Egg Decorating In An Artists’ Home

Easter Eggs

Happy Resurrection Day from Loveland! I’m going to put up this quick little post on behalf of my hubby, Scott Freeman, because he wanted to share our egg decorating tradition with the world this year. Decorating Easter eggs is something we have done since we were both in art school, way back in the 1980s. We blow out the insides of the eggs, through tiny holes, and decorate the shells. We’ve been saving them for all these years, though plenty have broken by now.

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Easter Eggs

Rooster egg by Scott

It seems Easter eggs are somewhat out of favor with some branches of Christian believers these days. There are notions about eggs and rabbits linked with false “gods” and such. Scott and I have made a careful study of these topics in past years. We did this partly out of curiosity, and because we just like to know stuff. We also did it because we both have a deep interest in being close to God, and living in a way that pleases Him, as much as we can. We feel that the main way to do this is to love Him and people. However, as artists, we sincerely wish to use our gifts to honor the God for whom we profess to live. Would you like to know what we found out?

Easter Eggs

A couple of eggs I painted

"Jonah" egg, by Scott

“Jonah” egg, by Scott

Easter Eggs

Humpty Dumpty and Cat eggs, by Scott

The most important conclusions we discovered are elaborated in this post (click here) from Scott’s blog, “Art And Life Notes,” which is also a WordPress blog. Suffice it to say that there is ample evidence to conclude that eggs are a part of the holiday not because of any link to any “god” at all, really. It is likely that there were simply an abundance of them to be eaten on Easter, for reasons which I do not fully recall. Some theorize that folks were not eating eggs during the season of Lent, so the eggs piled up. In any case, there is really not a shred of evidence that the traditional use of eggs was about pagan fertility, unless you count a lot of Christians saying that it’s “obvious.”

pug egg, by Scott

pug egg, by Scott

In the meantime, we continue to decorate eggs, and to enjoy doing so. I have posted several photos Scott used in his Facebook post, so you can take a look. If you are into egg decorating, Scott and I would love to see what you’ve been up to, too!

Music, Art, And Worship (My Favorite Stuff!)

worship art

Jorie Henderson leads an evening of worship.

Music is the language of my heart. Nothing can reach me in quite the same way. It transcends words and preconceived ideas. Perhaps that is why music is such an important part of worship. Oh yes, you can worship God without music; it is certainly possible to enjoy music without engaging in worship. But put together music, worship, art, and a bunch of people you love, and it’s surely a taste of heaven.

Drummer Matt Henderson

Drummer Matt Henderson

Last week, my good friends, Jorie and Matt Henderson, brought together all of these elements in a beautiful evening of worship as they recorded music and video for their new music project, “Love Like Fire.” Jorie is a gifted vocalist, song writer, and keyboard player. Her husband, Matt, is a fine drummer and sound engineer. They’ve been working on some new music, and it’s all worship music. They have also enlisted some excellent musicians who are passionate about Jesus to be a part of this project. And, they called me and my artist friend, Sandy Beegle, to do live painting for the recording session.

Matt and Jorie had the auditorium set up to be vibey and cozy, with candles and chairs all facing the center. (But we were not confined to chairs, no sirree!) Our friend and pastor, Diane, was on hand to start us off with a rousing prayer. Later, Miss Aubrey stirred things up with more prayer. Folks were free to praise and worship and groove. Guitarist Dave Beegle added his awesome electric sound to the mix, and Emily Chamberlain (pastor/worship team member) led her song, “Beautiful God,” which I haven’t been able to stop singing ever since.

It’s so delightful to be in the company of people from several generations, coming together for the purpose of worshiping God. I saw young kids dancing and singing, college age guys and girls, grandmas and grandpas, and every age in between. Taking a couple of hours out of our busy lives to enjoy each other and God is something that is hard to find time to do, yet I’m always so glad I’ve done it.

"Throne Room II" - worship painting by Mollie Walker Freeman

“Throne Room II” – worship painting by Mollie Walker Freeman

My painting from that evening is another “throne room” picture, based upon my impressions from the book of Revelation. I tend to revisit these themes numerous times because I do not tire of imagining them, and, I suppose, because I really don’t know what they “should” look like. It’s fun to see what else happens as I paint this theme again and again. While I was working on the emerald rainbow, Sandy was painting an image inspired by the verse about mounting up on eagle’s wings. She is a great painter, and it’s always fun to see what she comes up with!

