Memories of marshmallows & marshes to mellow your upcoming month.

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MARSH MELLOW DAY • 10 inch x 10 inch original oil painting • ©2016 Marie Scott Studios

“Marsh Mellow Day”

This sweet little oil painting is part of my new Marsh Memories,” series which I’ve enjoyed working on all summer long. When I posted a photo of this finished painting on my Facebook page, the first comment was written by the kind mother of my childhood best friend.

Miss Arlene wrote: So pretty and soft. Like ‘marshmallow’ memories.”

What a perfect compliment. Just the inspiration I needed for the name of this painting, which has become one of my new favorites.

Being *somewhat* of a vegan-eater for the past few years, I just didn’t feel quite right about naming the painting after a food which contains gelatin. (Although, that being said, the inclusion of gelatin has NOT stopped me from eating my fair share of gelatin-laced S’mores this summer.)

MARSHMALLOWS can be sticky.
[And not-so-good for you.]

That really isn’t at all the feeling I wanted to convey in the piece.

Yet, the idea of a “pretty, soft, marshmallow memory” still somehow summed up the mood I was trying to convey so well.

Hmmm….

What about a Mellow Marsh?

What would that look like? What could that mean?

So I looked up the definition of “mellow.” And immediately, Mellow became my new favorite word. My new mission in life.

Mellow means…

adjective
1. (especially of sound, taste, and color) “pleasantly smooth or soft; free from harshness.”
2.
(of a person’s character) “softened or matured by age or experience.”

verb
1. “To make or become mellow.

LIFE can be sticky.
[And not-so-good for you.]

But if not ever allowed to Get Sticky how else does one become “pleasantly smooth or soft; free from harshness?”

The hard and tricky things in LIFE, if accepted and then digested correctly, can be just the ingredient that’s needed to mellow out the sharp, craggy corners in our mind. The steeled callous places that — left to harden — cause not-so-good-for you ways of thinking. And reacting. And then ultimately living.

Marshes are MESSY

Not everybody loves the marshes like I do. They are kind of smelly. And buggy. And full of little creeping things that move. But that is part of what I love about them.

Marsh Messiness is life in action. An ever-changing landscape, providing a different kind of beauty at every different hour of every single day. Marshes are a self-funded, self-directed projects. A type of installation art performance for anyone who is willing to slow down to enjoy the show.

Marshes are MELLOW

Every day, water flows in. Water flows out. Slowly carving a way for itself to engage with a larger body of water. Paths are worn by this slow, gentle process where the mud and muck is “Softened or matured by age or experience.”

I did not grow up around marshes, nor do I live on a marsh. I am a late-in-life marsh groupie. So I might be missing something here.

What I’m confident I’m not missing, is the way a marsh view can slow my breath and fill my lungs with its calming tonic. Its existence a temporary elixir for all that feels stuck within my heart.

Marsh Mellow Day in progress

A summer 2016 “Marsh Memory” painting… in progress.

So what is a Marsh Mellow Day?

Well, that is up to YOU to decide. Think about what that means for you today. And maybe by the end of the month, you will have started to formulate in your mind, what you could look like if you became a more mellow version of yourself.

Maybe putting this desktop calendar as your computer wallpaper will be a reminder to you to ponder the question. Use it with my blessing, and may it bring you peace as you go about the coming days!

AUGUST 2016 Desktop Calendar

MARSH MELLOW DAY • Download this free gift from Marie Scott and it use it for the month of August as your August desktop.

Wishing you a more mellow path this month of August, 2016…

Warmly,
Marie Scott 
Print

To see the entire collection of my vibrant, colorful,
and mostly not-really-very-mellow-at-all paintings,
visit my online gallery
at www.mariescottstudios.com

Summer Freedom. A Marsh Memory painting & calendar for July, 2016.

July 2016 Desktop Calendar

SUMMER FREEDOM • 8″ x 8″ original oil painting • ©2016 Marie Scott Studios • Click on the image to download this free wallpaper for your computer for the month, compliments of Greenville, SC artist Marie Scott. Enjoy the free view!

It is summer, yet I find myself to be remarkably free!

For the first summer since 2011, there is nothing big going on in my life. Or in my business.

For the first time in five years, I am not moving into a studio that is outside my home.

