Yearly: 2020

Road to Tyrella

The Joy of Creation

The joy I receive every time I create something is an amazing gift that I cherish. When we create beauty through art, music or any other medium, we get to use our hands, hearts, souls, and spirits to honor the great creator who placed that particle of DNA within us. Likewise, when we destroy beautiful creations of art, literature, or music, we are vandalizing evidence of God’s creative hand in man. And it really doesn’t matter what reason someone may give for destroying creations, it is a crime against the creator. 

Even more heinous, though, is the act of destroying one of God’s children. When we destroy another human being by intentionally killing them, whether they are adults, children, or preborn babies, we are committing the most serious of crimes against our creator. And that is because in doing so, we are stopping a beautiful creation of God from continuing in creation themselves. We are preventing them from carrying out their purposes and gifts that they could contribute, including any art they would have made. Murder of a human being is therefore the epitome of hate, disrespect, and violation of human rights towards females and males.  

In looking at the hundreds of pieces of art, songs, poems, writings and various other forms of artistic creation that I’ve had the joy of creating, there are three particular ones that stand above all— my children and grandchildren (that came from them). Nothing in my life compares to the joyous fulfillment of creation like the miracle of giving birth.

The Joy of Creation

By Iris Carignan, 2/3/19

When God created the heavens and earth,
What joy the Father must have had,
with this birth.

How awesome and amazing,
This miracle came to be.
Each particle spoken,
Creation out of nothing,
The universe to see.

Along the way,
He stopped to say,
He saw that it was good,

But when man, 
And woman came 
On Heaven’s throne He stood
And it was then 
That He proclaimed
It was very, very good. 

Made in His image.

We get to create too,
We get to see beauty 
in what we do.
We get to use hand
And in small ways, 
continue His plan.

Oh, what a privilege 
Oh, what a joy,
To know of this gift
To partake,
and employ,

The power of creation
He placed inside of us.
Creation to creation 

    For it must!

Send and Alleluia

by Iris Carignan

Eternal Light,
From up above,
Break through the darkness,
Of the world.
And shed your light,
Into my heart.
Shine it Lord,
On every part.

We are weary,
And our hearts are dry.
Send an alleluia,
and hear our cries.

Eternal Light
Shine on my path.
With your truth,
For I know twill last

Cut through the fog.
Lighten the load.
Send and alleluia.
Cleanse and mold,
My heart to yours Lord,
Oh, may it be,
I’ll sing an alleluia 
Only to thee.

May each morning’s sunlight,
Of every new day,
Carry love’s hope,
On every bright ray.

But should the joy,
Not show its face,
And evil hide your,
Love and grace,

I’ll sing an alleluia,
Lord, still unto thee.
I’ll sing an alleluia,
And let praises be.

Vibrant Colors Aglow

Six Steps to Painting a Picture

As an art teacher I’ve had the opportunity to help others learn how to paint and my favorite subject is landscapes. It occurred to me that the process of painting a landscape is also a good metaphor for a believer’s journey. Most artists who strive to become better in their craft usually seek a teacher or master artist to help them learn to paint well. They listen and study the teacher’s methods and then try to put them into practice. Likewise, as believers we not only come to the Lord as our Savior, but as our master and teacher and try to apply His instructions to our life. And much the same as art, the process of living-out God’s word, often includes mistakes and failed attempts. But, through perseverance, and practice, artists and believers alike will begin to see success as they “paint” their way through life. 

Looking at a step-by-step process for doing a landscape painting, I found the instructions apply equally well to both artistic and spiritual goals. Although you will likely need more than I have laid out here, I have simplified this into only 6 steps. 

#1.  Consider where you place the horizon line. Before you lay it in, you need to decide what part of the painting you want to be the most important in the composition. Do you want the sky, or heavenly part, to be predominant, or do you want everything that is below the horizon to be the most important.? Whatever you want to be the most important should be the largest area. So be sure to set the line at the right place. Similarly, in the grand scheme of your life, do you see your time here on earth as the biggest portion of our days and thus the most important, or do you see eternal life as an extravagant and boundless expanse that should be considered more important?Therefore, do you aim your efforts towards earthly things or heavenly things? So let the master of your life draw that line from the start.

