Living Branch/Art Highlight

Living Branch is my first watercolor design, now available at my Redbubble Shop.

Living Branch

Original watercolor painting on watercolor paper.

I was told last year that watercolor is great for creating book covers. So after receiving a small set from my husband for Christmas, I set about learning how to use them. I am still very much a beginner, but I am so proud of this accomplishment that I have to share it with the world.

The blues and greens of this piece just make me happy. It feels alive and full of hope, though to some the tree itself might seem stark and strange.

Inspiration for the arm like branch came from two poems from my forthcoming chapbook THE BRANCH THAT I AM, now available for preorder.

In the poems ‘Rooted Deep,’ and ‘The Branch,’ I liken myself to a tree. In one I am planted by streams of living water, and the other, I fall away and am taken on an unexpected journey of renewal.

I hope you all look at the great products this design is available on. All proceeds go towards publication costs and website upkeep. Thank you.

Mary Grace van der Kroef


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My Search for Words

Is there a word that holds deep meaning for you?

I must confess, I have been struggling. The state of the world and the fear I feel flowing in the wind are oppressing my spirit. I keep looking for words of hope to meditate on, just single words I let my mind mull over.

Joy

Goodness

Hope

These poems were all born from that endeavor, but I find myself running low on ideas. If you have a word that sparks hope, or peace within you, would you share it with us in the comments?

I will do my best to write a short poem or reflection on each word you share with me.

Or maybe you have a word that weighs on your mind. Maybe it’s not oppressive, but you feel it’s important. Share it please.

I have been working on a small side project called Words of Weight. Once I have penned enough poems to fill a small chapbook, I plan to share it with you all for free. Your words are paramount to my finishing.

Mary Grace van der Kroef


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The Creatively Christian Podcast

A few months ago my new friend Andrea Sandefur reached out to me and asked if I would like to be featured in The Creatively Christian Podcast by Theophany Media. Well, today my episode has dropped and I am so excited to share our conversation with all of you!


“Theophany Media utilizes various forms of art, media, and technology to communicate complex Christian truths to the global church.”

  Whether you are an artist, or an art lover, a writer, a reader, an actor or just someone who loves to sit back and watch other create, I encourage you to head on over to their website and check what they are all about out. My episode can be found my following the links in the opening paragraph of this email. Or search for The Creatively Christian Podcast on your favorite podcast platform.

“Our mission is to create something that brings together intelligence and imagination, creativity and Christ, fun and faith.”

Jake Doberenz, Founder of Theophany Media

My favorite place to catch the podcast is via their YouTube channel. If you enjoy watching video of the people you are listening to, this is this place to do it! If you enjoy what you hear, make sure to share the podcast with those you think would also love it. Not just my episode either, but all of them!

Thank you everyone,
Mary Grace van der Kroef

The Worth of Early Works

We store away our children’s scrap paper drawings as if they were masterpieces. Maybe not all of them, but the few that hold sentimental meaning. But with our own art, whether written word, the stroke of a paintbrush, or a photograph of a first cake decorating session, we push them to the back cupboard, or even throw them away.

Making room for a new and better isn’t wrong, but maybe we should hang on to one or two of those learning pieces. Treasuring them like we do the scribbles and hand paintings of childhood.

Why?

Undoubtedly your first works hold mistakes, just as mine do. So why keep any of them? Why show any of them to anyone?

They are beautiful examples of growth.

How often do you get discouraged in your creative life, and need a reminder of just how far you have come? How many times do you need help to keep your feet on the ground? Or encouragement to not give up? Keeping, and even displaying the art made while in the first stages of learning can be these powerful reminders.

Above is a picture of my first 4 foot by 2 foot painting. I wanted to stretch myself and see how different it was to paint a larger piece. The water was FAR from what I was going for…

So when I finished, what did I do with it? I hung it in on my kitchen wall, and every time I looked up at it, I thought about what I would do differently next time. (Now it’s hanging in my sister’s cabin because she is crazy and loves it.) I learned so much from just looking at it every day for over a year.

Everyone was once a beginner. No one has yet ‘arrived’ at perfection. So cherish those sloppy first strokes and overused words. Let them shine a light on your future creative path.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef


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Morning Beach/Art Highlight

Have you ever walked a beach in the early morning, and seen the pink in a sunrise shimmering off the water? Its quiet moments like that I live for.

When I can’t find them in my own life, I like to paint them into being. Morning Beach is an example of such a moment. I was looking for quiet in the middle of a house gone mad, and here I found it.

Morning Beach is also another example of my early works. It is one of the first pieces of other artists in my social group. It was such a boost to hear their encouraging words. As I was and still am growing into my art.

Originaly painted on canvase papper in acrylic paint.

Prints and other products are available at my Redbubble Shop.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Prairie Sunset/Art Highlight

I have never been afraid to show my artwork in all its imperfections. Prairie Sunset is another of my early works inspired by a photograph taken by my friend Jason Shepard. I love being able to look back and see the growth that has happened in my work. I am not ashamed of where I have come from. We are all beginners once.

The absence of fear in showing what I can do in the place and time I currently stand has given people the chance to share in the joy of my art. I love to share it. I love to show you what can be done if just start, try, and keep going.

Originally painted on canvas paper in acrylic paint.

Prairie Sunset prints and other products are available at my Redbubble Shop.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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Butterfly/Art Highlight

Today I would like to highlight another work.

I painted this butterfly as a practice piece for a larger painting, for my Mother. One of her favorite things is butterflies. It was a huge test of my abilities as my first painting at home, and not in an art class with an instructor. The original is quite small, and was how I learned my natural ability to paint bugs. I find joy in the tinny details.

I chose to make this early work available at my Redbubble Art Shop for sentimental reasons. My family enjoys access to artwork that is meant for them, and being able to choose what products to have it printed on.

Butterfly, originally painted on canvas paper, with acrylic paints.

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Grandpa’s Bee/Art Highlight

Today I would like to share with you all an early painting of mine.

Grandpa’s Bee was painted in memory of my grandfather, John Miller. He was a carpenter, farmer, and beekeeper.

I decided to upload this little guy at the request of some of my family members. I love how I am able to share him with all of them, though my art shop.

Flowers continue to be something I struggle with in my paintings, as as this is an earlier piece, it’s not my best. But that is okay. I am not about perfection, especially when there is meaning behind a work of art.

Grandpa’s Bee, the original, was painted on canvas paper, in acrylic paint.

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Author’s Interview/BY Kirsten McNeill

I was recently the subject of my first author’s interview with Kirsten McNeill. Kirsten is a fellow writer, as well as an editor for self-published authors. It was a great experience. You can read the interview by following the link provided. Don’t forget to check out Kirsten’s other posts, and all she has to offer the self-publishing world.

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December Night, Art Highlight

I am excited to introduce you to my second new design of the year. “December Night” was painted in early 2020. The poem was written in December of the same year.

I felt the two belonged together, though I didn’t plan for it when the small original was painted. I chose the first two stanzas of the original poem fit best with the painting.

I have made it available on 72 different products via my Redbubble Shop.

All profits from my art are used to fund future publications and the blog. Thank you all for your continued interest in my writing and art.

©2021 Mary Grace van der Kroef

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