It is summer again, yet for the fist time since 2012, I am not opening a store. Not moving my home in 2013. Not opening a bigger store in 2014. Not closing that bigger store in 2015.

It is June of the summer of 2016, and somehow I find myself not doing anything more than recovering from moving my home this past January (the second time in five years.)

I’ve been enjoying the unending stream of out-of-town company that has taken advantage of visiting us in our more spacious surroundings since January of this year. Also squeezing in the hosting of a 50th anniversary party for my still “happily married” in-laws.

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50th anniversary party

Celebrating 50 happy years of marriage with Tim’s parents and his sister’s family. (The first big party in our new home was a huge success!)

After almost exactly one year since announcing the closing of my store called “Sunflower” last summer, life finally feels settled to me again.

It is summer, yet for the first time in five years, the word “Nathan” has appeared on my to-do list.

This summer, the name of my son is a word I hear myself speaking of and thinking about on a regular basis again. But unlike the many past summers I spent so occupied with chasing after the wind, it is with a new-found-freedom that I “plan” Nathan into my weekday. (Most days.)

This year, the well-being of my child has finally returned to an appropriate place on my list of summer priorities. And this year, not unlike the summer before he was entering into the second grade, I actually have space in my brain for him once again.

I could easily get down on myself — thinking about all that I missed with him for so many summers. But there is no point in that. There is no changing the past. My choices are already in the books.

Before Nathan was born, throughout my entire pregnancy we prayed each day for a child that would “fit into our family.” And God answered our prayers with remarkable accuracy. There are not may kids who could have weathered so well, all the many changes that this child has been through in a decade.

Major life changes that occurred even before the infamous summer of 2011 when somehow our life wandered down a long road of life-sucking choices — all of which were inspired by yours truly.

These major life changes were supported and endured by the other two members of my family. Until “enough,” suddenly became to me, quite apparently “enough.” Enough for all three of us. Especially for Nathan, who’s interesting young life was rapidly passing me by.

There are not many 11 year-old boys who would be willing to go to work with their mom and spend the entire day assembling notecards. Or matting art prints. Or logging prices into an online inventory system. All with a positive attitude more suited for someone twice his age.

This not-so-little-anymore person, did an admirable job of rising to the occasion through each and every change that took me farther and farther away from him. And despite his best efforts to occupy himself for too many summers, I can see now that he did feel the loss. But fortunately for me, it is still not too late to rewrite the course of his childhood.

As I write this, we are on a week-long family vacation. With extended family members. Wonderfully fun, and loving people from gardening zone #5, that my son Nathan doesn’t get to see very often.

familypic

So for the first summer since 2011, I am not feeling any guilt about the fact that I have kept to myself all week. Enjoying a newly-felt freedom to be alone and recharge my introverted battery, while all the extroverts in my clan revel in sandy days spent clinging together as a reunited bed of happy clams.

This summer, I am free from feeling like I need to make up for lost time during one crowded week.

marsh view

And that freedom, is solely because I made some terribly hard choices last spring. And summer. And fall.

Choices that put myself into a position that isn’t my first choice — but probably the best choice for my family during this season of our lives. The season before the three of us, will eventually become two again. In probably less time than we can even realize.

A choice to reign in my personal passions and drive. A choice to keep the big picture in mind. A choice to stay true to who I am, but yet somehow figure out how to be that same person, but in a way that allows for a reasonable life.

At first, this surprisingly difficult choice to stop chasing after the wind, felt like it was only for the good of the family. But looking back (and looking forward too) I see it is the Better Choice for me too.

timJennNathan

Me and my two favorite guys.

So here I am, with one month of The Summer of 2016 under my belt. And even more importantly, several seasons of “Downton Abbey” enjoyed together with Nathan in the cool of a darkened room, wrapped in our colorful, summer-weight fair trade blanket, during the sultry hot summer afternoons and evenings we have grown to love.

Instead of chasing after the wind by myself, together we are pursuing the entire story of the Crawley family this summer. Just because we can.

And in the spirit of this newly found Summer Freedom, I am also trying to squeeze in a few restful paintings here and there. Not because I have to, but because I want to.

