Author Archives: Aiii

A Priceless Gift

My hubby and I went on a road trip toward Glendo State Park in Wyoming for the great 2017 eclipse. We didn’t make it into the park, deciding upon seeing the insane line that we’d do better pulling off-road after turning back south on I-25. We really did do better, and the photos support that. *

I was glad not to be in a crushing crowd with too many bodies and not enough bathrooms. I was happy to have space and time to enjoy the interval leading up to the event, strumming on my ukulele and sipping on an icy beverage. We sat under the shade of the VW’s hatchback and taped halves of an extra pair of eclipse glasses to our camera lenses to protect our sensors from getting fried.

I had no illusions that there was any life-changing impact from this phenomenon or pointless pagan rituals to follow. I was unencumbered by expectations of anything other than beauty.

I was not disappointed. Even the sunrise on the way to our destination had a special sense of anticipation to it.

Indeed, it was stunning. The last time I witnessed an eclipse, it was through a hole in a box we each made in grade school. I only recall it being rather anticlimactic. OooOOOoooh, a shadow. Whoopity-jinkies.

This time, eclipse glasses gave me a new freedom to watch the progress in a position I was used to viewing normal things: with light and space. The news that I could slip off the glasses during totality (in areas where it actually occurred) was exciting, and I rushed to rip protective lenses off everything to get photos that way once we reached it. We had about two minutes plus, to fiddle around with things, and in my haste, I never even tried taking a picture with the tablet or the phone, preferring to stick to my camera with the zoom engaged. I even got some great pictures using the digital zoom – without a tripod (my hubby used it with my other camera) – I had alternately set up on the roof of his car, braced only on the rain guard over the sunroof.

As if this weren’t spectacular enough for two photographers, there was the added treat of the way the atmosphere around us changed during totality – the shimmering silvery purple cast that settled all around us in an otherworldly filter between eye and world – every tree, flower, and person was a different color than I had ever seen and it cast a magical aura upon all denizens of the path. A colorful post-sunset twilight glowed on the horizon 360 degrees around us, as we never can witness otherwise. The sky didn’t blacken, but waxed to a starry indigo, showcasing planets and stars in a way few photos can convey – the headliners of the day aren’t divas; they share the limelight.

Spectacles like this only emphasize to me how truly special God considers us to be. There is no way for me to deny the concept of Intelligent Design if I really think about all of the billions of miracles that happen every day – from the intricate interworking of the ecosystem and climate balance to the perfection of how the moon just “fits” perfectly in proportion to the sun many millions of miles away to give us such a show with just enough corona and time to enjoy it. It serves no practical purpose – it’s just a cast shadow when you get down to it – it doesn’t accomplish any useful task in the sight of the universe – except to fill a wee creature with enough mind to consider it with wonder.

Sunsets didn’t have to be beautiful, nor kittens cute, nor birdsong inspiring – but they are – because He cared enough to make it so, and to design us to appreciate it. Berries didn’t have to be delicious, nor roses so aromatic, nor moss so soft, but for us to enjoy. Yes, there are other critters that expend their senses on these things, but they would anyway even if they were strictly utilitarian, as they do other things, and further, they indulge in some things that to us are outright repulsive.

One may argue that some things don’t have such pleasant smells, flavors or tactile properties…but to that I point out that many of those things are that way for a different reason, such as to deter us from things that have spoiled, are poisonous, or may in other ways cause us harm: a concerned warning.

Our earth revolves and orbits within amazingly narrow parameters that happen to sustain life. Other celestial bodies’ gravitational forces are just such that we are not obliterated. Flowers open at just the right time with just the right smell for just the right species to come along and pollenate in just the right geographical area. Trees get just enough light and water to photosynthesize just enough oxygen to sustain animal and human life on the planet, balanced with certain atmospheric requirements and minerals in the soil turned over by worms and the waste of other animals and many other factors put in place by our Creator.

How absurd it is to me that anyone could possibly believe that all of this could coincide on a purely random basis. That takes far more of a stretch of faith than believing in God! One could believe in a Big Bang…but Who made the Big Bang? He Who designed each stunning eclipse.

Specified complexity** is a marker of design by an intelligent source – it is sufficiently, significantly complex enough that it is highly improbably to occur at random, and specific enough to have to have been created for a given purpose. Combine millions of instances of this in the known universe, and it is impossible for all of them to have occurred by chance.

Science, and faith in God, are not mutually exclusive. God created science; He created math; He created physics and created – or allowed to perpetuate following His initial creation – all that we see, hear, taste, touch, smell, know about, and still have yet to know. The scientific community has increasingly discredited Darwinism, and many scientists speak in terms of intelligent design – and of faith. They can’t escape it. Yet lesser minds persist in resisting.

Some people think it’s insane to believe the world was made in six days (God rested on the seventh, remember?) or that the earth is only so many years old rather than what carbon dating or fossils say. I say: we have been wrong many times before. What makes this any different? We were convinced that we were right before, and our arrogance soon was exposed. Our technology now could just as easily be inaccurate. And we’re also ignoring the obvious: any Being, Who is capable of creating the UNIVERSE and of creating MAN and WOMAN in an already mature state, is also capable of creating other things in advanced states of evolution and development – including rocks and fossils and species. I wrestled with this myself, and as I did, I reasoned: Really, you aren’t going to try to limit the limitless, are you? That’s just your inadequate mind trying to make God as small as your limited imagination. He’s not subject to your shortsightedness; He made you! I can just see Him planting little bits of “evidence” to keep us busy for a while, perhaps to test our faith. If you think God doesn’t have a sense of humor, take another look at the duck-billed platypus. Don’t take yourself so seriously!

Timothy Keller is one of my favorite authors, and is very adept at pointing out bulletproof logical arguments for the faith. In his book The Reason for God***, he relates a quip and draws a brilliant analogy that (one hopes) resets a closed, limited mind to one that confronts the fact that we don’t know it all. I lent my copy to someone, so I will have to paraphrase it. A Russian cosmonaut (atheist) returned from space and proclaimed tersely that he “didn’t see God” while up there. Keller, always on point, countered that the cosmonaut’s assertion that this was any kind of “proof” of the nonexistence of God was akin to Hamlet going up to his attic and claiming he didn’t see Shakespeare. The point being: the character (Hamlet) could never have any idea of the existence of the author (Shakespeare) except what Shakespeare chose to write into his character’s consciousness. Hamlet’s obliviousness to his creator’s existence bears exactly zero relationship to the very real fact of Shakespeare existing. Shakespeare would exist regardless of whether or not he ever wrote himself into the play or into the mind of Hamlet. Likewise, our attempted denial of God, based on our own ignorance, cannot negate His existence. The creation is never greater than the creator. The creation only exists on the whim and graciousness of the creator. The creation had best get his mind right and his facts straight.

My paintings aren’t greater than I am. They would not exist were it not for me. They aren’t even equal to me. They can’t do what I do. I make them; I can change them; assign them; destroy them. They portray things because I design them that way. But my art analogy doesn’t have legs…I can make mistakes. I can make a dud painting, flat out. It’s not the painting that made itself go wrong.

God makes mankind in His own image – but gives man free will. Man chooses wrong; man screws up. Man sins against himself and against others. Sometimes he doesn’t even mean to. Man is imperfect. But God is perfect, and doesn’t make mistakes. We make them. Sometimes that mistake is that we make a “god” out of ourselves, and deny Him. But that has no bearing on His existence.

God is evident in the instinctual physiological response of mothers to the sound of crying offspring.

God is evident in the intricate function of a human eye.

God is evident in the very DNA to which we both adhere and occasionally transcend via intent. ****

None of this is the result of random chance. It is too complex and too specifically pertinent to the successful function and survival of a certain species in a particular environment. Evolution does not explain the origin of any development to this stage. Someone designed that from which it evolved. And it is more than possible that the path of evolution itself is designed and directed by that Being.

And Someone designed our moon to be just the right size to just block most of the sun when viewed from our Earth, and the moon’s orbit within the same plane as Earth orbits the sun so its shadow will intersect our sight (remember, Neptune’s moon Triton’s orbit is not parallel to the same plane – so our own moon’s orbit didn’t have to be either). He made everything line up in such a way that when we are perfectly lined up with it, that we can stare at the spectacle for two minutes straight without our sensitive eyes going blind, and marvel at a rare, unique beauty. Talk all you want to about how colors are caused by bending of light waves and elements in the atmosphere – He created all of that! And He designed us to respond to it with fear, wonder, joy, curiosity and a desire to know more. What a priceless gift.

On the way home, in the limitation of a simple pencil, I tried to describe the abstract beauty of the eclipse in my own God-given manner.

My self-expression may have evolved of its own nature and my intent, but the underlying passion fueling my art was born as my received gift from Him. And to Him I am ever grateful.

 

– Eilee

 

 

 

End notes/asterisked references in this post:

* I rarely show my photography, but thought this a rather special occasion. I have plenty more, and far higher-resolution prints than the images you see here (with more discreetly placed watermarks) are available to order.

** http://epsociety.org/library/articles.asp?pid=54

*** http://www.timothykeller.com/books/the-reason-for-god

**** http://www.naturalnews.com/042157_DNA_transformation_science_epigenetics.html

 

 

 

 

 

All content on this site © 2013-2018/present L. Eilee S. George; all rights reserved.

 

New Videos Page!

At long last, I’ve finally compiled and posted some of the videos I’ve made, learning to play ukulele and sing, and performing in various places. I decided it’s time to market myself a little, and to give some insight into the process of learning a musical pursuit to other beginners by showing what I went through to get where I am now.

The new VIDEOS page can be found here, or by hovering over the Music menu to get the sub-menu title “Videos” to show up. It’s still being populated with all of the videos I mention I’m to have on it, but it has a good amount of content on it already, and a fat lot of custom code to organize it and give easy navigational jump links.

All of the videos are in Mobile sizing, so if you try to enlarge them, they will just look blurry, so I don’t recommend it.

I’m really happy to announce this new milestone! I hope you enjoy!

— Eilee

P.S. I’m still not giving up my artwork. Or my writing. Don’t worry!

 

 

 

 

 

eilee george

All content on this site © 2013-2018/present L. Eilee S. George, all rights reserved.

