Dry Brush

This is love: not that we loved God,

But that he loved us and sent his Son

As an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

I John 4:10


Tomorrow is our last day at the cottage

I try to drink in every detail

How I have loved being here

Spending hours upon this dock

Praying, reading, and journaling

So thankful for this place


I am not an artist

While I love to sing and take photographs

And play instruments

Art has always eluded me

Too impatient to get past my own frustrating

Lack of ability


But these past few weeks

I tried anyway

I set aside my own self-doubt

My own lack

Set aside the desire for perfection

Or even for something far less than that

And set to work at dry brush painting

About the simplest kind of painting there is

Painting a single object

True to size

Blending watercolors but with a minimum of water

Recreating what you see line by line

And angle by angle


Starting with a pale yellow outline

And then going over it with colors truer to what I see

Still not always able to find the right colors

Nor able to communicate dimension

With a deep sigh

Trying anyway


And it strikes me that this process is so much like life

One stroke at a time

One choice at a time

Some advancing the painting

And some detracting from it


Only unlike dry brush

In this case you do not see what you are painting

Until it is done

Trusting God as I make each brush stroke

That the picture He has in mind

Will be as it should

A thing of beauty


But so many times I

Drawing lines outside of what He has given

Somehow he still redeems the picture

Even so


Faithfulness in the small

Thankfulness for the small

Integrity not built by large choices

But by small ones

Day after day

Moment by moment


Entitlement impossible

When we thank him for sunlight

For rain

And for the petals on each flower


Then there is the blending

Picking colors to blend together

Can take more time than the lines themselves

If my actions align with God’s will

But my heart’s motives do not

It is like painting a rose

In a sickly color

How much of what gives a rose beauty is its color!


Dry brush requires the ability to notice

The space between the pine cone’s hard scales

The lighter ends and darker centers

The way part of it is shadowed


Lord help me be someone who notices

Notices when people are hurting

An agent of your grace

Not a harsh instrument

Cooperating with your Spirit

With gentle brush strokes

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