 

Sandy Beegle's painting

Sandy Beegle’s painting

As soon as I have definite info on how you can find this music, I’ll post it here for y’all.

Sandy and Mollie

Portrait Of A Story: The Art Of Frances Power Judd

"Goya's Best Night" by Frances Power Judd

“Goya’s Best Night” by Frances Power Judd

The best artists I know draw me into a story. Even if it’s a conceptual or abstract work, the narrative at work captures my interest. Or not, in which case, the work is uninteresting. Sometimes the story is about the medium or materials; it can even be about the history of the piece itself.

Representational art has not always been in vogue, of course. But as my friend, Fran Judd pointed out, one of the great things about being an artist today is that there is not one prevailing style that is dominating the art scene or the affections of the public. So, while materialism and the minimalism and all of those non-representational “isms” have had their day, we artists are now – finally! – free to express ourselves through any visual style we choose. Even portraits are once again an acceptable expression.

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That is good for Fran, who began painting after leaving corporate life, a mere 6 years ago. “I love painting people!” says Fran, “but I’ve never painted an actual person.” Looking around her lovely studio, I did not see a single painting, with the exception of the new abstract she recently began, that did not include a person. Each painting is unique in emotional and visual tone and coloration; each character tells a tale. Some are humorous, some dream-like, some haunting.

During November and December of last year, Fran had a show of her paintings at Artworks Studios here in Loveland. The show was a collaborative effort with poet Lynn Kincanon, who wrote poetry in response to Fran’s images. The two women also put together a book with the same title as the show, “Evocation.” The book was facilitated and assembled by local photographer Bob Campagna. The show featured dozens of portraits – all from the imagination of the artist, all painted in acrylic glazes on sandpaper.

Image from "Evocation" by Fran Judd

Image from “Evocation” by Fran Judd

I attended the opening of that show, and reflected that some of the figures reminded me of Marc Chagal, some of Emil Nolde. But mostly, I found the images transcendent, drawing me into some narrative unknown, leaving me to imagine what had happened or would happen.

"One" by Frances Power Judd

“One” by Frances Power Judd

As I talked with Fran in her studio, I could hardly imagine her as anything but a painter. Surrounded by paintings, including a floor canvas in front of the sofa, the whole room was warmed by the faces and colors I saw. Indeed, Fran was educated in art history and did not begin painting at all until she was living in Loveland. Yet painting had always been her desire.

Inspired by (no surprise here!) Gauguin, van Gogh and the Fauves, Fran began her painting career in our little town, where artists inspire and cooperate with one another every day. “I love having a studio here at Artworks. Even though it can be distracting, it’s so nice having these other artists dropping in. They are really supportive. It’s sad; several people will be leaving soon.”

The artist's studio

The artist’s studio

Even with so much going on in the arts here in town, it’s still tough to make it all work. Loveland is not yet a hot spot for art buyers, so we artists have to figure out how to support ourselves. So, while Fran is excited about the direction of her new work, she’s not sure what the details of her creative future will be.

“I really like working bigger,” says Fran of the 4″ x 5″ abstract piece she is working on. “I’m not sure it will stay abstract, but that’s what I’m trying now.” She told me of her desire to be more linear, fluid and loose – more fun, “not so serious.” Then, Fran told me how she got the large canvas, and also another one, the same size.

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“Early this year, I was in the hospital for a few days. When I got back to my studio, there were these two big canvases, with bows on them. The other artists here had gotten them for me.” She smiled as she recalled the gift that is now a part of her story, that she will use to create another visual story. And so it goes. Thanks for sharing your story, Fran!

photos of Fran Judd taken by Lee Freeman, Freeman Photography

photos of Fran Judd taken by Lee Freeman, Freeman Photography

Love + Light: Happy Valentine’s Day From Loveland

With a name like “Loveland,” you have to expect something to happen on Valentine’s Day. Artists are on every corner in this town, it seems, so naturally, we have some creative ways to celebrate this day. This “conceptual & contemporary art and light event” lands Loveland squarely in the 21st century, in my opinion, and that’s a fine thing. While I do have a deep respect for the history of our town as a world-famous sculpture center, it does my heart good to see young and innovative artists coming in and doing cool new stuff!