When Appetites Attack

Among the many stereotypes that are tritely painted on artists as a whole with a broad brush, one I cannot wholly disagree with is quirkiness. That may be because I am known as quirky, but also, almost everyone I know – artist or not – is quirky in one wonderful way or another, so I know I am in good company!

One of my eccentricities came out in bold form lately and I just had to share it, to inspire folks to step out of the ordinary for a while – just for the fun of it.

Like many creatives, I doodle. A lot. Sometimes, I get an utterly irrepressible compulsion to doodle and I cannot rest until the itch is scratched. Sometimes the appeasement feels so darn good I keep scratching away until the doodle becomes a finished drawing. This is not always convenient, like when we are traveling and I have no pencil or paper…but I manage to make do with what’s on hand.

My hubby and I went on a long overdue jaunt up into the mountains a couple weekends back, and we both have a soft spot for certain sites around the area, including tasty Beau Jo’s Pizza in Idaho Springs, Colorado. We had even dropped in there for mountain pie after we got married, as it was already a favorite haunt whilst dating as well. I’ve been going there many, many years, and remember the days they used to invite all their visitors to draw on napkins, and then they would display them around the restaurant. Folks would eagerly explore all the galleries that resulted in the grand old building; it gave you a feeling of belonging, inclusion and community. Sadly, they don’t do that anymore; they ran out of room years back. But that didn’t stop me from paying homage to tradition in an appropriate style, with a rendering of something we aim to go see every time we visit, and I got to bring it home too:

Ballpoint pen rendering of Rocky Mountain Waterfall in Idaho Springs CO done by L. Eilee S. George onto a pizza box in which we brought home leftovers from Beau Jo's Pizza

“Fall to Your Knees” – ballpoint pen on pizza box, L. Eilee S. George

Yes, it’s a Bic. I absolutely love it. This shows I’m still connected to my photorealistic roots, but rest assured, my Neo-Pixellism is still in full swing.

This place is very special to us; special things happened here…happy special memories. Times laughing, crying, times I’ve prayed for help, for peace – and in thanks for grace and blessings – then I shared this spot with my sweetie and later we said our vows very near here. And the rest, as they say, is history. 🙂

More updates when my next batch of art is suitably “scrumptious” as pie!

(A thousand thanks Beau Jo’s!)

 

– Eilee

 

 

 

 

 

All content on this site © 2013-2018/present L. Eilee S. George; all rights reserved, except where otherwise noted.

Closer Look: 3 Trees Triptych

Three Trees Triptych: Rebellion (Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil), Redemption (Cross), and Reunion (Tree of Life)

Digital photo of 3 acrylic paintings comprising the "3 Trees Triptych": respectively entitled "Rebellion: The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil", "Redemption: The Tree of the Cross" and "Reunion: The Tree of Life", all are © 2017 (Linda) "Eilee" S. George, 48"w x 60"h each, part of the Israel Series for Calvary Community Baptist Church in Northglenn, CO; lovingly painted with squarish strokes in a Neo-Pixelist style in many colors; each signed L. Eilee George with logo

“Triple T” or the “Three Trees Triptych” © 2017 L. Eilee George

Three Trees is a work I had been considering for a few years, lacking any photographic resources from which to draw. There are three major trees in the story of God and man. Sure, there are other trees, like the fig tree that Jesus caused to die because it wasn’t bearing fruit, and the tree that temporarily shaded Jonah while he fought the Lord, but none so impacted the fate of mankind as the stories of man’s fall, and Jesus’s offer of salvation, and the promise of eternity in Heaven with God. The possible exception is the burning bush, and it’s not technically a tree, and deserves its own painting, and at any rate, I wanted to stick with a triptych to reference the Trinity.

Digital photo of acrylic painting entitled "Rebellion: The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" © 2017 (Linda) "Eilee" S. George, 48"w x 60"h, part of the "3 Trees" Triptych within the Israel Series for Calvary Community Baptist Church in Northglenn, CO; lovingly painted with squarish strokes in a Neo-Pixelist style in colors including ochre, cream, mauve, plum, red, salmon, yellow, purple, blue, olive, charcoal, black, green, lime, violet, fuschia, indigo, sepia, gold, brown and white, depicting the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden, a serpent wrapped around its trunk and two bitten and hastily discarded pieces of fruit at its roots; signed L. Eilee George with logo

Rebellion: The Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil © 2017 L. Eilee S. George

The first painting is The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the catalyst by which Adam, and through him, mankind, fell. This is The Rebellion. You can see the two pieces of fruit at the base of the tree, each with a bite removed from it, representing the Original Sin. The serpent wrapped around the trunk, returned to the scene of his crime, of course represents Satan and his power over mankind in this life.

The second painting is The Tree of the Cross, the site where Jesus took the pain and punishment for all our sins in order to offer to us a way to salvation, to avoid damnation, to return to our right relationship with our Father. This is The Redemption.

Digital photo of acrylic painting entitled "Redemption: The Tree of the Cross" © 2017 (Linda) "Eilee" S. George, 48"w x 60"h, part of the "3 Trees" Triptych within the Israel Series for Calvary Community Baptist Church in Northglenn, CO; lovingly painted with squarish strokes in a Neo-Pixelist style in colors including ochre, cream, mauve, plum, red, salmon, yellow, purple, blue, olive, charcoal, black, green, lime, violet, fuschia, indigo, sepia, gold, brown, beige and white, depicting the Tree of the Cross Calvary/Golgotha against a background of distant Jericho's barren mountains and dunes, a symbolic blooming dogwood sapling and life-affirming vines growing at the base of its trunk and a dramatic burst of sun rays from darkened clouds with the light of hope sent by God; signed L. Eilee George with logo

Redemption: The Tree of the Cross © L. Eilee S. George

I chose to depict the cross as a more naturalistic form that still harkens back to the tree from which it was constructed. Researchers have found that sometimes when finished timbers were in short supply, crucifixions were actually performed upon olive trees outlying the city, along the road as a warning to ne’er-do-wells. This tree is not the proud, straight cross often shown as the instrument of Jesus’ death; it, like Him, bows in humble obedience. At the top of the Cross is the sign with the inscription, “King of the Jews” in three languages: Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. At the base of the Cross is a dogwood sapling, long symbolic of the Cross in our own culture with its four blood-stained petals. It is indigenous to neither here nor Israel, but is native to the Mid-US from which the artist harkens.

Digital photo of acrylic painting entitled "Reunion: The Tree of Life" © 2017 (Linda) "Eilee" S. George, 48"w x 60"h, part of the "3 Trees" Triptych within the Israel Series for Calvary Community Baptist Church in Northglenn, CO; lovingly painted with squarish strokes in a Neo-Pixelist style in colors including ochre, cream, mauve, plum, red, salmon, yellow, purple, blue, olive, charcoal, black, green, lime, violet, pink, periwinkle, sepia, gold, brown and white, depicting the Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem as it descends, a tree that grows on either side of the River of Life with 12 crops and leaves for the healing of nations which are represented by many styles of world architecture in the great City and lit by the throne from which the River emits as described in Revelation; signed L. Eilee George with logo

Reunion: The Tree of Life © L. Eilee S. George

The third painting is The Tree of Life, which was removed from the Garden of Eden when man sinned, so that he would not eat of it and remain in a sinful state for eternity – thus giving him the chance to accept God’s gift of salvation and receive the reward of eternity with Him and all the kept promises of Heaven. This is The Reunion. The massive tree reappears in New Jerusalem, growing either side of the River of Life, which flows from the Almighty’s throne, bearing a bounty of twelve fruit and grains every month for the partaking by residents of this Holy place. Fruits depicted are not listed verbatim in the Bible, but research has given the artist a good guess with the Seven First Fruits and other plants native to the land at the time of Jesus’ life on earth among us. The Tree’s leaves heal the nations, represented by the City’s many architectural styles.

This triptych tells the story of God’s relationship with mankind in a succinct summary of major turning points, of mercy, discipline, and grace. It is told in the context of a Protestant Christian viewpoint of pure scripture in both the Old and New Testaments. The format of the paintings abstractly suggests Gothic stained glass windows and mosaic works (akin to those in cathedrals) to which my work was often compared even before this series; they are rendered in pigments derived from minerals of the earth onto canvas woven from plants of the earth by a human who was ultimately the result of another human rendered by God from the earth. I am honored to share the action of creation with my Creator, and joyful to share His Message and Promise with you.

 

– L. Eilee George

 

Prints of these works are available through special order. Contact the artist directly here.

See better pix of these works in THE GALLERY

Read about the entire series here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

All content on this site © 2013-2018/present L. Eilee S. George; all rights reserved, except where otherwise noted.

New Church Art Dedicated!

On April 29, 2017, artist Eilee George dedicated with Calvary Community Baptist Church of Northglenn nine new works, many of massive proportions, depicting significant sites in the walk of Jesus, and including a triptych featuring three key trees in the Bible. Knowing that people often want to know the background, reasoning, symbolism, technique and inspiration for works in order to make a deeper connection with the art being viewed, the Church asked the artist to give a presentation explaining the works in the context of meaning and method.


 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
Digital photo of acrylic painting entitled "Redemption: The Tree of the Cross" © 2017 (Linda) "Eilee" S. George, 48"w x 60"h, part of the "3 Trees" Triptych within the Israel Series for Calvary Community Baptist Church in Northglenn, CO; lovingly painted with squarish strokes in a Neo-Pixelist style in colors including ochre, cream, mauve, plum, red, salmon, yellow, purple, blue, olive, charcoal, black, green, lime, violet, fuschia, indigo, sepia, gold, brown, beige and white, depicting the Tree of the Cross Calvary/Golgotha against a background of distant Jericho's barren mountains and dunes, a symbolic blooming dogwood sapling and life-affirming vines growing at the base of its trunk and a dramatic burst of sun rays from darkened clouds with the light of hope sent by God; signed L. Eilee George with logoDigital photo of acrylic painting entitled "Reunion: The Tree of Life" © 2017 (Linda) "Eilee" S. George, 48"w x 60"h, part of the "3 Trees" Triptych within the Israel Series for Calvary Community Baptist Church in Northglenn, CO; lovingly painted with squarish strokes in a Neo-Pixelist style in colors including ochre, cream, mauve, plum, red, salmon, yellow, purple, blue, olive, charcoal, black, green, lime, violet, pink, periwinkle, sepia, gold, brown and white, depicting the Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem as it descends, a tree that grows on either side of the River of Life with 12 crops and leaves for the healing of nations which are represented by many styles of world architecture in the great City and lit by the throne from which the River emits as described in Revelation; signed L. Eilee George with logo

 

 

[To jump down in the post directly to one of the works, click a thumbnail above or a title below: Garden Tomb; Gethsemane; Jordan; Galilee; Calvary; Ancient Tree; 3 Tree TriptychRebellion; Redemption; Reunion.] [To read in more detail about the Triptych, go here.]

