Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 The beginning or the beginning of the end

Happy New Year! I love the beginning of a new year. I always feel a new hope and faith in my life and my dreams. I usually feel an excitement of looking forward to spring. This year has been very unusual and feels like spring when it's usually the coldest time of year. I've enjoyed warm walks in the sun with only a long sleeve shirt. I've seen buds on trees and wonder it that's not a good sign. I've heard that since we had so much water left over from last years unusually snowy winter that we should be ok. But I wonder what it means. I've never seen a winter like this in Utah.
But winter is not over yet.

My 11 year old son, who has autism, watched the preview to the movie "2012". He doesn't talk much but he thinks a lot more than most of us. I didn't realize how much he was thinking about it until one day in church he started crying and when I asked him why he said, "2012 the end of the world". I told him that it's not the "end of the world" and that it was just a movie. He's really worried about it quite a bit. I explained to him that we know that Christ will come again someday but if we follow Him, and keep His commandments, we don't need to worry and that only Heavenly Father knows when that will be.

One night my daughter was really upset about something and she was crying really hard. I was talking to her and said, "It's not the end of the world". My son overheard me and repeated, "It's not the end of the world". He went and got a tootsie pop and stuck it in her mouth and she stopped crying. Why didn't I think of that? He's such a wise kid. I think he really liked that statement because he's repeated it to me quite often. I love having him around. He has such a sweet and calming spirit.

So what do you think? Is the end near? We are suppose to study the scriptures and look for signs of what will happen before the second coming. In the New Testament Paul tells what will happen in the last days. ( 2 Timothy, chapters 3 and 4)
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy". (2 Timothy 3:1,2) One thing that sounds like something we hear on the news more and more is that men (and women) in the last days will be "without natural affection". I can't believe how often I'm hearing on the news of spouses killing each other or children being killed by their parents. Parenthood naturally brings feelings of being willing to die for your child not to end their life.

It also says that all nations will fight against Jerusalem right before Christ comes again. Zechariah 14:2 and Ezekiel 37 & 38. Have you noticed many nations ganging up on the Jews again lately?

The question is are we ready? Are we getting our houses in order? I always remember how it says when Christ comes again He will come like a "thief in the night". (1 Thessalonians 5:2) When we are off guard. Let's prepare and help those around us to know that they can prepare to and find peace in troubled times.

By the way, my painting that I tried to enter in the church art show was rejected. But I tell myself, "It's not the end of the world".

Friday, October 21, 2011

Make Known His Wonderful Works

I decided to try to enter The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints 9th International Art Competition. The theme is "Make Known His Wonderful Works". About the time I had read the theme for the competition I was looking through the pictures of a family in my ward who just had a baby. There were some beautiful pictures of their girls looking at their new baby brother. I couldn't think of anything more wonderful than the birth of a child into an family. Everyone is so anxious and excited to meet the new little member and when the moment arrives there's such a heavenly feeling as you gaze upon this new little life given to us from our Heavenly Father, straight from heaven. They are so beautiful and pure and we are instantly filled with reverence and awe for the sacredness of life. We want to do everything in our power to protect and help this fragile little one. I'm always amazed at how everything about babies calls our hearts to love and help them - their cries, their helplessness, their smiles, their funny faces and miniature fingers and toes, etc...

Each time I've given birth to my four children it has been a moment of pure bliss. My heart overflows with love and the moment we meet (even before that) I pledge an eternal promise to love, protect and help them to the best of my ability. And when my ability is lacking my heart pours out to Heavenly Father for them to make up the difference in what I lack - which happens very often.

