The Lord Makes It Increase

Sometimes you feel a special connection to a song each time you hear it. That’s how I feel about Erik Bledsoe’s “Unless The Lord.” I actually felt compelled to blog about it, so I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read on.

Erik and his wife are good friends of mine and Nate’s, and when we got a copy of his CD Love several months ago, our daughter fell in love with it and would calm down instantly in the car if we played it for her when she was cranky. So, we haven’t removed it since.  :)  Because of that, I’ve played it over and over, and I always start with Track 6.

The song is about how unless the Lord builds our house, it’s only a matter of time before it will fail. All of our efforts and striving is futile without the Lord’s hand of provision and protection over our families and activities. The bridge that truly spoke to me became special during the time between November 2011 and February 2012, while Nate and I were trying to get pregnant with a second child. These are the lyrics:

We sweat and we bleed
Time and again
To painfully care for the seed.

We do what we can
To water and plan
But it’s the Lord who makes it increase.

He can give to His beloved…. while we sleep.

A Painting of Presidential Proportions!

I got to take on a very challenging and REALLY fun project over Christmas: Painting another person into an incredible painting by Andy Thomas in a much looser style than I’m used to painting in. We have a friend who loves Andy’s painting, Grand Ol’ Gang (shown below).

The original painting by Andy Thomas

We thought he would flip out if he were painted INTO it, like he was just hanging out with the Presidents (and I happened to have sneaky access to some great head shots of him). So, I did a little research on the best way to do this and preserve the integrity of the giclee’ while matching the style of the painting. It turns out that me and acrylics still don’t get along, though they are recommended for painting on top of canvas prints. But, after a little more research and an intuition check, I decided to treat the area to be painted with clear gesso and then I painted on top with my beloved oils. Yay for finding a way!

The completed painting! Our friend likes to hang out with VIPs.

Below is a close-up of my portion of the painting. He was floored when he opened it for Christmas and it made all of the hours I spent making it perfect so worth it! I’m framing it for him this week.

Detail of my work

I’d love to know what you think about this project. Comment if you like it. Share it on Facebook if you love it. Thanks!

Why I’m Not Making “New” Year’s Resolutions

Who doesn’t love a fresh start?  I know that I do!  I revel in throwing clutter out, simplifying my life, and the hope that comes from knowing a solid goal has been made is incredibly empowering.

So, why do most people only make fresh starts on January 1st, or after a traumatic event such as a divorce or death?  If fresh starts are so wonderful, why don’t we decide to make them every month or even every 90 days?  For that matter, we could even revisit the same resolutions at regular intervals so that we can succeed this year.

January Calendar

Or, November 1st, March 27th, August 8th?

I’m writing this because I ate a ridiculous amount of sweets and other foods devoid of nutritional value this past week.  Anyone with me?  The truth is, my holiday gluttony was just the natural next step to my gradual shift from eating what I know to be good for me. A little sweet here, a little white flour there.  I used to be a health nut!  Now I’m more like an empty walnut shell with a brown sugar and cinnamon glaze.

So the day after Christmas, I decided I was done: I’m focusing on fruits and veggies for a solid week, and thinking through every food choice before I make it.  I’m not trying to conquer all of 2012 at one time.  Let’s be realistic, y’all.  But this week?  I’m going to WIN, and not like Charlie Sheen “wins.”  😉 To wait until January 1st to make a decision that needs to be made now seems a little crazy.

So, do you have decisions you’re waiting to make for 5 more days?  Why not make them now?  Besides, if your goal is to get fit or lose weight, then you’ll get a few extra days of enjoying a deserted gym before the January 1 rolls around.

The Nashville Rescue Mission Features My Painting

The Nashville Rescue Mission is an amazing organization that gives countless numbers of homeless men and women shelter, food, and hope.  They also have a life recovery program that allows those who are willing to experience lasting life change.

It was a graduate of this program that I used as a model in my latest painting The Hour I First Believed.  The Mission wanted to feature the painting and its story in their November issue, and I was honored to be interviewed and able to share it.  65,000 people received the newsletter, and I’m excited to see how God will use this article!  You may read it in its entirety below.
Nashville Rescue Mission November Edition Article

Life & Art Intersect

Having volunteered at the Nashville Rescue Mission in the past, artist Kelly O’Neill knew exactly where to look for inspiration when God prompted her to paint her most recent painting, The Hour I First Believed.

God the Creator

“I was singing Amazing Grace at church when a vivid memory of singing the song with my grandfather shortly before his death came to me,” shares Kelly. “It had been seven years, but as I sang the words my grandfather lived and believed—‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved. How precious did that grace appear, the hour I first believed.’ I saw what I knew would be my next painting, as clearly in my mind as if it was already completed.”