This post shows a longer draft of the speech than actually given, with more detail than time constraints at the event allowed, but all of the key points are present in both versions. Several attendees specifically requested that I publish a copy of this. A Power Point presentation was used as a visual aid to illustrate each of the paintings as they were being discussed. The presentation was whittled down to eight minutes from the original twenty, and was well received. An edited adaptation of the original presentation follows, with painting illustrations:

I’ve been asked to give some context to these paintings you suddenly see everywhere. Pastor Brian is a brave man to ask someone as verbose as I am to make a “brief” presentation – but I’ll do my best!

When I was asked to highlight our renovation with some artwork two years ago, I jumped onboard with both feet. I was very honored and intimidated and full of hope. I had full artistic license to do whatever I wanted – creatively, an artist’s dream commission. I took my responsibility very seriously and had plans to study my brains out.

Sheryl & L. Eilee in front of floral bush at Mt. of Beatitudes

Sheryl & L. Eilee At Mt. of Beatitudes, Galilee, Israel

Not twenty-four hours after I was given this opportunity, another one fell in my lap. My mother in-law, Sheryl, called and said their tour group to Israel needed another body to hit quota. She offered it freely, no obligation to me but to show up and have her back – and she offered it without any knowledge that I had received a request to paint art for a church. God’s will mobilized both her and myself. There was no other way I could have afforded to go. I had never been out of the US and had no passport and just a short time to get one, but God moves in very purposeful ways. Is there any more perfect trip to gather resources for church paintings than eleven days in Israel? Amazing. Now, I feared traveling so far, and flying in general, but cast fears to His care, and He got us through a very difficult flight and a few exciting episodes while abroad, and got us all home safe, praise the Lord. It’s a trip every believer should take.

I was looking at sorting through some 10,000 photos I had taken. I kid you not, I’m very OCD. I needed material for this work and I had one chance at it. Once home, I had to choose images to paint that weren’t just great photos, but also would gel well with my very patterned, Neo-Pixelist style. Not just any work will do; it needs a balance of space and detail. When I paint, the patterns create an entirely different painting up close than you see when all the strokes melt together from a distance. This involves a lot of walking back and forth across the room while painting, squinting, and juggling different types of eyewear, in my case. The technique displays the particulate nature of all matter – that on an atomic level, we’re all made of the same stuff – but more than that; we’re molecular and systemic and all connected; relationships are key between us, and that parallels our relationship as the created to our own Creator. It’s atomic Gestalt theory in pigment: the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Too many photos!

Decisions, decisions….

After months of sorting, choosing, revising and second-guessing, I chose what to paint. Then I had to get enough courage to put brush to canvas. I didn’t feel talented enough for such a mission! But God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips those He calls. When I prayed for His help, I literally felt the Holy Spirit guiding my decisions and my brush until I had enough confidence to persevere. I listened to a huge playlist of inspiring music while I worked, and eventually just listened to sermon after sermon on Grace FM to paint by. I sang hymns and cried and prayed and laughed, and it all worked out very well I think.

So on each of the individual paintings, a few words. There’s the triptych, here behind me…a word that refers to 3 artworks shown side by side as a unit. Then there are six smaller ones.

We’ll start with the six. Each depicts a site that is significant in the life of Jesus, and each features a scripture that directly relates to that site. In most of them, I purposely worked the scripture into the pattern of my brush strokes for a reason: it is subtle, in order to force you come closer, to pay attention, to meditate on the work – just the way one should meditate and linger in the Word, to increase comprehension and mindfulness.

The Garden Tomb

Digital photo of acrylic painting entitled "Garden Tomb" © 2016 (Linda) "Eilee" S. George, 16"w x 20"h, part of the Israel Series for Calvary Community Baptistt Church in Northglenn, CO; lovingly painted with squarish strokes in a Neo-Pixelist style in colors including ochre, cream, mauve, plum, charcoal, taupe, sepia, gold, brown and white, depicting the tomb of the risen Christ with the door rolled open; includes the scripture: "He is not here, for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." - Matthew 28:6 signed L. Eilee George with logo

Garden Tomb © 2016 L. Eilee S. George

The first work I did was the Garden Tomb. There are differences of opinion among different denominations as to actual site of the tomb; being so long ago many sites were “best guesses” but you still felt something “real” at times. We went through Church of the Holy Sepulcher but I did not feel Him there like I did in the area of the Garden Tomb. For this work I decided to go with theories that seem more compatible with Baptist beliefs. The Garden Tomb area is more peaceful, humble, and simple – and a place of quiet contemplation – devoid of icons/idols, rituals and dogma. For me it had to be the Garden Tomb.

This little 16″ x 20″ jewel was the first of the series, and I did a lot of experimenting. As I paint, I shoot progress shots with my camera to show its development, and this one had a lot of initial experimentation in technique; I recorded having put 22 layers on this relatively tiny work.

The Garden of Gethsemane

Digital photo of acrylic painting entitled "Garden of Gethsemane" © 2016 (Linda) "Eilee" S. George, 30"h x 48"w, part of the Israel Series for Calvary Community Baptistt Church in Northglenn, CO; lovingly painted with squarish strokes in a Neo-Pixelist style in colors including ochre, cream, green, aqua, charcoal, taupe, sepia, blue, periwinkle, terra cotta, orange, yellow, mint green, gray, gold, brown and white, depicting the Garden of Gethsemane; includes the scripture: "Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me; nevertheless, not My will but Thine, be done." - Luke 22:42 signed L. Eilee George with logo

Garden of Gethsemane © 2016 L. Eilee S. George

The Garden of Gethsemane is actually split in half by a narrow street; one half is adjacent to the Basilica of the Agony. This painting is from the the Basilica side of the street, although I saw the other side to be more restful for meditation. The trees are certainly ancient. In my test versions of planning, I tried both day shots and night shots. I wanted to think about doing a night scene because it’s my impression it was night when Jesus went there to pray right before His arrest. In the end I thought that a night scene would not have the right color palette for a church and I went with daylight. This 30″ x 48″ work has 33 layers of paint to achieve its molecular effect.

The River Jordan

Digital photo of acrylic painting entitled "River Jordan" © 2017 (Linda) "Eilee" S. George, 24"h x 36"w, part of the Israel Series for Calvary Community Baptistt Church in Northglenn, CO; lovingly painted with squarish strokes in a Neo-Pixelist style in colors including many greens, aqua, terra cotta, lime, ochre, cream, blue, periwinkle, charcoal, taupe, sepia, gold, brown and white, depicting River Jordan where Christ was baptized; includes the scripture: "And when Jesus was baptized, immediately He went up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on Him and behold, a Voice from heaven said, "This is My beloved Son, with Whom I am well pleased." - Matthew 3:16-17 signed L. Eilee George with logo

River Jordan © 2017 L. Eilee S. George

Next: the River Jordan, a 24″ x 36″. Few sites are available to tourists who are getting baptized in the Jordan as we were. We went to Yardinit, a deep area of the river except on the side of the baptismal stations. Much of the structure in this area is obviously modern, so I replaced with interpretations of random rocks and plant life, reminiscent of an early ruin, once I got around to Photoshopping my concept. The area we were in was lush, and it spoke to me of new life – like that represented by baptism itself – so I kept that aspect in my own version. I weighed the possibility of actually depicting Jesus and John the Baptist in the act of baptism, but sometimes depictions of Biblical persons can be controversial for a few reasons, and I am mostly a landscape artist, and that is what I was known for when I was asked to do the work, so to keep all of the work consistent I stayed with landscape, deviating only to superimpose a luminescent dove representing the Holy Spirit. The water is where my style really started getting flexible and curvy, and it developed even more in the next painting.

The Sea of Galilee

Digital photo of acrylic painting entitled "Sea of Galilee" © 2017 (Linda) "Eilee" S. George, 24"h x 36"w, part of the Israel Series for Calvary Community Baptist Church in Northglenn, CO; lovingly painted with squarish strokes in a Neo-Pixelist style in colors including ochre, cream, mauve, plum, charcoal, blue, orange, yellow, purple, pink, lavender, navy, gold, brown and white, depicting the Sea of Galilee with silhouetted boat and mountains; includes the scripture: "And on the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went unto them, walking on the water." - Matthew 16:25 signed L. Eilee George with logo

Sea of Galilee © 2017 L. Eilee S. George

For a while I considered the simple shots I had taken of the Sea of Galilee, testing them for compatibility between my style and their composition; I found that they could be terribly dull unless I really stretched out of my comfort zone. Looking at all that sea and air, and painting the way I do bringing life and vision to smaller elements of matter, I decided to imagine both the air and water currents and those elements swirling around in them. This, plus sunset colors, made my 24″ x 36″ Galilee look psychedelic in the early phases, but many layers of tinted glazing took the edge off and gave it harmony. I briefly considered including a ghostly image of Christ walking on the water, but again, I decided to stay consistent and retain the original scope of landscape art, which is often contemplative on its own.

Calvary

Digital photo of acrylic painting entitled "Calvary" © 2017 (Linda) "Eilee" S. George, 36"h x 48"w, part of the Israel Series for Calvary Community Baptistt Church in Northglenn, CO; lovingly painted with squarish strokes in a Neo-Pixelist style in colors including ochre, cream, mauve, plum, charcoal, taupe, sepia, gold, brown, beige, blue, yellow and white, depicting the Cross aglow in light bursting from dramatic clouds over the Antonia Fortress adjacent to the Temple of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period; includes the scripture: "Then Jesus said, "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do." - Luke 23:34 signed L. Eilee George with logo

Calvary © 2017 L. Eilee S. George

Calvary…in front of the Old City in the Second Temple Period…while in Jerusalem, we went to the Israel Museum, which had an enormous model of the Old City during the Second Temple Period, the time Jesus walked among us. I planned this painting, like I did with most of them, on Photoshop, but it was more complex, in that I had to remove the walls and tourists, and figure a more fitting background, and I had to choose an appropriate angle for the emotional impact I had in mind. I scrutinized the legend of the model, and guesstimated the approximate historical location of Golgotha and the cross in relation to it. You only see a beginning of the Temple’s Women’s Court on the right; mostly featured is the adjacent Antonia Fortress. This structure seemed to mirror the hardness of the chronical it faced, so I superimposed from my photography portfolio a dramatic post-storm sky from our very own Colorado that seemed to hold God’s light. This canvas is rather imposing at 36″ x 48″.

