How to Paint Cats with Watercolor

Painting cats realistically with watercolor requires a good foundation in first the pencil drawing; then in mixing slightly different shades of color; and in knowing how to layer paint, to gain deepening values – light to dark.

It's helpful to have a small size 2 rigger brush for painting detail around fine hairs and whiskers, I also used a soft-haired 1/4-inch flat brush, and a size 12 round brush for the background.

Clyde's Whiskers 5x7 watercolor painting by Elise, October 2019

My palette for Clyde's Whiskers was “large” - seven pigments - six were W&N professional grade: Aureolin yellow, Opera pink (Holbein brand), Light Red, Antwerp Blue, French Ultramarine Blue, Van Dyke Brown, and Burnt Umber.

After decades of sketching from life and from photos, or scaling photos with a large yard stick, I now use graphite on the rear of a photocopy, and trace over the top with a pen, leaving me the pencil marks underneath.

It is a painter's “trick of the trade” which saves me an enormous amount of needless eyestrain and helps the animal's face quickly appear in proportion as well as gain correct feature placement.

I call this method “cheating” but due to my strained eyes, I feel it is helpful.

Once the drawing is ready, I began Clyde's portrait by painting in his darker fur above his eyes.


While I was taught to paint strictly “light to dark” with watercolor, I have learned there are times when “breaking rules” can lead to a very positive outcome. The letter of any “law” kills, but the Spirit gives life!

I was trying to preserve as much of the fur details, before paint covered the pencil marks.

I did not use ANY masking fluid or tape on the whiskers, to preserve them – I just painted around them. I was using old 300 lb Arches Hot Press paper.


The second stage was adding in the background. I felt the piece looked pretty bad after this stage, but I hoped it could all be “resurrected” with a little more work, which proved to be the case!

Most paintings come to this “ruined” or “ugly” stage, and like in life, you must continue to work through these times, and not give up or jump ship, no matter how tempting that option becomes.


During the third stage/hour and day of this four-day, five-hour small 5x7 piece, I darkened everything.

I hadn't painted all that much for a long while due to some caregiving work, and so was having some difficulty concentrating. I also had a very swollen foot. I painted as long as I felt able, then left the rest for another day.

I left the piece for a couple days, before working another hour on it, as I was uncertain darkening Clyde's face would help the piece, because the background was already so dark.

I finally decided to put in more color into his fur, glazing on top of what I'd already painted, to good effect.

Fourth and Final Stage, Clyde's Whiskers

The final piece looked just like Clyde, who I lived with for four months!

Since Bonnie and Clyde had both been rescued by their current owner from an animal shelter when they were half-feral cats, I chose this verse for Clyde's small portrait:

God setteth the solitary in families: he bringeth out those which are bound with chains: ~ Psalm 68:6a


Clyde's sister, Bonnie, was next. Having a good quality, high detail photo really helps me paint realism. I had painted Bonnie from a blurry photos, and was not happy with the finished piece, so this was my second attempt.

After gaining the traced drawing, I then painted in some light paint layers. I used a slightly different palette, including Windsor Yellow because it is a cool yellow, and Raw Sienna, Opera, Antwerp, French Ultramarine, Brown Madder, Van Dyke Brown and Burnt Umber.



I painted around the light areas I wanted to save. Bonnie was sitting in the sunshine, on her afternoon back-of-the-couch perch, on a sheet. The sun came in through the bushes and trees outside, making shadows around her.


I chose to accentuate Bonnie the Cat, see below, leaving the background lighter than it really was.

As in life itself, any progress usually happened slowly, as I steadily focused on different places around the painting, deepening colors and heightening contrast.


Bonnie's fur took on the blueish cast from the window shades and the color of the couch cover on which she was lying.

I felt she could have been pushed slightly further in detail, but left this portrait where it is. Her main features are distinct, leaving other details less in focus.

Here is the completed and signed 5x7 watercolor portrait of Bonnie in the Sun:

Bonnie in the Sun, 5x7 watercolor painting by Elise, October 2019


It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late,to eat the bread of sorrows:for so he giveth his beloved sleep. ~ Psalm 127:2


When painting fur hairs, it's important to stroke in the same direction as the hair grows, lifting the tip of the brush just slightly, as you finish each stroke.

