J Scott McElroy

Final Week of $5 Finding Divine Inspiration, Plus Free Journal Starter

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2014 at 11:59 am

The New Renaissance Art Movement has been celebrating the 5th anniversary of my book Finding Divine Inspiration: Working with the Holy Spirit in Your Creativity with a $5 offer, PLUS a free 10 page journal starter, during January!  This is the final week, so don’t miss the deal.

FDI was written over a 10 year period and is the most important message God has ever given me. Writing it was a real collaboration with Him and I still re-read it and am thrilled by what the Holy Spirit gave. I’m humbled that this message not only had a profound effect on me, but on thousands of others, as well.

You can order your copies at TheNewR.org.

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Blessings!

Adventures in (Re)Design

In Art, Christian Art, Creativity, Interior Design, Kitchen Remodeling, Uncategorized on October 25, 2013 at 6:02 pm

If you haven’t heard from me for a few months, it’s not that I don’t like you anymore. It’s that I’ve 10bbeen largely indisposed on an unending project.  After 650 man hours the beautiful beast called THE BIG KITCHEN REMODEL is vanquished. And I think my remodeling bug is completely sated…for now. It’s time to dive into completing the new book (more details to come), but I wanted to take a moment to show you how the remodel turned out.  It is, after all, important to savor the results of the creative labor that God has given us to do.  He modeled that for us in Genesis when he contemplated what he created at the end of every day.

But first, as a follow up to the thoughts in God Enjoys Interior Design, I was reminded of another excellent example of God’s enjoyment and value of design while reading The Gift of Art (IVP, 1981) by Gene Veith, Jr. recently.  Veith says:

The Lord’s requirements for the tabernacle and later the Temple do, in fact, take up a good part of the Old Testament… The details of how many hooks  to place in the curtains, how many cubits the frames must be, what to cover with beaten gold and what to make from bronze, are tedious to modern readers and have led to the abandoning of many a (entire bible) Scripture–reading project.  But it pleased God to include theme in this holy Word. God, the designer and maker of the universe, clearly places great value on details of design, construction and artifice.

That’s true.

I hope the builders of the tabernacle and temple didn’t run into as many challenges in the details as we did in this remodel. God did give us solutions to every one, but the problems were plentiful. Fortunately, I was working with my good friend Scott Rieger on this project so we had a healthy mix of humor, trivia, and theological discussion along with the challenges.

Mom’s house was built in 1979, long enough ago that many design elements are outdated. Add to that the fact that it is on a concrete slab and the home was configured oddly to be wheelchair accessible, and you have some interesting problems. Plumbing can’t be changed, the concrete promoted years of condensation and rot in the cabinets, and there are limited options when reconfiguring the kitchen layout. But enough of the boring explanation.  Here are the pictures, with slightly more interesting explanations.  For those interested in some of the specifics of products and processes, I’ve created footnotes at the end of this post.

Challenges

Here are just a few of the problems that needed to be addressed: (Click on the pictures to see the explanation.)

Before and After

The plan was to transform this kitchen from a dated and clutter hodgepodge of design to a classy and  warm Tuscan-inspired family gathering place. I think we got pretty close. Here is a sampling of before and after shots. Click on any of the pictures to go into the gallery with explanations.

More Design Updates

In addition to refinishing or replacing nearly everything in the kitchen, we added many extra design touches. Here are a few. Click on any picture to go to the gallery with explanations.

Notes:

(1) The pendant lights came from Menards. I went for a simple, classic light that could accommodate a 100 watt bulb.

(2) The cabinets required a 4-step process to get this look. 1. Liquid De-glosser was used to prepare the finish for staining. 2. A coat of Rust-o-leum Kona stain was applied  to darken the cabinets. 3. A coat of Rust-o-leum Black Cherry was applied to give a rich red tone. 4. A few coats of polyurethane went on to toughen up the finish. These stains are available at Lowes.

(3) I spent a lot of time looking for the perfect backs plash tile to complement the beautiful granite. Its a more difficult task then you might think. I settled on white natural tumbled marble tiles (4”x4″) from Menard’s. It had rough edges and a lovely washed out look. This was placed in an offset, subway tile pattern for an retro look, then sealed with a simple stone sealer. The grout was biscuit colored to blend with the stone (white grout was too stark). I used tumbled marble chair rail tile to trim. The whiteish tile and light granite is a great contrast to the rich wood floors and dark cabinets.

(4) Osbourne Wood Products provided the corbels for the island and sink trim. Very nice quality and detail. I highly recommend them.