Ancient Tree of Galilee

Digital photo of acrylic painting entitled "Ancient Tree, Gethsemane" © 2017 (Linda) "Eilee" S. George, 24"w x 24"h, part of the Israel Series for Calvary Community Baptistt Church in Northglenn, CO; lovingly painted with squarish strokes in a Neo-Pixelist style in colors including ochre, cream, greens, blues, charcoal, taupe, sepia, gold, brown and white, depicting a tree in the Garden of Gethsemane rumored to be old enough to have been there during the life of Christ; includes the scripture: "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." - Matthew 26:41 signed L. Eilee George with logo

Ancient Tree, Galilee © 2017 L. Eilee S. George

This Ancient Tree of Gethsemane is adjacent to the Basilica of the Agony and is estimated to have been there at the time of Jesus’ life. Today the trunk’s girth measures more than 13 feet. It is weathered and scarred, showing the wounds of a long and fruitful life. To reflect this, the painting shows this survivor with a sturdy, solid trunk, but tissue-paper collage delicate greenery. It was overwhelming to be in the presence of such an ancient olive and consider that He may have prayed at the root of this very tree. This work is 24″ square.

So that’s the six. Now the triptych.

 

Triptych Intro

Digital photo of an early in-progress shot of 3 acrylic paintings comprising the "3 Trees Triptych": respectively entitled "Rebellion: The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil", "Redemption: The Tree of the Cross" and "Reunion: The Tree of Life", all are © 2017 (Linda) "Eilee" S. George, 48"w x 60"h each, part of the Israel Series for Calvary Community Baptist Church in Northglenn, CO; lovingly painted with squarish strokes in a Neo-Pixelist style in many colors; each signed L. Eilee George with logo

The Three Trees Triptych (TTT) in progress

The Three Trees Triptych were by far the most challenging of the group – I had no photographs to lean on; only Scripture and my imagination. For the group as a whole, I decided after long consideration and several other failed ideas to simulate the idea of the gothic-arch frame, along with an exaggerated version of the mosaic/stained-glass effect that my work is known for – an appropriate technique…for paintings to be hung in a sanctuary!

Digital photo of 3 acrylic paintings comprising the "3 Trees Triptych": respectively entitled "Rebellion: The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil", "Redemption: The Tree of the Cross" and "Reunion: The Tree of Life", all are © 2017 (Linda) "Eilee" S. George, 48"w x 60"h each, part of the Israel Series for Calvary Community Baptist Church in Northglenn, CO; lovingly painted with squarish strokes in a Neo-Pixelist style in many colors; each signed L. Eilee George with logo

Three Trees Triptych, finished © 2017 L. Eilee S. George

I kept a log through all the paintings and took progress photos as I went. This got really complicated with the triptych because I had to regularly work among them in order to coordinate colors, align adjacent elements, and figure the direction of the light. I even had to rearrange my entire studio in order to accommodate three such monsterous works side by side (each canvas is 48″ wide and 60″ tall), and they barely fit in the dim little basement cave that I call my studio. Just finishing them was a small miracle. Let’s take a look at each of the three works individually.

Rebellion: The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

Digital photo of acrylic painting entitled "Rebellion: The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" © 2017 (Linda) "Eilee" S. George, 48"w x 60"h, part of the "3 Trees" Triptych within the Israel Series for Calvary Community Baptist Church in Northglenn, CO; lovingly painted with squarish strokes in a Neo-Pixelist style in colors including ochre, cream, mauve, plum, red, salmon, yellow, purple, blue, olive, charcoal, black, green, lime, violet, fuschia, indigo, sepia, gold, brown and white, depicting the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden, a serpent wrapped around its trunk and two bitten and hastily discarded pieces of fruit at its roots; signed L. Eilee George with logo

Rebellion: The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil © 2017 L. Eilee S. George

Rebellion is the first panel of the triptych. Not a lot is available for source material to paint the Garden of Eden. There are scriptural references of course, but much is left up to the imagination. The area of the intersection of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers is suspected, and any river valley should be lush, as was the Garden itself from all extrapolation. This Tree is the hardest of the three to depict, as it has no distinguishing characteristics by which to recognize it. To reveal its identity, I wrapped a serpent around the trunk, adding two hastily-dropped half-eaten pieces of fruit in his shadow.The concept is loosely based on the account in Genesis. This scene was the catalyst for the fall of man in his relationship with God – a rebellion.

Redemption: The Tree of the Cross

Digital photo of acrylic painting entitled "Redemption: The Tree of the Cross" © 2017 (Linda) "Eilee" S. George, 48"w x 60"h, part of the "3 Trees" Triptych within the Israel Series for Calvary Community Baptist Church in Northglenn, CO; lovingly painted with squarish strokes in a Neo-Pixelist style in colors including ochre, cream, mauve, plum, red, salmon, yellow, purple, blue, olive, charcoal, black, green, lime, violet, fuschia, indigo, sepia, gold, brown, beige and white, depicting the Tree of the Cross Calvary/Golgotha against a background of distant Jericho's barren mountains and dunes, a symbolic blooming dogwood sapling and life-affirming vines growing at the base of its trunk and a dramatic burst of sun rays from darkened clouds with the light of hope sent by God; signed L. Eilee George with logo

Redemption: The Tree of the Cross” © L. Eilee S. George

In Redemption, I turned the composition to face Jericho’s distant barren hills, and to include the sun bursting through dark clouds as on the day of the crucifixion. This also serves as the main light source for all three paintings of the triptych, the throne in New Jerusalem scene to the right notwithstanding. Inclusion of the non-indigenous dogwood sapling is a nod to our own culture and its symbolism in the four white, blood-stained petals that draw a parallel to Christ on the Cross. It isn’t even native to Colorado, but it is very much from the place where this artist grew up. The vines emanating from the base of the Cross symbolize the new life offered to us in the presence of our God for all eternity by Christ’s sacrifice and atonement for our sins.

Reunion: The Tree of Life

Digital photo of acrylic painting entitled "Reunion: The Tree of Life" © 2017 (Linda) "Eilee" S. George, 48"w x 60"h, part of the "3 Trees" Triptych within the Israel Series for Calvary Community Baptist Church in Northglenn, CO; lovingly painted with squarish strokes in a Neo-Pixelist style in colors including ochre, cream, mauve, plum, red, salmon, yellow, purple, blue, olive, charcoal, black, green, lime, violet, pink, periwinkle, sepia, gold, brown and white, depicting the Tree of Life in the New Jerusalem as it descends, a tree that grows on either side of the River of Life with 12 crops and leaves for the healing of nations which are represented by many styles of world architecture in the great City and lit by the throne from which the River emits as described in Revelation; signed L. Eilee George with logo

Reunion: The Tree of Life © 2017 L. Eilee S. George

I thought I had a decent idea of what to do with the last panel, called Reunion – until I started comparing Revelation to Ezekiel. I had several meetings with Pastor Brian and others on these seeming conflicts, and consulted various tomes including Randy Alcorn’s book entitled “Heaven”. I pored through heavenly depictions through art history; I watched videos that alluded to it; I read online comparisons between accounts by different prophets and apostles. I prayed hard on it and decided to go with a version from Revelation, realizing it is likely not any inherent “contradiction” but rather speaking of a different time from Ezekiel (eternity versus the 1000 years); therefore it makes sense that there would be some differences. Showing the great City from the inside out also presented a challenge, as many descriptions talk about the gates and foundations that would not be visible from the interior of such a vast place, and descriptions aren’t highly detailed from that perspective. The Bible reveals that the Tree of Life grows on EITHER side of the River of Life, so I had to resolve how that works. The Seven First Fruits and other native crops were used for the twelve crops on the Tree. Combining the reference to the healing of nations as well as Christ’s promise to go and prepare a place for us in His father’s house of many mansions, gave me license to show architecture of many cultures in close proximity and harmony.

Conclusion

These works are a labor of love. The whole time I painted them, I prayed that they might inspire someone to seek God, to seek closer relationship with Him, to seek their own spiritual gift and to dedicate themselves to honoring Him with those gifts. I did this and found that the gift again is to me, and at this crossroad I look for God to guide me to His will for my next steps. Thanks, Sheryl, for taking me on the trip of a lifetime; thanks Greg for your steadfast support through all of this; thank you to my families by blood, marriage and here at the church for your inspiration; I couldn’t have done it without you; thank God for His help and facilitating my spiritual and artistic growth. Thank you for sharing my journey.

Eilee George image

 

Prints of these works are available through special order. Contact the artist directly here.

See better pix of these works in THE GALLERY.

Speech derived from this copy © Linda Eilee S. George and performed live April 29, 2017 at Calvary Community Baptist Church, Northglenn CO. Visit their site to learn more about CCBC. You can find them at 11980 Irma Drive (at 120th), Northglenn, CO 303-452-0056; services at 10:30 am Sundays.

 


 

 

 

 

All content on this site © 2013-2018/present L. Eilee S. George; all rights reserved, unless otherwise noted.

 

 

Eilee’s Favorite Supplies & How They Earned the Distinction

When you have been creating art for *mmgfrgm* decades – ahem, you have sampled a lot of different products, and found that some really perform well consistently, while others fall far short of that distinction. There are brands of sketchbooks I wouldn’t touch now because of the texture of the paper and the way it makes erasures smear rather than erase. There are colored pencils so waxy that the color saturation is all pastel, preventing any depth or contrast. There are paints that are of the consistency of tar and sand. If you’ve been burned by bad art supplies, your self-preservation takes over and catalogues what to avoid and what to seek. I thought I’d share my catalogue with you today.

