Brîndușa Art

Wood Painting

Brîndușa Art - Wood Painting

Seasons

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter

under heaven”… (Ecclesiastes 3:1, ESV)

Isn’t it amazing how the way seasons succeed each other resonates with our love of change and our love of permanence at the same time? As C.S. Lewis puts it, “each season different yet every year the same, so that spring is always felt as a novelty yet always as the recurrence of an immemorial theme”.

It makes it hard, in a way (at least for me!), to decide on a favorite season… There is so much to enjoy in each one and, at the same time, so much to look forward to in the next. Let me share a bit about what each season means to me, and come see how it looks in some of my paintings.

Spring is an amazing time:

warbler

robin

the cheerful songs of birds, the fragrance of all those spring flowers, the colors splattered all over the ground among the forest trees,  the smell of fresh grass… and the delightful feeling of new life and new beginnings… How could I not just love it all!

violets

spring 2

pigeon 3spring

And summer… with its lovely cool mornings, bright and lazy afternoons red poppies 2

mercies

forest

and… all the heat one could wish for! 😀

The greenery, the buzz of the bumblebees, the colorful dance of the butterflies, the pleasure given by a cold glass of water and the shade of a tree…

Summer has been one of my favorite seasons ever since I can remember.

As Henry James put it, “Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

red poppies 1

sunflowers

lavender field

Little homeIn the last few  years, fall has become one of the times of the year that I really savor. There’s so much beauty in this golden season: the rich colors of the trees, dressed in all their fiery glory; ripe fruit and the joys of canning; the nippy air outside and  the warmth of a cozy home; cuddling with a goodgrapes 2 book; counting blessings and spending time with family or friends – “these are a few of my favorite things”. While summer lasts, I really love the heat, but “how can one know color in perpetual green, and what good is warmth without cold to give it sweetness?” (John Steinbeck)gate

fall mill

Sweet home

Oh, and winter… with the the children’s delight at the first snowflakes coming down,

Winter village scene(1)

the pleasant warmth slowly spreading down your limbs as you get out of the biting cold, hot cups of tea and the smell of oranges and cinnamon cookies…

first window

Definitely, “winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” (Edith Sitwell)

second window

Love and warmth 2

I realize you may live in a part of the world where the climate is different from what I’ve described here. But if you do have the same seasons, which one of the four do you find more appealing? 🙂

seasons

 Wherever you are and whatever the season of life in which you may find yourself, remember that a loving heart is always young,

always young

and that, with God’s help, you can have a bit of sunshine in your soul

no matter what the temperature outside.

sunshine

The October Fall Challenge

On her blog, a Romanian friend has recently launched this beautiful October challenge:

Your home, a piece of heaven on earth!

(Actually, the American site that she credited with inspiring her called this the “Making Your Home a Haven” Fall Challenge. Whether you prefer to see your home as a haven or as a piece of heaven on earth… that is your choice, it is a lovely thought either way. 🙂 True, our homes will never attain perfection, but they can still be places of beauty and warmth in spite of imperfections.)

Little homeThe challenge requires that during the first week of October you would daily light a special candle, at supper time, or at any other moment of the day which you may prefer; that you would pray for the peace of your home, and do your best that there would be an atmosphere of peace and patience in it.

During the second week, which we have already entered, you would daily play some soft music in your home, avoid rude, angry speech, and rather focus on peaceful words and relationships. You would do your best to be gentle and have self-control. Now isn’t that a great thing to aim at?

I would say that even if we find ourselves not abiding by all the details of the challenge each week, it is still worth attempting it… And, why not, it is worth continuing to do so even once the month of October is over. 🙂

As life tends to come up at times (or even often) with unpredictable events, which can mess up all plans… let’s try to aim toward beauty right where we are (instead of waiting for ideal conditions). In my case, that meant a week of having colds, fever, and a good bit of exhaustion. Not exactly ideal circumstances… But it felt great when we could sit down together for a cup of tea, around the table, with a lit candle, listening to some beloved selections of classical music… Cozy moments, during which we enjoy each other, are indeed precious. I didn’t get to buy a special candle, so I used the very centerpiece that was already on my kitchen table (in our home, the kitchen is the place I love best!).

A little candlelight

Isn’t it great to think of your home as being a haven of beauty, love and calm? It is what I sincerely wish for you – and for myself. Let’s take a few steps closer to it … small steps though they may be. 🙂

bless 3

Remember, it is love that makes a house a home…

home 12

True Love

roseHow many books, poems, songs and movies have been created, to deal with the subject of love! We all long for it, whether it’s love from parents, friends, a spouse, children, God… Some people seem to find it. And some, not because they have less worth as human beings, find a lot of heartache instead: parents who desert or abuse, friends who let you down, a spouse who betrays you and turns to another, children who abandon you in your old age… even a God who seems to only condemn and never be satisfied with who and how you are…

True love does exist. For the young and the old, the male and the female, for people of any color, any degree of health or disability, any IQ level and any social status:

“God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, English Standard Version – my emphasis) In spite of the fact that we all fall short of His perfection and so deserve condemnation. He poured all that just condemnation on His Son instead and is willing to receive anyone who humbly comes to Him, admitting his/her need.