I grew up with cats, many cats...and have had my heart broken many times when certain ones didn't return home, probably eaten by wild animals.

Loving an animal or people means you invest in their well-being, and when you know a pet well, you learn their language.

I hope this blog helps beginning watercolor artists learn more about how to depict your or another's pet with accuracy and emotion!

Please feel free to contact me for a price list if you would your cat's portrait painted.

Most sincerely, your painting-friend,

Elise


A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast ~ Proverbs 12:10a




Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

The Tyger
by William Blake






Of Men and Money, Women and Honor


The year I was seventeen, I trained a horse in the Spring for a twenty-five-mile competitive trail ride.

Mostly I rode the dirt roads alone with my mare, but once a neighbor friend and I went riding together, putting in some conditioning miles with her horse, who was also competing in the same event.

She asked a good question that day, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

"I'm going to be an artist," I responded. I had known this since I was seven and had begun painting in color with chalk pastels at eight.

"Then you're not going to be making a lot of money," she told me.

By age seventeen I had been fatherless for five years, my dad had basically disappeared, and my family and I had all seen our Father in heaven provide many times, in response to fervent prayer.

I already knew what God said in Matthew 6:19-34, how your heart goes wherever your treasure is, and how God wants us to trust Him for provision, as we seek first His Kingdom and righteousness.

I had also read Proverbs 22:4 many times:

"By humility and the fear of the LORD
are riches, honor and life."

I desired those true riches.

And I knew my mother wasn't planning on kicking me out when I turned eighteen.

We had stepped outside the modern American culture of seeking "independence" from family authority, choosing rather to commit to being a family working together in unity, for Christ.

Stillness, 10x7 watercolor by Elise, 2019

Planning Ahead in Life

Unlike many young women, I didn't grow up envisioning what my "perfect house, perfect car, or perfect wedding" would look like...

Perhaps I had issues looking ahead in life, was too often living in present-day survival mode, or maybe I was merely content with what God had already given me.

The Bible is a transformational book to read, because it changes your priorities in life.

I Timothy 6:8 tells us:

"And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."

Food and clothing. No shelter is mentioned.

This reminds me of a great little TEDx talk, Life is Easy, Why Do We Make It So Hard? by Jon Jandai.

Why doesn't God see shelter as a basic necessity in life?

I believe it is because disciples of Christ needed then, and still need to be able to travel light, to be flexible enough to go, perhaps immediately, where ever He sends us!

Jesus Christ himself followed this teaching. He had very few earthly possessions at the time of his death.

I also know from personal experience when you don't have a home of your own, other people extend hospitality - and you are invited into places you would not have otherwise entered. 

In being "needy", others with greater resources are tested to give. 

Being under someone else's roof, in their "comfort zone", often allows special relationships to be built, as we see in the book of Acts, chapter 10, when Cornelius (a Gentile) asks Peter (a Jew) to "tarry certain days" - see verse 48.

Creating art and helping people has always been more important to me than making money, or having things - even though painting eventually became the primary way I now work and try to financially support myself.


True Riches

In early January I did a little exercise on paper, prompted by someone in the personal development podcast space.

I listed where I invested my time, what my interests were, what my priorities are, etc, etc.

Then the coach asked the question, "Is Money in the Top Five on your list/s?"

He said if money was not among my "top five priorities" in life, then I probably wouldn't ever have much money.

Money was not there, in my top five.

Now, I can change this, yes. Yet there are so many things far more important to me than making money!

Such as:
  1. Fulfilling the Command to Love God and my Neighbor, keeping Covenant with Christ and His Body, the Church
  2. Being a Living Epistle of God's Promises
  3. Investing in Loving Family Relationships
  4. Creating Beauty through Artistry on many levels
  5. Serving People in Need
I don't just say these things, I've intentionally laid "my" life down on many occasions for my country, family members, friends, and for others I sometimes barely know.