The first annual Love+Light show was in 2012.

The first annual Love+Light show was in 2012.

When I first came here, though, there didn’t seem to be much going on to celebrate Valentine’s Day except that there were lots of red hearts around town. The hearts were made in the image of candy ones, with cute stencils like “MWF + SF.” Then there was the re-mailing program, by which non-Lovelanders could have their Valentines stamped at our post office, so that their cards would bare our auspicious name. No big dances, parades, or romantic gathering places, really, ever drew my attention.

This lovely piece was made for the "65 Roses" show by Mary Schaefer Benke

This lovely piece was made for the “65 Roses” show by Mary Schaefer Benke

“Love + Light” (Love and Light) is fairly new on the scene. This year is the third such show, and it happens at the same time Loveland is also hosting a snow sculpture show, and a local gallery does a fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis research, in which artists paint roses. “65 Roses for Cystic Fibrosis,” an art show & auction run by my friend Billie Colson, has been raising money for the past several years. So, as a town, we’ve really stepped up our Valentine’s Day art game!

I wanted to show you some images from the Love + Light show because it really is unique and inspired. The artists in the show this year include my friends, Abbie Powers, G.Mark Lewis, Lynn Kincannon and Olivia Lowe. This year, we also have, all the way from Massachusetts, internationally recognized artist Chris Nelson. Nelson has created a site-specific installation.

This giant, breathing fabric piece was created by Abbie R. Powers.

This giant, breathing fabric piece was created by Abbie R. Powers.

It was my hope to publish this post on Valentine’s Day, but, alas, I spent my evening downtown, viewing and participating in the events. It was not as cold as last year, and the fire dancers and hot drinks, provided by Next Door restaurant, helped us warm up a bit. Of course, seeing lots of local artist and art-appreciating friends, and meeting a few new ones helped a lot, too. The show is open this evening for the final time, 6 – 9 p.m. Come on over!

Olivia Lowe and friends made an environment of words and windows for this year's show. Photo by Alana Brake, Lucky Brake Photography

Olivia Lowe and friends made an environment of words and windows for this year’s show. Photo by Alana Brake, Lucky Brake Photography

New Year, New Paintings

9 degrees Fahrenheit – that’s what my phone is currently showing for my town of Loveland, Colorado! And it’s the middle of the day! (The postman, a true Coloradoan, is walking by in his shorts.) It is January, after all, so I’m not surprised or complaining. Neither am I inspired to go out to the studio to work. However, I have been able to do a few pieces elsewhere.

"Hmmm..." by Mollie Walker Freeman

“Hmmm…” by Mollie Walker Freeman

Scott and I had the privilege of giving a demonstration of our painting techniques a couple of weeks ago at the Loveland Museum Gallery here in town. It was really fun to see so many friends turn out to support us that evening! If you were there, thanks again for coming – it just would not be nearly as fun without you! We brought along our camera, so we would be able to document the event. You’re supposed to do that, you know? Unfortunately, we did not remember to shoot any photos until we got back home.

However, I thought I’d show you the painting I did that night. I have to say that I received several great suggestions during the demonstration.That is partly because many of the folks who were there are sculptors, painters, photographers or other artists. Gary Alsum, thanks for your insights! David Boyd, I added the ring at your suggestion after you left. Hope you like it!

"Living Stones" by Mollie Walker Freeman

“Living Stones” by Mollie Walker Freeman

The second piece I will show you is one I did during a church service at Resurrection Fellowship. I am calling it “Living Stones,” which you may recognize from I Peter 2:5. I wanted to paint this concept, but was not very happy with the result. But, this was a perfect example of God using something less-than-great to do great things. Several people commented afterward that the painting was truly meaningful to them, and they had their own interpretations as to the meaning of the picture. (This is why I do this, folks!)

