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Wishing everyone Peace on Earth

I painted this many years ago, and only finally made a digital copy of it recently. It’s not one of my best, and someday I plan a do-over as I love the technique and composition of the painting. Since I wanted to write a Christmas post, and I’ve used my Mary and Jesus painting every year for many years now for this purpose, I decided to break out this old piece because the imagery is appropriate to my message.

When Jesus came to our world, angels appeared bringing a special message. Their message, found in the Gospel of Luke, was, “Don’t be afraid! I bring you good news of great joy, that shall be to all people.”
A message meant for all people. And I think of an entire planet. After announcing the birth of the Messiah, and where to find him, they concluded with, “Glory to God in the Highest, and upon earth peace, among humanity — good will.”
They repeated this idea of good will, or good intentions coming from God, good news, something that would bring joy and peace. Peace on Earth.

The Birth of Christ was a message from God to the entire planet, one that was meant to be a message of God’s heart toward us, and one that was meant to be a message of peace.
As a Christian who believes that God is love (1 John 4:8), and that God’s heart is for all of humanity (John 3:16), I don’t like having an us verses them mentality. Instead of following a Christian culture of separation from the world by taking sides in a War on Christmas, I feel like the beautiful message of peace from God is better served when we lay down our weapons and look for the coming of Christ in the faces of the people we pit ourselves against.

We tend to approach peacemaking with a corporate mentality of brokering deals. It’s what we’re used to. When there’s a war on words, and neither side can broker a deal, it keeps fanning the flames for confrontation. I’d like to suggest an alternative peacemaking strategy, one that is both Biblical and pluralistic, and one that doesn’t depend on brokering a deal.

Of all the apostles who spread the good news about Christ to the surrounding communities and cultures beyond Christianity’s Jewish beginnings, we have more details from the Apostle Paul than any of the others. When one looks at how he approached non-Jewish, pagan culture, he did something remarkable. He built intercultural bridges. In Acts 17:23 Paul is seen building one of these cross cultural bridges “For as I walked around and examined your objects of worship, I even found an altar with the inscription: To an unknown God. Therefore what you worship as something unknown, I now proclaim to you.”
Instead of bardging in and telling these pagans that they were simply wrong and needed to say a specific set of words in order to be right, he instead found something that was a common idea between his own culture and theirs.

I think this idea of finding something in common is a beautiful thing, especially with a message that is one of peace toward the entire planet. As I contemplate the myriad of cultures that also have holidays during the winter besides the Christian Christmas, such as Hannukah, Kwanza, Divali, Bodhi Day, Yalda, Yule, sometimes Ramadan depending on the calendar year, and so on. As I observe some of these other traditions celebrated during the winter months, I do see something in common that we all seem to share this time of year, especially for cultures in the northern hemisphere. There is a common theme of light shining in the darkness. The Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere, and the many cultures have somehow made traditions of lighting candles, or in pagan times, hanging evergreens, to symbolize life and light in the midst of darkness. In the birth of Jesus, a star appeared which guided Zoroastrian magi, or priests, to his birthplace. Again, that hint of peace on earth and good will toward humanity appears in the Christian story through pagan priests coming to honor the message of peace from God to humanity. The star that guided them was a light in the darkness, a guide to those who would look for God from wherever they were at. Yes, the light in the darkness is something all humanity always hopes for, and always celebrates.

I’m a Christian who says both Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, because to me the light shining in the darkness, the light of peace and love, which is embodied in the God I believe in, is something that all cultures honor. My religion does not have a claim on something that God intended as a message of peace to all of humanity, and being greedy over a time of year that is honored in many traditions has done nothing to promote peace on earth. My advice is to say Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays, and Happy Hannukah, and Peace to You, or whatever is meaningful to you, and receive whatever greetings are given to you with welcome, because anything said or done with a spirit of love and peace behind it is taking part in God’s message of peace to the world.

A side project I’ve been working on….Dragon Lord

Dragon Lord is an old school text based PBBG browser game. You are a dragon that must fight your way to the top to earn your kingdom and defend it against other dragons. As you fight, you discover that there is an enemy more deadly than the other creatures and dragons fighting for your territory, and you alone must stop it from destroying the world.

