mother child gardening teaching family mike capser art print

Stay Teaching: Learning to Grow by Michael Capser

mother child gardening teaching family mike capser art print

Teachable moments are rarely planned. They happen as we spend time together. Learning to Grow, art print by Michael Capser.

While teaching is a profession, and a noble one,  it is not limited to a job.

Those of us who are fortunate remember a beloved math teacher who showed us the fool-proof way to figure out percentages; the English instructor who solved that whole “me and him” or “he and I” dilemma. But some of our finest and best teachers, and our first ones, are members of our family: our parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, grandparents. These are the people who have the strongest, most lasting and vested interest in the child.

Teaching is something that happens day by day, moment by moment, as adults interact with children, or even other adults.  We teach by example, by word, by listening, by caring. Some of the things we teach are concrete: how to plant a flower, how to knead dough and recognize when to stop, how to drive a car (every parent’s favorite). Other things we teach are social or ethical: saying please and thank you, recognizing how our tone affects our words, doing chores with the intent of doing them right.

And a more abstract teaching involves character: dignity, respect, honesty, compassion, kindness, understanding, goodness. These are not something we pick up from reading a book and answering a series of questions afterwards. These are elements we absorb as we live around people who are absorbing them themselves.

Quiet, Yet Dynamic, Teaching

Learning to Grow, Michael Capser’s artwork celebrating innocence and warmth, shows dynamic teaching in action. Side by side, mother and child transplant flowers. The woman leans easily into the task, the child squats down in the way young children so effortlessly do and “helps.” Part of the teaching is recognizing, which wise adults do, that little ones have little hands, short attention spans, and enormous quantities of imagination. The task itself is less important than the time together.

This type of teaching does not require an academic degree. But it most definitely requires a degree of caring.

Stay Teaching — You Have Much to Give

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Learning to Grow by Michael Capser. You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by Michael Capser are available online at this link.

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elk wildlife animal wilderness taylor fork crossing larry zabel

Stay Moving: Taylor Fork Crossing by Larry Zabel

elk wildlife moving animal wilderness taylor fork crossing larry zabel

Possessing neither phones nor computers, screens nor tablets, animals in the wild keep moving. Taylor Fork Crossing, fine art print by Larry Zabel

How much time do we spend each day sitting, and not moving?

Probably a lot more than we think. We live in a world of computers and TV screens, with jobs that require more sedentary “action” than physical. And after work, we glue ourselves to the news, or a “reality” show, or soap or sports or game show or movie or situation comedy or drama or whatever we find as we flip through the channels.

The problem doesn’t limit itself to a lack of physical moving. When we spend a lot of time in front of a screen, passively absorbing what we read and hear and what we’re told, our minds sit as well. Without concertedly taking time to physically move — to stretch and flex our muscles, to breathe deep as we exert ourselves — we get flabby. So also do we get flabby when we do not stretch and flex our minds, ask questions, research problems, look for answers, refuse to be passified and assuaged by neat, tidy explanations of how things are and how we must accept that they be.

Many animals in the wilderness spend their time moving. Alert to their surroundings, animals like the elk in Larry Zabel’s artwork, Taylor Fork Crossing, must be constantly aware of what is going on around them. Even in rest they remain watchful, because the world for them is filled with predators. These are not dumb creatures, but wary ones.

As humans, we have the added benefit to be able to reason, imagine, wonder, doubt, and pursue answers. What a gift!

Do we use it?

Stay Moving: Both Physically and Mentally

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Taylor Fork Crossing by Larry Zabel. You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by Larry Zabel are at this link.

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tender moments couple close hugging snow john weiss romantic art

Stay Close — Tender Moments by John Weiss

tender moments couple close hugging snow john weiss romantic art

Some moments are so close, private, beautiful, and intimate, that they require physical touching. Tender Moments, limited edition giclee canvas, framed, by John Weiss.

Human beings need to touch and feel and be close. The interesting thing about the word, “feelings,” is that it is not limited to what goes on in our mind. As warm, gregarious, social beings, we crave also the actual touching of one another: being close physically strengthens the bonds of feeling close emotionally and spiritually.

This is a vitally important fact to never, ever forget.

There may be times when we cannot physically hold hands, lean into one another, stand close enough to speak — tete a tete  (intimately and privately) and sotto voce (too softly to be overheard by strangers) — but if such times do exist, they need to be brought quickly to a close. There is a strange illusion that communicating via phone text or social media post is an adequate replacement for physical closeness, but this is exactly that, a strange illusion.

