35 free photos of Venice, Italy

In November of 2014, I gave away my first free downloadable photo collection (you can still download the set of 50 Christmas-themed images for free). It turned out to be a big hit, so I’ve compiled and edited a new collection of photography that you can download for free. I hope you enjoy. The 35 photographs in this collection were all taken in beautiful Venice, Italy. I was able to capture the images during a low-budget backpacking trip with two friends I met at Capernwray Hall (an international gap-year Bible school in rural northern England). During this trip—I was just 19 at the … Continue reading

12 monthly art challenges for a year of creating

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I’ve started up a year-long art challenge that includes one art assignment for every month. You’re welcome to follow along and join in! Each month, I’ll be adding the instructions for the coming month’s art challenge, along with the piece I ended up making for the current art challenge. I also will be accepting guest submissions for each monthly art challenge as well. If you created an art piece for any of the monthly challenges and want to be featured, just send a photo of your final piece to laura@lauraakranz.com, along with a link to your site (if you have one). The goals of the … Continue reading

Painted wedding portrait (a commissioned art piece)

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If you’ve followed my work for a little while, you’ll know that I create art in a variety of mediums, mostly for the purpose of exploring a concept or helping to educate about a specific topic. On occasion, someone will reach out to me to create a custom art piece just for them. To give you an example, here’s my latest commissioned piece of work. How to commission me About the wedding portrait The friend who commissioned me only had very low-resolution photos of her wedding, but she wanted a large tribute to the event to hang on her wall. She … Continue reading

13 artists to follow (who also happen to be Christians)

About this list of artists Good art made by Christians can be hard to find (at least, in contemporary times).  For one thing, there’s a lot of trite, cliche, and just plain bad work to sort through that goes by the label “Christian art.”  For another, it seems the majority of Christ-followers who make good art don’t put themselves out there as “Christian artists.” If you’ve asked me about other Christians who create visual art in the past, I’ve sent you one-off links to my favorite artists to allow you to browse their work (and maybe even to reach out and meet them). But … Continue reading

How to get surreal drawing ideas

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What defines surreal art in the first place? Whether you intuitively know how to recognize surreal art when you see it or not, you may have wondered what, specifically, someone means when they describe an image as “surreal.” The term is thrown around a lot, and if you’ve heard it described at all, the interpretations probably haven’t been consistent with each other. I’ve heard many different definitions that vary wildly depending on the person using the term, and depending on the art form they are describing. Even the dictionary definition of surreal is quite vague. Most dictionaries simply say that a surreal art form … Continue reading

Bible verse art for the book of Esther

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The book of Esther is, in my opinion, one of the most drama-filled stories in the Bible. There’s a pivotal moment in the book when Esther decides to risk her life to intervene on behalf of her exiled people. The theme verse of this book is from the conversation where Esther makes this decision (Esther 4:14), chosen by Jeffrey Kranz at the Overview Bible Project. Creating the Esther theme verse illustration Because there was a lot of text to deal with and because I was working with an excerpt from a conversation, I decided to try a speech-bubble setup. I’d been trying … Continue reading

Anonymous portrait series

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The anonymous portrait series is a set of oil pastel drawings on black paper. For each drawing, I chose two or three oil pastel colors—usually bright, and often not skin toned (for example, the drawing below uses bright blue oil pastels). I referenced anonymous individuals in stock photos.  I intentionally chose photos with harsh light to provide more interesting shadows on the faces. Here’s my most popular image from the oil pastel portrait series: If you’re an artist, I recommend trying some drawings like these. It’s a great exercise for developing two abilities in particular: first, it develops your ability to … Continue reading

Bible art: how Solomon sees his Bride

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If you’ve ever read the Song of Solomon (one of five books of poetry in the Old Testament), you know that the book is essentially a celebration of intimacy between a man and a woman. Unsurprisingly, there’s some weird and uncomfortable stuff in there. There are dozens of strange metaphors and similes thrown about that are supposed to communicate the attraction between two people in love. While snippets of the language in Song of Solomon are memorable (I’ll tell you what: if someone told me my teeth were like sheep giving birth to twins, I don’t think I’d take it in a good … Continue reading

Genesis theme verse illustration

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The Genesis theme verse is the sixth Bible verse I’ve illustrated for the theme verse illustration series. I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you. In the verse, God is talking to Abraham, initiating a covenant with him that kicks the whole story of the nation of Israel into gear. Planning the Genesis theme verse illustration The verse presented some challenges. Well, one big challenge in particular; the passage (Genesis 17:7) was pretty darn long. The more words, … Continue reading

Solo piano album is halfway done [new piano piece]

A few weeks ago, I announced the start of a new solo piano album with the release of a free downloadable track. The album is called “The Marks It Makes,” and it’s a musical exploration of how the passage of time affects a human life. While all the compositions are new, I’m drawing from a lot of introspection and small music fragments compiled over the years. A new solo piano composition The album is halfway done, and I’ve got a new composition for you! Last time I gave you an mp4 download, but this time I’m doing you one better. I’ve … Continue reading