In this post, I will mention brand names only of my favorites – not to suggest that there are no other good ones in each category that I will still use from time to time – and I will not name the ones that I dislike at all – indeed, a few of them have already gone out of business, since I’m sure many other artists felt about them the way that I did, or people just retired or got bought out. Nobody is paying me to say nice things about their product or company. If that ever changes, I will update the post to inform you of that development.

PAINTING

I’ve used a lot of brands of acrylic paint, but Golden acrylic paints go on smooth “like buttah”. Where some brands are grainy and textured, Golden brand never lets me down, with a creamy consistency that makes mixing and painting a joy. For my purposes, I use heavy body paints, but they also offer fluid, open (for longer drying times, which I achieve instead with a combination of medium and a very small amount of retarding liquid), and high flow, which is for airbrushing now (use a respirator and ventilation please). I have not used every other brand out there, but now that I’ve tried Golden I don’t need to – I’m so impressed with its products that I won’t buy anything else now. They cost a little more, but you totally get what you paid for; it’s worth it. No more fighting grainy goo!

Golden Soft Gel is awesome for wet-in-wet and texture or isolation layers. You can get it in gloss, semi-gloss, or matte. The matte is a little harder to work, as it dries very quickly and leaves a bit more of an atmospheric fog behind – which is great if that’s the look you’re aiming for. I prefer semi-gloss myself. Gels also come in regular, heavy, extra heavy, and high solid textures; I haven’t tried all of these yet, and will update this section when I do. It takes a little getting used to doing a wet-in-wet with gel, because it goes on reasonably opaque (but dries clear), so you have to both envision what you’re doing without really seeing it at the time, and be open to serendipitous surprises. You can brush layers of it over a base layer of paint to make things look atmospheric. You can whip it up like frosting and then put paint into it while it’s still wet. You can do a dry-brush technique over it once it’s dry. It’s fabulous for creating an eerie sense of depth in 2-D.

Likewise, Golden Glazing Liquid is great for atmosphere in a much more consistent, delicate application. I’ve done some really nice lighting effects by applying multiple, slightly-tinted-with-paint layers over a painting to create a glowing light, blending around the edges; it’s also great for subtle transparent overlays of color to soften an area. Either way the results are magical. This is yet another product I can use to extend my drying time to facilitate much finer blending than I would be able to achieve with straight paint and water (too much water inhibits the polymers in the paint adhering to your work anyway). Yes, I’m a Golden fan.

Good old Prang watercolors are what I came through grade school with, and they’ve always been adequate for me. There are far fancier-looking ones out there named after great master artists, but I can’t say that watercolor has been a major focus for me personally. The one thing that irked me was painting around white areas, and that was remedied when I was introduced to (1) frisket (an example can be seen here but I haven’t tried this brand; my old one is no more), and (2) gouache, or opaque watercolors, which can come in tubes rather than trays – including white! Opaque watercolors sit on top of the paper and on each other, rather than soaking into the substrate. Winsor & Newton gouache has been perfect for my needs whether applied by brush or airbrush; I’ve never had a problem with it. I also like watercolor pencils, and have been experimenting with ones by Artist’s Loft of late. As far as the old-fashioned Prang paint tin is concerned, my all-time favorite is the one my brother custom decorated for me as a gift when I was in grade school; I refill the trays whenever I can.

Brushes are a matter of taste, and in my case, abuse. I don’t like to buy high-end brushes because I’m quite rough on them and it’s cost-prohibitive to always get the best if that’s your modus operandi. I’ve gotten adequate use out of the cheapest of brushes, but I aim for the middle ground as far as cost. I’m not loyal to any brand here: I use natural-hair brushes for watercolor and gouache, and synthetic ones for acrylic, except for fine blending applications. I keep a wide variety of styles and sizes for different uses. You’ll just have to experiment and find what works for you and your art.

DRAWING

Remember the cheap colored pencils you used in grade school? You could never get really dark, true colors out of them no matter how hard you colored. In some cases, sub-standard art supplies can only produce sub-standard art. Prismacolor pencils have the intensity of paint pigment, unlike those waxy, washed-out box-retail specials. The first time I used them it was like seeing for the first time after a veil had been lifted from before my eyes. I use them on white, black, and different colored papers as a base. They blend very well; they’re able to be quite opaque; they’re sturdy and bold. The only other good pencils out there are the ones that are copying them.

Vine charcoal is very versatile for unique styles and techniques. It’s put out by a lot of companies, and the one I used for some twenty years has long gone out of business, so I’ve switched to Art Alternatives, which is sold at many retailers and does the job. Some people seem to hate this stuff because it’s a little messy, but they haven’t learned to appreciate their potential. These little charred sticks allow you to wear them into the shape you need with a few strokes, and you can use their end or their side, or you can angle them to get a broad, velvety stroke. You can use them softly for light tones; they blend well with blending stumps (tortillons) or cotton balls, and they can mark down to a dark-medium value even though they’re still what I would call delicate. Add compressed or brick charcoal for deep darks to blend in with them; they work very well together (especially love General’s #15 Charcoal Kit). Combine them with kneaded erasers and you can do some real magic….

Kneaded erasers are the ultimate in control and technique for erasers. Not only can you mold and point them to erase in the tiniest corner of a drawing, you can turn them into a drawing and blending tool under the right conditions. They don’t leave crumbs, so you won’t need a brush or risk smearing your work with your hand swiping them away, and any little squiggles that do occur from aggressive erasing are easily picked up by the rest of the eraser and easily worked back in. They also don’t go “bad” (rock-hard, greasy, or otherwise useless) like many rubber erasers do with time. There are many great brands of kneaded erasers, but I trust Prismacolor ones most. I’ve also had good luck with General’s and Prang Design ones, and there are many more. Above I mentioned that these work well with vine charcoal. What I used to do a lot was to turn the vine charcoal on its side to make a nice all-over gray tone. Some drawings I would do that to the entire page before drawing anything. Then I’d lightly sketch some outlines of things with the tip of the vine charcoal. I’d figure out my light source and where highlights and such would be – and I’d take my kneaded eraser and erase out the highlights from the colored-gray background; you can also dab or roll them on surfaces for various degrees and textures of erasure. Then I’d darken shadows with a firmer pressure on the vine charcoal by using the tip, and for dark darks, I would move to a compressed charcoal pencil or brick charcoal and blend that in where appropriate. This works similar in concept to chalk and charcoal on gray paper, but you’ve made the paper gray, and it has a very cloudy, dreamy look. Another thing you can do, and this takes a bit of practice, is use a very charcoal-dirty and smooth area of the eraser to blend with (it doesn’t remove as much charcoal as a tortillon). Then when you need a fresh clean area for a starker, white erasure, you just stretch it, knead it, pull it inside-out and fold and mold it like Silly Putty to find and shape one tailor-fit to the area. This rejuvenating capacity renders this type of eraser good for use for many, many years. Brilliant!

Good old #2 pencils are fine for everyday drawing. I grew up using the ones with my dad’s job’s logo; never been without one. I still use them today, even though he’s gone and he had retired some twenty years ago. It’s kind of a comfort thing to hold onto them. In my artistic history, such commonplace implements pre-date my more official art tools. It forced me to do more with less: I can get all the light and dark I need from just a plain old #2 pencil. To be specific, I mean 2B…B leads are soft and can get pretty dark, and I never had a lot of use for H leads because I can use a B with a steady, soft touch (but H’s smear less, so there’s that). Sure, I have the fancy drawing pencils, but these are like an old loyal friend, and despite the existence of fantastic pencils out there and even in my studio (my old Venus pencils, and Pentalic brand), I always gravitate to one of Dad’s old pencils for old time’s sake, as I did several works for him with those, and continue to in spirit. So I guess you can choose supplies for sentimental cause.

Strathmore produces sketch paper with just enough tooth that it is smear-resistant. Time was that I would buy any cheap sketchpad out there, but I learned my lesson. Cheap papers smear irreparably if you try to erase; they lack tooth and can ruin some otherwise good drawings. Yes, occasionally artists do have to erase – especially if you block in some wire-frame type structure lines that later need to be removed. Not all sketch papers are made the same. Some of them just are not good, and when I find something I like, I stick to it. Strathmore isn’t quite as high-end as Canson (which is truly excellent), but it is affordable in bulk and perfectly fine for any drawing needs, and comes in a vast array of types for different media uses.

I have to say I haven’t worked much with pastels (do not confuse with colored chalk) and oil pastels (I’ve used Grumbacher a little), but they seem pretty consistent from brand to brand. I’ve used Faber Castel Design no, now they’re Prismacolor Nupastels and the more compressed Prang Pastello pastels; the former is firmer and a little easier to blend for me. I definitely recommend using them with a pastel-specific paper with a very coarse tooth for better blending capacity; Canson has a great selection of pastel papers.

OTHER STUFF

Occasionally I still construct models or sculptures using acrylic sheet and super glue. Sometimes working with it, it gets scratched. Novus plastic polish is fantastic for buffing small scratches out of acrylic. It comes in different viscosities for different depths of scars, and it requires some elbow grease and a little patience, but it can save your project outright.

Epoxy works best for joints needing a tiny bit of flexibility. I’ve used various super glues, because I like the wicking properties to get them into tiny cracks, as well as accelerators to get glue curing quickly, but these can become very brittle on non-porous surfaces. If your project needs to shift a little or is going to be under strain, an epoxy is often a stronger, more flexible bond. I don’t really have a brand preference on this because I’ve never run into a bad one; JB Weld, Loctite, and Gorilla all make good versions as well as others. You want the two-part type that you mix together. Don’t be intimidated; it’s really easy.

When you want to mount something to a board, spray mount is the way to go. For years people used rubber cement, and I hated it going through university. It was what all our professors used when they were going to school, so it’s what they had us use. But rubber cement is terribly messy and lingeringly fumy; the built-in brush always gets messed up; it’s hard to keep the can clean enough to close and not partially dry up; it doesn’t age well; it goes on in blobs and is hard to apply smoothly so that it doesn’t show through with bumps. On top of that, after twenty years, the project fails completely and rubber cement doesn’t stick any longer. Then the parts are stained with some nasty brown smearing that won’t take other adhesives to put it back together. But one professor introduced spray mount to us, and it was like a godsend. 3M Super 77 spray mount renders the old-school rubber cement “boogers” obsolete. Yes, you should have a spray booth, or point it downwind, outside, with a large disposable drop cloth or liberally spread newspapers for overspray – but it goes on smoothly, and none of my projects with this have failed. You can even carefully lift, shift and re-position the work you’re mounting at first, in case you didn’t get it aligned quite right, so that short initial flexibility in curing time is another perk.

