Love In Italia For Valentine’s Day

12670162_1029873897074418_707010300684508834_n

I have had the thrill of painting in Lucca, Italia during several summers, in recent years. I love to paint a balcony scene that is on a large square with an important cathedral. The real windows are often closed because of the hot, summer sunlight. When I have painted the scene, I have flung open the windows and added a couple in love. Love on Valentine’s Day – or in Italy, any day! I have museum quality gicleé prints on German etching paper available for sale, as well as blank cards, of this lovely scene.

DSC_0140

Here is the young couple in an embrace. The curtain is blowing to represent life and love. The days I have spent in Italy have been grace-filled days. They have been days filled with beauty, good food, kind friends and lovely color everywhere. Such beauty has been restorative to my soul, mending fragile areas, and encouraging my heart.

DSC_0141

This particular balcony has many pots of bright red flowers and flowers hanging on the stucco walls. The lively reds help me to see past dark days fighting cancer, and dark days healing from hard parts of my story.

DSC_0142

I have seen the windows open when I was on one, maybe two, of my trips to Lucca, and it was fun to see the long white curtains blowing a bit in the breeze. Such life! I have exaggerated the blowing of the curtains in this watercolor. The wild curtain expresses my joy I have experienced in this town.

DSC_0145

I’ve used washes of sienna to suggest shadows under the pots. A blue vase is casually tucked by one of the window shutters.

DSC_0049

Here is a photograph of the real balcony in Lucca with the windows closed. It’s a much more lively scene to have the windows open! This photo must have been taken during the heat of the day, or when I was wandering around early in the morning. If you’d like to buy a print or a set of cards, please let me know at marcia2010@swissmail.org. The prints are 11×14 for $40 / includes shipping costs. The cards are 10 blank 5×7 cards for $25 / shipping costs included. Please include your hard copy address when you email, and I’ll give you an address where you can mail payment. I only have 10 prints in this edition. Enjoy love in Italia!

lp.aspx

The front of my art cards.

preview

11×14 gicleé museum quality print.

New Year, New Art Cards

I have completed my fifth round of chemo, and I have survived my worst day – day three, after the chemo is injected inside of me. After sleeping much of today, I was able to order some cards to sell in the new year. I don’t have any here from the printer yet, but they will come in January. Stay tuned!

preview
Winter Cardinals, painted paper collage, Marcia Carole

preview

preview
Lavender Farm, watercolor, Marcia Carole

preview

preview
Sunny Italia, watercolor wax resist, Marcia Carole

preview

preview
Joy, acrylic on canvas, Marcia Carole
preview
The backs of each card posts my website and blog

That’s about all I have energy for writing today. The cards will be my fresh beginning for a new year. I pray this coming year will also herald better health, cancer-freer days, and the end of chemo infusions!

Advent – The Annunciation

P1090173

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.  The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

Last Advent, I completed a series of pen and ink drawings, on paper, with watercolor washes. The drawing style is Mehndi, a style I learned when I spent some time in Varanasi, India. For the first drawing, I chose to focus on the annunciation, the encounter Mary had with the angel Gabriel. Mary was told she would bear a child supernaturally, by the Holy Spirit, the glory of the Lord. I drew her looking somewhat perplexed. No matter how deep her relationship was with Yahweh, Creator God, Mary had to have been somewhat overwhelmed.

lp.aspx              lp.aspx

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

As we approach the holy season of the celebration of the birth of Messiah, Emmanuel, God with us, my pace in life has slowed significantly, due to my cancer fight. Because I have lots of hours of quiet, rest, naps, fatigue, I am taking longer moments of seeing, really seeing, Advent. Making art is first slow, intensional seeing, and then drawing or painting in response to this intense seeing.

lp.aspx
“Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”

As I “look” more carefully at this passage in the Bible about Advent, I see things I haven’t noticed before.

1. God was directing – He sent the angel.

2. The event had specific timing -the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. It may have seemed like an interruption to Mary, but it was purposeful and planned within time.

3. The event was for a specific person, within a specific family. Mary was a real person.

4. Mary had God’s favor and companionship.

5. Mary must have felt safe enough to not run away from the angel. She was troubled, but not consumed with fear.

6. The angel comforts her troubled heart.

7. The angel is boldly honest with Mary.

For me, one who dreads, fears, upcoming chemo sessions because of the pain that follows thereafter, I look for God’s character in this part of the Bible. I see He is safe, He has a plan, He has timing connected with His plans, He has plans for specific people. I can take to heart that he is a God who gives favor and companionship; He speaks words of comfort, employing angels. (And most likely others?) He is honest. There is no beating around the bush on the plan.

Mary wants details on the impossible becoming possible – a virgin having a baby. It’s outside the natural order; many have swept the virgin birth under the rug, or tossed it overboard in order to line up the story with their limited thinking. (We often don’t think as deeply and soundly as God does.) Well, proving we truly aren’t God.  Amazingly, miraculously, Mary trusts the angel knows what he’s talking about. Mary sets aside her life plans, her agenda. Incredible! Just maybe God had planned, and had prepared Mary for this assignment, in her young, trusting heart. “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

“I am the Lord’s servant. I am the Lord’s servant,” I whisper to myself.  That just might be an important place to start Advent. And, trusting God’s plan, cancer and all. Can I trust He has prepared me for this?

