"I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds" (Psalm 77:12).
One of the sweet surprises of the new year has been corresponding with Maria Morris, the talented entrepreneur behind Maria Watercolor. She reached out recently to let me know that one of my photographs inspired her design for this Life Is Beautiful print, which highlights the first thought of Ecclesiastes 3:11: "He hath made every thing beautiful in his time." Isn't this a treasure?
Although her degree in commercial art has brought many opportunities for design work through the years, the artist says her passion has always been portrait painting. While living in Paraguay for eight years, she sold more than 150 watercolor portraits of common people, such as street vendors and open-air market ladies. Now back in the States and raising her children in Kansas City, Kansas, Maria started an Etsy shop that features portraits with both hand- and digitally painted details.
In researching the top-grossing vendors on the site, Maria discovered artwork combined with book pages. "I thought, why use the dictionary when the Bible is so much better?" she explains. "Not even knowing it was a great idea, I started overlaying my watercolors on Bible pages." This new venture has generated significant interest in her shop -- in fact, quadrupling business in a matter of months. "More importantly, I'm spreading the Word of God, who is my first and greatest love," she adds. Maria offers a variety of prints featuring passages from the Old and New Testaments, with the option to order custom florals highlighting a verse of choice. When browsing her shop, I immediately thought of Philippians 4:8, a key verse of inspiration for A Little Loveliness.
The artwork above -- a teacup brimming with a lush bouquet rendered in Maria's signature palette of vivid hues -- is the lovely result of our correspondence. She sent me a complimentary 8x10 print last week, and the colors look so rich on the textured watercolor paper. Once framed, this special keepsake will be displayed in a place of honor for years to come.
Another of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 29:11, is showcased in the design above. Wouldn't one of these prints make a wonderful gift? For birthday, anniversary, wedding or graduation, I can think of no sweeter gesture than a word of Scripture. And what an "apple of gold" for a friend who needs encouragement! One of Maria's clients ordered prints for her Bible-study group, but when the highlighted verse was mentioned during her daughter's bridesmaids brunch, she gave them to the wedding party instead. So now she is ordering more! I expect that many of us will be doing the same.
As for the verses she appreciates most, Maria turns to these two passages daily in her own life:
"That s why, for Christ’s sake, delight n nesses, n nsults, n hardships, n persecutions, n difficulties. For , then strong" (2 Corinthians 12:10).
"I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13).
She maintains that the greatest blessing of this new professional endeavor is "just knowing that all my art experience, all my years teaching the Bible, and even all the hard times I've gone through are being channeled into these Bible Page prints, which are encouraging so many and bringing the Bible into homes in a fresh, lovely way."
For messages of love, joy and peace, I invite you to peruse Maria's shop!
Photos from Maria Watercolors. Used with permission.