It happens from time to time.  A shift in focus, a new direction, the tugs from other parts of my life.  Time is needed elsewhere, writing takes a backseat.

And so again, this place must rest.

I have been busy with pursuits both old and new: nourishing a marriage, feeding and homeschooling children, tending friendships.  And art.  The joyful blooming of a passion from my childhood.

I will be back.  My six years of off-again-on-again blogging have taught me that I can’t end it completely.  I’m planning an Etsy shop of work by the new year, so be on the lookout for exciting developments!  This home stretch to forty has inspired me to reach higher and farther for dreams than ever before.

I am most active on Instagram, and I won’t lie, sometimes I Buy Instagram followers for cheap as well, just because it helps me get real folowers.  I’d love to connect there if we haven’t already!  Find me: @FruitNSeason.

Until then, friends, I wish you the most vibrant of journeys, abundant blessings, love and grace to spare.

July Birthdays Blog-Hop {Rembrandt}

Night Watch- Rembrandt
Night Watch {Rembrandt}

Who were the greatest artists of all time?

How would you answer that question?  Monet, Da Vinci, Picasso, Renoir?  

Surely, Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (known simply as Rembrandt) would be on your list.  Rembrandt’s portraits, use of light and shadow, and sensitive and emotional style of painting assure his position as one of the greats.

Rembrandt’s Life {1606-1669}

1659 Self Portrait {Rembrandt}

1659 Self Portrait {Rembrandt}

Rembrandt was born in Holland, in the town of Leiden, to a miller and a baker’s daughter on July 15, 1606. His parents took Rembrandt’s education seriously, sending him to the Latin School before enrolling him at University of Leiden when he was 14.  The program didn’t suit him, however, and he shortly left the university to study art as an apprentice with first a local artist, Jacob van Swanenburch, and then an artist in Amsterdam, Pieter Lastman.  Rembrandt was a quick study; soon he had mastered all that these teachers had to offer and began to take students of his own.

Saskia mit Blume {Rembrandt}

Saskia mit Blume {Rembrandt}

In 1634 Rembrandt fell in love with and married a well-to-do young woman (the cousin of an art dealer) by the name of Saskia van Uylenburgh.  At this point, his career was in full swing and Rembrandt was highly regarded for his biblical and historical paintings, as well as his sensitive and detailed portraits.  Unfortunately, his family life was marked by tragedy.  He and Saskia had four children and only the last child, Titus, survived beyond infancy.  Saskia herself died shortly after Titus was born, leaving Rembrandt with a deep sadness that manifested itself in his paintings.  He eventually found love again with the woman he hired to care for his son and his home.  He and Hendrickje Stoffels lived together until her death.  They had one child together, a daughter named Cornelia.  His son, Titus, died in 1668 and Rembrandt himself died shortly thereafter, in 1669.

Hendrickje as Venus

Hendrickje as Venus {portrait by Rembrandt}

Rembrandt’s Work

Rembrandt’s earlier paintings fit the characteristics of the Baroque period, with their fine detail, intense lighting, rich colors and heightened emotional content.  His work primarily included portraits, historical events and biblical scenes, with an emphasis on dramatic action, often seeming as if the paintings had been done in the heat of the moment.  Storm on the Sea of Galilee epitomizes this style.

Storm on the Sea of Galilee {Rembrandt}

Storm on the Sea of Galilee {1633}

Rembrandt’s style developed further during his Amsterdam years.  He was a master at portraying human depth and emotion, and paintings took on a more somber tone, perhaps due to the pain in his family life.  In fact, a scientific study was done as to why his portraits seem to have such depth, drawing on the amount of detail Rembrandt painted around the subject’s eyes in portraits.  During this time he also moved further into the use of chiaroscuro (meaning “bright-dark”), a technique that is characterized by dramatic light and shadow

Alter Mann in Lehnstuhl (1654)

Alter Mann in Lehnstuhl {1654}

His most famous painting from this period is clearly the Night Watch (top of post), which is a group portrait that caused him a bit of strife.  His style was unique, especially in regard to the movement of the subjects, and there is evidence that some of the men who paid for the portrait were unhappy with where they were situated in the painting.

In the 1640’s, and on into his last decades of painting, Rembrandt found a love of landscapes and nature scenes, his brushstrokes became bolder and colors richer.  He also created etchings of different subjects, and is well-known for the amount of self-portraits he completed over his lifetime (over 90).  He still painted biblical scenes, but toward the end of his life he favored intimate scenes full of emotion, rather than dramatic ones.

The Prodigal Son {1669}

The Prodigal Son {1669}

Rembrandt’s work is timeless and the emotion he was able to portray, along with his incredible technique and skill, make him one of the most well-loved master painters of all time.