X-Acto is X-actly what’s needed, but Olfa kicks butt too. I’ve used X-Acto for years and love all the different blade attachments that come with them, not to mention the custom carrying case. Sometimes I do paper cutting and it’s so much more accurate than using scissors. While I was a modelmaker I had chance to use a retractable Olfa blade – the kind with the scored blade where you can use pliers to break a dull region off the end, to have a fresh new blade where you broke it off – and I loved the idea. Since it’s retractable it’s easily transportable, and since sometimes I’m doing little set-design jobs off-site, that’s important. It’s also easy and safe to store when not in use.

More modern media also reside in my portfolio. Photography is a supplement art to my stickier medias, as I do a lot of my own photography of my work as well as art photography for its own sake. I use a Canon Rebel T3i for the really good stuff, and a Canon A630 for quick pix. I miss my old manual Minolta X-700; it was damaged by someone I once lent it to. But that forced me to learn that digital photography is far cheaper than film and developing. Adobe Photoshop is a vital tool with my digital photos, as I use it for color correction in the case of color correction (say, a green tint from an old fluorescent fixture), for cropping, for stitching things together, and for artful editing of all sorts when I’m feeling really experimental. I use Adobe Illustrator for vector graphics like logos I design in my branding business. I use Adobe InDesign for a lot of my graphics jobs, and of course I design all of my web sites on a WordPress platform (if you’re not a web DIY’er and don’t want to self-host, visit here instead).

WHERE TO BUY

I certainly haven’t shopped everywhere, or anywhere online for that matter, but from my artist friends I’ve heard good things about JerrysArtarama.com, CheapJoes.com and DickBlick.com. There are other online venues that are, I assume, also good, and others who certainly too big to need my humble promotion. Brick-and-mortar stores I’ve gone to of course include Hobby Lobby and Michael’s, as well as the Denver giant, Meininger. Some supplies can be gotten (perhaps more cheaply) at hardware stores like Home Depot, Lowe’s or Ace, or at office supply stores like OfficeDepot or Staples, or even big box discount stores, supposedly. I’ve found that framing and hanging hardware is much cheaper at hardware stores, but I’ve heard it’s even cheaper online, and you can get it discounted in bulk. Cameras I’ve picked up both at specialty shops and big-box retailers, and software I get from the developers.

Please email me via my CONTACT page if you have questions about other media; I haven’t mentioned every category that I work in on this post. I have experience in various types and media of sculpture, ceramics, and I’ve recently procured two kilns and a lot of china-painting supplies from my mother, who has retired from the practice after creating a beautiful legacy of work (I’ll be teaching myself and my mother in-law this art after I finish a few commissions and we both find the time). In more traditional painting, I also have worked in oils, but acrylics are my preference, since they can be manipulated to resemble various other types of painting, and are far less toxic than oils and don’t require the ventilation that oils would demand to be truly safe (turpentine, anyone?). I understand that there are turpentine replacements out there, but they are still stinky, and I just plain like to work faster than oils do. The only time acrylics are toxic is when basically atomized through an airbrush (don’t just do that unless you want something like black lung disease! Use gouache instead, and always use a respirator!) So, yeah, I’m kind of prejudiced against oils, although I did some lovely ones back in the day. If you’re willing to deal with their challenges, more power to you; it’s just not me. It’s probably best to consult someone besides me on oils.

The links in this article are, as much as I could manage it, to the original manufacturer rather than a retail destination, which I only provided when I couldn’t find the maker. I cannot guarantee the quality of any products I have reviewed here, as companies sometimes change their processes or even go out of business, without consulting little old me – nor do I guarantee forever function of any of the links here, as some webmasters seem to like to move stuff around arbitrarily, and I can’t police all these links every week. My apologies in advance for any links that may become outdated in the future. I would like to point out again that there are no ads on my site and none of these companies have compensated me in any way for these recommendations (they likely don’t know I exist); these are the same recommendations I would make to any friend, and I don’t get paid for that either. 🙂

Truth be told, to help fund my work, I am very interested in learning how to monetize the site eventually, and should any of these links become income in the future, I will let you know in a short legal disclaimer statement in close proximity to the relevant reference. Until then, I hope you have found something helpful here. 😉

 

– Eilee

 

 

 

 

 

All content on this site © 2013-2018/present L. Eilee S. George; all rights reserved.

Evolution in Faith & Art

FindingMyNoHisWayLogoI’m gonna spill a secret.

For the last few months I’ve been working on a new series rather covertly. It’s one I had been gearing up for since April of 2015, when I went to Israel. I had just been asked to do a bunch of artwork for my church following a renovation, and literally the next day, without my initiation or anticipation, a trip to Israel just dropped into my lap. Is there a more perfect way to gather sources for art for a church? These things happen for a reason, and it was with this in mind alongside my trepidation in leaving my native country for the first time ever (to visit a place which, while immensely inspiring, was also in the news constantly for violence and unrest), that I trusted God’s plan, told my irrational fears to get lost, and accepted the invitation.

Detail of the Garden Tomb painting with its scripture: "He is not here, for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay." - Matthew 28:6 - painted in a fractured, pixelated style in beige, ochre, cream, plum, mauve and gray

Detail of the Garden Tomb painting with its scripture: “He is not here, for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” – Matthew 28:6 – painted in a fractured, pixelated style in beige, ochre, cream, plum, mauve and gray

Knowing I’d never be able to afford to return in time to gather more material for my commission, I took many thousands of photos while on tour there. I was determined to capture some amazing photos, and luckily I had trained for years to frame a balanced composition in a split second. Being of the philosophy that one has to take a hundred photos to get one really magical one, I took almost 10,000. Yes, you read that right. God bless digital cameras.

Needless to say, it took months to sort through them all, and to identify all the places and rename the better ones appropriately, decide on a theme, pore over fonts, carefully curate between so many good options, and narrow down what I would actually paint for the church (who are giving me a stipend). I also cropped a few reference photos for emphasis or stitched a few photos together, and decided that each painting would contain scripture tying directly to each site being depicted, so there was additional research to be done (hence the font poring). The extent of artistic license and interpretation also had to be determined to some degree. Distractions from this mission were swatted away until I “got it” that this was what I was supposed to do now. Between the epic amount of sorting, the self-doubt, a detour almost getting a really cool job (which had such a horrific commute it would have obliterated any time or energy to paint), and several poignantly-timed illnesses that forced me to stop, think, and re-assess my priorities, it was nearly a year before I actually touched brush to canvas. Luckily my clients were in no rush, and gave me full trust and creative autonomy.

Here I had to face another fear: that I wasn’t good enough for the project. Most artists have this gnawing self-doubt, even when it isn’t earned. Society gives creatives a lot of mixed messages concerning their “worth”, but they aren’t the ultimate measure, nor is money. Don’t get me wrong – funds to afford food, shelter, a studio and art supplies are quite vital, but that isn’t necessarily the purpose for creating; it is essentially a facilitator. Money is a terribly inadequate means of measuring the value of most things that matter, and public response can be swayed by too many fickle factors. Art is nearly as impossible to measure as a feeling or a life. It is more a matter of quality than something quantifiable, and what I mean by quality is how it impacts lives – either that of the artist, or of cultures or sub-cultures, or that of others such as collectors or anyone else who views art with varying purposes. It can calm, inspire, educate – even be a call to action. I have hope with this series that I might inspire viewers to seek relationship with God, if not simply to serve to glorify Him with the passion and skills He graciously and abundantly bestowed on His not-quite-humble-enough servant (hey, I’m a work in progress too). I may never learn what impact anything I do actually occurs, but my knowing is nonessential.

There’s a subconscious meme in our collective awareness that is a picture of the writer facing the blank page – or the artist in front of a blank canvas – that it is the most intimidating thing in the world to pull something from nothing and create something there. This is where I was after all my preparation…preparation that probably took longer than it should as an indirect result of that fear. Eventually I had to face the fact I must do something. Not that I hadn’t been doing something, but I had to get on with the show, so to say. Restlessly wandering around in my mind  with a feeling of disquiet, I frankly wasn’t putting the right effort into figuring out what was wrong yet. Then the Spirit hit me with the notion I needed – duh, I needed to pray about it. So I did. I dropped to my knees, and told God I didn’t feel worthy of my commission, and that I probably wasn’t – but that I knew I could do all things through Him Who strengthens me. I asked for divine assistance. Boy, did I get it!

Now…I’m a very analytical person. I know my skills and limitations: where they lie and where they stop. I know when something is happening beyond what I am currently capable of. So I don’t care if anyone thinks I’m delusional. I own what I say here. I know what I have experienced and nobody can take that from me: I did my initial drawing and blocking in of the painting, in the faith that God won’t steer a parked car so I had better drive…and then I felt Him take the wheel. When I got to a place where I didn’t know how I’d place the strokes or what look the painting would have, I paused for a quick prayer, and immediately I felt Him take control of my decisions and my brush, and guide me into my new techniques.

This doesn’t happen every session, or even every painting in such a dramatic way. But I have felt His presence and influence in every stroke since then, even though it thankfully is a logical progression of my style that’s still recognizable as mine. I have also watched my style subtly evolve with each painting. Usually that only happens every few series of paintings. The work I’ve put into this series surpasses anything I’ve ever accomplished – because I didn’t do it by myself. We worked in concert, and continue to (as I’m not half finished with this series, but wanted to let you know I’m still producing, and just what’s going on – quite a lot!)

It has been a labor of love. What a gift that God arranged for me, in answer to my plea to find a way to serve Him that was custom-tailored around the talents He had given me. And to think I almost turned down the trip because of a dumb fear. I actually heard more gunshots in my own neighborhood the first 24 hours after returning home, than I had in eleven days in Israel, including 5 days in Jerusalem! How silly of me to have hesitated, knowing there’s nothing I can really do to alter the number of days He ultimately planned for me to live anyway.

