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.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Worn

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.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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. 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

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.

🎂

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

New Painting – Something Beautiful

Watch me paint “Flower Angel” in just over 2 minutes (time lapse). Please turn sound on to hear the beautiful music that brings emotion to this experience.

 

I put the last brush stroke on this painting this morning. It is still on my easel. And now the afternoon is before me, with glorious sunshine and plans to spend time with my family and in spiritual reflection. We have another new week ahead to prepare our minds, bodies and spirits for. Rest well, my friends.

Never miss a new painting

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

New Painting

Are you enjoying autumn treats? My daughters love the specialty coffee and snacks that come out this time of year. They especially love their sister

Read More »

Autumn in 2021

Watch oil painting “Autumn Tree” come to life in under 2 minutes This short project began with an abstract background. Next, while it was still

Read More »

New Painting

Watch my new painting “Pumpkin Carving” come to life in just over 2 minutes (time lapse) Father and son enjoying an autumn custom of cleaning

Read More »

Worn

Watch this “Armor of God” oil painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) There’s a lot going on in the world today, and

Read More »

New Painting

Watch me paint this “Autumn Leaves” oil painting in 2 minutes (time lapse) No matter what is happening in the world or in our personal

Read More »

Peace or Hate?

Why do people destroy what others create? First the painting, then the inspiration behind it and an update. Do you choose peace or hate?

Watch me paint this angel and dove in 2 minutes (time lapse)

"Bonaventure Cemetery was made famous when one of its sculptures, a statue known as 'Bird Girl', was featured as a book cover and in the movie 'Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil'. The statue was such an attraction that it needed to be removed to preserve it from the many hands of tourists, and damage from vandals as well. It was relocated to the art museum (Telfair Museums’ Telfair Academy), where I was able to view it. Angel statues in the historic Savannah cemeteries inspired me to paint an angel in a similar pose and style to the stone sculptures. My angel is in full color with a fantasy landscape as if giving life to what was cold and dead. As fall represents death yet contradicts itself in color, forecasting an impending stillness yet change, visiting the memorials felt much like the changing of seasons. There was peace and beauty yet bittersweet, as endings and loss permeate the grounds."

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

Update to the above story…

When I wrote that description and gave mention to the angel statue needing to be moved so that it would not be destroyed by vandals, I had no way of knowing that I too would need to move my angel (from virtual- but nonetheless real- spaces) to protect her from being destroyed. Worse, I needed to move her to protect myself from being destroyed, attacked and “cancelled”. For what was meant to be a gift of peace to anyone and everyone who wished to view my oil paintings, became a target for acts of hate.

Sometimes I am attacked as a person. Sometimes it’s over something I’ve written, posted, or shared. Other times, the attacks are over a specific work. In this case, a mob took issue with the race of my angel. I make no apologies for painting a classical style angel, nor for painting figures who resemble people in my family. I will never accept guilt for things I am not guilty of. However, since it was clear that this mob had no intention of ending their hate campaign, I disabled all comments and moved my art away from platforms that give these despicable people access to me and my work.

Just like the original statue that inspired me to paint an outdoor-nature-scene angel featuring a bird, I had to “move” my angel to protect her from being destroyed. Why do people destroy things that others create? Why do they want to hurt artists and others who share words, music, or art? These things do no harm to anyone, even if the content feels hostile or unwelcome. The answer to disagreement is to create counter arguments, not destroy what others create.

I’ve many experiences with hate, and some of those involve legal crimes committed against me. For this and many other reasons I’m no longer active on social media. Because I removed myself from that world, my work is seen by only a few (for now; I expect that to change). As a blacklisted person I was censored on all major tech platforms anyway, and I’ve had to learn how to navigate these digital means of communication around the many blockades set before me. At this point, I have let go of these concerns. Whoever is meant to see my art will see it. It is more important that I refuse to let people destroy me.

