Monday, February 28, 2011

For A Sister AND A Friend

Press On
by Cheryl Harris White
Acrylic on Canvas
24" x 36"

This painting was done for my sister whom I now consider to be one of my closest friends.  It wasn't always that way though.  I painted this several years ago during a very difficult time in our relationship. I think all sisters probably go through this at one time or another...and even though I knew that what we were facing was normal and to be expected, I felt a deep sadness about it.  A sister is both a sister AND a friend, so when there was distance growing between us,  it  felt like I was losing two people instead of just one.  I remember struggling so much, and feeling extremely drained and annoyed and frustrated about the frequent problems between us.  No amount of forbearance or  understanding or patience seemed to be enough.  I was so tired of spending energy and getting no where.  I wanted to just quit even trying to work on our relationship. 

About that same time when her birthday was coming up, her husband asked me to paint a painting for her based on her favorite verse...

Philippians 3:14   
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize 
for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

It was the perfect assignment for me.  I thought about what I was painting and who I was painting it for.  I remembered so many times when most people would quit, she never who was I to want to quit on her?  Any relationship takes hard work, and one with a sister is certainly worth fighting for.  She has an amazing tenacious spirit and is one of the most driven, committed,  focused people I know.  So, Char, this post today is for you.  I know life is hard right now, but I'm here to encourage you to keep pressing on.  You were born to be my sister, but I chose you as my friend and I love you!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Boat Without A Painting...

 Or at least it would have been if I hadn't painted behind it.  This was the first scenery I painted for the Actors Conservatory Theater back in 2006.  That is Ratty and; Mole "out rowing"! 

Last night at a wedding reception, someone asked me how I started painting.  After I answered her, I thought the story would make a good entry for my blog... so here it is.  

It all began about 5 years ago... One day, Courtney and I just happened to witness a rehearsal going on for a production of Oklahoma.  Courtney just HAD to stay and watch and watch and watch.  The actors were in full costume so it must have been a dress rehearsal and nobody seemed to care that we were there.  She LOVED it!  She looked up at me with her little freckled 9 year old face and said,  "Mom, can I be in a play sometime?"  

I found a children's theater in our area and it all began.  Her first role was Dori the dwarf in The Hobbit.  They needed parents to help out with props, so I painted a door for the set.  The director liked it. A few shows later, the theater needed a set artist.  I looked at the huge wall on the back of the stage and just felt like covering it with paint.  I had NEVER done anything so huge before, but I wanted to try. 

 This was the result and I started to paint for each show after that.  Wind in the Willows pictured here is the first production I did, but many more are on my theater scenery page.

Courtney has continued her theatrical endeavors and I've had paint on my walls ever since.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Painting Without A Boat

This was another study just for practice.  It seemed like such a happy painting, I had to try it.  It should have a boat on the beach, but mine doesn't.  I got this far, and my daughter really liked it and wanted it for her room.  I've tried to get it back, so I can have a go at the boat, but so far, it still looks like this.  If I ever get around to finishing it, I'll post it for you to see.  

Color Study Without A Boat
by Cheryl White

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Tree to Hug

This is what a real Rowan tree looks like.  They grow mostly in Europe.  The hard pale wood 
was used during the middle ages for making bows, walking staffs and tool handles.   It was also sometimes used to craft serving bowls and dishes.  Quite practical . . .but humble uses for such a wisend wonderful old tree in my opinion.  So, below is my attempt to give the Rowan tree the honor it is due.
Rowan Trees
By Cheryl White
Acrylic on Canvas
30” x 40"

I  love this painting.  It makes me want to take off my shoes and feel the cool grass between my toes... and after that, I would lay down for a nap under the big tree in the middle.  To me, this painting contrasts youth and old age.  The grass looks supple and soft, blowing in the breeze...  it makes me want to run and  play in it.  In contrast, the gnarled bent tree trunks are stiffened and hard, but strong after years of supporting the heavy berry laden branches.  If I ever had the chance to meet this tree, I would give it a good strong hug.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

After Monet

In honor of the three daffodils that bloomed at my house today... I'm posting this painting.  It was my first attempt at a study of Monet's Spring.  I splashed this out about 5 years ago and I had so much fun with it.  

