8x10 acrylic on masonite en plein air
This plein air painting was painted on location at Bicentennial Park in Greensboro, NC. Of all the beautiful subject matter to paint at Bicentennial Park, I couldn't pass this little scene up. In the early evening, the sun's light accents all of these trees, exotic plants, shrubs and sculpture...and who doesn't like a nice stone bridge? The sculpture is called "The Student" and makes a nice focal point of the painting.
I'm learning a lot about myself in this painting journey. I'm learning that most of the time, I tend to bite off more than I can chew. I see this spectacular scene that I feel will make a great painting. So, I drop my gear and set it up immediately. As I begin my initial sketch on the panel, I begin to see some composition problems...one tree is leading your eye out of the painting. So, I compromise reality and "fix it". Now, the trees are pointing in the painting, keeping the viewer's eyes within the confines of the painted panel. What do I do with this bush that's right in front of the statue? If I take it out, I'll have this massive empty space of mulch...not attractive. So, I leave it. The list went on and on like this for about 30 minutes. Fix this...fix that...and so on.
At this point, I'm wondering: "Should I have tried painting this?...should I have chosen a more simple subject?" So goes my lot in life. Why do I always choose the hard road? Why not take the safe route and keep things simple? Everyone's heard the phrase of K.I.S.S.: "Keep It Simple Stupid." But, somehow, I always forget this. Besides, do you ever really grow if you never go through the growing pains. Stretching yourself to be and do better comes with a price...not only in painting, but in life...especially your spiritual life.
When you get to the point in a painting where you're torn between "what was I thinking??? just wipe it out!" and "If I can make this work, it's going to be great"...your decision will reveal your willingness to be safe or grow. Trust me here, I'm NOT saying I pulled this painting off and it's just fabulous. I am saying, however, that I didn't paint over it. Am I satisfied with the final product? No, but the experience was prize enough. I realize there is much that could be better and I hope to improve that in a future painting, but, I do know this: I'm not satisfied with mediocrity.
As stated earlier, this principle also applies to your spiritual life. Are you satisfied to be an "average" Christian, like all the other modern day, so-called, "Christians"...those who do their religious duty by showing up to a building with a steeple a few times a week, while wearing the proper attire, and are never willing to go through the struggles or to pay the price in order to grow. If this is you, examine yourself. If there's no growth, no fruit...then you're a withered branch that will be cut off. However, if you're a fruit bearing Christian, you will be pruned and you will give more fruit. The pruning process is not always easy, but it is certainly beneficial.
Don't settle for mediocrity, do hard things! In the power of the Holy Spirit and in accordance with grace we can do that which is impossible to the "average" man. Grow!