The book of Proverbs is helpful when I think of money:

A gracious woman retaineth honour:
and strong men retain riches.
~ Proverbs 11:16

This verse seems to put the making and retaining of financial wealth in the category of a man's role.

Women have an equally important, yet different role.

Proverbs 31 records the feats a a virtuous woman, who worked very skillfully from her home, to help her family and others financially, and in many other ways.

This was my goal, too, to work from home, while maintaining good character and seeking holiness.


The Rich and the Poor

Martin Luther King Jr said he had a dream - "that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

I wish this same dream was applied more often to poor folks, too – we should not hurtfully judge others by their financial quotient, but rather by their character.

While it's very true many poor folks have gained monetary limitations and stayed in financial poverty due to their own imbedded character flaws, yet those who are poor are not always there because of their own bad decisions!

Many people around the world have lived through tragic family circumstances, war and unrest, government oppression and/or failing economic situations which did not enable them the chances others have been given to focus on gainful work.

Did Christ treat rich and poor people differently?

While he did acknowledge they were given different circumstances, I see He considered each on the same plane, spiritually:

Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. ~ James 1:9-11

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well. But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty. For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment. ~ James 2:1-13

The Old Testament says:

The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight. With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward. For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks. ~ Psalm 18:20-27

In one New Testament parable, Christ said we should help those who are unable to help us in return, "When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” ~ Luke 14:12-14

I relate somehow to the parable of poor and sick Lazarus outside the gate, ignored by the rich men. It is another account where, in the end, justice is done. Lazarus's heart was seen by God, and after he dies, he is comforted. But the rich man goes to a fiery and very uncomfortable end. This shows us that it's not our worldly wealth that counts to God:

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. ~ Luke 16:19-31

Stage One - 20 minutes

Righteous Judgement

There are four Greek words translated "judge" in the English language in the Biblical New Testament.

Only one of these are we told not to do – we are told in Matthew 7:1 "Judge not that ye be not judged".

This word "judge" here means "don't condemn".

It means we are never to put up a wall and say, "That person will never change, so I will never speak to them again."

The Bible says in I Peter 2:22-24 that God the Father "judges righteously":

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

And we are called to do the same, to discern what is "below the cover of the book":

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. ~ John 7:24

Gain is tied both to joyful generosity, and also to how hard we work and invest in good things.

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. ~ Luke 6:38

We are told we reap what we sow – but in a different season than we sow:

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. ~ Galatians 6:7-9


Discerning Real Value

Many attach financial brackets to one's level of "success" in life, yet through Bible study I gained a different set of values in how I see others and myself.

Honoring God and running away from sin, as Joseph did, when tempted by his master's wife, in Genesis 39:9, was my standard, by God's matchless grace:

There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?

The purity vows I happily made to wait on God for a husband when I was sixteen mattered to me. This was more than a decade before Joshua Harris's book on "kissing dating goodbye" went to press.

I read Don Rauniker's book, Choosing God's Best at least three times, and Elisabeth Elliot's Passion and Purity and many other similar books, when I was in my twenties.

I highly recommend the beginning of Don Rauniker's book, which explains the very short history behind "dating" – a very recent way to find a life partner, and which has not helped lead to positive relational results, as our American culture has shifted drastically against trusting God's Word and the principles in it.

I also highly recommend Derek Prince's book, God is a Matchmaker, which I first read when I was twenty-two.

Derek says in this book's forward, "God cares more about who you marry than you do."

I felt the peaceful assent of the Holy Spirit over my head when I read those words, and they have stayed with me all these many years.

By grace, the Spirit of God had inculcated in me the understanding that details in my personal life matter greatly to our Father in heaven, and if I honored Him, He would honor me.

His wealth, joy, wisdom and eternal purposes often lead to giving away what everyone tries so hard to keep in this life – their lives, their fortunes and their earthly reputation.

I have been fortunate enough to read the biographies of Mary Slessor (Scottish-born missionary to Nigeria, Africa), Glady's Aylward (British-born missionary to China), Amy Carmichael (Irish-born, Scottish ancestry missionary to India), and Corrie ten Boom (Dutch-born watchmaker, hider of Jews during WWII and then a writer, speaker and missionary to the world).