I love how the tree is bending over the girls like a shelter and everything fresh and new. The whole world seems so be bursting forth with new life, the trees…the grass and even the water is exploding with spring color.  And right there in the middle of all the excitement, two girls sit sharing a quite moment.  

I LOVE quiet moments... and there's nothing better than having a friend to share one with.

After Monet
by Cheryl White
Acrylic on Canvas 24" x 36"

Not Available

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Matisse Friend

After Matisse
by Cheryl White
Acrylic on Canvas 24" x 36"
Not Available

A friend of mine really loves Matisse...Our appreciation  of  art is just one of many things she and I have in common... but in my heart, I call her my "Matisse" friend because we went to see the Matisse exhibit  together at the Dallas Museum of Art when it came in town. 

This is a study I did of one of his paintings.  The particular painting by Matisse is called, "Odalisque with Yellow Persian Robe and Anemones" and is exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art . 

My version of it (left) is called "After Matisse " and is "exhibited" at my "Matisse friend's " house.  I gave it to her as a gift and every time I look at this picture of it, I am reminded of a moment when God's grace and forgiveness triumphed in our relationship. 

Many months after our museum day,  in a moment of weakness, she betrayed me.  It's not important what she did really . . . just that my trust had been broken and what happened between us hurt me very deeply in a very public way.  She was sincerely repentant when she realized what she had done, and wrote me the most beautiful letter of apology.  But at this point, the damage was done, and there was nothing either of us could do about it. I, however, had a choice...  I could forgive or not forgive, it was up to me.  I had been wronged publicly and I alone had the job of deciding whether or not to extend forgiveness. 

Forgiving wouldn't make what she did less wrong.  Not forgiving would not have made me more right. So why bother? Why not just write her off as a lost friend and move on?  I was entitled to be bitter and angry after all that had happened right? But,  I did choose to forgive. It was so humbling and hard, but when I did so, we shared a wonderful moment of reconciliation.  We hugged each other and we were both crying happy tears... We were friends again.  I know that it was not me who forgave her, it was God through me.  He alone enabled me to forgive graciously and freely without condition or requirement.  This is what GRACE is.  It is the same kind of forgiveness God extends to us.  

I didn't forgive because my friend was really sorry or sincere.  I didn't forgive because she is an excellent writer and her letter was so beautiful.  I didn't forgive because she liked my painting or we had things in common or even because she deserved it. None of those reasons mattered.  The reason I forgave, is because Christ chose to die on the cross to pay for my sins and HE forgave ME of so much more.  Because I had accepted His unconditional love and forgiveness when I didn't deserve it, I was able to extend it to someone else when they did not deserve it.  It was such an honor and a privilege to be able to do that. So . . . when I look at this painting, I remember the joy of our reconciliation day and I am grateful for "my Matisse friend."

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Everyone Has A Story...Artists Just Tell Theirs With PAINT.

"Painting is just another way of keeping a diary."
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), modern Spanish artist.

I was asked if I only paint stories from the Bible.  The answer is no, but I paint what is interesting to me and what I feel passionate about.  This really all began when I was painting murals for children's theater, but because God has been working on me and is living in me, that is what comes out.  It's all part of my story.  

I'm getting close to the end of my "stained glass window style paintings"...This one was "The Holy Family."  I say WAS because I have to confess, I painted over this one also. 

The Holy Family
by Cheryl White
Acrylic on Canvas 24" x 48"
Not Available

Coming up soon, I'll start posting some studies I've done of different artists. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Freedom isn't FREE

Marshall Harris
Served on Sipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima
 This is my dad . . . a retired WWII verteran ... US Marine who served on Sipan, Tinian and Iwo Jima. I believe he belongs to THE greatest generation of Americans in our country's history.  My sister and I watched him live out his life in memory of his fallen brothers in arms.  They had paid for our freedom with the price of their lives.  I was raised with the foundational belief that freedom wasn't free.  There is a cost involved.  Someone has to pay for it, and it is something to be thankful for.

