New Painting, Finally!

See this oil painting of a yellow rose come to life in about 1 minute (time lapse)

I’m finally back to work after our big sudden, unexpected move. The move took wild turns and we ended up buying a house at least a year before we were ready to do so. The way it came together wasn’t what we wanted, but we have landed in a place I already love, and I will heal from the things that happened. There’s a lot I can’t say here, that I’d say if we could be in person and have a long heart-to-heart over a cup of tea or coffee. I’d bring one of my cakes or a batch of cookies. But, here we are, chatting through my blog that anyone can read. It’s a bit like being at a party, having a personal chat, and a person with bad intentions overhears- twists our words to hurt us, or takes offense at something that wasn’t meant for them, and spiritually had nothing to do with them.

Anyway, I think you know what I mean. I wish I could fully describe the extreme highs and especially the lows, but I can’t. I’ll say this: I have felt profoundly hurt and disappointed by some of the unfair and bitterly unjust events that unfolded, but through it all, I felt divine intervention and spiritual support that can’t be explained away by logic. We’d have to believe in a complicated series of coincidences to dismiss it all, and that would frankly be more of stretch to believe than to simply take it as it was: I was being spiritually supported in a mysterious way that I can’t understand, but I’m grateful for. My family felt it too, but I don’t say much about their experiences on the blog, as those are their own stories to decide to publicly tell or not.

So why did I choose to paint a yellow rose as my first painting in my new home? Because, shortly after we moved in, my rose plant bloomed for the first time. It is symbolic for me because yellow roses have a special meaning in my life. My grandma loved them and would keep her roses on a hill that was highly visible. When she passed, I thought of her whenever I saw yellow roses. Since I always admired them, I wanted to grow some. Grandma was successful with hers in upstate New York, but we were living in Minnesota at the time, which has much harsher temperatures in the dead of winter (sometimes as low as -25 F). I could only have a specialty engineered rose, an “arctic rose”, in yellow. That’s all I could find that had a good chance of thriving. It did thrive, and those were the roses that were in bloom long after they should have been, when I was Mom’s caregiver and bringing her cut roses. The roses finally stopped blooming after she passed- which was after the regular season when my roses had usually already stopped producing new roses for the year. If you garden, you can probably relate to how surprising it is when flowers, fruit, or vegetables survive much longer than expected. It feels like a miracle, especially if there is a heavy emotional impact.

After we sold our hobby farm that we’d built (after years of fixing up dirty rundown houses while living in them, selling and saving toward having a nice new house one day and meant as a “forever” family home), because the company my husband worked for moved out of the country and laid everyone off after they trained their replacements, and I lost my job too since my arts school was based in my home studio, we moved several times (my apologies if you’ve heard this story too much, but new people join us regularly and don’t know my story so I have to summarize it fairly often). While moving around, I didn’t want to get another arctic rose, so I waited until I could live someplace warm enough for real traditional roses to thrive. Then I waited some more because I could find any- they were sold out when I tried to get some- and I was always a day late and a dollar short. Time slipped away, and I never did get my real yellow roses… until a few weeks before we learned we would have to move from our rental house sooner than we planned.

Fortunately, because we were renting, I planted my new roses in a grow bag container, not in the ground. So, when we were blindsided by the vacate notice, it was easy to move it to the new place. It was a new plant and hadn’t produced any flowers yet. I was optimistic it would survive and I’d finally get my yellow roses, but until proof of this appeared, the yellow roses were still just a hope, not a reality.

It was astonishing that as soon as we moved everything into this house, the first bud appeared. Even though of course flowers bloom, that’s what they do, it still felt like a breathtaking surprise, as if I was not really expecting to ever see yellow roses. It was glorious! So pretty, dainty, and perfectly yellow- just as I imagined my yellow roses would be!

But then, it opened. And I was amazed at how beautiful it was. This was truly a real rose, not a close copy. I tried to capture it by photographing it and then painting it. I looked outside the window as I painted the rose to see the leaves in real time as well (the flower itself had already faded from its peak glory by the time I finished painting it). In the end, it’s only a representation of what I saw, because there’s nothing that can capture what it feels like to see a rose in person. I hope I came close, and that you can feel the emotion. If I felt uncertain about the love of God blessing my new life, all doubts fell away when this rose opened its lovely pedals. I imagine this spiritual connection to flowers is universally felt by all who feel a connection to nature, regardless of your faith, background, or social status.

