There are many months during our long dark cold winters in Alaska, when it is impossible to go painting en plein air (a French term for painting in open air). This is a particularly difficult time for the an impressionist artist that enjoys painting from life.
The clever artists of Plein air Painters of Alaska have figured out a fun solution by gathering once a week at a local church that kindly donated their space. They use a large projector and take turns projecting photos taken during the year. All the members paint the projected image as if we were standing in the place.
As I painted these heavily snow laden trees, I could almost feel the weight pressing upon them. Many looked as if they would break if any more snow gathered. Yet, I know from experience that these are the hardiest of threes! They will bear their heavy burdens steadfastly, until, at last, spring arrives and they can stretch their strong limbs again toward the sky and the sun that resurrects them and saves them from their burden. Likewise, when my own trials feel too heavy, I take strength from the image of these courageous, hardy trees, and quietly rejoice that I need not wait to cast my own burdens to the Lord.