Solitary Roses

Watch me paint this art in support of families of autistic children

Some may claim that I have glorified or downplayed autism, but this painting was meant to express the profound love that families have for their children who have autism. Art is a language. Sometimes we understand each other perfectly, and other times we don’t. A grandmother of an autistic child was greatly moved by this painting. She understood what I was trying to say, and felt the empathy. The rose represents a child, alone in a tranquil woods, yet also trapped there- in a stoned wall, where it’s difficult to grow, or connect. Yet, there is always hope, and moments of blooming through, when the moonlight shines upon this precious loved one. And that is beautiful. Technique note: This was my first experience using a pre-painted black canvas. I was pleased with the illusion it gave my paints- that the colors were glowing, or metallic- especially when the oils were wet. This worked out well for the video, and for the emotions I was expressing in this piece.
- "Painting Imaginary Places" by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

The human mind is a complex and mysterious phenomenon. Do you ever feel like a solitary rose? The sacred spaces of our minds may be isolating or they may be a healing oasis. Sometimes we diagnose normal human needs as illness. It is heartbreaking when someone cannot leave the walls inside their minds, but it’s healthy for brains to occasionally build garden walls, where we can retreat into a creative, spiritual, reflective space.

“Unplugging” is about much more than simply unplugging from the Internet, cell phones, televisions, or any other electronic gadget or screen. If our mindset is still controlled by the world’s pacing and agendas, we haven’t truly unplugged- we’ve merely paused the stream. What we need is garden walls inside our minds, a place we go when we need to connect our minds to our spirit and body. In that space, we are at peace: undisturbed, unhindered, and unburdened.

In that reflective and safe space inside our minds, our thoughts may flow and develop into new ideas or may raise questions. If we act upon those ideas and explore answers to our questions, we have an opportunity to change our lives and elevate our attitudes to a higher standard that makes us happier, and blesses the people around us. 

Perhaps we see an imaginary garden in our reflections, and then put a real garden into action. Maybe we feel lyrical and put our words into poetry, novels, or songwriting. Maybe we see a masterpiece and we paint our vision on a canvas to share with the world. 

Or, our thoughts may land on practical ground- such as being inspired to approach our errands and jobs more productively, or managing our household more logically, or re-arranging our living space more efficiently. We may even see a solution to obstacles in our personal relationships at work or at home. Whatever comes to us when we set aside time to be still, to hear ourselves breathe, and isolate our minds in a solitary oasis, we can choose to put those inspirations into action to make a difference in our own lives and in the lives of others.

For every individual who mindfully chooses to elevate themselves to a higher place, the world is collectively elevated. While oppressors deny our individual power by decreeing that we only have value as a collective, the opposite is true. The collective is only as valuable as the individual. A single individual can change the world.

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