Update

Watch this angel and dove oil painting “Autumn Angel” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)

First, the above oil painting is one that I’ve shared with you several times before. I’m happy to report that this one was already on YouTube and the music had no copyright issues, so all I needed to do is add the subscribe and video links at the end. I got off easily today! Now for my update:

The vlog show is still a GO, but it is slightly delayed. I discovered that I needed to order a new tripod that can extend taller. I tried balancing my current tripod on some soup cans, but that was, predictably and obviously, problematic and an accident just waiting to happen! Rigging something rather foolish is not the right way to launch the new show. So, there’s that. But also I learned that my green screen is a little bit too narrow. I need to buy a second one so that there is no shortage of screen on the edge.

These little tweaks are causing a small delay, but that’s not a big setback. I have a lot of other work to catch up on, like the ongoing project to upload my painting videos to YouTube and edit those that trigger copyright issues. I also had a backlog of things I didn’t finish before the Christmas break, like leaving a holiday themed painting unfinished and my palettes full of heaped up dried up paint that is proving tedious to clean. I’m not a very good assistant to myself, good thing I don’t have to pay myself for such shoddy work. 🙂

Are you also struggling to get back into a smooth routine? It’s been cold and dreary here, as it is in many parts of the world. Usually February brings longer days with more sunlight and that tends to help. Hang in there, winter never lasts forever (those of you who are going through winter right now). Of course even if this is your summer, “winter” can have a spiritual meaning. This is a challenging time for humanity. May we hope for spring days to come!


Angels Mourn

See this oil painting of an angel come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)

The story of this angel is one of mourning, looking over the mass graves of children tragically killed long ago. This painting was inspired by a statue called “Turning Angel”. I am thinking today that some of you may be feeling the need for such an angel to mourn for your losses, and look over those you’ve lost. Whether you are manifesting empathy for others, or you are yourself grieving, may we together create peace and healing. God bless and keep you, this day and always.


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New Painting, Nativity Scene

See oil painting “Nativity Scene” come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse)

This is the short time lapse version of one of the featured paintings in Christmas Show 2021 (the full 45 minute variety show with painting, singing and dancing is available on this site, YouTube, and BitChute). This nativity scene is larger than the one I’ve done in the past, as this one includes more than the central figures of Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus. Added are the wise men, shepherds, animals (cow, donkey, sheep) and angel. The Christmas star is included in both paintings.

“Nativity Scene” oil painting by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

I hope that you are enjoying a peaceful time with your loved ones, as we reflect on what Christmas means to us as individuals, and as we participate in our family traditions. Speaking of traditions, old and new: Tonight was the last surprise meal for our Secret Santa game. I said yesterday that I’d talk with you about that, so here it is: our youngest daughter made chicken gnocchi, and it was DELICIOUS!

Our youngest daughter’s chicken gnocchi
She took a lot of care to slow cook the chicken, grate the carrots, finely chop the celery, and chop the fresh spinach and onion. She spent two hours preparing and cooking this dish.
Here it is, served up and ready for me to light the candles before we pray together and eat.

We had a wonderful Secret Santa exchange this year and now we have gourmet leftovers to help us through the busy day tomorrow. I hope our family has inspired you to give this idea a try sometime. The week leading up to Christmas is a good time for families to share the cooking and try new special dishes.

Tomorrow is already Christmas Eve! I wish all of you peace, love, and joy. God bless you and your families.


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Season of Advent

Watch oil painting “Angel Watching over Baby Jesus” come to life in 1 minute (time lapse)

I have quite a lot on my heart about Advent, but this will have to keep until tomorrow. I need to wash some paint brushes as I’m running out of time to get my special Christmas paintings done on time and I’ve made a mess of my supplies. When my best brushes are all dirty it’s a frustrating session. I also have a kitchen full of dirty dishes, and a family that has a very early morning of final exams and other stressful events that they need support for. So, it will be a bit of a late night for me and a very early day tomorrow. Today I baked an important cake that went well for the most part. I will explain more about that later also. Sorry to push my stories off, but I’m sure you understand. Life is about balance. When I need more time to take care of the household, I prioritize that. I will “see” you tomorrow. Until then, good night, dear friends. Sleep well and God bless you.



Are you Safe?