For whatever we intend for peace, we must protect from those who wish to destroy it (us). It’s not enough to create and then cower as passive victims. Never let hyenas surround and attack you until you are destroyed. Be the lion who walks away from them all, with nothing but a few tears to his mane. We are at spiritual war with those who want to control expression; with those who have installed themselves as arbiters of what is acceptable, what is good, and what is evil. 

When we know the intentions of our hearts and we are not guilty, we must not act as if we are. When unjustly attacked, do not argue your case. Move your spirit and your work to a protected space. We validate the mob when we defend ourselves, as we validate that there is an argument to refute. Lies, smears, character defamation and slander/libel are not valid arguments. Do not consent to hate.

I used the word “peace” in my blog title instead of love. Often, we hear the false dichotomy of “love or hate”. This idea that we have only two choices is not true. There are other options we can choose. It’s unrealistic to expect us to love each other, if using a definition of love that requires too much of ourselves. The type of love for one’s enemy is more like “peace”. 

We must not choose bitterness, resentment, and a vengeful nature, as it will consume us as our enemies desire. But we are not forced into an illogical fallacy of love or hate. We may choose peace.

I choose peace for my enemies. It’s a type of love that I can offer authentically. Peace releases me from the anger, resentment and despondency that I may otherwise feel if I cannot let go and forgive. Loss of hope and loss of courage are what the enemy wants. 

Depression of spirit can destroy creation. And that is what the true end game is! Enemies seek to destroy not only what has been created, but the creators themselves, and ultimately the act of creation.

It’s difficult to understand this type of pettiness, evil and desire to control others, and perhaps it’s too horrible of a reality for some to believe. Therefore people hold fast to the idea that such evil and thirst for control does not exist. But if one believes in love, one must acknowledge hate and a raw malice that has no respect for human life, not even the helpless and vulnerable, not even children and babies. 

We hope for peace when we know war. Never deny the dangers of this world, but always stand firm in courage. Even the smallest acts of standing our ground lead to big movements, in which peace wins over hate. Let no one stop you from creating what is in your heart.

Don't miss blog posts and new painting announcements!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

New Painting

Are you enjoying autumn treats? My daughters love the specialty coffee and snacks that come out this time of year. They especially love their sister

Read More »

Autumn in 2021

Watch oil painting “Autumn Tree” come to life in under 2 minutes This short project began with an abstract background. Next, while it was still

Read More »

New Painting

Watch my new painting “Pumpkin Carving” come to life in just over 2 minutes (time lapse) Father and son enjoying an autumn custom of cleaning

Read More »

Mythical Blue Cardinal

First, my oil painting of a blue heron and the update. Then, the mysterious and bizarre story about what happened yesterday! Don’t miss my challenge to you to “go blue”.

Watch me paint this blue heron in under 1 minute (time lapse)

“A strikingly beautiful blue heron appeared at the lagoon one day. I quickly took its picture to paint later. This is a different style from how I usually paint. It looks like a watercolor because I was trying to get away with using cheap paints that turned out to be watery and hard to work with. This was a happy accident, because the watercolor-like effect captured the mood. He has only made one more appearance that I know of, but I hope he will return next spring. On the day he arrived, he just happened to be standing at the water’s edge when the light reflected the colors of the trees in a streaky wave of color. He was all alone, with no other birds or creatures in sight, which only added to his mysterious presence.”

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

Update to the above story…

The blue heron still comes back occasionally, always alone. We see him about 2-3 times per season. It’s always a treat to see his blue feathers and serene spirit. His presence is calming.

“Calming” and “serene” are NOT the right words to describe the bird I saw yesterday! Oh my! So, let me tell the story…

I’m just sitting at my computer, same as usual, when there’s a flurry of motion at the patio doors a couple feet away from my chair (the same patio doors I keep showing you in my other bird videos). This is a small house with only one source of windows on this side, just the patio doors. I’m inches from my portal to the outside when I’m talking to you.