P1000336
Marcia Carole learning mehndi in India

If you are interesting in purchasing these cards, I have a very limited number in my art “store” here:Mehndi Art Cards

 

 

 

Peru Nativity Cards Coming Soon!

preview
5×7 Glossy reproduction, blank on inside – sold as individual cards and in sets. Coming soon.

What a morning with my chemo brain! Chemo brain is not for the faint of heart. Ordering cards and reproductions are hard for my artist brain, on a good day. Then, you add partially fried, chemo brain cells, factor in crazy, self-willed spell check, and my morning’s work of ordering cards from my original watercolor was a wee bit of a challenge! Somehow, miraculously, these cards have all been ordered from the printer.

preview
This is the back of the 5×7 card.
preview-2
4×5.5 matte reproduction, blank inside.
preview-3
This is the back of the 4×5.5 cards.

My next chemo appointment is right around when these are due to arrive at my place. I hope to have the brain function, and the physical strength, to mail out cards by mid-November. I am so thankful to God to have the strength to paint any day during my chemo cycles. And, the capacity to order cards, on top of painting, is nothing short of miraculous. God keeps showing me His grace in the middle of my hard.

God With Us – Peru

DSC_0011
I am completing a nativity scene in response to my time in Peru. I love all the vivid colors there. No one is afraid of deep blue, bright orange or a green that pops with life.
DSC_0007
I saw donkeys and alpacas when I visited Peru. It was fun to add these animals to the scene. I used watercolor and pen and ink on 300 lb. watercolor paper. My watercolors are from Daniel Smith.
DSC_0001
It was fun working with bright colors while contrasting them with the white hats and white sheep.

I am in the land of being post chemo, but not free of its effects. I have more strength, but not enough to really run around or work all day long. I know how to lie in bed and do nothing but listen to quiet music as I moan from pain. I know how to run around non-stop with lots of energy. However, this land of some energy is a hard one to navigate. I get a spurt of energy and think for a moment that, just maybe, I don’t have stage 4 breast cancer. Maybe I am fine!

That joyous thought is quickly swept away when I get tangled in my yards of oxygen tubing or my side begins to ache because of the cancerous fluid remaining in my right lung. I’m rudely jerked back to my current reality. I am sick. And, it is a long journey to get somewhat better.

Then, I sigh, and begin again, adding layers of bright, happy colors to my painting. God with us – Christmas. God with skin on – Jesus – came to live among us. He humbly started His journey as a baby. I am always amazed at this truth. I take some pain pills for my lung, and quietly worship as I add more layers of beautiful color. Yes, Beauty came to our broken world, and to mine. Even my world of cancer.

Art Cards Have Arrived!

Surrender_All_to_Jesus.137214116_stdlp.aspx

500 lovely cards have arrived at my doorstep. Each time I look at these, I remember wonderful friends and family who cheered me on during chemo for stage 4 breast cancer. Boy, was that a time when all was stripped away, and I surrendered all to Jesus – at least, a lot more so!

People ask me often if the cancer is in remission. No, I calmly say, knowing this will be painful for them to receive. God has chosen to keep cancer with me, although it seems to be on a much smaller scale than when I was first diagnosed.

“You will always be stage 4 breast cancer, Marcia.” my doctor once said. “What to do; what to think?” I said to myself as my eyes teared up.  (Well, let’s emblazon that on my forehead, why not???) I decided the next day to just get up, one day at a time, and just show up for my life. No, I have no idea how many days I have, but with each of them, I am going to try to love better, show more kindness, and tell more people about Jesus’ love and goodness. The absence of cancer is not my great good – God is my great good. I have that, so, basically, I’m good.

lp.aspx                  If you’d like a set of these cards, please go here:CARDS Funds raised will go toward my upcoming trips to Romania and Peru using art to share my faith in Jesus.

                       Surrender_All_to_Jesus.137214116_std

A fellow blogger, sister in Jesus and fellow stage 4 cancer friend through the internet, Kara Tippetts, once said she and her husband were having a conversation about how much they surrender to Jesus. Our songs tend to be, “I surrender some.” Or “I surrender all….. if my life is perfect, my kids are perfect, and I’m free of cancer.” We all had to chuckle as we heard her speak. She got me thinking. How much do I really surrender? My greatest challenge is surrendering my control of my life – which I probably have far less of than I think! Cancer helps in this surrendering, it really does.

Art Cards – Beauty In Brokenness

lp.aspx
Front of Beauty In Brokenness Art Cards, from Marcia’s original art.

I have ordered these cards from my printer, and I’ll have them available within the next two weeks. I’ll be having them available for purchase in the “bookstore” at my church. Also, as I can, I will make them available on my website.

 

lp.aspx
Back of the art card, with an explanation of how the art was made.

I am so thankful for all of you who continue to cheer me in in the work God has called me to combining art, story and faith in Jesus.

The absence of suffering in my life is not my good. The nearness of God is my great, great GOOD. – Kara Tippetts

Art Cards Available Sunday Night

Marcia_LavenderBouquet_11x14
Original watercolor used for making my cards.

My art cards will be for sale on Sunday night after “The Passion of Christ” concert at Village 7 Presbyterian Church.  Why not grab some beauty and support two international outreaches I hope to be a part of this summer.

P1090468
A basket of beauty to help raise funds for upcoming art outreaches.
P1060377
My original watercolor of bright, deep pink tulips.
P1090467
Bright, cheery cards made from my original watercolor of the tulips.
images
One of my first sunflower watercolors painted in the Seattle area.
P1090469
Art cards of the sunflowers as well as some hanging fuchsia.