"Waiting" by Mollie Walker Freeman

“Waiting” by Mollie Walker Freeman

The last painting in today’s post is also from a church service. I’m calling it “Waiting.” I don’t know if you can tell from the photo, but the color came out very nicely in this one. There was also good feedback with this piece.  I always love hearing what others see in the images I make. I really consider myself to be just the deliverer of the art that already exists in the mind of the true Creator. Have you ever read “Walking on Water” by Madeleine L’Engle? There are all sorts of wonderful thoughts about art and artists and God in this book, and the aforementioned idea is one I first heard articulated in this book. Check it out!

Paper, Figures, Light: The Art of Olivia Lowe

Olivia Lowe described to me how she was inspired to turn old photos into lamps, and I wasn’t surprised to find it happened quite by accident. That’s pretty much where the best art ideas originate – from so many happy accidents. It doesn’t hurt to have a teeny-tiny budget and a lot of old “junk” lying around your studio, either.

Olivia's studio wall

Olivia’s studio wall – full of inspiration!

“I was working mostly with paper – collaging old photos and found objects. I happened to hold some photos up in front of a light, and noticed the image on the other side of the paper together with the one on the front, and said to myself, ‘aaahhhh.'”

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That was the beginning of the luminous 3 dimensional collages that became lampshades, nightlights, garden lights, and all sorts of wonderful pieces. I first saw one of Olivia’s lamps at the home of a friend. When my friend told me where Olivia lived, I realized it was a house in my neighborhood that Scott and I had considered purchasing ourselves at one time. When I walked by the house, I discovered that the creativity I saw in the lamp was reflected from every corner of the property that was now occupied by Olivia and her family. Found objects had become part of the fence, gate, and general decor of the yard. The house had an addition to the top – a sort of large dormer – that was encased in corrugated metal. And, there were garden plants and chickens, so I was pretty sure I would like these people!

A display of Olivia Lowe's garden lights

A display of Olivia Lowe’s garden lights

Over the past couple of years, I have seen Olivia’s handiwork popping up all over Loveland. Since she uses a lot of re-purposed materials (indeed, that’s nearly all she uses), I am excited to feature her and her art in this post. A few weeks ago, Olivia was part of the Loveland Maker’s Faire. I was able to watch her in action, showing her work to clients. This week, we were able to sit down over tea and share our love of collecting and re-purposing items such as fabrics, metal, and paper, especially photos.

“I find photos all over – thrift store, old books, the internet. You have to be careful; photos taken before the 1920s are copyright free. And, I’m taking a lot of my own photos now. I like using only part of an image, fitting that with other images and sort of layering.”

Olivia showing her handiwork at the Loveland Maker's Faire

Olivia showing her handiwork at the Loveland Maker’s Faire

Earlier this year, I blogged about the Loveland Garden Tour. Olivia teamed up with local artist Sharon Anhorn, with whom she has worked on several occasions. Her garden lamps, which hold candles, were popular items, and added a lovely touch to the repousse (metal) pieces of Sharon’s. I loved this garden (and the art) so much that I toured it both at the start of my tour and at the end. The delicate-looking garden lamps were delightfully distributed among the walkways and plants.

Olivia's booth

Olivia has also been an integral part of a new Loveland tradition, the Love and Light show that has graced the Feed and Grain building for the past 2 years. Her lamps seem right at home among the exposed brick walls of the old building.

Olivia's work in the first annual Love and Light show

Olivia’s work in the first annual Love and Light show

Loveland is bursting at the seams with artists, and I love it! In the 12 or so years I’ve been here, I’ve constantly been blessed to be immersed in a sea of creativity and talent. But the nicest part of all this is that these are real people, the kind you like to have for neighbors, like Sharon Anhorn and Abbie Powers and Olivia Lowe. Thanks for joining our community, Olivia!

 

New Paintings From Church Services

Can I be a bit eclectic today? There are a few tidbits on my mind…

First, I want to answer a question I am often asked. It usually goes something like this: “When you paint in a service, do you know what you will do ahead of time? Or do you wait to be inspired on the spot?” If you are familiar with more “charismatic” styles of services, this question will make sense to you, especially. It’s not uncommon for some pastors or worship leaders to be somewhat spontaneous in the context of a regular service. A song, a prayer, or even a whole sermon may be said to be “Spirit led,” and the implication is often that it was unplanned.