See oil painting “Guardian Angel” come to life

in 2 minutes (time lapse)

I last shared this painting here with you in August, in a post called “Protected and Loved“. Today I’m thinking of the concept of safety, and what it means to be “safe”. Who decides what is safe for us, what protects us, and what we must do to be protected? Is this protection motivated by love, or by something else?

A sovereign human seeks of their own free will: love and protection, safety from harm. No one needs a propaganda campaign, threats, or enforcement to be compelled to move toward safety. So if those methods are used to force humanity to comply, one must question the motive. Goodwill and benevolence have no profit or power motive; therefore, coercion is not an act of kindness or virtue.

What does it mean to be “safe”? Is enslavement safe? For whom? True deliverance is like this Guardian Angel leading a child out of a city on fire. She is not pulling, pushing, or threatening the child. The child recognizes this angel as a source of help, and intuitively, willingly, gratefully takes her hand.

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Sunday Rest

Watch this Irish Angel oil painting come to life

in about 2 minutes (time lapse)

The image in the video above is a photograph of this painting at a gallery exhibit. I thought it would be a good one to re-share for this Sunday. I hope that you are able to find peace in this day and can reflect on how you want your week to go. God bless you and your family.

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As Summer Leaves Us

Watch this “Flower Angel” painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse)

You might remember that I shared this oil painting when I finished it at the beginning of May, while the promise of spring was still unfolding. And now here we are approaching the end of August and summer is soon ending. The time has gone by quickly, yet slowly… as time often does.

As summer leaves us I remember how grateful I was to see flowers and feel the sun upon my face when spring first came to us. Now that the heat and insects have made outdoor experiences unpleasant, and the flowers are mostly gone, I suppose we’re feeling ready for the change of seasons. But whether we are committed to it or not, autumn is near – at least it is in my part of the world.

With so much uncertainty, it is comforting to remember the sameness of seasons. Every year we experience twelve months, fifty-two weeks, and twenty four hours in each of those 365 days. Time passes, both quickly and slowly, and when it does we can look back with certainty that the time we spent is now in the past. Given all that we’ve been through since this time last year, we may be relieved to see the seasons slip forward.

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Protected and Loved

Watch this oil painting of an angel guiding a child out of danger in 2 minutes (time lapse)

Sometimes this world throws so much darkness, chaos, confusion, fear, malice, violence and dangerous, heartless tyranny at us that there’s very little left to say. In these times, I feel opposing forces vying for my attention: faith and fear. Fear associates closely with suspicion, resentment, bitterness, anger and ultimately hate. So I must choose faith. Faith leads to trust, forgiveness, grace, peace and ultimately love.

The fires may rage, but we are delivered. We are like this little child led by our Guardian Angel. Or, maybe we are that angel to someone else. We can focus on the fire or believe in deliverance from it. When we believe that we are protected and loved, it is well with our soul. 

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Letting Go

Watch this Angel Releasing Dove painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse), using broken pieces of shells I found on the beach, and a tiny “dove” from inside a sand dollar I also found there, at Tybee Island, Georgia.

There are times when we must let go, and let our hearts say, “Go in Peace”. This may be a spiritual letting go, a time of grief, or a physical letting go. It’s back to school time for many families and those of us who are facing this transitional time may be feeling more anxiety than usual. After deferring college or other situations, we may have expected a better situation for this year, only to find that the situation has escalated.

Letting go is difficult under ordinary circumstances, but when we are pushed harder than anticipated, it can be more challenging to reach spiritual acceptance of the change of seasons. School is just one obvious example, as it affects so many of us at around the same time every year. But all of us are touched by the change of seasons, as we see summer end and the passage of time has brought new things into our lives that may have been expected or wanted, or may be unexpected or unwanted. Either way, change is difficult.

Even good and happy changes bring a strong degree of stress. It may help to imagine our spiritual self as this angel, and the dove may represent the peaceful outcome of letting go, accepting that life is changing. If the change involves another person, we may wish blessings and a glorious, happy, prosperous, hope-filled flight into the unknown. May we rely on the strength of our love for others to see them through to the other side, if they have passed, or to see them into the future if they are launching into new experiences.

