Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013

"Clouds over the lake" by Hilary J. England
8" x 10" oil on canvas, 2013
This is the last painting of 2013.  It is number 2 in my 100 cloud studies...this, the last painting of 2013. Usually, I feel a slight twinge of sadness knowing that the year is over, never to return, now filed away in the forgotten cabinets of history, only to be dusted off and remembered in fragments.  I picture the old year as an old man, breathing out his last at midnight.  If it was a good year, people are joyous and hopeful.  If it was a bad year, people are more subdued and fervent with desperation that the next year will bring better fortune.  2013, unfortunately, was the latter.

I wish I could say 2013 was "lucky 13" for me, but as a whole, it was a sad year.  Sure, I was lucky, at the beginning, to escape a cancer diagnosis of my own, but Mark was literally diagnosed within a month of that episode with terminal cancer, and the following month we suddenly and horrifyingly lost Isaac on Mother's Day, all in the midst of a very chaotic and painful move from our B&B that we adored, and in that very week, the week of Isaac's funeral, my lovely cousin lost her own full term baby during a stillbirth.  It was traumatic to say the least.

On the positives, we were given a new, beautiful baby Isaac Jr. to warm our hearts. He doesn't replace his Dad, but he sure was a very wonderful piece of Heaven to be given as a final "piece" of Isaac Sr.  My sister Dale also had a beautiful bouncing baby boy, and my sister Jill got married in a beautiful wedding ceremony. We moved into a fine new townhouse, and after being here for a few months, really have come to love the quiet of having our home be our "own" versus the hustle and bustle of our Inn.  I made some very nice friends in town, including my new pal Craig, who has been a very big blessing.

So, we count our blessings, try to accept our pain without bitterness or the hindrance of cynicism, and just move forward.  We don't know what 2014 will bring, but we start off with a glowing hope for a wonderful year to look forward to!  I feel it in my heart that 2014 will be a year of great accomplishments and amazing new opportunities.

If I have learned any one thing through the years, it is to be grateful to be alive.  Life is a gift, and each new day is a gift.  It may be cliche, but it sure is true.  I am thankful for my beautiful and wonderful family, of whom I would never trade or change, lol, and for the many, many blessings and advantages my Lord has gifted me with, including the fact I was born into the "wealthiest" nation on Earth.  Thank you Lord, for the multitude of blessings, but mostly, for your personal gift of salvation.  That gift in itself is so wonderful, there are no words.  With that bright thought, I wish you all a wonderful, peaceful, healthy and prosperous New Year 2014!  God bless and keep you :-)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Head in the clouds

"Study of clouds approaching sunset" by Hilary J. England
oil on canvas, 8" x 10" 2013

I've been working on cloud studies these last few days, and think I will continue to.  I have decided to do 100 small studies of clouds, and 100 small studies of trees, because these things interest me, and keep my mind "limber." So, I have started these yesterday.

This was what I saw off of Hawk Mountain.  Just lovely!  I hope you enjoy it as well.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Old barn in the countryside

"Old barn in the countryside" by Hilary J. England
oil on canvas, 11" x 16", 2013

I painted this painting rather metaphorically.  The old barn is me, me in the countryside, but no matter how old and dilapidated I feel sometimes, there is a beauty to every season of life, and always a breakthrough, because God is always near, so there is always a beauty in life, even when it's hard to see through the storms.

Christmas always reminds me of the beauty of God's love for us, by sending His son to us, and loving us that much.  I have children, and the thought of the sacrifice involved with God's love offering to us is so enormous, it is hard to fathom sometimes.  It makes me humble and so grateful to know the tremendous power and love of a personal deity that is love incarnate.  Christmas is such a beautiful time of year, filled with the power of love, which is the Holy Spirit. It makes me so thankful for all that I have been blessed with, but most of all, that I know God, and that Jesus is my Lord and Savior.

I pray for the love of God to be with each of you, and that you may also come to know the deep love and sanctifying relationship of accepting Jesus.  It is a decision I made long ago, and a decision that I have never regretted, and will be thankful for through all of eternity.  May the peace and beauty of Christ be with you through this Christmas, and the new year to come!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Old year 2013

"Gray day" by Hilary J. England
8" x 10" oil on canvas, 2013

The snow has melted off, and now it is a balmy 62 degrees here in PA, strange for Christmas, but somehow nice and comforting.  The clouds rolled in, and yet, the feeling of happiness is still here, as we approach the end of 2013.  It was a hard year, very hard.  I know in my heart 2014 will be a good one, full of potential, promise, and progress.  I just feel it inside.  Last year, it was strange, but I knew 2013 would be a hard year, and it could be as obvious as it being the number "13," or just a gut feeling I had, and it proved to be so. But, this new year, well, I just think it will be a good one.

So, here is a little local landscape "Gray day" of the late Autumn/early winter fields in the grayness of a gentle rainy day.  I do love the gray, as much as I love the sun and the azure blues of a clear day, all things work together to be beautiful.


Thursday, December 19, 2013


"Little hands" by Hilary J. England
oil on canvas, 8" x 10" 2013

Well, it is the lull before the holiday "storm," haha!  Only a few days until the little kids can rip into their gifts, so between the snowstorms, I am holding down the fort!

The tree is up, the cookies baked, the house is decorated, the gifts are wrapped, so I feel pretty good ;-)  Now that all of the holiday stress is off, I have been quietly working away on my new series, and that requires a lot of figure studies, etc.  I began to study the little kids' hands, since children's hands are quite different from adults, in that they are so juicy and chubby, and that is a much harder look to capture than lean adult hands, or bony elderly hands, etc.

So, here is a little study I painted of two chubby little kids' hands.  I thoroughly enjoyed it!
I hope you do too!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Almost Christmas!

Wow, we are getting into the home stretch here!  I can't believe how fast this month flew by, and how we are nearly to Christmas and New Year.  Trust me, I am very happy about that :-)  I love the Christmas season, and New Year is always a blessing.  Each year is a gift!

I am really looking forward to 2014.  I have a feeling it will be an amazing year!  I am excited to do the artist's residency in Bucharest, Romania, for the summer (I think I mentioned this earlier!).  Just in case, I will rehash it:  I was one of 20 artists gifted to spend June/July 2014 in Sibiu, through the Dacia Gallery, New York City.  It should be an amazing experience, intensive study and all, as the Carpathian mountains and Transylvania have always been so very mysterious and interesting to me. 

I also plan to spend October in Berlin and Paris, so I have many blessings to look excitedly to, besides the wonderful blessings of family and friends I have as a constant in my life.

I would like to wish everyone a wonderful and blessed Christmas and Happy New Year 2013 just in case I let the time slip by and don't check in.  Blessings to you and your families for 2014!!!

Stormy Times

“Stormy day in the fields - Tennessee” oil on wooden panel, 18” x 18” by Hilary J. England I painted an original study when I was in Tenness...