None of these women ever married, although some of them desired and prayed for a husband. Their lives have now reached the world.

God provided for these unmarried women. They were not "single" because the Holy Spirit was always with them. I, too, feel this supernatural protection and provision in my own life.

I am reminded of I Samuel 2:7-9:

The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and he hath set the world upon them. He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.

And Psalm 113:5-9:

Who is like unto the Lord our God, who dwelleth on high, Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth! He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people. He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord.

Note: The Hebrew word translated “Princes” here, does not mean the son of a King, but rather, it means “one who is willing, generous!

נָדִיב nâdîyb, naw-deeb' H5081; from H5068; properly, voluntary, i.e. generous; hence, magnanimous; as noun, a grandee (sometimes a tyrant):—free, liberal (things), noble, prince, willing (hearted).
  1. inclined, willing, noble, generous
A. incited, inclined, willing
B. noble, princely (in rank)
C. noble (in mind and character)


Stage two - twenty minutes more
Feelings of Failure

I get that people have a "relationship" with money. And people have a financial "set-point" which is similar to the set-point a body has for how much it weighs.

My current financial set-point means I live a life of faith!

In February, an entry in my Journal records:

"Dear Father, why am I in such financial need? Are You saying something to me through it? Do I need to change my marketing, profession, location or something else? Please help me, Father. I'd like to be able to buy groceries, pay for utilities, and travel, without so many monetary concerns. Of course, You do direct me through finances. Thank you for teaching me thrift."


Serving Joyfully as a Volunteer

When I was in my late twenties, into my mid-thirties, I gladly accepted and took on some life-changing ministry opportunities.

I had invested much of my early twenties painting, learning to cook, studying nutrition and recovering my health, along with a bunch of other projects.

Then I began to feel I was somehow "missing the boat" in life.

I didn't desire to live my entire life in seclusion on our mountain. I was pretty certain our Father agreed, and had been training me for His purposes.

Playing "Cinderella" was getting old, and I figured my mother probably needed to begin cleaning her own house again.

Divorce has a way of damaging family roles. Early on, I had become the family "mother"- cleaning and cooking, organizing chore lists, shopping for groceries for five people, waiting for endless car repairs to be done; and my mother had done what a dad might normally do – attend meetings and manage finances.

A great deal of prayer went on one summer, as I searched for God's voice and direction on my face in the woods, literally beating the ground and telling Him, "You have GOT to tell me what to do!"

I was directed to begin organizing both a public speaking contest, and then train to teach a Character Coach program in our area schools, with the enormous assistance of one of my sisters.

I had been very, very shy growing up. Public speaking really scared me...but I wanted to face this fear, and overcome it.

I wanted to learn how to speak in front of an audience, and to help others do this, too.

By my own choice, I began adding jobs to my life, to eventually try to spin eight different hats – seven of which were completely voluntary, I made no money serving in them!:

  1. Elocution Contest Organization – two-three months of time annually, reaching hundreds of people over seven years.
  2. Character Coaching in five different locations, reaching 200-250+ people, September-May each year for seven years.
  3. Choir Organizer at our church fellowship, once a quarter.
  4. Prelude assigner at church, weekly.
  5. Painter of 4x8 foot murals for new Sermon Series, every few weeks.
  6. Planting, weeding, harvesting and processing a Large Organic Vegetable Garden annually, April-October.
  7. My family – mother and siblings, who needed time and help.
  8. My part-time illustration job, which brought in very sporadic and meager increase.

No one had told me there was a limit to how much responsibility I could or should take on, and I know now I wasn't asking God for direction when I happily took on some of these roles.

I didn't know then you should "unload to reload" or that it's difficult to have more than three or maybe four large roles or projects going at one time in life.

I just kept adding to my contact list.


Needed Change and Rest

After more than a few years of working non-stop, unpaid, my hair started falling out, from stress.

One year I entered five paintings in an art show. I sold one piece, and made a grand total of $500 for that year, which only paid for my $500 picture-frame bill.

I called my pastor, whom I respected, on the phone in tears.

He said to me, "Elise, you never call me, what is wrong?"