So I decided to paint two of the sisters meeting their little brother for the first time. I really loved the peaceful, adoring look on their faces and the quiet purity of their new little brother. I know my growing ability to paint cannot completely capture what I want to express yet but again the Lord helps me make up the difference in what I lack. I pray for His help as I paint and it's a wonderful experience. There was a point where I felt like giving up because I didn't know how to fix some mistakes I made without starting over. I stopped painting, prayed and later came back and sat down and was amazed how smoothly things went as I started to paint. I know that He helped me. Painting is a wonderful way to come face to face with your weaknesses and to come to know the loyalty and love of the Lord. It's a humbling experience. I'm not saying my painting is perfect. I see many flaws. But it's better than it would have been all on my own.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Beleiving in Yourself

I guess and doubt and fear seem to be a common theme in my life. Another common theme is inconsistency. When things get kinda crazy in life it's really hard for me to keep a clear view of my goals and what I really want. I feel like I'm spinning around just trying to deal with everything around me and before I know it I've totally forgotten my goals. I'm trying to figure out a way to keep myself on track everyday so I don't feel like I have to start over all the time and really never move forward.

I've found that exercising by myself keeps my mind on track and my goals very clear. I think that's the only quiet time I have where I can think without interruptions and pray and feel motivated and energized to do what I need to do.

When someones sick or I'm not feeling well I get lost in my families lives and needs and totally forget myself and my goals and dreams. But I'm sure this is part of being a mother. For the early years of childrens lives a mother learns to sacrifice and give up her most of her wants for the needs of her family. But there's also a need for a mother to take a little bit of time for herself - to not neglect her own needs and forget that her happiness matters too. After having children it seems that all of life is trying to find the right balance between the needs of your family and your own. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Being a wife and a mother is the most rewarding thing I've ever done. The sacrifices really don't seem like a sacrifice since I receive so much more in return. When little arms are thrown around my neck and I get a loving kiss, from my two year old, on my cheek and a "wuv you" I feel my cup is running over with happiness.

I guess that's why I really want to learn to paint portraits and figures. So much of my happiness comes from the beautiful people in my life. If I could learn to capture what I feel about them and a portion of who they are I would be completely satisfied. There is so much beauty and majesty in God's children. I think when we see we only catch glimpses of how He sees us. Learning to see is the hardest thing. I think little children see most like Him because they love everyone they meet. They see the good in everyone. I think we lose that slowly as we start to have experiences that replace that love with distrust, or that confidence with fear. I think that's why we are commanded to be like little children. We need to again learn to love without fear and trust our own judgements and our hearts.

My struggle is so often to trust my own judgement and to beleive in myself. This applies to everything in life - how you live, how you love and even how you paint. So I turn to a loving Father in Heaven who believes in me and my dreams to help me believe in myself. He gives me hope and courage to keep trying and enough weaknesses to keep me humble and dependent on Him. I love Him and my Savior and know that they will help me to not lose sight of what I need to do to find the greatest happiness in life - and what you need to do. Their communication is very personal and powerful and will help us to not just change behaviors but become more than we could ever be on our own.

When I started this post I didn't know if I had anything to say. But even as I take time to write and think I learn something new from the Spirit. So I think the trick for me is to take time to slow down, whether that means walking, writing or painting. I did the above painting using Trent Gudmundsen's color pallet. I've had the picture for awhile that I took up the canyon on a beautiful fall day. I love it there.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A great night out!

Top painting is by Keith Larson from Salt Lake City, Utah
Middle painting by Michael Malm from Wellsville, Utah
Bottom painting by Trent Gudmundsen from Logan, Utah

I have to start out saying a big THANK YOU to my husband. For weeks I've been feeling torn between the art show in Park City and the mother/son night at our school. I felt guilty trying to arrange a way for my son to go to the magic show without me, but I also knew he would still enjoy it without me and we could plan an awesome night out on another night together. I almost decided to just take him and then my husband finally agreed to take him - since I reminded him I went to Dads and doughnuts one time when he couldn't go. What a wonderful man! He said the only other man there was the Principal. They had a great time :)

I got to Park City a little late. As I arrived the sun was beginning to set on the ski resorts and the blue sky with airy clouds looked glorious with the pink light on the ski runs.

It was pretty hard to find parking with all the skiiers from all around the world. I had to park at the top of Main Street and when I was over half way down to the Montgomery-Lee Gallery I saw a parking meter and realized that it was not 3 hours free parking but it was up to 3 hours paid parking. A little panicky I ran up the hill to my car, receipt in my had, praying there wasn't a ticket. Relieved by the bare windshield I put my ticket on the dash and headed back down the hill.