Activities and further study

  • This student discussion and activity page has many interesting ideas to adapt for your homeschool.
  • Choose a painting of Rembrandt’s and study it for a full minute.  Then, without looking at the picture, have your children describe it with as much detail as possible. Discuss color, emotion, scenery, props, clothing, etc.  Have them write what they remember on a notebooking page.
  • Choose another artist of the time period and have your children compare and contrast the work of both Rembrandt and their artist of choice.  A few of Rembrandt’s contemporaries: Peter Paul Rubens, Diego Velazquez, Jan Vermeer, Sir Anthony van Dyck
  • Copy one of Rembrandt’s paintings paintings on black cardstock using pastels.  Choose a painting that has dramatic dark and light areas to explore. (For some pastel tutorials, check out Hodgepodge Mom)
  • Look up the art of Caravaggio, the artist who first introduced the technique of chiaroscuro
  • Here is a wonderful resource for quality public domain images, available to all: Wikimedia Commons.  Simply find an artist alphabetically and study what you discover!
  • Rembrandt by Mike Venezia
  • Rembrandt and the Boy Who Drew Dogs, by Molly Blaisdell and Nancy Lane
  • Notebooking Pages now has their Notebooking Publisher web application up and running.  What beautiful artist notebooking pages you could make with this new app, drawing from the many images online and your children’s typed text!  Find video tutorials on the Publisher here.  Membership is a perfect addition to your next schoolyear.

iHomeschool Network

Be sure to visit the iHomeschool Network’s July Birthday Blog Hop page, where you’ll find other famous birthdays to celebrate!

This post contains affiliate links of products I love and use.

I remember…

I was an artist once.

The pigtails and cut-off jeans shorts, scraped knees and missing teeth belied the confidence I had in my abilities.  I drew, I colored, I painted, I explored and nothing could convince me that I wasn’t meant to be an artist.

Of course, every child wants to be an artist at some point.  We feel it.  The creation built into our very DNA.

Then someone tells us we can’t.

Someone tells us we shouldn’t.

Someone tells us we won’t make a living that way.

Someone tells us it’s too hard.

Someone tells us that not the way it’s supposed to look.

Someone tells us.

And we eventually believe it.

So we forget.

But I am looking.  And I will find her again.


When I was in highschool, my creative writing teacher gave us an assignment in style.  Choose a writer, a poet perhaps, and a work that they had written, and write something in their style.  I loved the assignment and couldn’t wait to get started.

I chose Walt Whitman, portions of Song of Myself, and after reading and rereading it, studying it and letting it sink into my heart, wrote my own Song.  The words flowed so easily, infused by the inspiration brought about by his words.  Images flooded through my mind, carried by ink, and laid themselves out on the page.  I felt freed and full, buoyed by Whitman’s words.  The words were my own, but they were in a slightly different voice.  And since then, I have kept a small part of Whitman with me, letting him inform my writing and settle into my style, changing it ever so slightly, the color of my voice deepening a shade in response.

This inspiration happens in everything, does it not?

We fashion our lives, our writing, our faith, our mothering with bits and pieces of all of those that come before us, connecting them to our true voice, our true purpose, and making a unique collage.  We grow, sprouting roots in one direction and branches in another, until all is a tangled, wonderful mess of inspiration and influence.  Times of hibernation, winter, are replaced by vigorous explosions of life.  Growth in a never-ending cycle.

Who is it that gives pieces to you?  Who do you let seep into your heart and mind?  

At different times we may need to prune.  The influences from my non-Christian youth no longer speak to my adult heart; maturity requires movement away from childish choices and inspirations.  At times I have felt the desire, the pull, to keep holding on to people and places that lie deep within, even if they no longer fit.  Even if their branches have withered and are simply draining nutrients needed elsewhere.  

Can I discern what to prune, what to keep?  What to graft in and what to discard?

I am inspired by so many.  Wonderful writers, and mothers, and friends, and spiritual mentors, leading the way, paving with beautiful words and vision and dreams.  I want to gain from all of them, to grab hold of a tiny piece of their passion and spirit as I continue to create my life-in-progress.

And in the process, perhaps I can be an inspiration to others.  The cycle of giving and receiving the jewels of our influence, one to another, is like breath to an artist.  And we are all artists.  Creating as the Creator intended, best in community.  Woven into one whole, each having a unique purpose, yet subtly impressing upon each other from every side, drawing out the best by the simple fact of our presence.  

The greatest artists, and writers, and musicians had mentors and created in the mentor’s style- to learn it, to internalize it- then broke from that mold to become better artists themselves.  To better become who they were meant to become.  And carried, always, the pieces with them.  Forever changed.

Influence.  Inspiration.  

Who influences you?  How does God use inspiration from others in your life?

Related thoughts:
Find Your Voice– an inspired look at becoming your own as a writer