I told him what I was feeling. "Pastor, I have one-hundred-and-sixty books in my room, and NO TIME to read them! I spend all my time on the phone, reminding people of their commitments!"

He kindly tried to encourage me by saying, "Then you have my problem, I only have one hour a month in which to go fishing – which is what I really like to do."

I got off the phone, and thought about it. I didn't feel he understood my dilemma at all. It was more than just a lack of time, it was a lack of financial increase.

I wasn't able to help my mother pay our land taxes, and I sensed this was not a good situation.

My pastor had an annual 40K salary, (really not much as he had a wife and three children to support), yet I was making nearly nothing, financially, for all the time I was investing in other's lives.

It's hard to live without any finances, although there were very good lessons I learned during those years.

I had begun to feel used and burned out, and there was no one to really blame except myself. I had not learned to say "no".

This same thing had occurred, earlier in life, but because I hadn't yet dealt with the root issues, I had slipped back into my old pattern.

I took on too much work, perhaps with good motives, but without allowing myself enough rest.

It took pulling out and going to New Zealand to realize I was basically a "pleaser" with a workaholic tendency.

I was unconsciously working hard both because I really like to help people, and also in some way, working hard was how I felt people's approval and praise.

I finally grasped better while in New Zealand that God loved me just as I am, without my killing myself with lack of sleep and rest.

And it was Christ who was the Savior of the world, not me.

Stage Three - twenty minutes additional


Meeting Other's Vital Needs

"Money comes through service and if you don't have any money, then you're not serving enough people."

Well, this belief is just not always true, either.

It's only true if you're serving people who have money, that they want or are able, to spend.

Serving poor people doesn't usually lead to one becoming wealthy, or even comfortable.

Yet God asks us to
serve poor people, those who cannot personally return the assistance. He sees how we invest our time and resources and He becomes our reward:

And the Levite, (because he hath no part nor inheritance with thee,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest. ~ Dueteronomy 14:29

Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. ~ Isaiah 1:17

Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward. ~ Isaiah 58:6-8

For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. ~ Hebrews 6:10-15

We are to give to those who cannot give in return!

One large value I did build during those busy years was a whole lot of trust and lasting relationships with many people.

I also gained several valuable skills - without paying to go to college to learn them.


A Bit on Biblical Poverty and Riches

Choices or uncontrollable circumstances which can lead to Economic Poverty:

Being in the wrong location (during a famine, Genesis 45:11)
Too much sleep aka laziness (Proverbs 6:9-11, 20:13, and 24:33-34)
Withholding more than is meet (Proverbs 11:24)
Refusing instruction (Proverbs 13:18)
Too much feasting and drinking alcohol (Proverbs 23:21)
Following after vain persons (Proverbs 28:19)
Hasting to be rich (Proverbs 28:22)

I don't think any of these applied to my situation back in the day.

Internally, this verse was oft-quoted, as I put my head down to paint,

In all labor there is profit,
but the talk of the lips
tendeth only to penury.”
~ Proverbs 14:23

Our example is Christ, Himself:

Note: "G" stands for "Greek" and "H" for "Hebrew" in the word studies below. The numbers and words are taken from Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the King James Version Bible and are not copyrighted.

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich G4145, yet for your sakes he became poor G4433, that ye through his poverty G4432 might be rich G4148. ~ II Corinthians 8:9

Rich G4145: 1. wealthy, abounding in material resources
2. metaph. Abounding, abundantly supplied
      A. abounding (rich) in Christian virtues and eternal possessions
πλούσιος ploúsios, ploo'-see-os; from G4149; wealthy; figuratively, abounding with:—rich.

Poor G4433: to be a beggar, to beg, to be poor - from G4434

 Poverty G4432:
  1. beggary
  2. in the NT poverty
    1. the condition of one destitute of riches and abundance
      Πτωχεία ptōcheía, pto-khi'-ah; from G4433; beggary, i.e. indigence (literally or figuratively):—poverty.

