Choosing Good Titles for Paintings and People

Being an artist is a whole lot easier when you have people around to support what you are doing.

I grew up sharing my painting progress with my siblings and mother. Their commentary was sometimes difficult to hear but they helped me so much, in so many ways. I'm really grateful to have had their love and encouragement as I grew in my painting ability.

Early coloring with crayons and construction paper revealed my interest in communicating with pictures – I drew a recognizable Giraffe when I was two years old, and gave this Giraffe “carrots to eat” at the top of the page. I was interested in food and feeding others then, too.

I progressed to drawing horses with pencil in first grade, then to starting to paint floral still-life with chalky Nu-Pastels by age eight.

That doesn't look like a dog,” I remember my older sister once commenting, as I worked to copy a dog head with pastels. “Well, it's not finished yet,” I told her, “and you're looking at it upside-down!”

My mother took notes during my initial watercolor lessons, helping me remember pigment colors or types of brushes I might need.

I was only eleven years old when I first began learning to paint in watercolor, and my painting ability far exceeded my ability to write.

When I grew older and needed help with framing for large exhibits, my older sister kindly washed lots of glass for me, and she also cleaned the entire room at my first large solo exhibit of 69 original paintings under glass, when I was 27 years old.

I'm so blessed and grateful to have had this help!

One of the hardest parts when entering paintings in show juries for me, as a beginner, was usually titling and pricing the piece.

Another hard, time-consuming and expensive part was framing.

Watercolors must be matted appropriately, and then framed under glass, to protect them from light and also from getting wet. Matting keeps the painting from hitting the glass, which protects the piece from possible exposure to condensation.

I used to spend hours debating about the benefits or detriments of very slightly different colors and values of matboard with the support of my kind and patient framer, Marcia. These details mattered.

I much preferred to just paint various subjects, but becoming an artist meant developing many more skills than just painting.

When it came to choosing a good painting title, I usually looked to my older sister, who was gifted with both marketing and words.

No, Elise, don't call this one, Little Red Barn Under Big Tree, that's exactly what it is. Instead, you should put in some mystery, some degree of 'what if'. Call this one, If Trees Could Talk”, she'd tell me.

If Trees Could Talk, 20x28-ish by Elise, well-titled by my older sister. Painted in perhaps 2003 maybe? I don't remember!

I would agree, her titles were mostly all better than my own.

This watercolor was initially called, Top of the Hill. But I changed the title when entering it for an exhibit jury to Darkness Revealing the Light:

Darkness Revealing the Light, 20x28 watercolor by Elise, 2017

Sometimes it takes awhile to think up a good painting title.

The illustration photos in the lower section of this blog are older paintings of mine – some as much as twenty years old. Some of their titles were chosen by kind friends and family. I hope you will enjoy these pieces, and their titles!

What Our Father Calls Us

I heard recently how the University of Minnesota plans to punish those who ignore new personal pronoun preferences.

Many Universities now require these new titles for personal pronouns in their student's papers.

This made me think more about names, and what our Father in heaven has called us - those who follow the Lamb wherever He goes.

In Genesis 2:7, after man was first created, our Father breathed into him the breath of life, and God then said, “and man became a living soul.”

In the Hebrew language, man is “ish” and woman is “ishah”.

Man was created from the dust of the ground, made in the very image of God.

Womb-man was taken from man. She was made of the man's body and flesh, but designed to be able to bear children, to bring new life to the world.

Interestingly, the term "human being" has only been used to describe mankind for the last 500 years!

A Peaceful Place, Center Harbor, Brooklin, Maine, painted perhaps in 1993 by Elise.

Mankind is Separate from the Animal Kingdom from a Creation Perspective.

All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. ~ I Corinthians 15:39

While men and women have very similar DNA to animals, we differ from animals in several ways. Man's spirit rises, and an animal's goes down into the earth, according to Ecclesiastes 3:21:

Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

Hope is A Golden Splendor, 30x36 watercolor by Elise, 2000 ~ Psalm 96:11-13, which is our hope!
This very beautiful birch tree was on our mountain until a large ice storm took it down.

Are You an Immature Child or a Mature Son?

We are called Children of God, and also Sons of God in the New Testament. 

Sometimes these titles are used interchangeably, and sometimes a Son of God, especially in the Old Testament, can refer to an angelic being.

All people, every man or woman, are really a child of God - because they are each made in God's image, and retain some aspects of His Glory, even when they do not acknowledge or know Him.