The same thing is true about our spiritual freedom.  We are taught from Ephesians 2:8,9  that grace is a free gift to us.  

Free TO us, but it did cost God something.  

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.

My response to this is thanks and awe.  It motivates me to live my life in response to that sacrifice in a way that honors God.  

One time I asked my dad, what his favorite verses in the Bible were.  He said, Matthew 5-7, the sermon on the mount . . . so I painted it for him.( Below )

Matthew 5

1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2and he began to teach them. He said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

And This Is LOVE

And This is Love
by Cheryl White
Acrylic on Canvas 24" x 36"

Isaiah 53:4-6 

 4 Surely he took up our pain
   and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
   stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
   he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
   and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
   each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
   the iniquity of us all.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Water to Wine for Duke

Water To Wine For Duke
by Cheryl White
Acrylic on Canvas 24" x 48"
Not Available
This is another Water to Wine painting.  I did this  for Duke,  my awesome husband for an anniversary gift. I celebrate him and the life we have built together. 

Duke and I met at Texas Tech University and started dating after we both went on a couple summer mission projects together with Campus Crusade for Christ.  

What I first liked about Duke, was that he was a quiet leader and his heart for prayer.  He brings a dependable, consistent stability to everything he attempts to do and consistently works at the small things to create something lasting and solid.  If Duke looks at a tough problem or situation and decides a solution will work, it almost always does. 

I am not that way at all.  I'm intuitive, sensing and creative.  He is the perfect balance to to my artistic side, and I am so thankful for him after 20 years of marriage. 

That is what this painting is about and it is something to celebrate!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Loaves and Fishes Paintings

Matthew 14:13-21 

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand
13 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

by Cheryl White
Acrylic on Canvas 48" x 36"

I did two paintings with this theme, and both of them are sold...This one with more blues in the background to the Crawfords and another with more greens to the Dollacks.  I continued working with lines coming on and off the canvas and using a palate knife.  At the center, the larger than life figure shows Christ holding up the 5 loaves and 2 fish before feeding the thousands of people who had come to hear His teaching.  There are 12 disciples each holding up baskets of food that were still left after everyone had eaten.  This is important, because it reminds me that God's provision was bountiful, above and beyond their expectations.  
Loaves and Fishes on Green

by Cheryl White
Acrylic on Canvas 48" x 36"

I found this to be true in my own life as well when my husband was on staff with Leaders Shaping Leaders.  He was working for a non profit mission agency and 100% of his salary came from donated financial giving.  We had two small children and it was a huge leap of faith to really trust that God could and would meet our needs through those years.  I am an extremely organized, detail oriented planner, so to trust our future to God in this situation was HUGE to me.  God would have to be larger than life in order to provide for our family's needs...and guess what? He was...He is...and He did...above and beyond what we expected.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Art Goes to Russia

Giving and Recieving
by Cheryl White
Acrylic on 2 Canvases, each 21" x 17"
for Church in Tula, Russia

This is a two part piece I did for a church in Tula, Russia.  It was a gift from our church to theirs when a group from  CBC  went there on a mission trip.  The two connected paintings symbolized our connection with them as fellow believers. Reminding us that even though we are located on two separate continents, we are unified in Christ as one body of believers and a share a bond that will last for all eternity.  This was a really fun painting to do and it encouraged me so much to know they liked it. I love that even though I didn't go on the trip, my art did, and even stayed behind...and so through doing this painting, I am a part of their journey, and they are a part of mine.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Original Prodigal

About this same time, I attended  LEAD training, an amazing training conference at the Howard Hendricks Center for Christian Leadership at DTS. The four main goals of this week long training were to:

  • Affirm God's design and work in your life
  • Discover or clarify your life dream
  • Identify and address core hindrances
  • Develop a game plan to facilitate fulfillment of your life dream

Basically, what I got out of this week was that, God would not have put this talent in me or this insatiable desire to create and be creative, if He didn't want me to do something with it.  Yes, it was difficult at times, and frustrating when I failed, but I could and should keep working at it.  The workshop leaders there strongly encouraged me to continue to pursue painting and see where it lead.  The result was this painting.

