Giveaway: Original Painting Inspired by The Variable Life + $50 Amazon Card

Isn’t it amazing how some people can express ideas powerfully without using words?

That’s one of the things I love about film, music, and visual art. I’m glad Greenville, SC artist Kim Bolton said yes to collaborate on a visual art piece for the release of my book, The Variable Life: Finding Clarity and Confidence in a World of Choices, which you can get on Amazon and Kindle beginning Tuesday, March 7th.

A Release Week Contest For You

To celebrate the book release, I’m giving away this beautiful original painting along with a $50 Amazon gift card. (Want to enter the contest ASAP? Scroll to the bottom of this page.)


Closeup of “Changed” by Kim Bolton.

Here’s what Kim wrote about the inspiration and creative process she went through to create this original art piece:

Artist Kim Bolton on Creating “Changed,” a Painting Inspired by The Variable Life

I really enjoy how you lay out what the title means and how it pertains to your topic in Chapter 3, particularly:

“When God and I conspire on the next chapters of my life, he tells me not to be afraid, that he will walk with me through the tangled web of possibilities. And he tells me the only way forward is through these changes, conflicts, and relationships. If we are to become the people we’re meant to be, we must embrace these variables. It is the way of humanity’s story…

You’ve got to forge a path out of all the choices before you. If you’ve got to be somebody in this story, to accomplish something meaningful, you’ll have to make sense of all the different options, embracing some and rejecting the rest…”
(excerpt from the book)

Then I started listing out words. Scratched out a small sketch I had bouncing around in my head.


Process shot: word association inspired by The Variable Life.

I’m finding lots of inspiration from EH Sherman‘s work. I love how her effortless splotches of color are instead painstakingly planned and placed, but because of the nature of watercolor, unexpected and sometimes delightful things happen. It takes knowledge of the medium to create her pieces, but also bravery and willingness to release enough control to create such beautiful veils of color.

I did a quick mini painting that’s a bit closer to what I was thinking of.


Process shot of mini painting before full-scale piece.

I planned to do a larger color study next, and then the final.

Finally got some pencil to canvas and came out with this for a final sketch.


Pencil sketch of “Changed” by Kim Bolton.

I started on canvas. Had a rough idea in my head of some bleeding watercolor blobs, but I quickly began overworking it and it was a mess. So I decided to start over on paper instead, hoping it would give me more of the color blending I was looking for.

As with most things, the second (or third, or 15th) time through things go a bit faster. It only took one start over, and I managed to finish it!

I am definitely more satisfied with how it looks on paper. The final piece is on 8×10 bristol board.


Closeup of “Changed” by Kim Bolton.

Here’s how I [Kim] used what John wrote to inspire this piece:

When I read Chapter 3 where you lay out what The Variable Life is, I really felt like the color blending and organic shapes lent themselves to this life full of variables that you describe. A shifting and changing thing. Every aspect of the image together represents those variables and how they may coincide. Soft watercolor blends meets hard lines meets organic edges meets dusty chalk. A snapshot of how a variable life can feel in colors that reach from vibrant bursts to calming sweeps.

I’ve named it “Changed.” I think the words in this book will leave readers changed—for the better.


Informal final version over failed first attempt.


Pretty amazing, right? See more of artist Kim Bolton’s work on Etsy and Society6.

How to Win This Painting and a $50 Amazon Card

To enter the contest:

  1. Pick either Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
  2. Like/Follow me so I can see your posts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter).
  3. Like/Follow Kim Bolton (Facebook, Instagram).
  4. Share the quote images (tag me and #TheVariableLife).

The more times you post, the more likely you are to win (you can post up to 9: one per day from Monday 3/6 to Tuesday 3/14).

***On Wednesday 3/15, I’ll announce one randomly selected winner! (ships to U.S.)***

Download The Variable Life quote images

Share away. Thanks, friends!


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