I was typing when a flurry of motion caught my attention. I turn my head to see a glorious vivid neon blue bird hovering in front of the glass. Keep in mind, he is so close that I could almost touch him if not for the glass between us. At some point he stands on the welcome mat, which brings him so close to the glass that I can see his distinctive cardinal shaped head.

He looks just like a red cardinal that someone tinted blue! Now, some say that this mythical Blue Cardinal doesn’t exist, and this bird is likely a Steller’s Jay. I have looked into this, and the bird I saw doesn’t look like a Steller’s Jay enough for me to claim it as absolute. He really does look like a Blue Cardinal. He doesn’t have a dark head like the Jay, and his face looks like a Cardinal, not a Jay.

Watch the 1 minute video – in this footage you can see how he flies into the scene like a blue angel. What you don’t see, is that he did this many times prior to me getting the camera and having it ready to film him. He was also “hovering” like hummingbirds do… (unfortunately I didn’t get that on film) staying in one place, mid-air, directly in front of the patio glass, seeming to make direct eye contact with me. To be honest, it rather scared me and I called out to him, “What do you want?”

Although I didn’t get a clear shot of him on video because he was always in motion when I had the camera on him, when I saw him before I got the camera out, he stood on the welcome mat, still. I got a very clear up-close look at his face. I could identify this bird in a lineup.

My daughter saw him later in the afternoon and said she saw red markings on the tips of his wings. I don’t recall seeing that, but it’s possible I didn’t notice. The footage of him is while he’s flying and fluttering. It would be next to impossible to detect small red markings on the wings.

So, my family is now hoping to catch a glimpse of this bird. I want a good clear picture of his face to show you. This is driving my husband crazy because once again we’re talking about an exotic bird and he can’t see it. It took over a year for him to finally see the Painted Bunting with his own two eyes.

I don’t know why this bird came directly to me, and seemed to be trying to get my attention. It was unnerving. I may talk a big game, but when something happens that seems spiritual in nature, I am afraid… uncomfortable. My truest reaction is that I want the experience to stop. And then it does. If I were to hazard a guess, I’m open enough to see these wonderful things, but not quite “there” yet to see it through. I become easily spooked and then the whole thing shuts down… whatever it was.

I feel I’m getting braver. Perhaps next time I won’t panic and blurt out scared questions. I was asking the bird, “Why are you here? What do you want? Why are you doing this?” Of course I didn’t get an answer, but the bird did fly away.

Even if my blue angel meant nothing at all, but was a random intersection between nature and humanity, the quest to see a glimpse of the mythical Blue Cardinal will keep my family entertained all weekend. Hope is a gift. All it takes is one small thing to alter a mood and elevate all the people who live in this house.

Whether we wish to see the calming presence of the Blue Heron, or we seek the exhilaration of discovery in the flurry of a mythical Blue Cardinal, the quest to see something extraordinary keeps us alive. Energy begets energy. Today, I challenge you to “go blue”. Look for blue spirits in nature. Seek, and ye shall find. Report back… did you see a blue butterfly? A bird? If you see the mythical blue cardinal, take a picture!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

New Painting

Are you enjoying autumn treats? My daughters love the specialty coffee and snacks that come out this time of year. They especially love their sister

Read More »

Autumn in 2021

Watch oil painting “Autumn Tree” come to life in under 2 minutes This short project began with an abstract background. Next, while it was still

Read More »

New Painting

Watch my new painting “Pumpkin Carving” come to life in just over 2 minutes (time lapse) Father and son enjoying an autumn custom of cleaning

Read More »

Irish Art

Celtic Cross” oil painting

inspired by a gift from Ireland to Savannah, Georgia

Irish Angel” oil painting

as displayed in a gallery exhibit

Clover” oil painting

Saw this in our patio, reminded me of shamrocks

Ireland Coast” oil painting

as shared yesterday, in my St. Patrick’s Day show,

my new Irish art!