Quiet Joy

First, the oil painting, then the story behind it… Put the kettle on, then lose yourself for a few minutes in this blog. Don’t miss your invitation to quiet joy.

Watch this garden come alive in 2 minutes (painting time lapse)

“That’s me, on the swing. My real life swing is actually a rather cheap, much smaller, version of this, but I enjoy my time on the patio. The morning glory vines along the top were real, but we later yanked them out because birds were perching on it and pooping on the swing! The birds don’t usually come around all at once, but all of these do visit our patio in the places I’ve painted them. The bluebirds visit seldomly, while the cardinals and hummingbirds are here every day and I’ve begun to think of them as my friends!”

– from book “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Savannah, Georgia by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

Updates to the above story…

My potted red roses are already growing again this season. The roses that I painted in this picture have turned out to be a surprise. Apparently this plant is a climbing rose variety, very hardy and blooms abundant flowers all season!

A couple of weeks ago I “trained” the climbing rose vines to grow through the arc and neighboring lattice (where the bluebird is perched). Now the vines have fresh spring leaves on them and the rose buds will quickly follow. The roses will be very tall and sprawling this year, some will rise above the arc and lattice! That will be such a beautiful sight. I didn’t expect any new surprises, yet here we are. Of course I’m taking this as a positive metaphor for how life is going (“growing”).

I invite you to let this metaphor about my roses settle into your spirit. Could it be that something you’ve started years ago could become more than you expected? Is there something you could “plant” now that will surprise you in the near future?

I meant this as a spiritual boost, but I also meant this literally… why not plant something new? May I suggest a butterfly tree? I’ll share with you the kind that I have:

Notice the potted “butterfly tree” on the right?  It has the hummingbird feeder on a shepherd’s hook in the same pot. Why? Because this bush really does attract hummingbirds and butterflies, as the advertising tag claimed it would. When I saw a hummingbird snacking on these flowers, I knew we’d be able to keep these delightful little birds as our patio friends if we put a feeder in that same pot.

And it worked! From the first return of the hummingbirds until fall settles in, they visit us every day. This little tree can remain in a pot, and it’s apparently easy to create new plants from it (I’ve not done this yet but I plan to).

Watch me paint these butterfly tree flowers in under a minute (time lapse). Visit the butterfly flowers art page to learn more about this type of tree.

This is how my work station looked when these bird paintings were in progress: bluebird, hummingbird, cardinals, goldfinches. We also get the ruby throated type of hummingbird, the glorious painted bunting, blue herons, and even the occasional eagle!

The herons and eagles drop by because of the lagoon in line of sight from our little yard. We don’t feed them, they go fishing for themselves. It’s always exciting when we see them catch a big fish!

Feed the birds, you’ll not regret it. Many of you probably already do this, and need no encouragement. It’s one of life’s quiet joys that we can have even if our circumstances are humble, stressed, or infirm. All we need is a window, and someone to help stock the feeder if incapable of that task.

We see other types of wild birds, but I won’t give any spoilers because I haven’t yet painted those.

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