Yet born-again Children of God and Sons of God differ slightly.

Son of God has not remained a child, but has grown organically to full maturity in their understanding. They are those who take on Christ's character, revealing His likeness to the the world.

Listening for the Shepherd or Peter's Sheep, 11x14 watercolor by Elise, 2007, painted in honor of Peter. B.'s 80th birthday

Being His Sheep or Lamb is Good and Positive

We are also referred to in the holy Bible as Sheep and Lambs.

Some say this is because sheep are stupid, but “stupid” is a very negative term, one more likely the accuser of the brethren would use for us. I prefer to look for more positive reasons for people being likened to and called “sheep”.

I seriously doubt Christ was naming us something negative, He was more likely referring to our need for a shepherd!

Sheep are pretty defenseless animals – their wool can easily catch on thorn bushes, and they need direction in where to find safe feeding areas.

Flocks of sheep need a guard dog, llama, donkey or man to keep their lives from hungry predators, who would like to eat their tasty flesh.

Recently I watched an old Dr. Chris Bondi Vet show on TV and learned something new about lambs.

Dr. Chris had pinned a lamb's broken femur, and then as the lamb healed, Dr. Chris led the lamb around his office to give it physical therapy, so the limb would regain full mobility.

This lamb followed Dr. Chris everywhere he went, a lot like Mary's Little Lamb, in the old children's song!:

Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb

Mary had a little lamb, it's fleece was white as snow

And everywhere that Mary went, Mary went, Mary went

Everywhere that Mary went, her lamb went with her too.

Newborn, 5x7 miniature by Elise, 2014

Watching this lamb caused me to realize how lambs develop very strong emotional connections with their shepherd, they bond with the one caring for them and want always to be with them. I remember having this same connection with my dad, when I was a child.

Perhaps this is a better reason why God calls us “sheep”, because He wants us to develop this same strong emotional bond with Him, so that we will not fear to follow Him into dark valleys and pleasant, peace-filled pastures.

The disciples were also called Saints by the apostle Paul in the epistles.

Paul did not call these men and women “sinners” - this was the term he humbly used for himself, in I Timothy 1:15:

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

We may be “saints who sin” as I John 1:10 tells us, but “Sinner” is not a name or title we should strive to live up to, once our old nature has been crucified with Christ through faith, and the Holy Spirit has given us a new nature.

Meeting Adjourned, 6x8-ish miniature by Elise, titled by my sister, I think, c. 2008


Another name I love, which God's people are called in Ephesians 1:6 is “Beloved”. God calls His people “accepted in the Beloved”!

Because we often live up to the meaning of our names, whether or not we know this meaning, it is extremely important what names we use for ourselves, and for others.

Titles, names, nicknames and terms of endearment are to be positive reminders of both what we are and what we want ourselves and others to become.

Grandma's Roses, 14x16-ish by Elise, c. 1993 or 1994,
painted en plein air in Florida, while my Grandpa recovered from a stroke, I think.

Losing Our Spiritual Identity

A few years ago I met and then later called and spoke briefly with a woman who works as an Identity Expert. Her job takes her to speak at universities and schools all over America, where she teaches others how they can protect themselves from the loss or “theft” of at least nine different “identities”.

For example, she told me, you can lose your Medical Identity, Social Security Identity, Prison Identity, Online Identity, etc. There are even more identities which can be taken away.

But you've forgotten the most important identity of all, losing your spiritual identity,” I remember exclaiming to her over the phone, after hearing the full list she taught on.

She was stunned, and then asked me, “Would you repeat that?”

So I shared again with this highly-trained professional lady how losing your Spiritual Identity is the worst type of identity theft there is!

She had just never really considered this aspect, and so didn't teach on it. And she was a Christian believer!

The Four Sisters, 20x28-ish by Elise, c.late 1990's perhaps...can't remember!
This was a private commission, looking from the Vermont side at four sister islands in Lake Champlain.

Our Spiritual Identity

We must fully know and claim what our Father names us and Who We Are in Christ. 

Our spiritual identity is all about believing from God's higher perspective - outside time. It means we see rightly, spiritually, what He says our reality is, and accept by faith it is so. 

Then we can live from this place, being rooted in "spiritual ground." 

Our Father wants His Sons to have security, purpose, power and stability!

Having our feet deeply rooted in the truth of who we are spiritually, because of the death, shed blood and broken body, and then resurrection of Y'Shua - Jesus Christ, is life-changing and life-giving!