The artwork, Tender Moments by John Weiss, is aptly named. The memorable moments, the ones which settle into our heart and create a space of warm comfort and joy, are frequently the quiet, “ordinary” ones. A couple stands close together in a snowstorm, side by side and leaning into one another, doing nothing more than enjoying each other’s presence. The family dog leans in as well. This is a moment of trust and peace, of intimacy and warmth. These elements are crucial to human relationships, and without them, we risk losing the very essence of our humanity.

Stay Close and Connected

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Tender Moments by John Weiss. You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by John Weiss are at this link.

If this post has encouraged you, please pass it on.

juicy peach child toddler curious nostalgic innocence morgan weistling

Stay Curious: Juicy Peach by Morgan Weistling

juicy peach child toddler curious nostalgic innocence morgan weistling

Looking, touching, feeling, wondering — before she even tastes the peach the curious child explores everything about it. Juicy Peach, limited edition giclee canvas, by Morgan Weistling.

One of the most bothersome things that people do when they grow up is — no longer wildly curious — they give up asking questions.

After all, asking questions is what children do, to the point that they drive adults nuts sometimes:

“Why is this?”

“What does this mean?”

“If a lion and a shark got in a fight, who would win?”

Children are curious, indomitably so, and it is through this curiosity that they learn about the world in which they live. A child who does not ask questions, while they may be delightfully complacent and quiet, settled in front of the TV, is a dull child. And, as an adult, they will be disturbingly easy to fool and manipulate.

Morgan Weistling’s artwork, Juicy Peach, shows a child in the throes of curiosity. The peach is not something to be mindlessly consumed as she leans over the sink, thinking of something else. (Indeed, as adults reading that last sentence, our first curious question would be, “But most little children aren’t tall enough to stand over the sink in the first place, are they?”)

No, she must touch the peach, turn it over in her hands (which will ensure that no one else will want it after her), smell it. She fully immerses herself in the joy and delight of eating a peach.

Stay curious. Stay asking questions. It is through asking questions and seeking answers that children grow into interesting, creative adults.

Stay Curious and Asking Questions

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Juicy Peach by Morgan Weistling.  You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by Morgan Weistling are at this link.

If this post has encouraged you, please pass it on.

 

cats can together friends communication braldt bralds

Stay Together: Cats in a Can by Braldt Bralds

cats can together friends communication braldt bralds

Social media “socialization,” which is aptly named, actually, will never approach the value and power of face to face communication. Cats in a Can, fine art print by Braldt Bralds.

Families, friends, people who care about one another — these are a powerful influence in society. It is essential, in a free society, that people can interact, be together, preferably face to face so that we are able to meaningfully communicate. Social media interactions will never approach the honesty, integrity, and safety of being able to directly talk to another person.

So what do we do when congregating, as an option, is removed?

So long as we are allowed to be outside, albeit at a distance, then let us take advantage of this option. Some people, out in their yards, shout out to one another, conversing rather loudly, it’s true — but they’re conversing. Though we cannot physically be as close as the Cats in a Can by artist Braldt Bralds (which, admittedly, looks a little crowded; but then again, cats think differently than humans), we maintain our sense of togetherness, our loyalty to one another as friends, family members, people who care about one another because we are fundamentally human. Staying together, ultimately, is not a matter of physical proximity so much as it is a spiritual connection.

Cats know the value of togetherness. They’re pretty smart creatures.

Add a Sense of Friendship to Your Day

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Cats in a Can by Braldt Bralds. This work is already framed with a sleek black frame with gold highlights that interplay with the the glints of light in the image. You may purchase the print online at this link. Should you desire a new custom design frame for your purchase, we would be delighted to work with you, online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by Braldt Bralds are at this link.

If this post has encouraged you, please pass it on.

blue jay bird contemplative animal carl brenders

Stay Contemplative: Flash of Sapphire by Carl Brenders

blue jay bird contemplative animal carl brenders

Still for a moment, the Blue Jay appears to be in a state of thought. Flash of Sapphire by Carl Brenders

It can’t be easy being a small bird. After all, there are lots of larger creatures — raccoons, skunks, birds of prey, and of course, cats — who would like to have a close relationship with you that isn’t necessarily the kind you’re looking for.

It’s no wonder that birds hop about, take to flight, keep moving, seem nervous somehow.