Rich G4148:
1. to make rich, enrich
      A. of spiritual riches
    2. to be richly furnished

Hunger

Blessed are ye that hunger G3983 now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Luke 6:21

Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. G3983 Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. ~ Luke 6:25

He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich G4147 he hath sent empty away. ~ Luke 1:53

G3983 πεινάω peináō, pi-nah'-o; from the same as G3993 (through the idea of pinching toil; "pine"); to famish (absolutely or comparatively); figuratively, to crave:—be an hungered.


I. to hunger, be hungry
      A. to suffer want
      B. to be needy
II. metaph. to crave ardently, to seek with eager desire

Blessed are they which do hunger G3983 and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. ~ Matthew 5:6

For I was an hungred, G3983 and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: ~ Matthew 25:35

And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; G3983 and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. ~ John 6:35

Even unto this present hour we G3983 both hunger, G3983and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; ~ I Corinthians 4:11

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, G3983 both to abound and to suffer need. ~ Philippians 4:12

They shall hunger G3983 no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. ~ Revelation 7:16


Riches

G4147: πλουτέω ploutéō, ploo-teh'-o; from G4148; to be (or become) wealthy (literally or figuratively):—be increased with goods, (be made, wax) rich.


1. to be rich, to have abundance
A. of outward possessions
      2. metaph. to be richly supplied
      A. is affluent in resources so that he can give blessings of salvation to all
So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is G4147not rich G4147 toward God. ~ Luke 12:21

But they that will be rich G4147 fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. ~ I Timothy 6:9

That they do good, that they be rich G4147 in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; ~ I Timothy 6:18

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, G4147 and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; G4147 and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. ~ Revelation 3:17-18

For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich G4147 through the abundance of her delicacies. ~ Revelation 18:3

The merchants of these things, which were made rich G4147 by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, ~ Revelation 18:15

And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich G4147 all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate. ~ Revelation 18:19


Poor

The KJV translates Strong's G4434 in the following manner: poor (30x), beggar (2x), poor man (1x), beggarly (1x).

  1. reduced to beggary, begging, asking alms
  2. destitute of wealth, influence, position, honour
    A. lowly, afflicted, destitute of the Christian virtues and eternal riches
      B. helpless, powerless to accomplish an end
      C. poor, needy
    III. lacking in anything
      A. as respects their spirit
        i. destitute of wealth of learning and intellectual culture which the schools afford (men of this class most readily give themselves up to Christ's teaching and proved them selves fitted to lay hold of the heavenly treasure)

πτωχός ptōchós, pto-khos'; from πτώσσω ptṓssō (to crouch); akin to G4422 and the alternate of G4098); a beggar (as cringing), i.e. pauper (strictly denoting absolute or public mendicancy, although also used in a qualified or relative sense; whereas G3993 properly means only straitened circumstances in private), literally (often as noun) or figuratively (distressed):—beggar(-ly), poor.

Thayer's Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 4434: πτωχός
πτωχός, πτωχή, πτωχόν (πτώσσω, to be thoroughly frightened, to cower down or hide oneself for fear; hence, πτωχός properly, one who slinks and crouches), often involving the idea of roving about in wretchedness (see πένης, at the end; "but it always had a bad sense till it was ennobled in the Gospels; see Matthew 5:3; Luke 6:20, cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9" (Liddell and Scott, under I.)); hence,
1. in classical Greek from Homer down, reduced to beggary, begging, mendicant, asking alms: Luke 14:13, 21; Luke 16:20, 22.
2. poor, needy (opposed to πλούσιος): Matthew 19:21; Matthew 26:9, 11; Mark 10:21; 12:42, 43; Mark 14:5, 7; Luke 18:22; Luke 19:8; Luke 21:3;

For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. G4434 ~ Romans 15:26

As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor G4434, yet making many rich G4148; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. ~ II Corinthians 6:10

Stage Four - another twenty minutes, after the model rested for 10 minutes

Learning to Pray for Finances

I could never live like you do, I admire you” ~ one of my friends, who does not know the LORD.

Why don't you ask God why He is not giving you more money?” ~ another of my friends, who is also a seeker.

Well, I'll admit I do live rather strangely. People who live on prayer and faith do seem to live outside the normal “bell-curve” of society.