Mollie, painting at Resurrection Fellowship in Loveland

Mollie, painting at Resurrection Fellowship in Loveland

I want you to know that many of us Jesus followers believe that we are being led by the Spirit of God, even when we plan far ahead what we will sing, say, or create. However, what I paint in any given service may be more or less planned, or thought out, or not at all. Other artists will have slightly different answers to this query.

I think I can say that I always pray about the service, if given any notice that I will be painting. Sometimes, I have in mind a verse of scripture or a specific image. Sometimes, I have in mind more of a mood, color scheme, or general attitude. There are times when I am not at all thrilled with the outcome of my painting; sometimes these are the very paintings that seem to reach someone in a really deep way. I do not despair over the paintings, even when I am not so happy with what I have put down.

Also, the leadership (of the churches in which I have worked) seems to have an understanding that “worship painting” is an uncertain art, uncharted territory, if you will. The pastors and musicians on the various teams are extremely supportive of the artists, which I appreciate.

Now, I’ll show you a couple of new pieces. The first one, I have called,

"Yeshua, My Salvation"       "Salvation comes from the Lord" - Jonah 2:9

“Yeshua, My Salvation”  worship painting by Mollie Walker Freeman        “Salvation comes from the Lord” – Jonah 2:9

“Jeshua, My Salvation.” I was thinking a lot about the names “Joshua” and “Jeshua,” and how (I’m told) they mean the same thing, “the Lord is my salvation.” I love that  Jesus’s name says that He is my salvation. I have a strong awareness of my necessity for a savior, feeling keenly that I am unable to save myself. His very name is a reminder that He’s got it covered. The lamb in the painting was a reflection on the sacrifice that He made in order to become my salvation. The Hebrew word you see is my attempt to copy the word “Jeshua.”

The second painting here was painted this past weekend (September 7, 2013). The thought behind this one is a little more vague; I was drawn to the image, which I saw in a copyright-free reference book of old artwork.

"Take Aim" worship painting by Mollie Walker Freeman

“Take Aim” worship painting by Mollie Walker Freeman   “He made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in His quiver.” Isaiah 49:2

Abbie R. Powers, Another Loveland Artist

Abbie R. Powers is a delightful young artist who lives in my town, Loveland, Colorado. I can ride my bike to her studio in about a minute, and have visited her there several times.

Abbie does wonderful things with fiber, installations, and performance. When I visited her recently, she was beginning this project. Since she has already blogged about the project, I’m just going to pass it along to you. Enjoy!

A NEW WEAVING – LARGE SCALE WEAVING MADE FROM BED SHEETS

One year after doing a large scale weaving as a performance art piece on the porch of the Historic Feed and Grain in Loveland, I received a commission for a set of wall hung weavings for a house.

So, here’s a photo of my weaving in progress made from bed sheets. This weaving is 5 feet x 8 feet.

large scale weaving by Abbie R PowersAnd here’s a photo of the original weaving that I did as a performance piece – the piece that started it all! It is 11 feet x 12 feet and is woven from bed sheets and repurposed clothing items.

the lack of comfort [all we need]

the lack of comfort [all we need]

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Transformations: Making Loveland Better With Art

It’s that time of year again. So hot. Once Independence Day passes, I’m just holding on till the cool breezes of September come. It’s not exactly the time I’d choose to work outdoors; yet here I am again, painting a transformer (electrical) box for the City of Loveland. It’s such a nice project that I can’t help applying each spring (when it’s still pretty cool outdoors).

Mollie painting her first transformer box 2011

Mollie painting her first transformer box 2010

In Loveland, the city hires artists to paint the electrical boxes that are plentiful these days wherever people live. Honestly, if I had a great big, dull army green, metal box in my front yard, I’d want to do something to make it a little more attractive. Why not turn it into art? The bonus is that these boxes are much less likely to be vandalized, and that makes the power company happy. They actually spend less on hiring artists than they do on repairs from vandalism in some towns.