SummerFreedom2

“Summer Freedom” [ #1 in the Marsh Memory series ] • 8″ x 8″ oil painting ©2016 Marie Scott Studios

“Summer Freedom” is the first, of hopefully many, quick little marsh paintings that are loose and free from tight detail. Impressions and memories I have of the beauty and freedom I feel while experiencing the salty, wide open Low Country spaces. Pieces that remind me why I love to paint. And what makes me feel free.

I am creating this new series of paintings called “Marsh Memories” this summer to keep my mind happy and healthy. As well as to keep me freer for Nathan than years gone past.

But even more importantly, to keep us BOTH freed up as much as possible, for Lord Grantham and her Ladyship the Countess of Grantham. And Lady Mary Crawley. And Lady Edith. And Cousin Isobel. And even Daisy, and Mrs. Patmore, and Mr. Bates, and Anna.  And of course for Tom Branson — chauffeur, turned son-in-law.

You get the idea…

Yours freely,

— Marie Scott, June 2016

To view the entire collection of my paintings, visit my online gallery at www.mariescottstudios.com
Or stop by my etsy shop at www.mariescottart.com.

 

 

A new calendar for June.

Focus on what is Good…

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SC STATE HOUSE • 40″ x 30″ original oil painting • 2016 Marie Scott

I love plants.

Plants are neutral. Plants are beautiful.

I like to focus my energy on painting plants. That feels more productive to me than gardening, which is an uphill battle. One definitely worth the fight, but an ongoing, never-ending battle, nonetheless.

Paintings of plants don’t grow weeds. Paintings of flowers don’t require water. They are gardens which remain perfect despite the elements. They are givers. Not takers.

Paintings that emit beauty, can bring peace to the soul as they require nothing of you. They have no agenda. All they need, is simply a space to BE. All they want is an occasional glance of your admiration.

I love South Carolina.

It is a place that is prosperous with natural beauty, wealthy in raw loveliness.

Like all places, however, it has its weeds. And unquenchable needs. The neglected, overgrown garden of issues that can feel hopelessly irreparable. 

I love peace.

Which is why I focus the time I spend in my painting studio documenting scenes which allow the mind to rest, and the soul to feel refreshed.

I need more peace. And most likely, so do you.

Just like a real garden, full of needy plants, paintings of beauty will eventually become takers too.

Paintings of peace, in and of themselves, will never be enough to calm whatever it is that eats away at the deepest core of your being. Paintings of gardens will never fill the unquenchable hidden longings of your heart.

There is nothing in this world that can truly satisfy the varying size hole, that each of us has within our soul. And that, is what will ultimately wear you down. And then wear you out.

A “Soul Hole?” Yes.

Wow. That sounds pretty hopeless. And peace-less. And, unfortunately true.

I love Jesus.

It is hope-less to put my trust in plants. Or paintings of plants. Or South Carolina. Or peaceful scenes.

But Jesus? Yes! 

He IS hope. He IS peace.

Jesus is the only person, place, or thing, — where unending, perfectly satisfying, honest-to-goodness, True Soul Peace can ever be found. 

Call me crazy if you want to. He is the real deal. I promise.

More on this, another time… another day.

I love a new month.

Time for a new page, and a new picture. A chance to take a deep breath and re-focus my thoughts. But with a lot less pressure than a new year commands.

Focus on this…

No matter where you are this June, my hope is that this focus-reminder will help to get your summer thinking off to a more healthy start. The words below, are from the Apostle Paul in a letter he wrote to the church at Phillipi while he was locked up in prison, around AD 61-ish.

I plan to spend the next 30 days trying to focus on what Paul suggests. I hope you’ll join me, in my “Focus on what is Good” Summer Thinking efforts. (Feel free to check-in with me on this. You know what can happen with the best laid plans…)

“Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” Philippians 4:8-9

JUNE 2016 Desktop CalendarSC STATE HOUSE • 40″ x 30″ original oil painting • ©2016 Marie Scott Studios • Click on the image to download this free wallpaper for your computer for the month, compliments of Greenville, SC artist Marie Scott. Enjoy the view!

Wishing you a month of peace…

Don’t forget your Focus!
— Marie Scott
Print

BTW… If you want to hear some more about this Jesus, from somebody who is an artist both with words and teaching, you can listen to one one of the South’s finest thinkers as he explains the bible in the most accessible way, at http://downtownpres.org/sunday/sermons/ 

Thoughts from a wise flower on May Day.