But the bird in Carl Brenders artwork, Flash of Sapphire, is quiet and still — one could imagine that it is contemplative. Because quietness and stillness are what it takes to be contemplative, thoughtful, engaging in the deep thought that only humans, really, can engage in. And while birds and animals are not able to engage in that deep thinking, they do have an advantage over us humans that we might consider adopting: they don’t glue themselves to social media, allowing it to permeate their thoughts and actions, making them more nervous than they already are.

“But you’re promoting your own words on social media!” one can imagine the outcry.

That’s a good observation. So . . . let’s bring it back to our ability to engage in deep thinking: not everything we read online is true — that’s a statement we’ve been hearing for years. Let us contemplate that thought . . .

Add a Contemplative Image to Your Day

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Flash of Sapphire by Carl Brenders. You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by Carl Brenders are at this link.

If this post has encouraged you, please pass it on.

mission gate vineyard courtyard home house june carey

Stay Home, Thinking: Mission Gate by June Carey

mission gate vineyard courtyard home house june carey

Walk among the flowers, hear the gentle sound of birds, feel the sunshine. Mission Gate by June Carey.

Home is a place of refuge, of freedom, of privacy. Within our homes, we are — or should be — free to speak our thoughts, voice our doubts, set forth our questions.

Within our homes, and for those who have them, in our yards, our gardens, the patio, we roam amidst material things that matter to us, because we have taken time to gather them together in one place. As the owners of our homes, we determine who enters them, whether actual people, or influences from outside: TV shows, streamed movies, online fare, social media, magazines. The junk mail we throw away; the spam calls we block. The phone, the computer, the screen — these need not be on.

We can look at our home as a visual representation of our minds: do we allow in things discordant, unpleasant, unsavory, undesirable, uninvited?

The artwork, Mission Gate by June Carey, shows a most delightful home, a beautiful home, set about by a garden of greenery and grace. How lovely to wander through the paths, experiencing the quiet, the freedom from distractions and discord, and thinking. The only sound is the trickle of the fountain, and it is a gentle sound, a peaceful sound, a sound that is not harsh or fearful, strident or insistent.

That silence, that gentle sound, is in our own homes, if we let it be so.

Add a Thinking Home to Your Day

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Mission Gate by June Carey. You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation. Mission Gate is also available as a print already framed, as a canvas at this link, and as a limited edition paper print at this link.

More works by June Carey are at this link.

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scarlet tanager bird blossoms wildlife rod frederick

Stay Outside the Fray: Scarlet Tanager by Rod Frederick

scarlet tanager bird blossoms wildlife rod frederick

What a beautiful place to stop and be for awhile, enjoying the silence and a time for thought? Scarlet Tanager by Rod Frederick.

Have you ever been at a big sale, when people are pushing and shoving at one another, intent upon buying some loss leader item at a box store, as if it were something worth getting so intent about? You find yourself right in the middle of the fray, pushing back, when you suddenly think,

“What on earth am I doing? Did I just push that person aside????”

Maybe you’ve never done this. That’s good to hear. But, all of us, in some way, are tempted to jump into the fray sometimes, to enter the room swinging, to determinedly push another person aside. One of the frays of our day is social media. This is a place, we’re told, that’s like a party, a social gathering where people are free to say what they want and the others in the room, like polite people, nod if they agree. And if they don’t, they may pass by and get another drink, or politely — like polite people — engage in a meaningful dialogue of dissent.

Hmm. I wonder where that particular platform could be . . .

The artwork, Scarlet Tanager by Rod Frederick, shows a most beautiful little bird, set within a riotous environment of spring blossoms. The scene is serene, the bird quiet.  He (she?) isn’t squawking, scolding, screeching, but rather, stands poised in an attitude of thought, of contemplation. Out of the fray of the flock, the Tanager is in place of peace and beauty. Should another Tanager show up, perhaps they will chat — face to face, because that is the best form of communication — but for now, the Tanager is able to just . . . think.

Out of the fray.

Stay Outside the Fray in a Quiet Place of Thought

Wenaha GalleryThe featured image to this article is Scarlet Tanager by Rod Frederick.  You may purchase the print online at this link. We would be absolutely delighted to frame the work for you, working online and by phone — something we have been doing successfully for many years with out out-of-town clients. Email us at Wenaha.com to start the conversation.

More works by Rod Frederick  are at this link.

If this post has encouraged you, please pass it on.