(5) The paint came from Sherwin Williams and I went with three complimentary colors. The walls were “Pavilion Beige”, the lower trim “Tiki Hut” and the upper trim and beams were a shade lighter with “Sanderling”.

(6) I found the range hood on line at Signature Hardware. This hood is made exclusively for them and though is doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles like LED display, timers and etc, it does have high air output (550 Cfm) and great design lines. You can easily spend several hundred dollars on a chimney range hood, but this 30″ came in at $299 (on sale).

(7)  The pot rack is one of the few 24″ hanging styles available.  Made by JK Adams, available from Crate and Barrel. Fairly reasonably priced at $140.

(8) The pulls came from Menard’s and are 96mm in a Black Nickel finish.

(9) I found the best deal for engineered hard wood floor at Menards. The Floors of Distinction brand Acacia wood in Cabernet with a hand scrapped texture completely satisfied the desire for a rich, medium dark floor that could “float” over a concrete slab floor.

I’m a Fan of God’s Creativity: Clouds

In Creativity, Devotionals, Uncategorized on August 27, 2013 at 6:36 pm

“I gotta say, I’m a fan.” This was my spontaneous reaction recently when I noticed the breathtaking cloud formations from the window of an airplane  gliding over the California desert. A little prayer of acknowledgement for the astounding imagination of the Creator, my God and my friend, whose Holy Spirit stirs in my chest at the recognition of his brilliance and thoughtfulness.

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Taken with my smartphone over the California desert.

I’m all about creativity. God has wired me that way. In fact, everyone is wired for creativity, even if they don’t know it, because we are all made in His image and He is undeniably creative. And to me, the daily presence of clouds may be one of His best creative shows. Yes, sunrises and sunsets are magnificent; they announce hope in the morning and rest at night. But they last minutes. Clouds are often visible for hours, and they constantly change, creating one majestic masterpiece after another. I can’t imagine how a person would not at least wonder about the existence of God when this show is visible day after day.

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A cloud pillar.
(From Flicker)

The bible has a lot to say about clouds, including them in some of the most important moments in history. God led the Israelites to the promised land with a “Pillar of Cloud” (Exodus 13:21), and a cloud carried His presence in the Hebrew tabernacle and temple (Ex. 40:34). God appeared in a cloud and spoke at Jesus’ transfiguration (Mt. 17:1-8, Mk. 9:7, Lk. 9:34). Jesus will come back on the clouds (Dan. 7:13-14, Mt. 24:30, Mt. 26:64), in fact every eye will see him in the clouds (Rev. 1:7), and  believers will join him in the clouds (I Thes. 4:17). I think its safe to say that God likes clouds.

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Someone captured this scene of what looks like an image of Jesus in the clouds.

The science of clouds inspires joy in me, as well.  They are such a meaningful part of the health of our planet, playing a central role in the water cycle; absorbing, storing, and releasing moisture. The way they reflect, refract, and filter light is astonishing. The bible even gave us a clue as to why they are visible when most water vapor is invisible. Nahum 1:3 says, “His way is in the whirlwind and the storm, and clouds are the dust of his feet.” Science has discovered that its not only the cold of the upper atmosphere that enables the water vapors in clouds to condense and be visible to us, but  its also the fact that that vapor is able to attach to tiny dust particles. The dust of God’s feet.

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Small clouds creating large shadows in the desert floor.

I love the way that clouds can create such gigantic shadows on the ground. It’s incredible to see

that from the perspective of 15,000 feet, and also interesting to think that someone on the ground just had their sunny pool day ruined.  That brings to mind the scientific and philosophical truth that the sun is always shining above the clouds.

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A cloud army.

“The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine, bracing and delicious. And why shouldn’t it be?–it is the same the angels breathe.”  Mark Twain, Roughing it. 

This cloud formation to the right reminded me of an army of angels advancing to do God’s work in answer to our prayers.

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A anvil cumulus cloud, one of my favorite types. This shot came from a NASA site.

I searched for a poem that would say how I felt about these miracles of moisture, and there are many wonderful works to choose from, but none were quite right.  I heard someone give writing advice once that went something like, “If you want to read about something, but it hasn’t been written yet, then maybe you should write it.”

So… here is my attempt at a cloud poem.

Cloud Fan

I’m endlessly enthralled with clouds.

Wedding white and mystery gray,

Constantly changing, breaking up the day,

With shadow and light and shapes that confound,

A touch of God-glory, just hanging around.

Only God could produce glorious beauty out of simple dust and water vapor.  Clouds.  Yep, Lord, I am a fan.

More about clouds:

Wikipedia has a very good page on clouds.

Here is time-lapse video of an incredible cloud event over Scotland.  

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