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Celebrating Christmas at FBC Boerne

In this post, I’d simply like to showcase some of the artwork I created during my years of personal ministry at First Baptist Church of Boerne, Texas. But first, a little back story…

FBC is the very first church I ever attended. I was six years young when my feet stepped into Church—located on South Main Street (FBC’s location from 1923–1980). And I still remember the move we made to the present, hilltop location on School Street. How good a time that was in my life.

In recent years, I’ve been blessed to minister alongside my childhood pastor, Allen Cearley. Photo taken May 2014.

Very dear are the memories of being known and loved by my 1st grade Sunday School teachers, Mrs. Johns and Mrs. Evans. Loads of fun and adventure were the RA (Royal Ambassadors) camping or Baylor football outings we fathers & sons enjoyed. And how precious, to me, was the time dedicated each Sunday morning service to sitting on the altar steps with Pastor Allen Cearley. “Pastor’s Pals” was our time to sit at his feet and hear a special lesson meant just for us. Pastor Cearley’s gentle voice and heart is one I still enjoy sitting with today.

After being misguided away to a different Christian subculture (described in my personal reflection on art, life, & freedom), I actually returned to FBC in my late 30s. Here now is the work I enjoyed creating—all the while discovering more of myself—more of God—more of others.

In 2013, I became an honorary member of WOW (Women of Worship). What an enriching experience it was singing with these women. (Some are still dear friends.) The opportunity pictured here took place in our town’s Best of BoerneFest. However, most often our ministry took place inside Texas prisons. There, we proclaimed the good news of God’s love and redemption.

logo design for Celebration Choir

Following Celebrate Christmas 2013, I went to work on designing our Celebration Choir logo. Jesus’ kingly and crucifixion crowns are elements of the design. Another element is the whole note dotting the ‘i’ in ‘Celebration.’ Our mission in Celebration Choir was to lead the congregation to the “throne of God’s grace,” which I believe points us to the abundant, fully-human life Jesus actually modeled—something worth celebrating.

While the very nature of this post includes music, it’s important to point out that the visual art I rendered was partially inspired by the opportunity to sing. Singing and painting are personal lifelines and the combination of them is something I call Art ‘n Song. I’m so grateful for the way this combination of arts helps to communicate and connect.

Photographed & designed this city-wide invitation to sing in Celebration Choir for Celebrate Christmas 2014.

For Celebrate Christmas 2014, “Behold the Gift” was the theme on which I drew Christ’s Cradle, Cross & Crown. Beginning with the poster design, I used those known elements to portray Jesus’ life on earth. While the orchestra played, I rendered a literal portrait before those in attendance. Stroke by stroke, shape by shape, a simple portrait of Jesus formed.

Celebrate Christmas 2015 included an arrangement of Little Drummer Boy that followed a minor theme of darkness… into light. On that note, I was inspired to render this illustration of the lyrical line “I have no gift to bring.” Having worked hard to unpack the lie I believed for so long, this work is directly from my own life experience.

At this Christmas-time of the year, I am reminded and grateful for the opportunity I was given to rehearse my gifts, serve my community, and mature into this current mark on my journey of life. Celebrate Christmas 2019 is near; I look forward to being there.

Live artistic rendering of Cradle, Cross, & Crown—A Portrait of Christ | Celebrate Christmas 2014 FBC Boerne

Merry Christmas from Boerne

It was Christmastime 1978, when I first rode through Main Street in Boerne (Bur-nee), Texas. My family’s move from San Antonio to “small-town USA” introduced all kinds of newness and change to my little life. What a magical time the new house, change of scenery, and Main Street adventures provided me.

All us cousins gathering around Uncle Steve.

Among those early childhood adventures are the holidays spent with my aunts, uncles, and cousins who would travel all the way to Boerne to visit. One such memory, vividly available in my heart, is of my Uncle Steve taking us cousins to Winn’s, placing paper bags in our hands, and directing us to pack them full of candy. The treat continued when we arrived back home and sat around to listen to him tell funny stories.