#2. Lay in your big shapes and general colors. What are the big spiritual goals you have and how might they shape your actions for the strokes of each day ahead? 

#3. In planning your painting decide early what and where the focal point of it will be. Likewise, in your life, what one thing should stand out to others when they look at the picture of your life?  Keep in mind that all the contrasting dark times of trouble next to the bright spots of His light draws the most attentionSo let your light shine brightly during your trials and remember to keep your focus on Him.

#4. Stand back and look at what you have so far. Look to see if the overall design and composition is good. Make any changes you need to make before getting too committed to the wrong course. Whatever stage of life we are at, its always a good idea to step back and look at what we are doing. Examine from a godly perspective as to whether or not we are on the right course. Ask yourself, have I strayed off course in some way? Do I need to make any changes in my life before getting too invested in something that is wrong?

#5. Check your reference frequently throughout the painting process and look closely so you don’t miss important details or make the wrong assumptions about what is there. If you look at it often enough, you’ll probably see things you didn’t notice before. You may need to correct something that you painted wrong too.  As a believer, you should continue to read God’s word. Look for new revelations, watch for His corrections and then make the adjustments in your life’s picture at each juncture where needed. 

#6. Paint the details, especially in the important things and put in the accents of extra color or brightness where they best serve a purpose. Leave out some details where they aren’t necessary. The things closest in the picture usually need more detail and attention. Make sure you pay attention to the details of life that are most important. Too often we get so caughtup with other distractions in life that we ignore the best things including those who are closest to us. Let God’s Spirit guide and direct how you paint each day and let Him make the brushstrokes.

Now sign it! You’re done. Enjoy your accomplishment. Do you feel good about the work before your eyes? Make sure you aren’t comparing your work to another artist’s work when you evaluate its beauty. Remember there will always be another artist who is better in some way. Be glad you finished the work. Make sure you don’t compare yourself to others when evaluating your worth before God. Remember, God loves youThank God for working His purposes together in your life to create a beautiful painting of His love. Think of all the times He added things, took things away, pulled things together, allowed darkness to show you His light and brought color in your life. And when your life’s work is done, others will see God was the main focal point of your life and your master will say to you: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Mathew 25: 23

An Update of Reflections of Peace Exhibit at the Conejo Art Museum

The Conejo Valley Art Museum
proudly presents

Reflections of Peace
featuring the works of 
Iris Carignan

Yellow Tree-A Bird’s Eye View

Sunset on the Eucalyptus

Great News Everyone!
My art exhibit has been extended to
September 27th, 2020.

Iris’ Painting Demonstration!
Thanks to those who visited and watched me
paint a picture on Friday, Aug 7, and 14th.

Receptions News
Join me Saturday, August 29th from 5 to 7 pm,
for a Reception. Light refreshments provided.

Share the news!
Sincerely, Iris

His eye is on the sparrow

His Eye On The Sparrow

You’ll never believe what a little bird told me just a few days ago. Have you ever gazed up at a flock of birds sailing across the sky? Or do you listen to their lilting songs letting the music lift your spirit? It’s something I do often especially during this season of Coved-19 lockdown. Observing them blesses me and reminds me of God’s awesome and infinite love for His creation. But lately, I confess, watching their gift of flight has brought out a little covetousness in me. I want to fly away from all the troubles our world is going through—disease, death, riotous anarchy, political strife.

So, naturally, when we discovered a bird’s nest under the eaves of our backyard patio, it caught my interest.  After a few weeks the high-pitched tweeting of little baby birds and the sight of their parents swooping in and out of the area, kept my interest going. One of the parents, the male no doubt, had a reddish color on its head and the female was an all brown mixture, like a sparrow would be. A quick Google told me they were house finches. 