We may have to wait a long time for something our heart desires, or for grief to lift. It can take years, and twists and turns we didn’t want to take. We may have to live in places we didn’t want to be, and we may be pushed to go on a new adventure before we are ready. But one day, we will arrive. The time has passed. And we are home. That is when a new yellow rose will open up, the sun will strike upon its glorious color, and we’ll know we are loved by God. Wherever we are sent, in this life or the next, there is something beautiful waiting for us. We are never truly alone, even when it feels like we are. We are never abandoned. We are human beings who feel the weight and burden of time, pain, and fear, that clouds our judgement and burdens our hearts- blocking us from seeing the yellow roses. Until the right time, and my time is now.

I hope you join me on my new painting adventures in my lovely blue home with the red door in Savannah, Georgia! How I got here is complicated. How I’ll live here may be complicated as well. But I know I will have a good life because I choose it. God bless you and your families. Never give up. Always look for your yellow roses to bloom.


Power of Steam

First, the oil painting, then the story behind it… make sure you don’t miss your challenge invitation. Do you accept?

Watch me paint this seascape in 2 minute time-lapse. It was my first time painting on a canvas this large.

“The Steamship Savannah was the first ship to cross the Atlantic by steam. What a happy, exhilarating feeling it must have been to stand on the shores, watching this pioneering ship set sail... When anything is possible, everything is. May we be inspired by those who took this maiden voyage and showed us how to dream and achieve.”

- from the book "50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Savannah, Georgia" by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

Update to the above story…

 

I’d planned on more voyages of my own. After our return from living in Ireland, there was no reason for the adventures to end, but our travels were ill fated. The only places we were “going”, were through the spirit of discovery of the mind.

 

Pioneering new ways to think, create, and share is a bit like the power of steam. Steam power was invented as a solution to problems, namely as an engine to pump out flooded coal mines. We too often discover something new through the “power of steam”, an innovative solution to a problem that sets us sailing on an unexpected and exhilarating adventure.

Natalie Buske Thomas at Celtic Sea Coast

Tomorrow is the launch of my pioneering oil painting adventure, using technology in a way that no artist has ever done before. I’ve seized the opportunity to try Amazon’s new feature to embed video into e-books, and the book will be offered in a free promotion that should get a lot of attention. I’m ready!

 

This spirit of discovery wasn’t quite the thrill I’d been pining for… for years now I’ve wanted my art to “come alive” as viewers read my books, but it’s a grand start! For the first time, the technology exists to pioneer merging books and art in an innovative way. As time goes on, I plan to step up my game and create the illusion of a story coming alive as its being painted.

 

Because my file sizes are enormous for e-book format standards, today’s technology (available to us average yokels) doesn’t yet have this capacity. I could only choose one moving picture (one video to embed). The others had to be linked to. Viewers must click on the link and watch my painting videos hosted on my own independent website. But, in one glorious part of the voyage, my art “comes alive” inside the book, or so it should… if the reading device works as expected.

 

Another somewhat disappointing bit is that the video doesn’t spontaneously play. It seems that viewers must click play. I also had to downsize my 100+ images a little bit. They are still high resolution though, and such a very long way from the early days when a single image would crash an entire website! Now we can put sharp, full color, massive images and VIDEO into digital books.

 

Wow! I’d have eaten all of this up when I was a child bookworm. But who says I can’t be excited now, in 2021? Aren’t we all still that child inside? Embrace the thrills of the future! What can we do tomorrow? What can we do TODAY?

 

When life took an unexpected turn of unemployment, hardship and grieving the loss of a parent I was the caregiver for, my reaction was to flee. I escaped with my family into a whole new life of travel and adventure, selling most of what we owned, and leaving it all behind. But that journey ended abruptly and with no hope of continuance.

 

How would I solve the problem of being “grounded”, perhaps for years to come? Like the power of steam, a solution to one problem may lead to an exhilarating voyage. I turned my desire for adventure inward, and made intellectual, creative, and spiritual discoveries.

 

I challenge you to do the same. Perhaps you’re already sailing on new seas, and just need encouragement to keep going, or maybe you’re still standing on the shore. Your hopes and dreams are at reach, believe it! And when we think we’ve reached the end of who we are, we realize that we’ve only just begun.

My lifetime goal: 100 ONE THOUSAND finished paintings

See the page for this art “Steamship Savannah” and the blog post about my oil paintings of seascapes.

Journey with me!
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