Life is a marathon.

There is no shame in walking. 

I used to run. But after five years, finally decided to be honest with myself. And my hips.

May 2016 Desktop Calendar

“RESTING” • ©2016 Marie Scott Studios Download this free wallpaper for your May 2016 desktop calendar, featuring the most recent painting by Greenville, SC artist Marie Scott.

 

I don’t like to run.

So now I walk. Big deal. The whole point is to move your body. 

So I walk fast.

And fairly often.

Give yourself a break.

You cannot do it all. But you do have something important to offer.

Do what you CAN do.

Get help with what you cannot physically (or emotionally) do. Let the rest go.

Be the person you were created to be.

Imperfections and all.

Resting.

Resting2
“RESTING” • 12″ x 12″ Original Oil Painting • ©2016 Marie Scott Studios

This weak, but wise flower called “Resting” has a story to tell. You can read it on my website at www.mariescottstudios.com.

Happy May Day! 5.01.16

Print
— Marie Scott

 

 

 

 

REST. (Desktop Calendar for April, 2016)

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“Seascape 1 (REST)” • 14″ x 14″ oil painting • 2009 Marie Scott Studios

REST. 

Not something I do well.

Which is why, way back in the spring of 2009, I painted myself this little daily reminder.

That nasty, four-letter-word spelled R-E-S-T, is what is wrote on the tiny sign in the water.

REST.

Seven years later, I’m still working on it. (Without much success.)

But once again, in the spring of 2016, I am giving it another shot. Giving myself the freedom to REST.  

Resting my mind. Resting my insatiable drive to want to build something that is bigger than one little person can handle while maintaining a balanced life.

Resting my body. Well not really, but at least doing something I love.

Painting. Painting walls. Painting woodwork. Painting furniture. Painting a house into a home. Painting muscles back into my neglected arms.

REST.

In the spirit of REST, that’s about all I’ve got to say about that today.

Other than, enjoy this old painting of mine as your desktop calendar for the month of April. I hope it is reminds you to cut yourself some slack, and give yourself some rest — whatever that may look like for YOU.

Marie Scott
signature

www.mariescottstudios.com

April 2016 Desktop Calendar

Download this free desktop calendar for April, 2016 by clicking on the image and saving it to your computer to use as wallpaper this month.

 

“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
― Augustine of Hippo, Confessions

An unexpected memory of Serenity

Serenity2

SERENITY • 12″ x 12″ oil painting • ©2015 Marie Scott Studios

 

Today is the first day of the month. This is the day I usually blog about one of my paintings, and then also include a free desktop calendar which contains that piece of art.

I knew the painting I would use for the March Calendar was going to be the one I had titled  “Serenity.”

So this morning, as I was driving home from dropping my son off at school, I wondered to myself “what did I really mean when I named this painting ‘Serenity’ after finishing it last autumn??”

Then out of the blue, came a vivid memory. From the summer of 1991.

I was in college, and on a summer musical tour with a group called The Continental Singers. (It was really more traveling than singing, as we spent about six hours a day on the bus and only about three hours a day making music. It was also really kind of cheezey as I look back now, but oh-so-cool at the time!)

Part of this summer adventure took us to Brazil for several days. It is all somewhat a blurry memory by now, some 25 years later, but I still recall our overseas travels were well-seasoned with unexplainably frustrating problems for our otherwise capable sound team.

After spending hours on a tour bus traveling through the countryside of Brazil, we finally arrived at some huge city, assuming it was time to get out and see the sites. Instead of what seemed like a reasonable expectation, we basically just circled around the city. All day long. Looking for new parts for our sound equipment.

In thinking about times of serenity in my life, I remember radiating with an unexpected serenity on this particular day.

We were in a foreign country. We were tired. We were hungry and thirsty. We expected to get off the bus. And yet we circled around. Looking for mysterious sound parts. But for some reason, it didn’t matter.

Serenity means “the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.”

When it finally became apparent to me that this circling of the city wasn’t going to end anytime soon, it was somehow easier to accept.

Why didn’t this unexpected, endless circling bother me? Why wasn’t I internally screaming “let me off this bus!”