I hadn't thought about how much colder it would be in the higher elevation and was glad I had on my warm winter coat. I was so excited to see the art of two of my favorite figurative artist and to meet them. I had seen pictures of Trent Gudmundsen so I recognized him right away. But I didn't really know what Michael Malm looked like. A man started talking to me and I wondered if it was Michael Malm but I found out it was Keith Larson - the third artist that I didn't know much about. He was really nice and was a good artist. A woman working in the gallery asked me if I had any questions and if there was anything she could do for me. I asked her if Michael Malm was there and she brought me to him and introduced me to him and his wife. They were so kind and charming. His artwork has always amazed me.

I looked around at all the figurative and landscape paintings and felt like I was in heaven. I heard people commenting on Trents work. A woman said, "you know when you look at his paintings you feel like the people are someone you know". Her friend resonded, "I know!". I heard another woman say to Trent, "You have such a wonderful talent with light. You could hang these paintings in a dark room". I know what she meant. They seem to glow.

A couple months ago I drove by Porter's Place in Lehi at night and immediately thought of Trent and his restaurant paintings. I was struck with the thought that he has to paint this place. It's a historic place in Utah that many people love. I went in there and took some pictures and e-mailed them to him. I was delighted when he found some he wanted to paint right away. Then, there at the gallery I recognized a picture I had taken in his painting of "Porter's Place".

When I finally got a chance to meet Trent it felt like I was talking to an old friend. What a wonderful, humble and friendly person. He's the kind of guy that could never have and enemy - so down to earth. I heard someone else say, "What a great artist, and such a nice guy". He asked if I had seen the painting of Porter's Place and I said I had. I told him that one of the guys in the painting is our home teacher from church. I loved all of the paintings.

So, I had such a great evening visiting galleries and feeling inspired. It really made me want to paint more and learn more from these great artists. The figurative show will last for several weeks so you still have a chance to see it.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Colorful Life

Tonight, March 25,2011, there's a three man show at Montomery-Lee Fine Art in Park City, Utah - 608 Main St. "Celebration of the figure" with works by Trent Gudmundsen, Mike Malm and Keith Larson. 6-9 pm.

You are guaranteed to enjoy the works of these incredible figurative artist. Maybe you've seen prints of their works or pictures of the originals, but there's nothing like seeing an original with your own eyes. The difference is like talking to someone with a webcam or face to face. I've noticed in original paintings there is life to them. You can see the strokes of the artist, you can appreciate the intermingling or colors, and you notice something new every time.

Ever since I started collecting original artwork I've had a hard time to enjoy anything else on my walls. I love the feeling that emanates from them and I can feel the unique creative spirit of the artist in my home. If you don't have an original piece of art in your home I challenge you to begin and look for one. When you find one you love, and can afford, you will never regret it and it will be something that will be a part of your home. As I grew up my parents purchased original artwork when they could and the other day I was unpacking a box at their house since they were moving, and I found a beautiful little landscape that I remember from when I was very young. I didn't realize until now that it was an original. I just liked how it made me feel.

So start tonight. The last Friday of each month is the gallery stroll in Park City. It's wonderful! You can go from gallery to gallery and see what you love. There is even refreshments. Doesn't cost a thing.

Create a more colorful life by finding a little (or big) treasure that belongs in your life. I have found something I love for as little as $5. You'll enjoy the search.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Opposition in all Things

Top painting by Trent Gudmundsen Painting on right by Laila Garza

One thing we know about life is things never go as planned. Most of us like to feel consistency in our lives and often resist change. If we really could control what happens in our lives our progression would probably be very small. We'd live in a safe little box with our limited view of what we think we need and want. But Heavenly Father has a much greater plan for us. His dreams for us are greater than we can imagine. So he mixes things up. When, in His wisdom he knows it's time for growth he gives us challenges. He stretches us. He patiently and lovingly waits for us to reach for Him when we feel all hope is gone - when life is too scary to handle alone. Picture a baby who is learning to walk. They don't beleive they can do it. It's really scary. But they get placed in a position where they have to do something. They have to try and begin to take a step and then another and when they begin to fall a loving mother or father catches them. Then what do they feel - surprised, excited, encouraged.