As with most of her “God-inspired paintings,” Kelly knew that not to paint it would be disobedience. It was important to Kelly she use a model who had truly experienced God’s transforming grace.

“After hearing so many amazing stories of transformation from both men and women going through the Mission’s life-recovery program I knew this is where I’d find the right person to use in this painting,” said Kelly.

My Latest Charcoal Portrait!

My Most Recent Charcoal Portrait

You may have seen my last drawing of Ethan. The cuties below are his cousins! These drawings will be Christmas gifts for my customer’s sisters, so it’s sure to be a special holiday for his family.

Charcoal Portrait From A Photograph by Kelly O'Neill

Want to Give a Sentimental Gift This Christmas?

Tis’ my busy season, so I can only accept 2 or 3 more commission requests to complete in time for Christmas. If you’re considering a portrait this year or next, go ahead and get on my waiting list for 50% off to save! Otherwise, spread the word and earn some Referral Love Cash ($100-$300 per referral).

Thanks for stopping by! It means a lot.


Charcoal Portraits from Photographs

My Latest Charcoal Portrait

I recently had the joy of drawing a cute little kiddo named Ethan.  The drawing will be a Christmas gift to my customer’s sister, and he is also having me draw his two nieces as well, which I’ll post soon.

Charcoal Portrait of Ethan

Is he not the cutest thing?  (Well, the cutest thing not related to me at least) I think there’s a Mama rule about thinking your own children are the most precious, right?

Christmas Gift Idea!

Have you been wondering what to get someone in your life who already seems to already have everything?  It’s not too late to place your portrait order for Christmas, and now you’ll receive extra perks like free matting (for drawings) and framing (for paintings) as well as two free prints of your portrait to keep or give as gifts!  I have to stop taking Christmas orders sometimes as early as the last week of November in order to complete them all in time for the holidays.

Want to Save 50% On Your Portrait?

I’ve started a scholarship program!  It’s basically this:

I discount 1 drawing commission per month and 1 painting commission per quarter by half of my posted portrait prices. 

The discounts are given on a waiting list basis, but since I’ve just implemented the program, the list isn’t long yet (Lucky you!) If you’re considering a portrait this year or next, go ahead and get on the list for substantial savings.  Otherwise, spread the word and earn some Referral Love Cash  ($100-$300 per referral)!


Love, Loss and Letting Go… A Behind the Scenes Video of Mine For a Moment

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so I think it’s the perfect time to share a video that our team has been working on for quite some time: Behind The Scenes of my painting Mine For a Moment, which I painted after I lost a friend to cancer.

I’m excited that it’s finished, and that we now have a beautiful, moving way to present what this painting is all about, and remind people of our mission. From the beginning, we’ve been giving lithographs of Mine For a Moment away to people who have experienced personal loss or are working through grief in any form.

I’m amazed at how God has used this painting already to help bring peace to the couple who lost their child, the woman whose father passed away from cancer, and even a dear lady who had envisioned this exact scene at a retreat to help deal with aborting her baby over 30 years ago. (Read that story here.)

Mine For a Moment

Mine For a Moment - Oil on Canvas

I hope that you’ll share this video on Facebook, Twitter, or by email.  Prints may be requested or donated to a friend either by visiting the Mine For a Moment website. More purchase options are available on

Cancer isn’t just something I hear about on the news or from a friend.  It’s very real to me now.  My Dad recently became cancer free after a year of waiting, treatment, and then finally receiving the great news that the cells were gone!  I’m grateful for the advances that are being made in medicine and treatment.  Consider taking this month and getting involved in the fight against cancer prevention and treatment.  Visit Susan G. Komen’s website for a great place to start.

Miniature Polaroid Photo Magnet Project

I had way too much fun with these and…. I may be officially addicted.  After stumbling across a post about miniature magnets, I knew I had to turn some of my stunning photos of my daughter Juliet into teensy, fun Polaroid photo magnets! Thanks to The Velvet Trunk for the awesome photos, by the way.

Photo of three tiny polaroid photo magnets in my hand

Three of my favorite completed magnets

Step 1: Pick the Photos

First, my husband and I picked out our favorite photos of our daughter from birth until now.  (We ended up with over 40 of them.)

Step 2: Make them “Polaroids”

Then we scanned a Polaroid photo, cleaned it up a bit, sized it down to 1.5 in. wide and plugged in our photos in Photoshop, making several sheets of them and having them printed as 8x10s.

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