The Face of Courage: Final Update

A painting of an old woman that confronted Isis fighters

The Face of Courage: Old Woman Confronts ISIS

From the first moment that I saw this woman I was deeply impressed by her courage and conviction. She walked up to a vehicle of ISIS fighters in Syria on day and told them what she thought of their actions. She expressed both anger and concern and she told the fighters that they needed to “Turn back to Allah (God).
In so many ways she gave us a lesson in how to be. The most obvious one was in her words to the fighters that day. “Turn back to Allah” (to God). She implored the fighters to stop the killing because it is not the way of Allah. She quotes scripture and recites a poem all in an attempt to get these young men to listen to her. She did this not out of hate, for hate is not in her eyes, but she acted out of real concern for those around her. You can see the love and consern in her eyes. She sees those around her living in fear and wants it to stop. She also sees that these young men are headed in a direction that she believes is wrong and is concerned for their ultimate salvation and the impact that their actions have on Islam. Not only is she calling  these men to return to Allah but she is also teaching us that we must all check our actions and ask ourselves if what we are doing is truly in line with God, with Allah and his teachings. She calls us to make a self examination and take a good hard look at our actions.
Through her mere actions she also teaches us perhaps an even more important lesson. She saw wrong and had the courage to stand up and say something about it and she risked her life to do it. She knew what she had to say was important and true and it was worth her life to say it. She risked her life and yet she was not afraid to die. How many times in this modern politically correct world of ours do we see someone with the courage to stand up and speak out against something that is wrong like this woman? We complain, we grumble, but do we say something or take action? There is a problem with listening to social and political problems as entertainment and then going on with our day. There is a problem with letting bad things happen or listening to wrong things said without a second thougt from us. I am just as guilty of this as the next person, but in this woman’s eyes I see the need for change. I see a lesson to be learned.
I do not know how to impact society as a whole or how to inspire the courage to stand up for what is right and true, but I believe that each of us can have an impact on our own little circle of influence. It starts with the little things. When someone makes an unkind comment, a racist remark or considers something good that is actual bad, speak up and call them on it. Don’t just laugh and brush it off. If we all, in those small moments, stand against what is wrong and bad then maybe we can make it uncomfortable for others to do wrong. But even more important, if we stand up for what is right maybe others will do likewise and the courage to stand for what is right will spread and this world will be a better place.
It is wrong to tolerate what is bad and wrong. I hope and pray to God that we can develop the courage of this woman. I pray that we can make the world a different place, a better place by standing up for what is right when no one else will.

The Face of Courage Project

The other day I was watching news over my husband, Mr. Man’s shoulder and I saw something that impressed me to my core. We watch a video of an old woman who was filmed walking up to some men that belong to ISIS.  I watched in awe as she told them that they needed to turn back to God and stop doing all the killing that they were doing. She told them that it wasn’t what Allah taught. What astounded me the most is that they didn’t do anything to this brave old woman.

_You0062I believe that when you stand up against those that belong to ISIS that you take your life in your hands. I think that this old woman knew this but still felt moved to stand up for what she believed was truth and speak out against what she believed was wrong. She was willing to give her life to stand up for what was right.

That truly impresses me and so I am planning to paint a portrait of her. Courage like that should not be forgotten. If we all had courage like that this world would be a different place.

Rough Compossition

Rough Composition


Here I have set up my composition for this brave womans portrait using Photoshop. Photoshop lets you break a section of video in to a digital picture for each frame. By doing this I was able to examine parts of the video frame by frame and select just the right expression for the portrait as well as set up the composition include the doorway behind her and the angry red splash behind her. To do this I used layers and masks in order to display just the parts of the picture that I wanted to.

I added the red because I want something to show her anger. In a still portrait you can’t hear the anger in her voice or watch her as she lectures her “grandsons” about the error of their ways. So I will use color to help show the anger in her vehement request.

I also use this rough composition to make sure I have a good composition and that I have a good balance of values. To do this I take this same composition and using Photoshop turn it into a black and white image. That way I am not fooled by the strength of the colors.

The next step is for me to prepare the wood panel and rough everything in. I should be doing that in the next few days. So I will keep you updated with my progress.


Sunflowers 11 x 14 acrylic - 154.00 usd

11 x 14 acrylic – 154.00 usd

In the heat of summer These shining beauties rein supreme. They seem to dance as they show off their glowing colors. For this painting I used a technique called Al La Prima. You lay in thick strokes of paint as if they were the final strokes of the painting. I can’t wait till the summer comes again and the flowers return. The flowers offer so much in color and composition and besides all the colors make me happy.

Never give up on your dreams

This writer’s word really touched me. The journey is the same with art as well as writing. It about the whole process of creating for the sake of creating. Creating just because you need to let it out.
It was a good reminder that if you’re doing what you truly love doing the success will come. People will be drawn to what you do.

Cristian Mihai

523213_441480405922775_1158081202_nOne of my favorite quotes goes like this: “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

Ambrose Redmon said that.

Fear is an impulse, or like the tattoo on my arm says, “Fear is the mind killer.” Frank Herbert said that. In Dune. So you can’t stop being afraid, but you can fight fear, you can control it.

I don’t think I ever told you how I became a writer. Or if I did, it was long ago.

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The Face of Courage: Update 3

Update  3:


Here you can see that I’m working on her clothes and scarf. I like to lay in the highlights so that I can see where the shadows are. I’ve  lightened behind the door but I still  don’t think it is light enough so I will continue to lighten it.

While I was working on her eyes I decided to  further the symbolism that I had established but using cool colors behind the door and put  cool blue highlights in her eyes. There is goodness and peace  in turning to God and you  can see that same goodness in this old woman’s eyes. The rest of the painting is all done in warm colors as w’a way of showing her anger and resolve. You can’t see her gestures or hear the tone in her voice so I needed to find some way to show her righteous indignation towards the actions of the Isis fighters and Isis as a whole.

While I was working I found suddenly that it was  becoming hard to paint because this wonderful old soul  seemed to be watching me as if she wanted to tell me something. It was as if a  bit of her spirit had somehow gotten caught up in the painting and was speaking to me. When the kids got back from school and showed what I had been working on we were surprised to discover that no matter where you stand this woman of courage seems to be looking at you.

The Face of Courage: Update 2


I am still in awe at the courage of this old woman. I wonder if she thought that she was the only one who could say something. She had lived a long  life, she didn’t have little ones that needed her care and protection and so if she was killed it would be no great  loss. But oh what a loss it would be to lose one person like her from this crazy world of ours. We need more people like her that are willing to stand us and say what needs to be said.

I’ve done a lot of work setting in her face and shaping the curves and contours of her face. She has such a lovely wise face, but something is not quite right yet I will have to do some measurements to see what it is. The window and ground behind the door are still too dark so I will lighten them.

February Snow

We woke up to snow this morning. Not something that usually happens very often here in New Mexico. But when we do have snow it is lovely. I have been Snow-Dayworking on doing plein air painting whenever I get the chance and I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity. So rather than going out and trying to drive in the stuff I decided that I would try and paint it instead.

I am so glad that I did. I tried something that I’ve never done before and it has turned out beautifully. I have been reading about how the impressionist artist use different colors to darken their shadows instead of adding brown or black pigments.

I did this sweet little 8 x 6 acrylic painting without either black or brown. I only used complementary color along with cools and darks to create the drama of this snow scene .

One of the nicest parts of the painting was that I was able to paint it from inside the house, next to my nice warm fire.