Maybe, by that point in the summer, I was just so used to having absolutely no say in my schedule? Maybe I had just accepted the new reality which appeared to be “when in Brazil we spend our days circling the city.”

Or maybe, just maybe… It was the presence of God that day. Filling my heart with a Peace that is beyond all understanding. A peace that comes from knowing in my head, and feeling in my bones, that there is One much bigger than me who is ultimately in control of it all.

Whatever the reason for this unexplained Serenity. It was there. In a big way.

25 years later, it occurs to me that I’m back on that tour bus. Circling the city. Waiting for the next instructions. Not knowing what comes next. Yet filled with a surprising and unexplained Serenity.

When I titled the painting in October —“Serenity” was the very last thing I was feeling. But it was what I was hoping to find.

Five months later, as I sit writing to you from within a sea of boxes that contain more than a decade of my work and memories, I somehow find myself once again, in this unexpected state of Serenity.

And for this, I am most grateful.

March 2016 Desktop Calendar

To enjoy a view of “Serenity” this month, download this free desktop calendar to be used as your computer’s wallpaper this month. 

Wishing you too — a Peace that surpasses all understanding — throughout the month of March and beyond.

Marie Scott
signature

www.mariescottstudios.com

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:7

 

 

Shadows with a plan. (February calendar!)

Coneflower2

CONEFLOWER • 12″ x 12″ oil painting • ©2015 Marie Scott

Coneflower is part of my “Sad Flower” series — a series of four botanical paintings, representing four heavy-hearted flowers I found growing in various locations.

In the twelve-plus-years I’ve been painting, I have never created a “sad series.” I guess I’d never felt such a heaviness of heart before as when I was planing this new group of four botanical paintings.

But as always happens, the process of putting color onto a blank canvas helped to heal my soul.

The process of diving deep into “the hole” — the place where my mind can focus on dissecting the shapes and colors which make up a painting — is good mental therapy. Unravelling, and then transferring a mess of disjointed pieces onto the canvas is quite an intense brain workout. It is hard thinking with a healthy purpose.

The payoff usually comes about halfway through the process, as order begins to take shape, and the mystery of the dark shapes magically transform into a recognizable form.

Beauty out of chaos.

Creating a new painting also always helps to put the disjointed pieces of my life into perspective. I love this.

The process of painting, never fails to remind me that the God of the universe is at work on the painting of my life. And He really does have a plan for how it will look when it is all finished. A plan that is not always easy to see in the midst of the often seemingly unrelated, individual pieces set before me at the moment.

Coneflower is a reminder to me that even when I am in the midst of what feels to be the darkest of times, I can rest. Even though I may not yet know what the whole picture on will look like in the end, it is definitely a work in progress.

Progress with a purpose. Shadows with a plan.

And even when the shadows sometimes feel as if they are overtaking my world, and the sun will never reappear, my hope comes from knowing that this life here on earth is just the prequel to the perfect story I will live for all of eternity.

No matter how the painting of this life turns out… the best is yet to come.

 

February 2016 Desktop Calendar

But until then… enjoy this free desktop calendar featuring my painting called “Coneflower” for the month of February, 2016 by simply clicking on the image to download and then set as your computer wallpaper.

Be sure to enjoy the extra day at the end of this month too!

To see my entire gallery of colorful paintings, visit my website at www.mariescottstudios.com

“Transition.” A call to listen in 2016.

TransitionBig

TRANSITION • 12 x 12 oil painting • ©2015 Marie Scott

In September of this year, I designed a set of four small botanical oil paintings which I intended to paint as a representation of my current state of mind at the time.

For the first time since I began painting back in 2001, I felt compelled to paint a darker side to life than what I would normally choose to create.

This painting called TRANSITION is one of four pieces in my “Sad Flowers” series.

Ironically, as I began to work on each of the four pieces, I became less and less sad with each passing day.

But what was even more unexpected to me, was that each of the four flowers in this series didn’t really appear to be sad at all. In fact, they appeared to be quite the opposite.

How similar to life. Things are not always as they appear.

This is a good reminder to stop assuming that what you see on the surface is all there is to a situation.

A reminder that just because somebody appears to be happy, doesn’t mean that they might not really be carrying around a heavy bag of burdens, hiding beneath their seemingly cheerful exterior.