Meanwhile, an anonymous envelope arrived in the mail three days ago. It contained $200 I needed to pay for something important, and it had arrived just in time to meet the need.

I shared this with my second friend, above, and all she could say was, with shock, “Wow”.

God's provision is never late, but rarely early. Wait for it.

This is a from-life 10x7 watercolor portrait Stillness I recently painted of my beautiful older sister,
whose life God graciously spared after a health-crisis in 2011-12.
I am so glad to still have her in my life!

Things Which Are Free

When you live without steady cash flow, are leaning on Y'Shua and seeing Him meet all your needs, you realize you have already been given all you really ever need.

And then you start to accept the ebb and flow, and really rejoice and be glad, enjoying everything our Father in heaven freely gives as well as what He withholds!

These are some of the many Free Gifts God the Father gives us:

  • Life itself - however pain-filled - is a gift FOR us
  • Love from God
  • Love from others
  • Breath
  • Oxygen
  • Spring Water – which used to be free, but is now not so free in many arid places
  • Spiritual Salvation through the blood of Y'Shua, Christ the LORD
  • Sunshine
  • Sand at the Beach
  • Grassy Lawns and Meadows
  • Wildflowers
  • Prayer
  • Meditation 
  • Thinking
  • Being
  • Silence
  • Listening
  • The Ability to Ask
  • Singing
  • Making Music when you have an instrument
  • Receiving Grace and Faith
  • Reading – free books abound today!
  • Walking
  • Biking
  • Swimming in Lakes, Streams and the Ocean
  • Other forms of exercise, outside of a gym
  • Nature's Immense Beauty
  • Wild Animal sightings, which usually make me smile
  • Parks and other Public Places
  • Libraries and sometimes Museums
  • Fellowship with the Body of Christ
  • Bible Study, personal and corporate
  • Communion with the King of Kings
  • Communication – writing, body language, tone of voice
  • The Internet (for the moment) 
  • Writing this Blog
  • Conversation
  • Relationships - with People of all Ages
  • Giving Thanks, showing Gratitude
  • Giving our Time - Serving and Volunteering
  • Rejoicing and Being Glad!
  • Having Desires, Meaning and Purpose in Life
  • A Smile
  • An Eternal Home 
  • Our Inheritance in Christ

I hope this lengthy tome will encourage my artist friends around the world, many of whom may live and work in poor conditions.

Remember that Rembrandt himself died in poverty, forgotten. His artworks are now acknowledged to be some of the greatest of all time.

I am, your artist-friend,
who lives in great riches because of the Living Christ,

Elise

The Value of a Smile

It costs nothing,
but creates much.
It enriches those who receive,
without impoverishing those who give.
It happens in a flash
and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.
None are so rich they can get along without it,
and none so poor but are richer for its benefits.
It creates happiness in the home,
fosters good will in a business,
and is the countersign of friends.
It is rest to the weary,
daylight to the discouraged,
sunshine to the sad,
and Nature's best antidote for trouble.
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen,
for it is something that is no earthly good to anybody till it is given away.
And if in the last-minute rush of the business-day,
some of our colleagues should be too tired to give a smile,
may we ask you to leave one of yours?
For nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none left to give!

~ Anonymous


Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. 

~ Matthew 6:19-34


God always gives His best
to those who leave the choice with him.

~ Jim Elliot


Much food is in the tillage of the poor:
but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.
~ Proverbs 13:23


It is not sufficient merely to be
a great master in painting
and very wise,
but I think that it is necessary
for the painter to be very moral
in his mode of life,
or even, if...possible, a saint,
so the Holy Spirit may inspire his intellect."

~ Michaelangelo



The rich and the poor meet together:
the LORD is the maker of them all.
~ Proverbs 22:31


~ Epictetus


Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness,
than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
~ Proverbs 28:6


I am a poor man and of little worth,
who is laboring in that art that God has given me
in order to extend my life as long as possible.


~ Michaelangelo


But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen. Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
~ I Timothy 6:6-19


He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep
to gain what he cannot lose.


~ Jim Elliot


A little that a righteous man hath
is better than the riches of many wicked.
~ Psalm 37:16


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