Perhaps the process of letting go is about ourselves. When life changes for others, it impacts us. Even if no one in our personal circle has a major life event, the seasons still pass. Time itself brings changes that cause us to reflect upon our lives and adjust to our new self. As we see July slipping into August, we may feel the change of seasons closing in. We may not have control over time, and future events, but we always have a spiritual choice about how we respond to change.

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Today is my Birthday!

Watch me paint “Autumn Angel” in 2 minutes (time lapse)

Since today is my birthday, I searched for an oil painting I’ve done that represents who I am. At first, I thought of the most obvious choices, such as ones where I make a cameo appearance, like “Come to the Garden” or “Natalie at the Fountain“. I also thought of paintings that others say represent me, or my most popular signature pieces, but in the end, I decided to go with the one above “Autumn Angel“, who doesn’t look like me, and has not been seen by many people.

At the time, the piece was just to fill a project slot for the collection “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Savannah, Georgia“. It was inspired by the statues and monuments of angels that tourists like to visit in Savannah’s historic cemeteries. I love the beauty and hope of angels and I decided to paint a “real” one based on likenesses and poses I saw in statues.

I wanted to connect with this oil painting, but I was surprised when I actually, deeply, did. The music especially had a profound effect on me. I watched my own painting video over and over. Something about it feels so sad, so bittersweet, yet loving, peaceful, and kind. Why? Why did I feel this way about this particular painting, when I’ve done so many pieces that were just another project to tick off my list?

Interestingly, this particular painting video was one of the ones attacked by a mob who sought to cancel it because the angel is white. They said she is an “Aryan angel” and therefore racist. Am I not allowed to paint figures who might look like my own heritage? (Irish) I have very fair skin that I cannot change. I had blonde hair when I was a young child that turned light brown, then very dark brown (nearly black) like it is now. I have green eyes. This is just the coloring I was given. I was not born “wrong”.

I have painted diverse skin tones over my career. I do not paint exclusively fair skinned persons. But that’s not really something I have to say. I’ve volunteered it because I want to show that I am experienced in a range of portrait styles, but not to defend myself against something I am not guilty of.

The unprovoked attack by the mob against my artwork was seen only by me. I simply disabled comments and stopped using that platform for new work. It was not a big ordeal involving crimes committed against me, like other situations were. This really was nothing at all… only a few anonymous hateful trolls. It could have become something more if I’d engaged with them, but I didn’t.

However, the incident stirred an expected response in me. I felt violated, as if my personal diary had been read and condemned. I felt protective of this art and didn’t share it much. Why did I feel such a personal connection to this particular painting? I’ve had to reflect on this to write today’s blog post.

While this angel doesn’t look like me, and while no one has given any attention to it as a signature piece of mine, nonetheless, it is this one that I connect with the most. It makes me feel powerful emotions and brings tears to my eyes. This is how I feel about the beauty of life in an ugly and hostile world, a world where joy and grief exist alongside each other.

I love my family so deeply that I cannot bear the thought of them in pain, in fear, or gone from me. The joy of loving them, juxtaposed with the fear of losing them (or them losing me) is what living full out is all about. We cannot have joy without an awareness of grief. Yet every day that we are blessed to share life’s journey is full, happy, and even if woven with trivial irritations or concerns- ultimately beautiful when we are brave enough to love.

Love is like this angel. God’s creation, the elements of nature, surrounds her; ivy is a shelter above her head and autumn leaves cushion her feet. She is not consumed by fire. Though the flames may rage, she remains beautiful and kind. She holds peace of spirit in her hand. 

When I looked out my patio glass at this very second, I could see three, no FIVE, birds right now. Two of them are cardinals. The other three look to be finches. They were perched peacefully alongside each other, occasionally fluttering to change positions. They are still there, but continuously flutter and move, so by the time I finish this blog post they will have moved on. A hummingbird has now joined in, had a nip, and is already gone. This is how fast things move in the bird world of nature.

But there are times when I am among them, when I dare not breathe lest they fly away… when they trust me to stand very near them, sharing space in the natural world, where nothing matters except this moment. We are truly living when we stand in love, extending peace, when the flames of this world can’t consume us, and when God’s protection is over our heads and beneath our feet.

We are blessed to be alive another day, and for me, I’m marking another year. May we have many more years together, as you journey with me to reach my lifetime goal of 1k finished paintings. Happy Birthday to me.

🎂

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