And with that, I have to mention that Loveland is not the only place these colorful boxes can be found. Scott & I even saw at least one in Germany last summer. Every local program varies a bit as to the application process, payment, and other details. Here, there’s a reception at the end of the summer to celebrate the newly painted boxes, as well as the ones that are still being enjoyed from previous years.

cherry pie themed box by Scott Freeman 2011

cherry pie themed box by Scott Freeman 2011

I love it when something positive and fun replaces something ordinary, boring, or ugly. This is certainly a function of art. I’ve seen a lot of fine art that could not be considered “fun,” or even “positive.” In this case, I love that everyone has the opportunity to experience the transformer box art, not only those who make it out to the art galleries. And for that to really happen, it helps that this art is on the lighter side. I’ve heard a lot of great feedback from all sorts of citizens, many of whom never set foot in an art venue.

Scott painting "Designersaurs" 2012

Scott painting “Designersaurs” 2012

Once you become aware of the Transformation Project and similar ones around the country and the globe, I bet you’ll start noticing them everywhere. When you do, you can remember that some artist spent many hours in the summer heat so that you could enjoy the electrical box art.

Mollie painting on her garden-themed box last summer

Mollie painting on her garden-themed box last summer

Gardens & Art: A Perfect Combination

Loveland, Colorado is known as an “art town,” and I am blessed to live here! We were first associated with the arts, as far as I know, because of the sculpture and foundry business. Indeed, Loveland is home to a large and well-known sculpture extravaganza which happens every year in late summer.

In the garden of Lynn Kincanon, shed painted by Fran Judd

In the garden of Lynn Kincanon, shed painted by Fran Judd

Since I arrived here, in 2001 (and before), our little town has been accumulating ever-growing numbers of all description of artists: fiber artists, potters, photographers, and, of course, painters. It’s really fun & inspiring for me to live among such a wonderful group of people!

The sculptures of John Wright

The sculptures of John Wright

As it happens, Colorado is also a great state for gardening, my favorite hobby. Loveland’s annual garden tour, a benefit for Loveland Youth Gardeners, is an event that first got my attention a couple of years ago, when my next-door neighbor was a participant. I’ve wanted to attend ever since; but this year, I actually did it!

Sculptural Gate created by Sharon Shuster Anhorn

Sculptural Gate created by Sharon Shuster Anhorn

Seven homes between the 900 and 1300 block of a nearby street hosted half of Loveland, it seemed, as hat-wearing chatting neighbors and friends toured their gardens. The fantastic thing about this tour was that art was featured in every garden! Most of the art included re-purposed materials. Actually, it was sometimes unclear where the art left off and the garden began.

Antique bicycles, scrap metal, and everything that could become a planter could be discovered among the wandering stone paths and raised beds, all artfully re-purposed. There were sculptures and paintings, ceramic bird houses and water features. And there were not a few pieces of art that included live plants.

Sharon & Mollie

Sharon & Mollie

Thanks to each of you who shared art, plants, and magical spaces. Here’s a list of the gardeners and artists who participated this year:

1) Sharon Shuster Anhorn, artist & gardener, Olivia Lowe, featured artist. I happen to know that Olivia is also a gardener because she is my neighbor. However, her whimsical art was in Sharon’s garden this weekend.

2) Norm & Carol Rehme, gardeners, Sue Quinlan & Charlotte Zink, featured artists. This is also a beautiful home that is an historic property.

3) Lynn Kincanon, gardener & artist, Fran Judd (also a gardener) & Juanita Estepa, featured artists. I’ve gotten to know Fran a bit over the past year. She is one of my all-time-favorite painters!

Artists Lynn Kincanon & Fran Judd

Artists Lynn Kincanon & Fran Judd

4) The Kelleher Garden, Kathi D. Dougherty & Deb Kessler, featured artists. These artists showed their striking glass pieces, which are so perfect for a sunny garden spot.

5) Jan Armstrong & John Wright, gardeners. John is also the featured artist for this garden, a joint effort of next door neighbors who share plants, chickens, and art. This delightful couple went beyond the official end time to engage us in conversation & show us some wonderful creations we otherwise would have missed.

Chickens in the Wright Armstrong garden

Chickens in the Wright Armstrong garden

A bit about Loveland Youth Gardens: They seek to “cultivate skills, stewardship & service in young people through sustainable gardening & healthy living practices.” I met a few of these fine teens, and they educated me about their garden plots and community service. Check them out at http://www.LovelandYouthGardeners.org. I’m inspired!