My initial setup for The Christmas Shoppe Illumination began in August 2019 under a warm, full moon night.

That family gathering, downtown adventure, and special treat is something I recall when I step into The Christmas Shoppe at 132 S. Main. For several years, I’ve wanted to express my sentiment in the form of a nocturne painting of The Christmas Shoppe storefront. 

I’m happy to present the finished work here. Also, I’m grateful to announce that two of my other Christmas-themed works are now being sold alongside the newly arrived postcards, greeting cards, and Fine Art Prints of The Christmas Shoppe Illumination.

I deeply appreciate what Shoppe owner Emily Carvalho expresses about her store, “The Christmas Shoppe ‘Illumination’ depicts the joy of Christ living in us and shining through us as we celebrate every holiday and every little occasion with everyone who visits our store.”

The Christmas Shoppe Illumination | oil on linen • 9 x 12 inch • SOLD

If you get the chance to visit Boerne during the holidays or any time of the year, I invite you to visit this place. Merry Christmas from Boerne.

A Fledgling Flight

I dedicate this reflection to the parents I interact with year to year and day to day. I also dedicate it to the two young men I’m blessed to call sons.

Since the first day of this 2019–20 school year, and still fresh on my mind, is the reality I felt while walking across campus with neither of my sons present. It really hurt knowing their days on campus are complete, and their high school seasons are over. I missed them in a whole new way.

I was delighted to repurpose the original set of SRs ’17 props into SRs ’20. GO EAGLES!

Contributing to the void, on that first day, was my involvement in setting up this year’s senior class photo props. As I had done for my sons’ senior classes, I was asked to render a 2020 set of the Seniors/Eagle Talons photo props.

As voids go—they are meant to be filled. So, I proceeded to enjoy the people whom I served. On their faces, I recognized that unique combination of joy and pride amidst the realization, “this is the beginning of the end.” What a privilege it was to be near them. Of course, I also recalled the wonderful memories with my boys.

Here are some of those memories I created with them during their senior years. (Included are some recent ones, too.) How remarkable it is watching them figure out their wings as they take flight into maturity. And therein is the inspiration for this artwork, A Fledgling Flight.

Raffaele—A Farewell Tribute

To many in our small town, Raffaele will long be remembered as the face of the Dienger Trading Co. An encounter with him—that is, his Italian accent, striking blue eyes, and peaceful personality—has a way of inviting you to be right at home.

During the opening days of the Dienger, I simply enjoyed listening to him speak. When the opportunity to showcase my art on their walls came about, he was helpful and sincerely interested in my work and success. Throughout all my experience with them, Raffaele’s impression was a big reason for my draw to that place.

Prior to my part-time employment (as barista) throughout 2018, I observed his efficiency on the floor and admired his ability to connect with people. My “interview” with him and the head chef was surprisingly brief and to the point, “Welcome! How many hours can you work?”

What I soon discovered, on the other side of the counter, was Raffaele to be as genuine a good and whole person as he appeared to be in public. His ability to play/appreciate music and his deep passion for sommelier work certainly shined through, too. Amidst the intensity that is part of food service, and sometimes-hostile work environment, his proficiency and empathetic ways affected everyone for good. When it comes down to it, he’s just an enjoyable person to know.

Raffaele, his dear wife, and their precious son left Boerne in December 2018, to return home to Italy. But really, Raffaele is at home wherever he is. It’s this quality in him that inspired me to create his portrait as The Face of the Dienger.

On November 13, 2018, Raffaele Appreciation Day was held at The Dienger Trading Co. This picture was taken by Dahlia Martini right after I unveiled Raffaele’s portrait The Face of the Dienger | oil on linen • 16”x20” | private collection

Visiting the Dienger isn’t quite the same for me these days, but I’m glad I can stay in touch with my friends. And you can too! Visit Martini & Company.

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