If things always went the way we wanted life would be pretty boring. Whenever I'm sick with the flu and I start to feel better I feel so happy and thankful for life. We don't appreciate health without sickness, or cleanliness without messiness, happiness without some misery, or life without death . A scripture in the Book of Mormon states, "For it must needs be that there is an opposition in all things" (2 Nephi 2:11) So there really is purpose in the pain of life. Heavenly Father is not unfeeling but full of love. He knows the end and all the blessings in store for us.

This even applies to painting. This week I'm sharing the things I've learned from Utah Artist Trent Gudmundsen. He said that you can't have bright color without gray or dull colors. If you apply bright color alone it won't appear as bright as if you pair it with a gray (especially a gray with it's complimentary color). So even in what we see visually God created it that way. Paintings are brighter when there's gray and life is brighter and better when there are gray days.

I know a big part of frustration in my life as a Mom is when my children fight and don't get along. I think that's why it's so sweet when I see them love eachother and be kind to eachother. I did a little painting of such a moment of my two youngest children to remind me and them to try to have more loving moments.

So don't fight the stretching and growth needed in your life. You will be surprised that you are stronger than you thought you were and you'll move forward in the great plan of progression and happiness - instead of living in a cozy and safe little box.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Welcome Spring!!!!

After a long cold winter I am celebrating the joyous arrival of Spring. For me Spring always brings with it a feeling of hope, a sense of awe at the beautiful world around me and a desire to live life fully. I suppose it's how the bears feel as they leave their caves after a long cold winter of hibernation.

My 10 year old son with autism has been planning for two months now for this day. I know he invisioned the first day of spring to be warm and cozy with an instant change from snow to flowers and sunshine. He kept seeking reassurance from me - "No coat in Spring. No Snow in Spring". I wanted to promise him these things but I tried to explain that Spring is gradual. Things change slowly. Sometimes we don't even notice until one day we wake up and realize we've arrived.

I think that the slow and gradual pace of Spring, or the growth of a garden, or a child, or progress towards whatever we are working on is meant to take time. As we accept this as a principle of life we will establish inside of us hope to see our dreams come true and we will find patience for the wait. I know so many times I've given up on a goal or a dream because I lose hope to ever attain it and can't see any progression. But, I am realizing it is wisdom to hold fast to my dreams and know that step by step, if I continue on I will see them come true.

In our fast paced society today, people want instantaneous results. Not too many people are even trying to pursue their dreams because "it's too hard". We want things easy and fast. But all things that matter take time. I tell my children that things that you feel like doing and are easy usually aren't good for us - like sitting around all day, eating junk food, and putting off homework. But things that require discipline and that we often don't feel like doing, like exercising, cleaning house, pursuing or practicing a talent we have, doing what we have to do right away, and reading scriptures really make us feel happy and fulfilled. Think of the long term effects of either choice. Becoming unhealty and unfullfilled or being happy, healthy and fulfilled.

I've been trying to learn something new every day from artists that I admire. I've learned so much from Utah artist Trent Gudmundsen. He said that it's very important to remember that there are two types of light - warm light and cool light. When light on your subject is warm, the shadows will be cool(er). When your subject is in cool light that shadows will be cool(er). I've been trying to train my eyes to see whether the light is warm or cool.

My progression in art is slow and most times imperceptible. But I'm occasionally very pleasantly surprised when I see something I did a few years ago and realize that I am really progressing. I am holding on tight and beleiving that step by step I will come closer to seeing my dreams come true.

This is the first painting I saw by Trent Gudmundsen. I loved his style and use of color. I sat there staring and thought "That's what I would like to paint like". Check out his work at

Happy Spring! Now, go chase your dreams.