Morning joy bird bible promises Psalms Shawna Wright

Bible Promises and Song Birds — Watercolor by Shawna Wright

Isaiah never forgotten bird bible promises shawna wright

Never Forgotten, inspirational watercolor painting featuring Bible promises from Isaiah 49:15, by Shawna Wright

The Comfort of Bible Promises

When someone we know is hurt and needing, we so often want to help, but just as often do not know how. What gesture can we make, what action can we take, to bring comfort?

Morning joy bird bible promises Psalms Shawna Wright

Joy Comes in the Morning, inspirational watercolor painting by Milton-Freewater, OR, artist Shawna Wright

The answer that watercolor painter Shawna Wright found for this question not only made a difference for the person she was trying to help, but launched her on an unexpected life journey. After earnest prayers to God that He would show her a ministry, something to do for Him, she found herself creating paintings of birds incorporating hand-written promises from the Bible.

And those paintings are resonating with people.

But first, let’s go back to the beginning:

It Started with Stick Men

“In January 2015, my father was in excruciating pain from a severe injury,” the Milton-Freewater, OR, artist remembers.

“Dad was over 2,500 miles away, and my heart ached, wanting to help him. I was inspired to make him a journal of Bible promises and hymns. It wasn’t beautiful — in fact, it was rather rough as my art ability at that time stopped at stick men — but it was from my heart.”

Every morning for two years Wright emailed her father a scanned copy from her journal. Every day, the pages became more detailed and colorful as, bit by bit, Wright began experimenting with her images. On her father’s birthday, inspired by the desire to do something distinctive, she created her first bird painting.

Possible with God bird watercolor Luke Shawna Wright

It’s Possible with God, original inspirational watercolor painting by Shawna Wright

“Both Dad and I knew that something special had happened,” Wright says.

Within two months, she was sharing her work on Facebook, had launched a website, and published her first set of inspirational calendars.

Birds and Bible Promises

Crediting God for her artistic advancements (“Little did I know that He had enrolled me in His own art class”), Wright has published her sixth yearly calendar, as well as numerous prints, cards, and recently, two prayer journals for mothers featuring 100 of her works. She writes a weekly blog of short stories and thoughts on the topic of Bible promises, pairing each article with one of her paintings. She has created numerous commissioned paintings for people who want a customized work in memory of a loved one. And she finds herself invited to share her story at local events, on podcasts, and in televised interviews.

“Bible promises have been a key part of my life, one that has given me comfort, hope, and happiness.

“My goal is to encourage the discouraged, bring hope to the helpless, and comfort to the grieving.”

A Memorable Commission

One of her most memorable commissions involved a woman who sewed blankets for children who have cancer. The client wanted Wright to design a tag to accompany the blankets.

strong courageous joshua bible promises bird hand shawna wright

Be Strong and Courageous, art tags commissioned for pediatric brain cancer awareness by Shawna Wright

“I felt a tender spot in my heart for the families of these children, and agreed to do it free of charge,” Wright says.

“Not long before I took on this project, an eight-year-old girl, Julianna Sayler from Walla Walla, lost her fight with brain cancer. Julianna’s favorite Bible verse had been Joshua 1:9.” (Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.)

Wright drew a golden bird and hand, symbolizing both pediatric cancer awareness and the concept of Jesus holding people in the palm of his hand.

“It is titled, ‘Jesus has me,’ quoting Julianna’s words right until the end.”

Wright gave the original painting to Julianna’s parents. All proceeds from the hundreds of mini-cards, tags and prints that have been sold of this image are donated to the Julianna Sayler Foundation, which helps families of children with cancer.

Each Calendar Has a Feeling of Its Own

With the exception of some commissions, all of Wright’s work features birds with Bible promises. Designed around a theme — courage, faithfulness, assurance, etc. — the calendars are the driver of each year’s art. One year the images were rustic and country, another focused on bold colors and bright flowers.

“I like to mix it up so that each calendar has a feel of its own.

“A theme and harmony is important to me; it’s the glue that holds what I do together.”

She’s come a long way from stick men and scanned journal pages. And she knows, as with any journey, there are many paths ahead, many twists and bends and switchbacks. But she takes seriously the Bible promises she incorporates into her artwork, and she knows that her Art Teacher is serious about working with her.

“I have never taken classes, watched YouTube, or read books. I’ve kept my story true — ‘God Taught.’ It’s what gives my work a unique style.”

Wenaha GalleryShawna Wright is the featured  Art Event from Monday, March 9 through Saturday, April 4 at Wenaha Gallery.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.

