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Hear the First Song from “Dark Fields”

Bellwether is the new Giants & Pilgrims album that’s coming out this year in three movements: Cathedrals, Tables, and Dark Fields.

We released “Cathedrals” in April and you can listen to those 4 songs here. Now “Dark Fields” releases today as a pre-order. When you pre-order these four tracks you’ll get the title track immediately for download. Take a listen below!

 

NEW Bellwether Art Series: Thoughts & Stories Behind the Paintings

 If you are interested in purchasing an original or reserving a print from this series, go to the live Facebook album here.

These paintings will all be on display together for the month of March at the Atlas Theater in greeley, CO.


It is always the stories of hardships where people learn most. Pruning moments are the ones that force growth. This morning I read a really lovely reflection on the season of Lent and how it is a parallel soul process to clearing out our gardens in the spring – removing dead brush and plants, and prepping the soil for new growth. I feel like that with this art series. A year ago Tim and I decided to collaborate and do a series of music and art exploring belief. We knew we wanted to call the series Bellwether – after the sheep who is a little more curious and leads the flock.

Bellwether

Bellwether        
 Size:18×24         Price: $325
       Print Size: 8.5X11

What’s funny is that belief is an area I have a hard time with. I constantly shy away from the conversation; even in my own introspection. It’s an area I’ve had this unhealthy apathy towards for a long time. I’m not really interested in digging for deeper understandings of what I believe. Needless to say, this series has been a good push for me.

Even now, on the other side of creating this art, I am not sure that I could answer those questions of what do I believe any better. But I do know that I have at least found new understandings. The more I create, the more I realize that my own process is one of excavation. When I am creating a new painting, I often don’t know what exactly I will uncover until I’ve brushed away the dirt, cleaned it off, and revealed what was hiding the beneath the surface. It is as much a process of surprise for me as for anyone. I often find I’m exploring an issue or an idea that I didn’t even realize it until I’m 3/4’s of the way through the piece. It’s a very unconscious, spiritual process just in itself. At the best of moments, there is this letting go of control and letting the work happen. And whether it’s a connection to the divine, some primal understanding, or life force, I don’t know. But I know that in that moment of letting go and discovery are found my most profound moments of connection with something bigger than myself.

Each painting in this series explores a faith archetype– a story that we find repeated again and again in literature and mythology. Like the hero’s journey, these are stories that our larger collective conscience as human beings resonate with again and again.

These are stories of sacrifice, baptism, rising from the dead, deserts, and being lost and found. They are stories that make their way into the religious texts of most faiths. Stories that have been around as long as humans have looked up to the clouds and prayed to the gods.

For me each of these pieces has a very personal narrative. They represent little moments in my own story and life that have spoken to those larger archetypes.


The Invitation/Call is a ladder up to a children’s play treehouse amongst golden leaves.

Tree with Ladder

Wonders & Ladders            Size:18×24          $375                Print Size: 8.5X11


Rebirth/Rising from the dead is seen in the prairie that’s been burned to the ground but then grows back richer and more full of blooms then ever before.

Lidice Rising

Lidice Rising              Size: 30 x 48              $770
          Print Size: 11X17


The Cathedral is a garden and a barn speaking of home.

Cathedrals

Cathedrals
        
Size:20×24 
         $410      
Print Size: 12X16


Breaking Bread/Communion is a table set with dishes that have history and story, eating food made by loving hands, of recipes steeped in story.

table

Tables          
 Size:16×40 
         $380 
            Print Size: 8X17


Sacrifice is the tiny bird found along the Poudre river trail that we happened upon while walking one summer evening; so heartbreaking and it’s stilled perfection.

sacrifice bird

Sparrow 
       Size:12×16
          $210
        Print Size: 8.5X11


The Desert is a feeling of apathy paired with an inability to stop time. A quote I pair with this piece is: In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. – Albert Camus

it keeps going

“It has to keep going“
 
 Size: 24×36                $620
                 Print Size: 11X17


Dark Fields are those moments when you look across the prairie and the air and sky are weighted down with the ominous presence of an oncoming storm and the air feels thick around you there is an anticipation and waiting and surrender to what might happen.

Dark Fields

Dark Fields          Size: 16×20          $210 
           Print Size:8.5X11


Heaven is found in a reoccurring dream of a house with many rooms where there is this overwhelming joy of discovery and exploration of new realms.

house with many rooms

I have a reoccurring dream about: A House with Many Rooms
       Size:24×30         $580
           Print Size: 12X16


The Prodigal Son story of being lost and then found and getting lost and found again is this cyclical journey we are all on where we leave home to try to find something we were missing. Yet we come back to see the light and warmth of the place we left. It is the leaving to seek adventure and then the coming back home again with a new understanding and appreciation for the beauty of home.

lost and found

Lost and Found         
 Size: 48 x36            $1100
             Print Size: 12X16


The Pilgrimage is unplugging from technology, getting in the car before dawn, and heading somewhere serene.

pilgrimage

Pilgrimage 
         Size:20×20             $290
              Print Size:12X12


Baptisms are the moments of rain when I felt uprooted in my journey and that my life was turning in a new direction. For some reason in my life whenever I have a major life change, it always rains.

