Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

Gabriel’s Message,  6” x 4”, linoleum cut print
Luke 1:30-32

This year I have been studying angelic beings throughout Scripture.  They are the heavenly messengers,  guardians and worshippers of God appearing to man at numerous times beginning in Genesis and continuing to Revelation.  Very few books make no mention of angels.
The Christmas story includes the angel Gabriel appearing to Zechariah, Mary, Joseph and the shepherds.  The message is the same:  do not be afraid.  Because of this repetition,  I settled on imaging the annunciation when Mary heard an unexpected message;  she  would become the mother of Jesus,  the Son of the Most High!  Though I’ve never seen an angel as Mary did,  I can imagine how troubling it must have been; how naturally fearful she was.
In the present state of our nation and the world,  I can feel fearful, too.  I’m vulnerable to the chaos of unexpected natural disasters, financial insecurities, joblessness, threats of international terrorists, consumerism which teases me with unhealthy choices and other things.  Fear can creep into my thoughts. What ifs sometimes take over rational thinking.
So the Christmas story brings hope to me:  God’s involvement with Zechariah, Mary, Joseph and the shepherds  shows his concern for mankind and me. He has purposes for the world and will take action to ensure these purposes are carried out—including the gift of redemption through Jesus.
©copyright, phyllis thomas, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Signatures on the Sand

Tide Out
30" x 30", acrylic on canvas

I'm happy these pieces are now complete after many months of incubating in my creative mind and several weeks of coming to completion.  There are four canvases in this series based on the photos from a previous post on April 15, 2011.  After reading the reflection, please enjoy them all.

Reflection about this series:
My brain reaches a point of saturation overload and I have to stop to debrief and take a breath.  Flagler Beach is where my "soul catches up with my body"(1); the place I can walk the bare open sands and allow the "tides to erase all of yesterday's scribblings" as Anne Morrow Lindbergh writes in The Gift of the Sea (2)

My gifts were signatures of the sea on the neutral palette of sienna, black and grey sand which appeared briefly then washed away leaving me with a sense of awe.  I was so excited at what I'd found!  I was witnessing a one of a kind brushtroke that was impermanent; created by the rhythms of the seashore and never to be repeated.  My curiosity was aroused and I wondered what this language might say, where all these tiny bits of shells may have originated and what stories they would tell.

As I transferred the land art signatures onto my canvases in my studio I realized how powerfully simplistic they are.  The marks are grand yet fragile and say just enough to speak with authroity.  I embraced their beauty and imagined them saying to me:  listen, simplify and appreciate the uniqueness of every moment in time.
(1) Warren Wiersebe, God Isn't in a Hurry, p. 48; (2) Anne Morrow Lindbergh, The Gift of the Sea, p. 16; a Grain of Sand; nature's secret wonder, Dr. Gary Greenberg, photographer.  copyright, phyllis thomas, 2011

Tide In
30" 30", acrylic on canvas

In between Tides
30" x 30", acrylic on canvas

High Tide
30" x 30", acrylic on canvas

Friday, November 11, 2011

Just in time for Christmas

I have been AWOL on this blog  since April and now hope to catch up to date.  I have been learning online publishing and how to re-make my website.  If you'd like to view my current updated site, please visit  

Other digital projects completed include online publishing attempts.  I have successfully published two online books using  The covers of these books are shown below:

This publication references the hand-written pieces of parchment and
 papyrus scrolls that were discovered in eleven of the Qumran caves
from 1947-1956.This is a soft-cover edition of 32 pages, 8" x 10"
and sells for $28.00 plus shipping.
This publication is meant to illuminate and cultivate an awareness of divinity
 everywhere and always.  It is an image journal to record a brief summary of 
personal insights about your own time.  This is a soft-cover edition of 28 pages,
 7" x 7" and sells for $19.00 plus shipping.

These would make wonderful Christmas gifts for anyone who values quiet meditative devotional time.  Please contact me at if your are interested in ordering these for Christmas or any other time.

The learning curve for these publications was not difficult.  I encourage anyone who desires to compile artwork or photos into one publication to consider visiting and try their templates and publishing offerings.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Ocean as Fleeting Artist

 Photo of line and mark on the beach
How many are your works O LORD
Psalm 104:24

This month I was given a Personal Art Retreat at a friend's condo just yards from the beach.  This often is an annual gift which I am most grateful for.  Previous visits have uncovered some discoveries about the language of the sea and shells (see previous posts) and this year I discovered the ocean as artist. 

One of my  favorite activities is to take long walks along the beach.  Breathing the ocean salt-air clears my head and brings clarity to my thoughts as well as opens up all kinds of creative thinking.  So, when I began to discover patterns, lines and textures on the sand, I was overcome with excitement at what I found! I started taking photos of these "paintings" and now have a whole file of ideas that could become inspirations for future paintings about the sands of the seashore.

 Photo of line and mark on the beach
A remarkable thing happened as I photographed some of these patterns and designs which made me aware of the fleeting work of the ocean as artist.  As soon as I clicked the shutter on the above design, the surf came ashore and wiped away these marks.  So I feel I have an original, never to be created the same again.  How special is that?!

 Photo of design on the beach
The above pattern looked like a snake had lost it's skin and left it to dry in the sun, all stretched and flat and ready to be framed.  Remarkable!  I have many others, but these will give you an idea of what can be discovered when I take time to see and observe the environment around me. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011



6" x 6"
acrylic on paper

It's March, but I feel like my year is just beginning.  January started with wedding activities for our son's February wedding then our whole household suffered with the winter flu which disrupted all regular activities.  Now that spring has come forth with new growth I too, feel like I'm finally emerging into 2011.

The image above is one of twelve that makes up a collection of images and reflections inspired by Medieval Books of Hours.  The collection is titled icons of time: a visual marking of the hours which is a reminder that every hour of the day should be a time to pray. They were made last year while I was re-reading all my books addressing contemplation and meditation.  While applying what I was reading, I slowed down enough to become watchful of the time and color changes throughout my day.  That practice began a renewal process in my spirit.  These works are visual expressions combining color with the symbol of the unending circle to visually move the viewer through 24 hours and ultimately 365 days of the year.

I'm now in the process of deciding how I will present these images in a format that could be available as a publication.  A friend recommended as a tool for online publishing and I'm investigating the possibilities of making a visual journal for personal reflection and writing.  I enjoy finding new ways to share my art and make it accessible to more people.  Stay tuned to find out what and how I decide to do that.