As a card-carrying introvert, surface-level small talk quickly drains the life out of me faster than just about anything else can.

In contrast, finding out what is truly weighing on a person’s heart is something that I find energizing. Happy or sad. It doesn’t matter. I just want to know what is really going on. Even if it is depressing, at least it is real.

I am always surprised at how open most people are to answering what may seem like a nosy question.

And then another. And another. Until eventually, they have told me their “story.”

It has been my fortunate experience to learn that people want to be heard. All they usually need is just the slightest nudge. A nudge that can be as simple as asking a follow-up question to something they have already offered up to you.

This painting called Transition started out as a visual depiction of my heart, which was screaming “Leave. Me. Alone.”

But fortunately, as the weeks passed and I made a very deliberate effort to take better care of myself, the ice-layer covering my heart began to melt, and the sadness and anger drained away.

This healing of my soul, was thanks in great part to the people in my life who were OK with me “not being OK.”

People who let me cry. A lot. And often. And very loudly.

People who let me send them texts that simply said “I am in a fit of rage” — knowing they would pray for my troubled heart to calm down. They didn’t need to know the details. Just that I needed Divine Intervention at the moment.

People who I sent a photo of this very painting to, telling them it was called “I Hate Everyone!” And they laughed with me. Not AT me. People who are OK with things not always having to be OK, are people that can help to facilitate emotional healing.

Thanks in part to these special people in my life, I think I can honestly say that my heart is no longer sad nor angry anymore.

It is ready again to accept the challenge of sometimes peeking past the petals that are covering up what’s truly going on, inside the heart of the people who cross my path.

“Transition” is a painting that says “it’s OK, to not be OK.”

There is a certain beauty that only painful situations will ever extract. Transitions can be highly-effective beauty extractors. Assuming you don’t stay hidden away alone, for longer than necessary.

As we TRANSITION from one year into another today, my New Year’s Wish for YOU, is that you would take the time to look past how things seem to appear, to truly Listen in 2016. And to trust the people who love you, with The Real You.

Welcome, 2016!
— Marie Scott

JANUARY 2016 Desktop Calendar

PS If you need a new fresh look for your computer desktop this month, download this free calendar, featuring my painting called “Transition” for the month of January. To see my entire gallery of paintings, visit my website at www.mariescottstudios.com

Gold friends. Silver friends. Make room for both.

The Girl Scouts nailed it on the head.

I learned a deeply profound song back in the 5th grade. During my short-lived, one year career as a Scout.

As music often does, a Girl Scout song my mom taught me in my youth, still comes back to me when my heart is filled with love for one of my old friends.

We learned a song about friendship.

“Make new friends, but keep the old
One is silver and the other gold.

A gorgeous view from Caledonia, Wisconsin. Sent to me by one of my oldest and dearest friends.

A gorgeous view from Caledonia, Wisconsin. Sent to me by one of my oldest and dearest friends.

 

A text from my Gold friend.

“I took Bella for a walk yesterday and this view made me think of you.”

That was it. A photo and one sentence.

But that one photo, and one that one sentence were rich with meaning. Rich with almost two decades of history we have together.

The photo told me that she STILL knows what I love. The sentence told me she knows, that I STILL know, what SHE loves.

Seven years, and seven states apart. She still knows me, and still cares.

In the midst of a particularly hard season of life this fall, that one photo and that one sentence lifted my spirits and carried me along for days.

My friend is not old — she is Gold.

Just like me, we are still spring chickens in our early ’30s. (At least in our middle-aged minds.)

And just like a few other special women I have known for my entire adult life, this friend is Gold.

Lucky for me that SHE didn’t stop calling me when I moved away. Lucky for me that she invested time pursuing a person whose proximity to her full, busy life now made this friendship less than convenient.

This is A Golden Lesson about friendship I am slowly learning from her. A lesson I want to pass on.

Even though our visits are too few and too far between, when I meet up again with any of my Gold Friends, it is as though no time as has passed at all.

THAT is Gold.

Thank you Gold Friends; thank you Girl Scouts; thank you Mom. For so many life lessons learned, and shared.

And thank you Silver Friends too — for the possibility of a Golden Friendship as we pass the years, and tears, Together.