Baptism          
Size:9×12 
      $150


Babel is the cacophony and diversity of birds and squirrels squawking at the feeder outside my window. And our sometimes comical inability to understand each other. Placed within this piece are birds both myself and my daughters have illustrated. (Lucy and Harriet, 7 and 5.)

babel

Babel        
 Size:20×20
          $270
            Print Size: 12X12


Miracles are in the immense complexity and beauty of the every day.

Loaves and Fish

Loaves and Fishes        Size:12×16        $185
             Print Size: 8.5X11


The Woods

The Woods             Size: 24×36
            $580
             Print Size: 11X17


All of these are summed up in a human life. A barreling journey through existence on a track from which we can but move one direction. Lighting our way as best we can.

Onward

Onward           
Size: 48X30
           $1200
          Print Size: 11X17


The art show will be up for the month of March at the Atlas theater, if you are local to our area. I would love if you have a chance to come take a look at the pieces in real life and have a moment to share your thoughts and responses to the work. While you’re there take a moment to listen to these first songs by Tim that go alongside the paintings. Get a coffee from TJ ( my personal favorite this time of year is a lavender latte in a tall glass), sit down and spend a few minutes reflecting on your own story, what you believe, and excavating wonder.

Much love,

Betony

The Difficulties of Faith and the Song “Run, Run”

Here is the story behind the song “Run, Run” from Giants & Pilgrims album Almanac No. 1:

I was at a retreat in the mountains a couple years ago. The folks leading it said you have three hours on your own in this wilderness for quiet and alone time. We want you to connect with God.

I had been in a difficult place for a while with faith and I was excited for this get away.

Here’s what had been going on: Most people say that when their children are born they finally understand the heart of God and how much God loves them.

I actually had a very different reaction.

With the immense joy of having my daughter I realized just how much I did not want to die; to leave her and my family. It made me, for the first time in my life, face my own mortality and intensely question heaven and the idea of an afterlife. This retreat was going to help me find a deeper faith and greater hope in God for my future. I had this great experience with love in the birth of Lucy, it was time to increase belief and understanding. I had been praying about it often; that God would ease my wrestling in these questions.

As far as faith goes, I can speak to my experiences. I’ve seen evidence of God bringing new life in people’s past – the way that people feel absolutely forgiven of their regrets and guilt. And in my experience I’ve seen evidence of God’s work in the present – people motivated by supernatural purpose, doing amazing things of love and impact for the sake of God’s Kingdom.

But as far as the future? So far no one has footage on what happens after death. I’m suspect of books like “Heaven in Real”, so all this remains a mystery for me.

Here I was in the mountains for three hours with the same questions I’d been wrestling with for a couple years or so.

I think what I was really longing for in that wilderness was contact. To hear from God or see God. Perhaps to have something happen that I could make meaning and purpose of and attribute that to God. Then I could have greater faith in something happening when we die. It would  become less faith and more assurance, really.

While wading in a creek surrounded by mountains I did not hear or see God. But I did have, in a sense, an epiphany. And this will be a let down for any of you reading this hoping for something big and profound. Here’s what I came into.

A still, small voice within me said, “Hey.

“You will never see or hear God, truly, in this life-time. At least not with direct contact. Rarely do people ever see angels or get direct messages from God. In fact, unless a donkey talks to you or you are a 15 year old virgin in first century Israel, your story will not be given to you so directly.

“But there will always be something just underneath. Something within or below all your senses, deep within your DNA that says God is real. You won’t be able to shake that sense that God is with you and for you and a part of your life. This is a different, more difficult kind of seeing and hearing. It won’t necessarily bolster your faith, but it will never leave you.”

That epiphany felt a little disappointing. And it’s probably one that others reading this have come into earlier in their Christianity (I’ve always been a slow learner).

But it  felt true.

It stayed with me and eventually I wrote a song heavily influenced by this moment called “Run, Run”. My favorite lyric from it goes like this:

You won’t see God, you won’t see God
But you’ll swear He’s in the morning when the sun comes up
Your God won’t talk, your God won’t talk
But He’ll sing within your blood and he just won’t stop

And so I acknowledge this. That faith is a different kind of seeing and listening for me- difficult to get words and senses around. And that with that, wrestling over “life after death” will continue to be a struggle for me.

But in that faith and struggle, I long to run the good race set before me. In all the great questions of past, present, and definitely future, I hope to

Run to the edge, unbroken

as the chorus of “Run, Run” admits.

I hope to keep living this good life given wholly to love, joy, hope, faith, family, good-works… this life following Christ and his pattern of sacrificing yourself so others might live. And at the end I hope to leap off that edge in full gait, unknowing of what happens next, embracing that great mystery of the beyond, unafraid, unbroken,

and faith-full.

Here are the full lyrics of “Run, Run”. You can listen to the song HERE.

RUN, RUN
Giants & Pilgrims

You can’t go home, you can’t go home
But you can find another shelter you can call your own
You can’t push time, you can’t push time
But you can ride out every wave like an alibi

Your past won’t leave, your past won’t leave
It’ll stay with them like it stays with me
You won’t break free, you won’t break free
Death is gonna get you like he’s gonna get me

Run, run
Just run
Run to the edge unbroken

You won’t see God, you won’t see God
But you’ll swear He’s in the morning when the sun comes up
Your God won’t talk, your God won’t talk
But He’ll sing within your blood and He just won’t stop

Run, run
Just run
Run to the edge unbroken

 

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