Original Prodigal
by Cheryl White
Acrylic on Canvas 24" x 36"
Not Available
I decided to try this same palate knife technique again with the theme of the Prodigal Son.  I made the father figure in yellow and formed his arms in a circle hugging his son, bent over in repentance and humbled by his fathers's unconditional love and forgiveness. I wanted it to look kind of like a stained glass window.

I love this theme because this story is at the core of how I myself relate to God.  I am continually humbled and amazed by the unconditional forgiveness extended to me no matter how hard I fall or or deep I plunge into my own prideful indulgence.  This is my first of many attempts at this theme and it turned out better than the last one which was somewhat encouraging.  I'll show you more Prodigal Son paintings later and more that look like stained glass as well.

Also at this time, I began to search for a painting mentor here in the area and became involved with VAL (Visual Art League).  I met some very talented artists and began learning as much as I could.  I actually brought this painting to my first VAL meeting and was so encouraged by that experience.  I loved having a group of skilled and experienced artists to meet with and learn from.  More to come.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Two more paintings for the bathroom

Here are  two more paintings I demoted to guest bathroom status about 3 years ago and they are still there.  If you are new to the blog and don't know what "guest bathroom status" means, check out Feb.13,2011 and you will understand.

To the Right is "Lamb of the World". You can see Jesus with his arms stretched out. I love how they curve and go off the canvas.  There is the world, the vivid blues and greens.... and then there is this lamb that really bugs me.  Looks more like "Polar Bear of the World" to me, but anyway, it's supposed to be a

LAMB! Sorry, didn't mean to yell.  It was just so frustrating to spend so much time on something and still not have it turn out right.  I felt like quiting at this point and never painting again, or at least never painting another lamb again... but I didn't quit.

To the Left: "John the Baptist aptizing Jesus".  I actually really liked how this one turned out.  You can see light coming from Jesus and the dove was just so much fun.  It's actually worthy of a more honorable wall in our home, but since it matches the mis-fit polar bear of the world painting above,  it's in the guest bathroom also.

In my opinion this is a good example of two paintings which are unequally yoked. But I keep them together and here is why...

What I learned later, but I didn't understand then , is that creating art is more about the process, not the end result.  I hated the end result of the first painting, but had a lot of fun painting the 2nd one.  What was different?  My focus during the polar bear, I mean lamb painting was on producing something and getting it done.  It felt like work or a chore.  But on the 2nd painting I just really enjoyed the process of painting it and had fun. I thought about the event from the Bible that I was illustrating and what it meant to me while I was painting and it became an act of worshiping God.  Two paintings; same size canvas, same color palate, done by the same person, yet two totally different results.  This was a valuable lesson.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Celebrating Love

Water To Wine 
by Cheryl White
Acrylic on Canvas 24" x 36"
 Happy Valentines Day!  This is a good day to post my first Water To Wine painting from about 3 or 4 years ago . Water To Wine is a theme I revisited often over the last years.   This was a really fun painting to do and it belongs to the Rauhausers.

I was inspired by the story of  the miracle Jesus performed at the wedding in Cana.  I love the idea of showing the blue water pouring out and turning purple and red as it is flowing down. Layers wine of it curve and flow over the wedding guests and bride and groom as if their cares and worries were being washed away.  This was a celebration after all, and everyone looks happy.

