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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Craft (as in handcraft) (02/08/07)

TITLE: God's Wonderful World
By Jacquelyn Horne


“You can do it. I know you can,” Opal said as she helped me choose canvas, oils, brushes, brush cleaners and many other tools for the craft. I wasn’t so sure. I could sew, crochet (never liked knitting) and do decoupage, but oil painting was for artists. I never considered myself to be an artist. But I was willing to try almost anything once.

Although our choice of faiths was different, Opal was a Christian and so was I. This was what helped to bond our friendship that lasted many years. We spent many hours together in her studio. These were such wonderful times of enrichment.

After I began painting, I looked at God’s world differently. Opal said I would. “You’ll notice the trees; how the sunlight and shadows change their appearance,” she said.

I did. But I noticed a lot of other things too. I noticed the coloring of the different sunsets and the grayness of an angry day. I reveled in the perfect ness of a rose or the humbleness of a shy pansy. I was enthralled at the beautiful arching and the soft hues of each rainbow I saw; as it reminded me of God’s promise to Noah. Painting opened a whole new world for me.

My gift of painting surprised me. It seemed natural for me to “smear” the oils on canvas. I guess the finished product turned out okay, because I sold one painting to a stranger. (Friends will buy anything.)

Besides fashioning handcrafts, I at one time propagated houseplants. It was amazing to watch as God created new plants out of a simple leaf stuck in potting soil and left to his wiles. But nothing, for me, will ever take the place of painting with oils. Every day, God creates a new canvas for me to enjoy. Sometimes, I put it on my canvas. Other times, I just feast on his handiwork. I bask in the splashes of color that he has created. God is the master craftsman!

Every time I see a newborn baby, a puppy, or a kitten; ever time I see a beautiful sunrise, experience a soft snowfall or gaze on a majestic mountain, I think of these words: “I will praise thee; for I am beautifully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” (Psalms 139:14)

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This article has been read 966 times
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Joanne Sher 02/19/07
Lovely description - very vivid. I loved "coming along" as you learned of your love of oil painting, and learning to cherish God's creation right along with you.
Donna Powers 02/21/07
Very nice! I also love the enthusiasm expressed through your words. Nicely done!
Jan Ackerson 02/21/07
Good wiritng here, and I enjoyed the interplay between you and Opal. I did feel that this perhaps lacked a fine focus, for such a short piece: it was about you learning to paint, and you cultivating houseplants, and your appreciating of God's handiwork. Any of those in themselves would be worth reading, because you have an easy-going, readable style.
Beth Muehlhausen02/21/07
You know what made this successful in my opinion? Reading about your own enjoyment! The reader can't help but be swept up by your enthusiasm.

I agree that you could have limited comments to JUST oil painting and developed a little more of what it was like to sit behind the canvas, dab this color or that, feel the surge of inspiration......

I also tripped a bit when you said earlier that you and Opal were of different faiths but were both Christians?

You're sharing your heart here, which is what good writing is all about. :-)
terri tiffany02/21/07
You craft your sentences very well!! You have talent for sure - all I might suggest is you focus more on a specific topic that you want to write on and make a great beginning and work it to a satisfying conclusion- it is easy to want to add too much information and then take away from where you are going. Try to think of your end and what message you want to convey and then back it up to see how to get there:) Hope this helps - remember that other than that suggestion - you write well already!
Joanne Malley02/21/07
I like the truth you brought out regarding looking at things differently once you are a Christian. It is so true! The simplicity of this story as well as the honesty in your writer's voice was so refreshing and light. Blesssings, Jo
Julie Arduini02/21/07
What a sweet read. I too could feel joy as I read the many ways God shows Himself!
Edy T Johnson 02/23/07
Other than the little "disconnect" between these two paragraphs, which jarred me a bit...
"because I sold one painting to a stranger. (Friends will buy anything.)

Besides fashioning handcrafts, I at one time propagated houseplants."
...I really like your writing. Since I have also loved to lose myself doing oil painting, I see more than one link connecting us :) and I think it is fun getting acquainted with you through your writing. I also want to express my appreciation for your comment on my "Sidetracks" story. Thank you!
Pat Guy 02/23/07
Such a lovely story with lovely word choices. You revived a joy of painting I haven't thought of in years.

This is beautiful.