Teaching in Belgium

photographs by Cherbear

Touring was not the intended purpose of my travel in Belgium, however I was fortunate to see many sites in Belgium and the Netherlands. Weekend tours are a bonus provided by the full time missionary staff of "Biblical Literature Fellowship." BLF is a major catalyst for supplying Christian materials to the French speaking world. "Impressions Teams" of ten members give a week of labor, at an average of one team per month, in the print shop at Braine-le-Château, Belgium. BLF rewards them with great hospitality and fellowship. I applaud their efficiency.


Le Grandé Masion (The Great House)

Headquarters for the Impressions Teams

Richard Gibson, the Executive Director for BLF in the Chicago office, and Interim Director of the Belgium office was in Belgium working with his graphic design staff. He requested that I come as an instructor of "Fractal Design Painter," a digital art program by Meta Creations. Accepting the challenge, I traveled to Belgium on March 11-30, '98, with an Impressions Team from El Paso, Illinois.

In digital imagery and design there are several types of graphic design programs. Adobe Illustrator, a vector art program that works with lines, shapes and fills, and Adobe Photoshop, working with raster (bit mapped) files, photographs and more, are two of the best. These programs are interactive and, when used with plug-in filters, create an endless selection of effects in computer design. Fractal Design Painter combines both with a third dimension to create the look of natural art media and incorporate the same effects and filters. With "Fractal" you choose the art media, create your own brushes (stroke and pressure), paper textures, patterns, floaters and objects, as well as produce animated scripts and movies. I would need to write a book to explain the capabilities of these three programs together. I began to study computer art programs in 1994, and have developed specialized skills in all three. However, my eighteen years of experience in fine art has led me to expert levels in Fractal Design Painter. Advanced in Illustrator, Photoshop, PageMaker and QuarkXPress, the graphic design staff of BLF were quick to comprehend this program and will add it to their creative capabilities. They produce excellent work and I am expecting even greater things of them in the future.

My students were John and Amy Battenfield, in their mid twenties, recently married and are beginning a four year commitment to serve the Lord in Belgium with BLF. John Battenfield, from California, attended college with a major in Fine Art, but earned his degree in the French Language. Amy Battenfield is a talented Desktop Publisher with a degree in Fine Art (Amy is from Clay Center, KS). Gwen Turner is from Texas, in her early twenties, a gifted artist, and is serving as a Desktop Publisher in the apprentice program for BLF. Richard Gibson, my computer instructor over the last three years, became my student as well. "Yeah, right!" Not really ;< } He is brilliant on his own in all aspects of the computer world. He has been my Guru through many trials and it was great to be able to finally give him a mere morsel back. Learning some great techniques from John that I had not yet discovered in Illustrator and Photoshop was an added bonus for me.


Touring Brugge, Haarlem, Waterloo, Kinderdike, Antwerp, Amsterdam, and the Grand Place of Brussels, I cherished the success of mixing the old with the new. Progress has not kept them from preserving the great structures of their past. In Brugge you can find grand architecture from the late 900's.


I hope to return to Brussels, Belgium.

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