People sometimes skim over this miracle as if it isn't as important as some of the other ones, where blind people receive sight, or the lame are able to walk again.  There was no life or death situation here.  But, in that culture, running out of wine before the end of the wedding celebration would have been a grave humiliation for the host.  I actually like this miracle best, because it shows us that Jesus cared about what we care about.  What a perfect example of love.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Guest Bathroom Status

by Wendy White
While painting theater scenery and sets, I was encouraged by my sister-in-law Wendy White, an amazing artist in Vail,Colorado to try some acrylic pieces, painting with just a palate knife. She is such an inspiration to me and so gifted. Wendy's work can be seen at . She gave me this painting to the right in 2005 titled, "Guidance" inspired by Isaiah 58:11.  On the back she wrote, "And the Lord will continually guide you...And you will be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters do not fail."  It is hanging  on the first wall you see when you enter my house, in my living room.

My first attempt at this type of painting was the Mary Did You Know painting posted previously (2 days back).  I tried making the lines come onto the canvas from one direction, do something or become part of the picture, and go off in another.  I liked the style, and splattering and layering the colors was a lot of fun. I wasn't happy with the composition though, and the small mistakes began to really bother me.  If you look at it long enough, you will see the crooked lines and maybe notice some things wrong with it, and maybe you won't, but the problems I saw with the lines really nagged at me.  I went ahead and hung it up in my guest bathroom, but knew someday I would need to go back and fix it.

My guest bathroom is the room in my house where I hang paintings that I am not really thrilled about.  You will never see one of Wendy's paintings in there, that's for sure. Those walls are reserved for pieces I don't want to look at every day. A painting with guest bathroom status is kind of like a "time out" for art work.  If you ever come to visit, and need to use the bathroom, you'll have to look at them while you are in there...and I'm so sorry.  Right now there are 3 paintings hanging in there that have been demoted to the walls of the guest bathroom, and their future is very uncertain.  Anyway, Mary Did You Know hung in there for about a year or more. One day I was so frustrated with a few things I kept noticing in the painting, that I just painted over the entire thing! Yes, I did, and now it's gone forever except for the photo of it.

I began to wonder if I should just stick to painting scenery.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Theater Scenery - Actors Conservatory

The Actors Conservatory Theater in Lewisville is where my kids began acting. I painted sets there between 2006 and 2008 for their productions.  The backdrops were all between 9 and 12 ft high and approx 40 ft wide.  It was a huge undertaking before each show, to get the scene painted on time, but I really enjoyed covering the wall with a scene that would set the stage for each show.  I used ordinary interior flat house paint and a really tall ladder!  My favorite scene was Wind In The Willows, which is not in the movie, but photos are on the Theater Scenery page.  More info about the Actors Conservatory can be found at  Credit for the large panoramic photos goes to Joyces Photography  

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mary Did You Know

Mary Did You Know?
by Cheryl White
Acrylic on Canvas, 24" x 36"
No Longer Available

I painted this one next. Mary Did You Know?  This is Mary and Jesus obviously.  I'm a mother, and thinking about her life just amazes me.  This captures the moment Jesus would be telling her good bye before he left home and began his public ministry which would ultimately lead to His crucifixion. He knew the price of what was coming, but still chose to do it... because He loved us.  
I know this moment between them isn't written in the Bible, but I decided to paint my version of what it would look like if it did.  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I begin with paint on my walls.

I have paint on my walls. Everyone has paint on their walls, I suppose.  My home has walls painted several different colors and our front room is washed in a nice pale sunny yellow, but that's not the kind of paint I'm talking about here.  The yellow room is my studio where I set up an easel and just paint, large canvases with acrylic paint mostly.  The walls are full of paintings I've finished and partially finished and paintings done by other artists as well.  And, in the corner near my easel, there are splatters of color that did not make their way onto a canvas.  Green, blue and red little spots that eventually should  be covered up with the fresh sunny yellow to match the rest of the walls, someday. But for now, there is still paint on my wall. I've decided to leave it there because I like it. I see it and it says to me, "go ahead and paint some already have paint on your wall. "  If I cleaned it up, it would seem like I'm not free to make a mess.  Not a good feeling for an artist. But, putting paint on a wall is a very good feeling.  My goal with this blog is to share that with you. Enjoy the paint on my walls.