This is My Son, in whom I am greatly pleased

Detail of the River Jordan painting, inspired by the scripture: “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” – Matthew 3:17

I must say that Israel was far more beautiful than that which is depicted in many movies set in Biblical times generally shows. Much of the land of milk and honey is a varyingly lush, blooming oasis in the Middle East, and my artist’s face was wet with gratitude at being able to witness it, and to walk the steps that Jesus trod, and to be able to witness layers of history excavated before my very eyes. I recommend a visit to the Holy Land for every believer – and even for those who aren’t…and it may just make a believer out of you, if you dare.

When I returned home, I was exhausted but exhilarated, and among ideas for paintings, I started writing a book about my trip, and separately I created a slideshow-video of some of my best photos – played to a background of me reciting a poem I that wrote about the journey. This was an experience that produced a creative tour-de-force.

If that weren’t enough of a present, my methods and techniques began to evolve further as I’ve already mentioned, and I embraced experimentation in a way I hadn’t for years. I’ve progressed so much that I may have to edit my artist statement.

When I embarked into this style, I was acutely aware that matter and light were of a particulate nature: that all things, living and otherwise, are made of atoms with electrons furiously spinning about their respective nuclei, and that light is a blast of speeding photons. I was thinking on an “atomic” level, and was using that microcosm to allude to the parallel that we humans, however different we may seem superficially, are all made of the same stuff – unique yet unified. Now, in the Holy Land series, I have progressed into showing the relationships between these entities, by making my brush strokes and shapes interrelate in a more “molecular” way. It is not enough that we have things in common; it is imperative that we recognize and act on those common bonds by nurturing relationships.

...nevertheless, not My will, but Thine, be done. - Luke 22:42

Detail of the Garden of Gethsemane painting, utilizing the scripture: “…nevertheless, not My will, but Thine, be done.” – Luke 22:42

And now my subject matter is sites that were significant in the life of Jesus Christ, He who became the very liaison between the Creator and the created. There is no higher relationship I could portray. I chose not to depict literally the countenances of Father, Son or Holy Spirit; rather to use the light and beauty of nature, another creation, to, appropriately, reflect Them. Then, to reinforce the participation of the Trinity in my visual message, I include the Word, or scripture, within the compositions – scripture that is relevant to the scene illustrated and is relevant to those who read it, regardless of their understanding or even agreeing with it; it is a relationship offered nonetheless, in the context of free will and dependent on one’s voluntary acceptance since, by definition, true love, respect and loyalty can only be given, not taken by force. Similarly, this same push-and-pull tension is also described in the relationship between brush strokes, among which the scriptures are nestled and purposely partially camouflaged, necessarily so one must come closer to read them – just as one must meditate on the Word to absorb its meaning.

The paintings are each two works in one; from afar one sees a realistic scene, but close up one is confronted with intricate patterns and harmonies, creating that Gestalt that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. This echoes the responsibility of all humanity to keep a balance between the big picture and the important details, a dichotomy not unlike that of our calling as believers – to repeatedly attempt to transcend humanity while still shackled to it and all its flaws; to balance self and others; to balance discipline and compassion; to balance life in this realm versus that in the next. Mindfulness in relationships are key, and as one progresses, the journey is every bit as important to consider as the destination.

It bears mentioning that each individual’s act of creating is yet another testimony to the fact that we are made in our own Creator’s image, a divine gift He gave us to feel kinship with Him. I can scarcely wait to finish this series and dive into the next one, since I have several waiting in the wings and my mind is so full of ideas, I wish I didn’t have to sleep (and I really like to sleep). I even have yet another Israel series planned beyond the collection for our particular house of worship.

You may have noticed this post is only illustrated with a few details. I feel it wouldn’t be right to show the finished paintings here before I present them to their ultimate home. Looking forward to the day I can post all the finished works after the unveiling at church!

– Eilee

 

 

 

 

All content on this site © 2013-2018/present L. Eilee S. George; all rights reserved.

Upgrading Imagery

When I first built this site, I uploaded small images of my artwork for the galleries…too small. I have finally corrected this in an effort to provide easier viewing for my visitors.

So I recently uploaded newer, larger images of the paintings already in the Painting gallery, along with a few new paintings. I hope you enjoy the improved viewability! These new ones include very detailed descriptions, for both information about the work, and as a verbal aid for the visually impaired. The new image descriptions are all prefaced with an asterisk (*).

For reasons only known to my subconscious, I’m letting the old ones linger, but the big new ones are the first 34 images in the painting gallery; the smaller, older ones that follow are redundant and will eventually be removed. I plan to repeat this process in the Drawing, Early Work, and Digital pages in the near future, but painting is my first priority today.

All paintings are available as prints (please contact me to learn available sizes and price structure), and originals are up for sale unless a painting image is specifically noted in its description that the original has been sold. You may also request some detailed views of a work (or works) that you may be interested in acquiring. Details can include shots from different angles to showcase texture, reflectivity, or other pertinent features. New versions or entirely different landscapes may be commissioned by contacting me as well. I will even paint custom scenes of personal meaning to you, if you send me viable photograph(s) from which to work.

I hope you enjoy the upgraded painting images! You can see them here.

– Eilee

 

 

 

 

All content on this site © 2013-2018/present L. Eilee S. George; all rights reserved.

 

New Music Page!

This is just a little announcement that I’ve come along enough in my musicianship and singing to feel worthy of performing publicly (at small venues), and that means I should add a MUSIC page to my site. I’ve already played some small gigs, have more in the works, and designed and started handing out business cards. I waited to put the music page in the menu tabs at first, because its content was early in development, but now you can look at it here. [Subsequent note: the Music page has grown enough that I added a VIDEOS page as well!]

UkeNook4I want to thank my musician contacts, friends, blood/extended/in-law and church family members, art community, and others for the great encouragement I have received in developing my musical chops, thereby helping to make this little step happen. As I grow musically, I will periodically make blog posts, letting you all know how it’s going.

I also want to thank Claire Cleveland at the Denver Post for interviewing me at the Make Music festival, (an annual, worldwide summer-solstice event that started in France, spread to many world cities including Denver – sponsored by our own local Swallow Hill), as she partially quoted me and linked to my site on the online version of the article she wrote on the event – very classy of her to do. I really enjoyed the celebration, and I hope you all get a chance to attend Fête de la Musique, wherever you may be next year!

In designing some of my promo materials, I even generated/put a QR code leading to the new MUSIC page on my biz card, along with a wee image of my fluffy Yeti cat guarding one of my growing collection of ukes (it’s cropped from this version) so here’s a gratuitous something cute to look at:

So in addition to painting, designing web sites, doing a lot of outreach and volunteer work, assembling various manuscripts (slowly), playing uke and singing, I’ve been writing a ton of songs, and converting a fair amount of my old poetry into songs; it’s going better than I ever dreamed it would. My repertoire of covers is growing steadily and covering a nice variety of genres. And it’s fun.

EileeUkePortrait2No worries, artwork is still a big focus in my life, and I am currently working on a series based on my trip last year to Israel. After it is finished, I have a couple more series waiting in the wings. There will be plenty of paintings and prints to come. I just wish I didn’t have to waste so much time sleeping! Thank you for visiting. 🙂

– Eilee

 

 

 

 

 

 

All content on this site © 2013-2018/present L. Eilee S. George; all rights reserved.

How to Make a Legible Garage Sale Sign

Ah, it’s spring…time to clean out that house so you can bring more stuff into it…time for people to trade each other’s junk via garage sales. It’s time to drive around squinting and nearly killing everyone on the road while trying to read the tiny, light, thin scrawling on a sad poster board that’s flapping in the wind….

Oh, honey. You don’t have to die this way.

So time for the public service announcement: if you’re throwing a yard sale, be kind and use your mind. People driving by are supposed to keep their eyes on the road as much as possible. Your job is to make that sign as succinct and legible as possible, so that a glance or maybe two – not scrutiny – is all it takes to get folks to turn that wheel – safely.

I understand there are store-bought garage sale signs but you still have to fill out the day/time and the address on those – and a lot of folks rush it and it’s awful. Still, many choose to make their own, because the pre-made signs are small, but not cheap.

There are several factors that go into a winning yard sale sign:

  • Substrate (the sign itself) size
  • Substrate strength
  • Contrast between lettering and background
  • Lettering/type/font height
  • Type thickness
  • Type clarity
  • Content pertinence/relevance

I’ve seen little flaps off cardboard boxes with ballpoint pen scrawled on them, taped to a signpost before. I don’t know what they said, because I wasn’t willing to park my car, walk over to it, and use my Dick Tracy decoder ring to figure out what was written. I can’t be alone in that.

It’s best to consult your local ordinances before planning your signs!

Some cities have ordinances that you cannot affix signs to telephone poles or street sign poles (mostly because people are lazy and forget to remove them when the event is over – don’t be that guy). In that case, you may have to prop your signs up on something, and you’ll have to be prepared for that before the time comes for your sale. You could go to the office supply or hardware store and get one of those wire-frame sign holders like realtors use, but you can achieve the result cheaper with a simple cardboard box with some bricks or stones inside so it stays put – roll some duct tape backward over itself in a loop and firmly attach the back of the sign’s corners to the outside of the box – and this is great for two- or even four-sided signs as well. Ideally, you’re posting at or near one or more intersections, so you want people to know about your sale no matter what direction they’re traveling. Also know that cities may require that your sign be back from the intersection a given distance, which could increase the number of signs necessary. Some municipalities even limit the number of sales you can have a year without having to obtain a permit or even a business license, so make this sale count! Some cities are even more restrictive, and some less. Do your homework and avoid pesky charges for breaking ordinances.

I’ll describe how to make the signs (and why to do it that way) first, but if you need a visual while you’re reading, scroll down a little bit and you’ll see that I provided you some examples to illustrate what I mean. Pay attention to the following CONSIDERATIONS:

AUDIENCE: Keep in mind that drivers are already busy going somewhere, and you need to make it as easy as possible for them to spontaneously come to you. Also remember that many people have impaired vision – some of them don’t even know it. They still have money, though, and they just might want to buy your stuff – if they can see your sign.

