting and willing to hang big typography to make a bold statement on their walls, i have taken my color photography and married it to bold sans serif typography which i soften and "beautified" with my embellishments, voila! here it is!

i will begin listing these as 8x10's in the shop asap :)

hope you love them, are inspired, and encouraged by the truth of the Word and beauty of life.

OH, tomorrow (9.29) i am guest blogging at (in)courage, a very inspiring site by dayspring.com who sells my DEMDACO line! go check out the story of how my art began!

it is also pumpkin-poo's 3rd birthday wednesday!

grace & peace,

Monday, September 27, 2010

giving hearts

this past saturday, we had an art & snack sale in our driveway to raise money for our compassion international child's birthday which is coming up in december.

my favorite little mister has wanted to do this for 2 years now, and finally mommy was able to help out (& the weather cooperated!).

above you can see a little picture of the child we sponser, peter from tanzania. we purposely picked peter becuz he is my favorite little mister's age (7) and since the girls have each other for sisters, we wanted our son to have a "brother" of sorts.

the girls got involved too...
sunshine girl took the money in our fancy cash register :)

pumpkin-poos offered rice krispie treats

(which, of course, we sampled ourselves)

and my favorite little mister and i baked 36 homemade blueberry muffins with our frozen michigan blueberries!

their sale was quite a success, and they actually raised $80
which we will be giving peter for his birthday!

it was a great experience for our family. i loved the fact that they "imitated" my business in that they sold artwork (my favorite little mister made a sign: "watch me draw for $0.15) & he would draw a turtle, a fish, a frog, a dragonfly, or a newt. (the dragonfly was most popular). and that they did it all to help others, just as life verse design donates a portion of each sale to compassion international, world relief, and wycliffe bible translators.

i encourage you to encourage your children to be a part of a project or cause which helps them give and not always receive.

grace & peace,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

the magic chair

when shooting my kids (& other kids for that matter), i often wonder how to make them sit still? so, one day this summer i garbage picked a child size wooden chair (nice & weathered to add character, but will also most likely give one of them a splinter someday!)

in any case, it began
the magic chair

i now take the magic chair to most photoshoots, as once the kids hear about it, they will want to sit in it & pose. it has truly been a magical prop.

i shot these photos for my friend & seamstress extraordinaire
downtown downers grove at rush hour.

she wanted something a bit unique (other than my nature settings)
and it was so much fun! (a bit scary, but a lot of fun!)

she creates THE MOST BEAUTIFUL children's clothes
your heart would ever desire.
(pumpkin's dress is from target though,
but sunshine & my favorite little mister are wearing neemies designs)

please check out (& drool over) her shop at www.neemies.etsy.com

and here's some other crazy magic chair shots :)

my kids are rock stars
(& yes, that is sunshine girl imitating pumpkin-poos picking her nose)

some other tips in photographing kids:
1. find a magic chair or something they will want to sit on/be near
2. put them up in a tree or on a ledge or stairs, which will somewhat "contain" them, especially if you are trying to shoot more than one kiddo
3. get down on their level
4. take one million pictures, and you are SURE to get a few good ones :)


grace & peace,
p.s. lots happening over here on the creative side... i hope to reveal some soon! good stuff. thank you God.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

it's potty time!

it's potty time at the chen household!

oh boy.

pumpkin-poos will turn 3 at the end of the month, and there is a big possibility that she will also start going to preschool, so i thought to myself, "maybe i should start potty training since this is the time i did it with the other 2 kiddos & i have her at home all the time now for the next 3 weeks."

needless to say, the first 4 days were a DISASTER! can you say laundry?

this came as a shock to me, since my favorite little mister trained in one day & sunshine girl basically decided to just do it herself. so, once again pumpkin poos threw me for a loop and i did not know what to do.

some things she has taught me:

1. you cannot make a toddler sit on the potty chair if they do not want to.

2. you cannot make them pee or poo when (or more importantly, where) you want them to: i mean, she would sit there for an hour if she allowed herself to & would then finally get up & pee right next to the potty chair (we're talking niagra falls)!

3. you cannot make a toddler drink if they do not want to.

4. in one day, she became a camel & i am learning that she actually holds it for 2.5-3 hours at a time (& then unloads).

5. we must persevere!

needless to say, day 5 brought a glimmer of hope:

she actually did it (with still much prompting & bribing by me)
and celebrated with the potty dance!

this may sound strange, but all of this potty training actually made me think of my artwork of the "serenity prayer". i know it is usually used in "spiritual settings" or for encouragement in alcoholics anonymous, but due to her own will vs. my will, i felt the need to dwell on this beautiful prayer.

especially the parts about "accepting the things i cannot change & enjoying one moment at a time" (HA!)

i think the serenity prayer is a great encouragement for us mommies, as we need to realize that we do need to accept things as they are, and even celebrate them, whether it is:

• our children's sleep schedules
• their personalities (even when TOTALLY opposite of us & we look at them like they are from another planet)
• their tastes in food or wardrobe
• their extreme energy level :)

grace & peace,
p.s. i am working on a whole new line of art that i am SO EXCITED about!!!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

behind the scenes: great is thy faithfulness

He has broken my teeth with gravel;
He has made me cower in the dust.
My soul has been rejected from peace;
I have forgotten happiness.
So I say, “My strength has perished,
And so has my hope from the LORD.”
Hope of Relief in God’s Mercy
Remember my affliction and my wandering,
the wormwood and bitterness.
Surely my soul remembers
And is bowed down within me.
This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
”The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”
The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.

Lamentations 3: 16-25 NASB

the above words were penned by the prophet jeremiah during the time of the exile and destruction of israel. in my chronological bible readings, after so many warnings from God to either turn from sin or the wrath and anger of the Lord would come to bring utter destruction, the people still chose not to listen to jeremiah nor heed God's warnings, and thus, the anger against sin is unleashed.

some things that struck me were:
1. their hardened hearts
2. God's patience & trying to reach out to His people over & over (i am talking books & chapters worth!)
3. that though jeremiah was obedient and listening to God, he still had to suffer along with his people. he was not exempt from the wrath and had to be chained up by others as he watched his beloved city jerusalem and his fellow people be destroyed.

and, so, he wrote the words above.
really quite remarkable in the midst of his circumstances.
his faith remains strong & his eyes are set on his God, despite the pain around him.

would i come up with these words of his
(your love God is never stopping,
your compassion never ends,
it is new & fresh every morning;
GREAT is your faithfulness?!)
in the midst of my own pain & suffering ...
maybe watching a loved one suffer?
or losing a home to flood or fire?
or my own health just go downhill?
or having to experience war & exile on our own land as the israelites had to?
all the while, i had been obedient & speaking forth God's Word
and this is what i would get for it?

wow. jeremiah is really someone to admire.
Lord, make my heart seek You & be content & full of praise daily.

as you can probably guess, i chose to shoot the fresh dew of a summer morning to echo the words "they are new every morning". this is from the tiger lillies in my backyard garden. i loved going out there this summer in the morning to see the dew on the plant life and how it brought it so much more to life; just like how His faithful love brings my heart to life.

enjoy! art available here.

grace & peace,