 

shell butterfly beach coast sand doug paulson details photograph

Details Matter — The Photography of Doug Paulson

shell butterfly beach coast sand doug paulson details photograph

Most people walking by see broken shells, but Doug Paulson sees a butterfly. Sun Kissed Wings, photography by Doug Paulson.

People who go on hikes with Doug Paulson don’t just move their feet. After few minutes with the nature photographer, they learn that details matter. And to see detail, you have to look not just around, but up and down, with a willingness for and expectation of encountering the unusual.

“My focus of detail runs deep,” the Salem, OR, artist says. “I even work and play with a focus on detail.”

On hikes, he frequently points out things that are “old hat” to him, but never noticed before by his companions.

owl bird wildlife river thoughtful plumage doug paulson photograph

Lost in Thought, an owl perches by a rippling river. Photography by Doug Paulson.

“My hikes are a learning experience to fellow hikers whether they like it or not.

“And I do have an overwhelming sense of humor (whether you like it or not). I call it the family curse. My dad’s side is full of undiscovered comedians.”

God’s Handiwork

Paulson has been playing around with a camera since he was twelve, and after years of working with images on film, he is especially appreciative of digital technology. Carrying his camera with him wherever he goes, he likes the freedom of taking numerous shots from varying angles, without having to wait days to see if they turn out.

“I work in God’s world, and capture bits and pieces of his handiwork,” Paulson says.

“My material is everywhere — I can find a picture that is unique just about anywhere. Thank God for digital and no cost to take pictures other than a new SanDisk card.”

Paulson is rarely still, his mind and eye as active as his feet. Prior to retirement five years ago, he worked 33 years in a factory making Andersen windows and doors. He also coached wrestling — in both volunteer and paid positions — and extols the benefits of the sport for the determination and perseverance it demands, as well as . . . attention to detail.

“Wrestling is definitely in my blood — I am a former wrestler in Osceola, Wisconsin, wrestled varsity as a freshman on, and was a co-captain of the school’s best record team my senior year — still the record today.

river spring rush whitewater landscape wilderness forest doug paulson

White water cascades over the rocks and through the forest in River Rush, photography by Doug Paulson

“I recognize the life benefits wrestling gives to the participants. I’ve been there hands on with plenty of kids who have had great success — in wrestling, and in life.”

Wrestling with the Details

This year, in “retirement,” Paulson is head wrestling coach at Judson Middle School in Salem. It keeps him in top form both physically and mentally, so that when he heads out to the woods with the camera, he’s good to trek for hours, or, when need be, stand patiently for what seems like hours until the light is right, the atmospheric conditions perfect, and the necessary moveable details to the picture naturally fallen into place. Rather than let photo manipulation finish the picture, Paulson prefers to cooperate with nature.

“I will stand at a wonderful coastal sunset and wait for a seagull to fly through, to add the bird to the picture.”

Paulson says he learned early on that it’s the details in the photo that establish the mood, rather than his trying to fit a large panorama into a set space. In focusing on the details, he also pays attention to the background, because it sets the stage.

seagulls birds coast beach ocean sunset doug paulson photography

It’s a matter of being at the right place, at the right time. Birds on the Rocks, photography by Doug Paulson

“Background  adds or highlights the color in the subject, and it can wash out the subject, too.

“I do a lot of foreground inclusion, too, and also like to shoot through trees to get a silhouette. The ability to isolate or focus on details — this is what makes my pictures unique.”

Details, Not Defects

Some of those details, Paulson adds, other people would describe as “defects,” but he doesn’t consider them that way. With a little time and patience, a changing of perspective, one sees the same scene in a different manner.

“I will circle a subject until I get the best contrast of color and light, thus enhancing the subject.

“Shapes and features in wood, stumps, leaves — these all attract my attention. Sometimes I will let my shadow cast over the subject, as light will wash out the colors.”

It’s a matter of, well, wrestling with the subject matter, not so much to dominate it as to pin it down to its essential, and most interesting, elements. And it’s also a matter of stopping, looking, observing, not being in a hurry — of allowing the wonder of what is there to slowly reveal itself. You have to be willing to admit that you don’t know everything, and then willing to learn.

“I am a gotta know why guy.

“I see pictures everywhere, so I take them.”

Wenaha GalleryDoug Paulson is the featured  Art Event from Monday, February 10 through Saturday, March 7 at Wenaha Gallery.

Contact the gallery, located at 219 East Main Street, Dayton, WA, by phone at 509.382.2124 or e-mail art@wenaha.com. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Monday through Saturday, and by appointment. Visit the Wenaha Gallery website online at www.wenaha.com.