We can know what we do, and how we do what we do, but when believers in Christ really know Who We Are, we can better know our motivation for Why we are to live differently than the rest of the culture in this life.

A Title describes “someone's position or job.”

A Name, when used as a noun, is “a word or set of words by which a person, animal, place, or thing is known, addressed, or referred to.”

We are to know and claim these positive titles and names by the great grace of God.

These names give us real standing when the accuser of the brethren comes with his evil lies, berating us with negatives in our minds and hearts!

Making Time, 20x28 watercolor by Elise, painted around 1996 - can't quite remember. My dad or I took the reference photo. Sadly, this piece was stolen off the wall of a public diningroom in Warren, Vt.

Positive Titles and Names to Meditate Upon

Here below are just some of the important spiritual names and titles God's people are called in the Holy Scriptures:

Children of the Living God – Hosea 1:10 and Romans 9:26

Children of God - John 1:12-13, John 11:52, Philippians 2:15, I John 3:1-3

Sons of God - Matthew 5:9, Luke 6:35, Ephesian 1:5, Ephesians 4:13, Revelation 21:7

Gentiles (non-Jews) are Grafted into Isreal – Romans 11:11-36

Anointed, or Chosen – Joel 2:28, Luke 4:18, II Corinthians 1:21-22, I John 2:20 and 2:27

Prophets – Joel 2:28-29, Acts 2:16-21 and many other New Testament verses

Priests – Isaiah 61:6 once adopted into Isreal, as well as Romans 12:1-2, Hebrews 13:15-16, I Peter 2:5, and other New Testament passages

Kings – Revelation 1:5-6, and I Peter 2:9 (royal)

Strangers and Pilgrims – I Peter 2:11

A Peculiar People – I Peter 2:9

My People – Jeremiah 30:22, II Corinthians 6:16

Trees of Righteousness, the Planting of the LORD – Isaiah 61:3, Psalm 1:3, Psalm 92:12-15 and Jeremiah 17:7-8.

Children of the Promise – Romans 9:8

Friends of God – John 15:14-15

Family of God – those who keep Christ's commands, Matthew 12:50 and Luke 8:21

Loved by my Father – John 14:21

Free/Liberated – Galatians 5:1

Blessed with all spiritual blessings – Ephesians 1:3

Chosen, Holy, Without Blame – Ephesians 1:4

Stablished, Anointed, Sealed – II Corinthians 1:21-22

Quickened or made Alive with Christ – Ephesians 2:5 and Colossians 2:13

Seated with Him in heavenly places – Ephesians 2:6-7

His Workmanship – Ephesians 2:10

Bold and Confident – Proverbs 28:1, Philemon 1:8, Ephesians 3:11-12, II Corinthians 3:11-12, II Corinthians 3:4, and Hebrews 10:19

Light in the LORD, Children of Light – Ephesians 5:8

A Citizen of Heaven, of God's household – Philippians 3:20-21, Ephesians 2:19, Hebrews 13:14

Risen or Raised with Christ – Colossians 3:1

A Branch of the True Vine – John 15:1-5

An Heir of God, and Joint-heirs with Christ, if we suffer with Him – Romans 8:17

Hidden with Christ – Colossians 3:3

A Temple of (or for) the Living God – I Corinthians 3:16, II Corinthians 6:16-17

A House of Prayer for all Nations - Isaiah 56:7, Jeremiah 7:11, Matthew 21:13, Mark 11:17

Loved by God – Psalm 86:15, John 15:9-10, Romans 8:37-39, Galatians 2:20, Ephesians 2:4-5, I John 3:1, I John 4:19, among many other verses

Complete, Filled or made Full in Him – Colossians 2:10

United with Christ and His Body – Ephesians 5:31-32, I Corinthians 1:30, II Corinthians 13:5

A Remnant that Remains – Micah 2:12, Romans 9:27 and 11:15, Revelation 12:17

Adopted into the Family of God – Ephesians 1:5, Romans 8:15

Sheep of His Pasture – Psalm 95:7, Psalm 100:3

His Lambs – John 21:15

His Sheep – Psalm 23, Zechariah 9:16, John 10, John 21:17, Isaiah 40:11

Inheritors – Psalm 2:8, Psalm 16:5, Isaiah 61:7, Matthew 5:5, Ephesians 1:11, 14 & 18, Colossians 1:12, I Peter 1:4