Features:

Completely Free to Play and Free to Win!
Dragon classes
A Main Quest story with a final boss to conquer
Exploring and random monster fights
PvP dueling (optional)
Gaining territory and managing troops
Run your kingdom as a Utopia or be a despot
Kingdom vs. Kingdom
Achievements and Leaderboard
Loot to make your dragon stronger
Companions and pets to collect and fight with you in battle

Your dragon is a character in a larger story, make your dragon story into a legend!

I have been working on this game on and off since 2012. It has been on my bucket list to make a game using my art and story telling, and I’m very close to having this dream become a reality. Right now the game is in closed alpha so that I can iron out bugs and add features before I make an open beta release.

It really is a fully homebrewed type game, and those who have played online text based PBBGs back when the internet first became widespread will recognize the format and style. I fully retained the old school look while trying to add my own artistic style that makes it look old in another way, like an old book you have just opened to an old story from long ago. It’s an experimental style using a mix of digital layers and inking with traditional sepia sketching techniques that were scanned and added to the image layers. The game begins with 3 classes of dragons that a player can pick from: Arcane Dragon, Warrior Dragon, and Ranger Dragon. Here is the cover art for the game showing the 3 avatars, as if taken off the pages of an old leather bound book:

New Portfolio Added – Needle Felted Art

Over the past year and a half I’ve been making Christmas gifts with a wonderful hobby called needle felting. The process begins with a clump of wool and a special barbed needle which grabs the wool and weaves it into itself. Anyone who has ever accidentally hot washed a wool sweater knows how easy it is to felt wool (due to the nature of wool hair sticking to itself through it’s texture), and needle felting takes advantage of this. The process of forming the shape goes quickly, usually in just a few hours or a couple days if there are multiple pieces to join together. The detailing takes much longer, sometimes a full week or two because of all the little wool hairs that need to be smoothed or shaped.

Wool is 100% natural and safe, and the wire free critters make great toys for young children (or the young at heart). Wired critters are more suited for older children and up, and can be posed. While needle felting is a relatively newer way to felt wool, humans have been using felt for thousands of years. Some of the earliest archaeological pieces of felt come from the fifth century BC. Needle felting certainly feels like doing something that is time honored and ancient with a little bit of a modern twist.

I find that I really enjoy making cute things, and it’s difficult to not feel happy when something adorable is forming in your hands. While I’m not as detailed as other needle felt artists, my goal with my needle felting is to make things that make people happy. Since most of my needle felted art has been sold or gifted, I’m keeping a gallery here to show you what I have made. Click the angel mousie below to see some more of my needle felted creations!

New ACEO Miniature Paintings available

The ACEO category of the shop now includes these 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 trading card sized original watercolor paintings at a reasonable price for original art! Each original painting was created on acid free watercolor paper and cut down to trading card size.

ACEO, which is the acronym for Art Cards and Originals, comes from the tradition of ATCs, another acronym which means Art Trading Cards. Art Trading Cards have been used since Renaissance times where artists would trade with other artists so they could study each others’ techniques. In modern times, Art Trading Cards gained the popular sports card size. The main difference between an ATC and ACEO is how they are distributed. ATCs are mainly traded, while ACEOs are sold. ACEOs are a great way for anyone to collect original art without paying for the price of larger sized paintings. ACEO paintings fit perfectly inside trading card or baseball card frames, sleeves, and albums. Add some original art to your trading card collection!

New on the ACEO store page are the two Elf Sisters (sold separately), a manga comic styled Redhead Elf, and the sci-fi themed Planetscape. These paintings are extra unique because they were created before I got married, and are signed on the back with my maiden name!

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Free Coloring Pages now available!

I have updated some very old coloring page image files and posted them here in the products section for FREE!  These were originally made for the many kids I used to babysit, nanny, and work with in preschools. The originals were hand drawn the old fashioned way, so there will be minor variations in the pixels when zoomed in very large.  To download them, go to the Coloring Pages store page by clicking my fairy friend below! Click on the images you want, and then right click and save the large image that pops up.  Print them and color, patternize, and embellish to your creativity’s content! If you print copies to share, please keep the copyright and url info on the prints. Enjoy!