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It’s All In The Details, Or Is It?

Details are important in so many areas of life. Where you go, what you say, what you do. When I’m not painting or writing, I’m usually watching a movie. It’s a necessity at times because my day job involves screenwriting, and you can learn a lot about how to create a story by watching and reading good stories. 
I learn a lot about painting by watching other people work, and by analyzing their paintings. It’s the details that set each painter and their style apart from each other. My son, Ethan, is a watercolor artist as well. His style is very different from my own. It’s recognizable. And yet…
My paintings wouldn’t be what they are without the under painting.  Here is the under painting of a recent painting. You have an idea of what it is, and it doesn’t look terrible.

The under painting (as I like to call it) has the foundational shapes and colors. It also adds substance to the soon to be added details. It sort of serves as a road map to the final destination of this piece of artwork. The following picture is the finished painting with the details in place that bring clarity to the composition.

The foundation of a painting is what gives it depth.

Robin Liner

When you look at a finished painting your eye goes more to the detailed areas, but without that foundation those details would feel a bit empty and lifeless.  

This is like my life.

Christ Jesus is the under painting, the foundation that allows the details that set me apart to have depth. Without Him there may be some attributes in my life that seem admirable or interesting, but they are dead works. With Him I’m alive with detailed purpose.   

It’s Like ‘Knight and Day’

Yes I spelled the word ‘Knight’ correctly.

I’m referring to a line in one of my favorite movies, Knight and Day. One of the little details that catches your attention early on in the movie (and then comes back around beautifully in the end).

Tom Cruise’ character raises and lowers his hand to emphasize a challenge he makes to Cameron Diaz’ character as he says the line, ” With me, without me; with me without me?” Jesus is asking this to each of us as well.  He’s asking, “With me, without me; with me without me? “My answer? ” With You!”

If you are interested in this painting you can check out print options HERE. Or you can email for information about the original HERE.

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The warmth of fall colors are my favorites. I often find myself gravitating to oranges and olive greens, browns, golds and reds when I’m choosing clothes. Living in the Appalachian Mountains allows me to get my fix of warm colors every year. So, it shouldn’t be any surprise that I often find myself painting pictures that radiate with the warmth of these colors. 

I had been painting several pieces in these tones when I had a conversation with my son, Ethan. I was trying to explain what aesthetic I was going for, which was fields of vineyards or mountain farms. He gave me the word, “cultivated.” 

Only people, created in God’s image, attempt to take a fallen nature and find ways to increase it’s productivity.

Robin Liner

Painting for me has a process that I would describe as cultivating. Something amazing happens when we cultivate something. No other creature on this earth, except humans, cultivate the land. We break up fallow ground, plant seeds, water and fertilize the seeds and watch them grow into plants. We pull out weeds that are choking the plants then we harvest the fruit of our labors and take them into a kitchen and combine them to create amazing things like pies and casseroles and other delicacies. 

God is just as intentional. He does the same for us. He is a faithful husbandman and vinedresser. And He is taking us from glory to glory. When we humble ourselves under His mighty hand and allow Him to fashion us according to His will beautiful things take place in our lives. But even when we resist He continues working in us because…  

“He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” – Philippians 1:6

When I see warm colors I get a feeling of comfort. In spite of the autumn season being often filled with holiday chaos, a different kind of cultivation begins. The decorating of our house, the search for gifts to have for Christmas, the baking of pies and cookies. Yet, this season for our family is one of joy and peace.

Those feelings are what I was trying to capture in this painting. A feeling that things can have a sense of order and cultivation. The violence of plowing and planting passes, the hectic time of harvest passes, and now the land has a season of rest. That is how I want my family to approach this time. I encourage you to find rest in this time as well.

This painting is now available in my store. You can check the options out HERE.

So, the next time you are creating something, a painting, a garden, a pie… Let it remind you that your Heavenly Father is always working in us to make us more like Him. You might as well make it easy for Him to finish the work He started in you by giving Him the reins and letting Him have His way.



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Summer Glory: Watercolor Painting is a Process

Look at the creative mess the above painting went through before it was what you see above. Each layer I had to wait for it to diffuse and dry before moving on.  Believe it or not, this is what I intended each of  these layers to look like.

It’s risky exposing to the world something that is unfinished.

But I wanted to show a bit of my process. It seems like often we want to hide away until we feel more put together and polished. And if you’re doing your own polishing, then I hope you have a pleasant hiding place because you’re gonna be there forever.

But Life is a holy process when we belong to the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus.

Why are we confused and afraid when the Lord shows us a glimpse of our mess. Unless we recognize the uncomfortable messiness  of our own feeble efforts to be worthy,  we don’t really see the completeness of God’s beautiful finished work that is making us truly worthy.

We don’t like those times when he is letting His work in us dry so he can add the next layer. It feels stagnant,  but trust me, it isn’t. 

Glory to Glory. 

I don’t boast in my messy sinfulness. It’s not beautiful. I am of myself NOT glorious – yet. I boast in the One who began a good work in me and is faithful to complete it.

And I rejoice with each new layer God adds to my life when He knows I’m ready. 

So, I will do my best to obey Him. It speeds up the drying process so He can move ahead on the next layer of His finishing process.

I am nothing without Him,  and I am everything with Him, because He is everything.

If you have given your life to God than this is for you, “Don’t worry, be patient, don’t take God’s work upon yourself. He’s got this. Just do what He’s told you in His word.”

If you haven’t believed on Jesus,  there’s no time like the present.