You are loved, as JJ Heller’s  song so beautifully says.

If you embrace that love and your life changes from inside out, then you can pass it on to those around you.

love heart

 

Oh, you’ll still be imperfect. But your life will show to a good extent what true love is like. See the words on the painting above, which form what I believe to be the most beautiful love poem of all time…

“Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds”, said a great writer. Where true love is, it lasts, it perseveres, it doesn’t give up.  You don’t stop truly loving your spouse just because s/he’s become old or poor or sick, even when your marriage goes through temporary periods of coldness or boredom; you don’t stop truly loving your kids even when they drive you nuts, or your friends when they disappoint – which is bound to happen every now and then… (Let me add one disclaimer: I don’t mean that you should remain in a toxic relationship at all costs, when you are abused, out of a wrong understanding of love. Love calls for drastic measures at times and, when dealing with abuse, your duty is to protect yourself and those you love, who would be put in danger otherwise.)

True love keeps on, and it is something worth pursuing. It can bloom again and again with indescribable beauty.

Dragoste pentru totdeauna

Dragoste pentru totdeauna

May your life be enriched by it!

Live It Now

mill2

“Everything flows”, was said in antiquity. Things are constantly changing… Time is nothing but a succession of fleeting moments, which we cannot stop and make permanent. As a  character from a book I love puts it, you have a life that you are living only now, now and now and now, gone before you can speak of it, and you must be thankful for living day by day, moment by moment, in this presence.” It is “the only time you are alive” (Wendell Berry, Hannah Coulter).

But there are things that can give the life you live a feeling of solidity, permanence, purpose, peace, serenity. Here are some of them, and perhaps you could add to the things listed here:

rose thumbnailslow down on purpose, taking the time to really notice the things, the people, the creatures around, the various colors and sounds;

rose thumbnailchoose quiet over noise and frenzy – turn off that music, movie, TV  show, radio program…  Log out of Facebook/ Skype/ Yahoo Messenger/ etc. every once in a while. “Live a three-dimensional life; stay away from screens.” (Wendell Berry) Savor the sound of silence… Give yourself a chance to commune with your own thoughts and memories;

rose thumbnailas much as possible, renew contact with nature – even if you live in the city and can’t take the time off to go on vacation somewhere, take regular breaks to notice the blue of the sky, the shapes of the clouds, the feel of the wind on the skin, the fluttering of a bird, the smell of grass or flowers… Nature has a way of refreshing our modern, agitated minds;

rose thumbnail

train yourself to find things, however small, for which to be grateful. Life has enough trials and sorrows from which we often cannot escape, but they are usually mingled with blessings, however small, which we tend to take for granted. Naming them,  counting them one by one can brighten up your outlook significantly;

rose thumbnailfind something creative to do with your hands just for the joy of it – to eventually make something you can be pleased with, whether it’s something you eat, wear, put on a wall in your home or give as a gift;

rose thumbnail

take even a few moments to read something each day – not magazines or journals, but a real ink-and-paper book… Why not even delight yourself with a poem? It can be a lovely taste to cultivate;

rose thumbnail

renew the connection with your roots – people you love, who can share their inspiring memories from older times with you while they are still around, and old things, which, in spite of dents and scratches, have a beauty and a mystery of their own;

rose thumbnail

as much as you can, seek beauty in everything you do – not as a burden, but as a joy. You love to drink a good cup of coffee? Dress worthy of it, to fully savor the moment, and drink it in a pretty cup;

rose thumbnail

try to anchor all you do in eternity, to see each act you perform as having significance because it is part of something that will last… Seeing things in this perspective can give the most mundane task dignity and beauty. (Seeking God… not as a means to something else, but as an end, ultimately gives so much meaning to life… For better or for worse, the choices we make now do impact eternity.)

Why do people often feel a longing for times gone by, for vintage things, for antique objects, for places where to escape from their daily living?

Old things are more beautiful
than many things brand new
Because they bring fond memories
of things we used to do.

Old photographs in albums,
love letters tied with lace
Recapture those old feelings
that new ones can’t replace.

Baby shoes, a teddy bear,
a ring that grandma wore,
Are treasures waiting there
behind a door marked “Nevermore”.

Old things are more beautiful,
more precious day by day
Because they are the flowers
we planted yesterday.

(Clay Harrison)

Life was never perfect and to expect that in other periods it was idyllic is not truly realistic. But I believe that there is something in us that longs for some measure of simplicity, harmony, quietude… for times when work was hard, but there was still time to walk, to stay connected to nature, to tell children stories and to share in their wonder, to call on friends, to write and receive lovely handwritten letters … For the good kind of tiredness coming at the end of a day of work, together with the satisfaction of things done well, as opposed to just feeling worn out physically and mentally, because of the constant assault of noise and distraction, of the constant rush of modern life… while the precious moments that make up our life slip through our fingers, unnoticed…

mementos

Let us not try to live in the past, but rather to so live the here and now that we will create those precious memories that can bring joy and delight to us and our dear ones … adding up to a lifetime lived well.

 mill

 

Beauty That Lasts

The most precious thing... a beautiful soul...