SIZE: Even on a two-lane road, your sign needs to be at least 22”x28”, in order to allow enough room for letters large enough to be legible while driving from any direction. This is a standard size for both neon poster board and for foam core, which you will want to glue your neon poster board to for strength, if you’re not already going to stick it firmly to a box. Unless you can find neon foam core, you’ll have to combine them this way. On windy days, flimsy poster board alone will flap and fold, and possibly even blow away. That won’t help you (or those trying to find you) at all. If there’s going to be precipitation, you ought to re-schedule your sale, because even if you protect your signs (and your merchandise), your possible customers will likely not want to get out and shop in the rain, no matter how good your deals are. If inclement weather forces a reschedule, update any of your online/newspaper ads if at all possible.

COLORS: Neon poster boards are not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that some colors lend more visibility than others. Your hot pinks, reds, and neon oranges and blues are in the middle of the value scale (to read about value, check out this post and scroll almost half way down to the heading “Value and Intensity – In Theory“). Reds, blues and purples are the worst for this. Don’t even think about black with white lettering – it’s a black hole no one will see. Also do not do happy little colors on a white or colored background; there’s not enough contrast. If the background is in the middle value range – not really light and not really dark – there’s nothing that you can write on it with that will really stand out in contrast. Electric yellow is the lightest, most visible and highest-contrast background you can get, with bold black ink writing on it. White is technically lighter, but it’s more common and people may overlook it because it looks like other elements in the landscape (e.g., street signs, trash, etc.), whereas fluorescent yellow is not that normal, and draws the eye. Get neon yellow, or if the neon orange you find is as light as the yellow (rare), you can get that if you prefer.

CONTENT: Now, you have a limited amount of space to work on, and you need to make that space count. This means telling only what is necessary – but all that is necessary. Think of making the sign the way reporters used to be trained to get the whole story, by using the W’s to consider what questions your readers may ask to get enough about the story to follow it. Who isn’t really important to tell them, (yes, you’re awesome, and they’ll learn that when they get to you), but Where, What and When are essential to bring them in. How comes into play when you’re trying to lure your quarry back into one of those rat mazes that builders call subdivisions, and to do so may require subsequent directional signs. But your initial invitation, out on a well-traveled road, must have all your W’s: What – SALE…When (both day and time) – FRIDAY-SUNDAY 9AM-2:30PM…Where1790 THISISA ROAD. If you put nothing else down, put down these vital bits of information, or no one will come, or they’ll come at the wrong time and get mad. Below these things you might write a word or two about the main content of the sale, which is more What: BABY STUFF or FURNITURE. This will pique the interest of those looking for just that, and if that’s all you’re selling, it may weed out those who aren’t interested in your wares. However, if you, like most people, have an even variety of items, then I do not recommend highlighting one thing for just that reason – people will assume you have nothing except what you mentioned – so in that case just leave it off – and then you’ll have plenty of room for 3 lines of text announcing the vital info above (the sale, day/time, address). You have to decide if your sale is the “yard” type or the “garage” sale (and “moving sale” excites buyers who will think your desperation will mean better deals), but I’ve always hated the term “rummage”; it sounds like people ransacking your undesirable castoffs and making a general mell-of-a-hess. It’s just not the image either party wants.

PREPARATION: Lay out on some scrap paper, roughly to scale, how you’re arranging the letters and spaces and count how many there are. Spaces between words should be a full space that a real letter would have taken up. I know it seems like more work to do a mock-up, but it saves you driving to buy more materials because of poor planning. Once you’ve worked out your mock-up on scrap paper, it’s time to lay it out on your neon board.

LAYOUT: So if you have 3 lines of text to draw on something 22” tall, you can use approximately 6” tall letters with enough breathing room between the lines and around the edges (it’ll be about an inch between lines, and between lines and edges). If they’re touching from line to line, it hurts legibility – space is important. If you’re caught without a ruler, you can use a dollar bill for a guide as letter height, since it’s 6” long – and a quarter is about an inch wide – everyone has these available. Measure out along edges where lines should be for top and bottom of letters, and then find something to use as a straight edge (even another piece of poster board) and lightly pencil in some lines on which (and between which) to letter.

Yard sale sign layoutTIPS: Note that this is based on a standard 22″ height. If your material is a different size than this, try to apply the same spacing principles as best you can. In the next step, you will need to find the center between left and right. If you don’t have a yardstick or tape measure, but merely a straightedge, you can locate center by finding the intersection of lines connecting opposite corners of your board in an “X” – you don’t have to draw the entire line, just make a little hint of each toward the middle. That’s how you find the center of any four-sided shape.

CENTERING AND LETTERING: Count your letters and spaces to figure out where center would be on each line of text, and lay out your letters one by one, on each side of it accordingly, from the middle outward. When you sketch out each letter, use clear all caps…and lightly pencil where they fit in, either by making evenly-sized boxes for them to fit into first (don’t forget a little space between), or if you’re more confident, by directly (but still lightly) drawing the actual letters to trace over with a marker – but remember you’re going to use a fat marker, so loops on letters like “P” and “D” should not be wimpy, or they’ll look filled-in, or like fat lines instead (and don’t over-exaggerate the loops either, or letters start looking like different letters). Also remember to allow for ample spaces between words and enough between letters; having either run into each other also makes it very hard to read.

Is everything spaced nicely and visually centered? Now you’re ready to ink it in. Use the fattest black marker you can find.

INKING: Draw your letters carefully, smoothly and clearly. Don’t get overly frilly: it’s not an art object; it’s a form of communication that only works if it has clarity. Use letters that are like the ones on charts from which you first learned to print – very clear, with no serifs (those funny little lines clinging to the ends of some kinds of letters). If your marker tip/surface is longer one direction than another, angle it so that your “down” strokes are thicker – and hold it consistently. If there are “skips”, you can fill them in using a small edge of the tip later. Don’t rush this. If your hand printing is abysmal, ask someone with decent writing to help you, or get some stencils (make sure they’re the right size). Follow all the above instructions for each main-road sign you need to make (perhaps you even have two main roads nearby, lucky). You know your area.

ADDITIONAL SIGNS: Unless you live right on the main road, you’re going to need secondary signs to direct traffic to your house. Map out your neighborhood and all the ways that the most people are likely to come in to your address. Take note of how many left turns and right turns there are for each, and make arrow signs accordingly, to place along each route. You could use ½ sheets of the board instead of the full 22×28, say 14×22 (a little bigger than necessary), or even make 4 to a sheet of 14x11s if your arrows are nice and crisp. You might put the address below the arrow, as many people will forget it, but they already know now that it’s a sale today, so you really don’t need anything more. You could even just print out or (since ink is “spendy”), draw and color in arrows on coordinating neon sheets of printer paper if you’re just doing arrows (if you’ve placed arrows well, you won’t need the address with arrows, and once they see your set-up they’ll know they found the sale). Any of these you can affix to smaller boxes with their respective bricks, and once they’re all out, you’re in business – so put the main road one out there last, right before you open for commerce, or you’ll be inundated with early birds low-balling your already reasonable prices before the rush. For this reason also, if you’re posting your sale in advance on your local craigslist.org page or in the local paper, do NOT put your actual address, but instead just put what-hundred block of your street the sale is to be on, and they can find the address when they drive there – when you’re ready. Otherwise, you may get precocious or even creepy strangers ringing your bell in the wee hours of the morning or the night before, looking for a bargain (or casing the joint). Such inconsiderate vultures are not to be borne; do not enable them.

COMPETITION: It may so happen that yours is not the only garage sale in the neighborhood that weekend. If your competitors happen to use the same colors as you, it could confuse folks, but don’t fret! You can differentiate your sign by putting something of a little unofficial logo in the same corner of every directional sign that you put on the main signs. It could be a trio of stars or some scrollwork or a square with a monogram letter in it. Whatever it is, it should be simple, and consistently used on every sign between the beginning of each route in to the house itself, and always in the same corner (top right figures well, if your type isn’t crowding it). Or you could do a shallow border, of a line or dotted line, or zigzags or scallops, or just do something little on the corners if the border is too shallow and you’re crowding letters. Or you could affix something unique to the whole assembly, like a blue balloon or a large hot pink feather, or anything else, as long as it’s consistent through all of your signs.

3 samples: bad, better, good

EXAMPLES:

Now, which one of these three examples above is easier for you to read from across the room? Which one impresses you more? On the left, the red doesn’t allow for much contrast to help reading from a distance. The border is hurriedly applied and would best be left off. The smiley face is too dominant and looks a little creepy. Most importantly, all the words are too small, thin, and poorly written to read except right up against the sign. There’s no prioritization through sizing of text to differentiate vital information from extra unnecessary details thrown in as an afterthought. This one is a fail. The one in the middle is a sad off-white; it looks a tad dirty. Is that what you want people to think of the things you’re selling – or of you? Your advertisement reflects you and your product. Make it look good. It’s barely legible but not impressive at all. The one on the right looks crisp, clear, it pops, it says all it has to and it has a unique mark on it to distinguish it from others.

ARROWS: Now for your auxiliary signs to direct traffic through the ‘hood. We’ve decided the color and marker, and you’ve decided your size and picked boxes or stands, but how are you doing your arrows?

Arrow Signs…Do I really have to ask? I’m certain you already know the answer. There is a reason ONE WAY signs use arrows in that proportion: optimal visibility, because lives very well may depend on heeding those. The same reasoning applies here, believe it or not. Make it easy for them.

FURTHER TIPS:

Now that you know how to make signs to get people there, get to polishing up and pricing those items, and setting up a tidy atmosphere; turn on some tunes, pour some lemonade, lock your doors, put on a fanny pack for your cash/change reserves/payments (it ain’t a fashion show) – and make some road-trip stash/gift fund/pocket change. Remember to be safe: have some backup watching folks who come in groups and try to distract you, and never let strangers in your home – know where you can tell them the nearest public restroom is – there are common scams out there and that’s just a couple of many. As soon as your sale is finished (each day of a multi-day sale if your take is good), take the cash straight to the bank; houses have been broken into after sales. Be sure and thank your neighbors for putting up with the increased cars, and be understanding with them when they have their sales. Better yet, do a neighborhood sale and market it well to get more traffic (again check your city’s rules).

I hope that with these tips and your (undoubtedly groovy) merchandise, that your event is a booming success! Happy sales!

 

– Eilee

 

 

 

 

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