Pretty Place Chapel (A peaceful place for December)

pretty place sign

This plaque is located at the entrance to the “Fred W. Symmes Chapel.” 

“May a Sense of The Presence of God
FILL THE SOUL
of Everyone Who Visits this Sacred Spot.”

“Filling the Soul with a sense of God’s presence” is no small order.

Yet somehow it happens at the Chapel located at the YMCA’s Camp Greenville. A spot that is more commonly known as “Pretty Place.”

If you haven’t been to this hidden treasure, located only an hour north of downtown Greenville, South Carolina — it is definitely worth the winding, mountain drive to reach this memorable site.

prettyplacechapel2

“Pretty Place Chapel” • ©2015 Marie Scott • 30″ x 40″ oil painting

Capturing the feeling of peace and serenity found inside the Chapel at Pretty Place, was definitely my biggest artistic challenge to date. This is by far the most detailed structure I have ever attempted to paint. 

My main objective in this work was to create a composition that would help to transport you, for a brief moment in time, to the place of rest found at “This Sacred Spot.” 

To achieve this lofty goal, it was imperative that the internal structure was clean, symmetrical, and believable. Anything less would be a distraction.

Fortunately, I’m married to a structural engineer who helped me make sense of how all the “lines” (of wood) connected to each other. If there were any technical flaws within my composition, your eyes would never be released to look past what was happening inside the building.

Through use of color and placement of angles, I designed this piece to first lead your eyes to the cross, which is the focal point of the Chapel.

Then secondly, my hope was that the endless expanse of sky and mountains beyond the cross would allow your mind and spirit to find rest amidst all the contrasting busyness of the building’s man-made elements.

It is the view BEYOND the chapel which gives way to a feeling that “there is something out there that is much bigger than myself.” The feeling of a Sacred Spot.

Looking back on the process of completing this painting, I have perspective on my struggles as I tried to create a soul-filling visual story of Pretty Place Chapel.

Just as in life…  

Most of my time, effort, and angst were spent focused on what is shown right in front of your eyes. The countless, unending intersecting lines made my eyes cross and my head hurt. 

I was so determined to “get this right” that it wasn’t an even remotely fun project. It was terribly taxing. Over and over again I asked myself “Will this ever turn out? Will it ever be worth all the energy I am pouring into this?”

But when the very last piece of the front story was finally completed, it was only then that I could literally look past (what was once) the turmoil of the demanding foreground, and see into the quiet distance.

The contrast brings relief. 

A foreground full of complex details is what causes the distance to feel so inviting.

I should have read the beam.

Did you notice what is inscribed on the main beam at the front of the Pretty Place Chapel? It says
“I WILL LIFT UP MY EYES TO THE HILLS. PS. 121:1 ”
  

Ironically, (just as in life…) this was one of the very LAST things I painted. 

Maybe one day I will learn to trust first, and do second.

Psalm 121:1-2
Assurance of God’s Protection

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
    from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

A bigger picture…  

It is hard here on earth. Friends are sick. Families are dissolving. Evil seems to be winning. But this is just the front story. A foreground that feels too complicated to deal with most days.

The cares and worries of today’s life can so easily consume our focus, causing us to forget that there is a bigger picture. One we can’t see today. But one that ends with a perfect resolution.  A picture that brings relief. 

The story does not end here.
The verses below remind me that the yuck, muck, and gunk of this world are NOT all that there is. 

A better place is on the way.
God says so.

Revelation 21:1-4 
A New Heaven and a New Earth

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Remember the beam.

If like me, you need a visual reminder that the best is yet to come — just click on my December calendar and download it for use as your computer desktop. May it help your mind focus on the One who offers True Hope for all of the struggles that may cross your path throughout this busy month.

DECEMBER 2015 Desktop Calendar

If you are interested in seeing the photos I took each day while working away on this project, click here to watch a short video of my painting of Pretty Place Chapel. It shows the painting coming to life from start to finish.

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Here are just a few snapshots I took to gain inspiration while visiting the Chapel at Pretty Place.

Wishing you a December in which you focus on what REALLY matters,
Marie Scott

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To see the entire collection of my colorful, peace-filled paintings of landscapes, flowers, and other beautiful things, visit my online gallery at www.mariescottstudios.com

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