But my heart took pause one day, when I discovered that all three baby birds had fallen out of the nest and sadly only one had survived the fall. The surviving little chick sat quivering and weak on top of a counter near our kitchen window. Not knowing what to do, I felt helpless, so said a quick prayer for it.  As I prayed, a verse in Matthew 10:29 came to me. The scripture talks about the value God places even on a little sparrow and that He knows when “one of them falls to the ground.”

It all happened the same morning as my art class, so I needed to hurry into my studio and get ready for my students. With the Corona Virus restrictions and pre-cautions in place, my usual 6 to 8 students had been pared down to only 3 at a time. And, during all the disappointing cancellations and shutdowns, I was glad to be able to do that much. Continuing the classes seemed to encourage them, especially our breaktimes when I would give an inspirational reading or thought for the day. For many, art class was the highlight of their week and for some, our inspiration time was the only spiritual food they would get. 

Pretty ironic, I thought, that I have 3 students to feed just like the mother bird did. 

After class was over, I quickly rushed to the backyard to check on the baby chick. The last time I’d checked on the little bird its eyes were shut and head bent down as if it might keel over any moment. Now it was on the ground and I figured it had tipped over and fell off the counter. The parents were still nowhere in sight. So, I called our neighborhood animal whisperer. She was a nice gal, named Senchal, who had a natural way with wild animals and critters of all kinds. She came over immediately. 

We were both concerned that the baby wasn’t getting fed frequently enough and we still hadn’t seen any sign of the parents. The wildlife rescue she called advised bringing the bird into their place, but it was a long drive and neither of us wanted to venture it. Besides, we knew the best thing would be for the parents to return and care for it. 

“Let’s move a good distance away from the bird so we won’t scare the parents away if they return.” She suggested then added, “and cross our fingers they do.”

I agreed we should move but suggested that prayer would be better than crossing our fingers. 

“Yes” she agreed. “You’re right.”

After placing the chick in a shoe box with some soft nesting grasses, we sat under a tree far enough away, yet close enough to see if they came back. Half an hour later, we were seriously considering the drive. By then we knew it had been at least 4 hours since the little chick had eaten and baby birds need to eat frequently— 5 to 6 times a day for newly hatched and 3 to 4 times for older chicks.  As we sat under the shady tree worrying for the bird’s survival, I reminded my friend that God’s word says He cares for the sparrow that falls to the ground and that He directed the animals to Noah for the ark. 

“So,” I said, “God can direct those parents back. We just need to trust in His love.” Then, I bowed my head to pray out loud this time, and asked God to lead the baby’s parents back to help it.

Miraculously, after about fifteen more minutes, I saw the mother bird fly to a nearby light post. Shortly after, the male parent arrived too. We were thrilled and watched anxiously to see what they would do. Scooting back into the house where we could watch safely from the windows, we were happy to see them fly down next to their baby.

A short while later my friend waived good-bye and asked me to keep her posted on the baby bird. “Keep your fingers crossed.” She said again. 

Arresting her departure with a reminder, I asked. “Now, didn’t you learn what really makes a difference?” 

“Oh, yeah.” She said. “Prayer!” She smiled and waved good-bye promising to keep in touch too. 

Later that day the baby bird had taken flight and left. The next day, while glancing out my kitchen window, I saw the baby bird fly into my yard. His flying skills needed some honing as he darted around erratically, but it was as if he was showing me that he was doing all right. Adding further irony to it all, that next evening I learned about a song that was going to be sung at church that very weekend— “His Eye is on The Sparrow.” As it turned out, the whole message that following Sunday was built around the message of God caring for his creation, including the sparrow, and even more so for us, and therefore we should be comforted during this time of Covid-19 lockdowns and riotous anarchy in the streets, because God cares about us, the dangers we’re in and what we’re feeling. 

So, guess you could say a little bird told me that and apparently whispered the same message to our pastor too.

Iris Carignan, 8/5/2020