Earthen Vessels, Jars of Clay – II Corinthians 4:7

Servants of God – Romans 1:1, Ephesians 6:6, Colossians 4:12, Titus 1:1, James 1:1, I Peter 2:16, Jude 1:1, Revelation 1:1, 7:3, 10:7, 15:3, 19:5, and 22:3

Sons of God – Mathew 5:9, Luke 6:35, Romans 8:14, Galatians 4:7, Ephesians 1:5, Revelation 21:7

Living Epistles, known and read of all men – II Corinthians 3:2

Pearls of Great Price, Precious Pearls, God's Treasures – Matthew 13:44-45, Deuteronomy 7:6

Precious – Isaiah 43:4, Isaiah 49:16, Jeremiah 31:3, John 3:16, I Peter 2:4

Living Stones – I Peter 2:5

A Spiritual House – I Peter 2:5

Those who follow Christ are called to be:

Kind, Tenderhearted, Forgiving – Ephesians 4:32

Full of this Fruit: Love, Joy, Peace, Long-suffering/Patience, Gentleness/Kindness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, Temperance/Self-Control – Galatians 5:22-23

A Blessing - Genesis 12:2, Isaiah 52:7, Matthew 28:19, Romans 12:13, Romans 15:1, Ephesians 6:18, I Timothy 2:1, I Thessalonians 5:11, Galatians 6:2, James 5:16

Overcomers – John 16:33, Romans 8:29-39, I John 2:13, I John 4:4 I John 5:5, Revelation 2:7-11, Revelation 2:17 & 26, Revelation 3:5-12, 3:21, 12:11 and 21:7

Through the Power of the Blood of Christ we are also Called and Given these Precious Names:

Redeemed by Christ's Blood – Ephesians 1:7 and I Peter 1:18-19

Cleansed by Christ's Blood- I John 1:7

Justified by Christ's Blood (just-as-if I'd never sinned) – Romans 5:9, Isaiah 61:10

Sanctified by Christ's Blood, set apart from sin, and set apart to God – Hebrews 13:12, and 12:10

Given Life by Christ's Blood – Leviticus 17:11, John 6:53-57, I Corinthians 10:16, I Corinthians 11:23-26

Interceeded for/given an Advocate by Christ's Blood – Hebrews 7:25, 12:22-24, I John 2:1, Romans 8:26-27

Given Access to God by Christ's Blood – Hebrews 10:19-23

Note: I'm grateful for Derek Prince's booklet, The Power of Sacrifice, which I recently read, and he noted these seven important aspects, above.

Hurry Up, Ladies, 20x27 watercolor by Elise,  painted in New Zealand in 2007 and well-titled by Peter B.!

False Accusations can Hurt and Change Lives

So many people today, young and old, have been falsely accused or hurtfully critisized here on earth.

These damaging names, titles and words come from family, friends, school teachers, college professors, sports and personal coaches, court judges, policemen, church clergy and church goers, etc.

Because of sin and evil's presence in the world, people through millenia have been reviled, railed upon, berated, called bad names, insulted, embarrassed, maligned, condemned, mocked, experienced verbal bullying and/or have heard derogatory, deprecating and demeaning things said about them – sometimes truthfully but other times quite presumptuously and very wrongly!

The words we say to others and about others matter!!!

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. ~ Proverbs 18:21

I know I've said hurtful things to others.

When my sister and I taught children and teachers about good character years ago, we learned people need to hear nine praises for every critisicm!

As the School Year begins next week, try praising your students, teachers and friends. Tell them all the good things you see in them!

Lets remind our friends, our family, and all people of their great value to God and others. Be a blessing and an encouragement to others!

If you are in a place where you are being called negative things, sometimes you just can't change the direction the wind is blowing. But I hope this list of words which our Father in heaven has so graciously named us, called us, titled us, will encourage you.

For, after all, His commendation and praise is what really counts, now and for eternity.

Also, the Holy Spirit chastens and corrects us when we go astray, as well as praises, but I've always found that when our Father is speaking to us, it is done with grace and kindness. When I face the consequences of disobedience, I know our Father is often allowing painful times for my good, to mold me or help me turn to His way.

For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole. ~ Job 5:18

Friends, I'm grateful for all the support and kindness you have shown me! Thank you for reading this blog!

Warmly, your painting friend,

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. ~ Romans 15:4

For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 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. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. ~ I Peter 2:20-25

But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth. ~ II Corinthians 10:17-18

Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. ~ II Corinthians 6:3-10

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. ~ Revelation 12:11

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