The most precious thing… a beautiful soul…

With each passing day, I’m more and more aware of it. It’s good to try to eat healthy food, exercise, take care of your body, dress nicely, as much you are able… But no matter what you do, you will eventually grow old (if you live long enough). And whatever physical beauty you did possess, if any, will eventually fade away. True beauty does not pass away… It can make someone, no matter how old or how disabled physically, radiant, a joy to be with… True beauty, if you have it, remains when things are really tough, when you are poor and struggling. It remains when you get sick. It remains when are alone. And ultimately, it is the only thing you really, truly own.

I love to paint and express what creativity God has given me in my own may. But all beautiful things will eventually pass away. They can be stolen, or burned, or otherwise destroyed. People, even our dearest ones, can be taken away from us in a moment. Friends may die or grow cold, or turn against you. Everything earthly can be lost… except for one thing: who you really are remains, and goes beyond this life, into eternity.

True beauty never passes away...

True beauty never passes away…

I love this quote by C. S. Lewis:

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. (…)

“There are no ordinary people.

“You have never talked to a mere mortal.”

May your path in this world be filled with pretty sights… but may your inner person be the most beautiful of all!

Hold Fast to Dreams

 

dream rose

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

(Langston Hughes)


“Having dreams” is for me another way of saying “having hope”. Who can live without hope? It is possible to bravely go through innumerable hardships… if there is inner hope that somehow, someday, something worthwhile will be ultimately gained. When one feels totally defeated and expects no change for the better… then the smallest difficulty appears quite unsurmountable.

That is why I so loved these poetry lines which inspired my painting. We need dreams to keep us alive, we need hope – not false, deceitful, vain hope, but hope in something solid, real, genuine… And as long as there is life and breath, hope can be found, no matter how grim life may seem to someone for the moment. As long as there is life, God may be found, peace may be reached, dreams may be fulfilled… perhaps not all, but some may come true in a way even better than you dared imagine.

So don’t let that bird’s wings hang limp, friends! Let it soar… and dare to dream!

dreams

Birds and Boredom

“In a world where thrushes sing and willow trees are golden in the spring, boredom should have been included among the seven deadly sins.” (Elizabeth Goudge, The Rosemary Tree)

How I love the little bundles of energy and song! Birds are such a wonder… I love not only to listen to them, but also to paint them. I  hope you will enjoy looking at these bird paintings from my gallery. As you click on each of the images below, you will be taken to a video, so that you can admire that bird and savor its song. May our life be full of color and singing! 🙂

spring 2

springbirdsummerbirdfallbird

Beginning to Come Untrue

“I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself.

Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?”

(J. R. R. Tolkien, The Return of the King)

 

I love the above quote by Tolkien! Yes, there is much beauty and love in the world, but there is still pain along with it, there are still sad and messy things… One day it will all be right! All shadows will be gone and the King will reign in all of His beauty…

May you have strength and hope, as you live your daily life in this ugly-beautiful world!

pink rose

Why Not Mahna Mahna in Your Own Way?

This Mahna Mahna video was always a favorite of my son’s. He laughed quite a bit over the increasingly frustrated creature who kept getting disapproved by the pink cows. (I realize the description sounds weird 😀 , but go ahead and watch the clip if you don’t know it, it’s quite amusing.)

While the video made me laugh as well, it also made me think. We are all put together in different ways, having different strengths and weaknesses, different talents and inclinations. You are a unique combination. It may be true that you are not a famous writer, musician, painter or sculptor… but I firmly believe that God has given us all some measure of creativity and a field (or more) in which that creativity can be manifested. It may be

  • the gift of using what you have at hand to decorate a home, making it feel warm and inviting;
  • a ‘green thumb’;
  • an eye for pretty flower arrangements;
  • a talent for cooking delicious food and serving it in an appetizing way;
  • a special way with words, the ability to express thoughts clearly and beautifully;
  • the talent of making a written text come alive when you read it with appropriate intonation and feeling;
  • a knack for sewing beautiful clothing;
  • an ability to make lovely furniture;
  • a way of making people feel comfortable around you, encouraged and inspired to go on;
  • an ability of making others feel safe when you are there, because you have a way of readily defending someone who is bullied or unjustly treated…
  • or it could be, oh, so many other things…

A friend once told me that we all tend to greatly underestimate the gifts we’ve been given and how much of an impact they have on people. We find it so easy to feel that what we do really isn’t that important. I think she was right… We can easily let other people, or our own doubts/ fears/ insecurity shake their heads at us and reduce us to silence… pretty much like those pink cows in the video. And what a pity it is when that happens!

I am not suggesting that there would be any virtue in ignoring whatever is right and honest and commendable, to boldly go ahead and do your own thing, at whatever cost to anyone else. Far from it! But if God has put something good in you, some creativity that you can express in your own way, or an amount of passion for a pursuit that is worth following, by all means, express it! Follow it! Talent comes in variable quantities, but do not let what you do not have rob you of the joy of expressing what you do have! In your own way!

So if God has given you a song to sing, who’s to say that you should be following a different tune? Go ahead and sing with gusto! Be original! And let the pink cows do or say what they will!

song