Christmas Surprises

Photo of the branding iron (right) and a little sample of how it looks when imprinted (left)

One of the surprises I was most looking forward to being revealed, was a custom branding iron that I got for my husband. I collaborated with my oldest daughter who created the art I wanted for the logo. We decided that an osprey was a good choice, since he loves seeing ospreys fly over our yard, especially the time when we saw one catch a fish. So, we captured that in a logo and added “Wood Crafted by …..” his name. We worked with a Russian craftsman online to get this to come together. It was a very fun experience and special. I couldn’t wait for him to see this!

Husband realizing what his Christmas present is
Husband showing off his custom wood working branding iron

He does beautiful projects, like original musical instruments. See this dragon shaped violin he made for our youngest daughter.

Custom dragon shaped violin, wood carved and hand crafted by my husband

I will show you more of his work in future blog posts. But this is enough to show you that he really needs to stamp his work with his own logo and name, as these pieces will be heirlooms and are very special to us, as he is special to us!

I hope that you too had Christmas surprises that are meaningful and joyful. I will share a few other things later. Enjoy your holiday break and make many wonderful memories!


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“The Christmas Dance”

Watch Natalie paint this art in 2 minutes (time lapse)

“The Christmas Dance” is part of the 2022 collection “Seasons” (of life and nature) and debuted as a featured painting in Christmas Show 2021. Paintings in this collection celebrate seasons of life (metaphorical, representational, or inspired-by-real-life scenes about milestones, rites of passage, and shared human experiences of love, aging, family, and beyond) as well as seasons of nature (literal scenes depicting autumn, summer, fall, and winter). “The Christmas Dance” represents love and relationships as they change, and how the connection becomes deeper over time. This painting will be published in the book “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Seasons”. [due to the personal nature of this art, the artist has requested that prints of this painting are not for sale]

“The Christmas Dance” by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

Video Channel

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Playlists on this page  (scroll down to view each one):

Series 4: 2022 in progress “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Seasons”

Series 3: 2021 “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Nature”

Series 2: 2020 “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by my Christian Faith”

Series 1: 2019 “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Savannah, Georgia”

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Shop Prints

“Autumn Leaves” is available as a print.

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Shop Prints

“Mountain Landscape” is available as a print.

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Shop Prints

“Cardinals” is available as a print. This painting was created for the children’s book “Bird Days” and is also included in the collection “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by my Christian Faith”.

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Update

Watch oil painting “Painting Colors” come to life in about 1 minute (time lapse)

I like to use this painting for my updates. The music in the video is an instrumental version of “Be Thou my Vision”. The lyrics are appropriate for how I feel as an artist.

My update: Well, today isn’t going to work out for painting. I do plan to have the next one ready to share soon, but it probably won’t be tomorrow. I’d planned tentatively in my head for tomorrow, but I’m fine with a delay. I’m ahead of schedule, as I’ve been working on the 2022 collection for a while now. This gives me leeway to take my time if other things pop up or if lighting conditions aren’t great (natural sunlight coming in through the windows is preferred over solely artificial lighting).

In other news-

The holiday show is coming along. It’s a Christmas one, and will be the last live-taping event show I do for 2021. You’ve met my whole family by now in the videos I share, but this will be the first painting variety show in which all of them will make a guest appearance at the same time. I hope that you tune in when I share it and please share it with others. There are so few of us producing original shows that are positive and authentic. I want my work, and my family’s gift of their time and talents as well, to make a difference. For a short half hour, may we bring hope and smiles to you through our singing, dancing, art, and happiness (and one surprise act that I’m not telling you, as it would be a spoiler!).

In the end, it’s not about the talent, work ethic, or social power of what we create. It’s about the lives we touch and the love we share. These are challenging times. We need for every lit candle to light another. So, please do share my special show when I share it with you. And if you could also hold supportive thoughts for us as we begin to tape this show soon, I’d appreciate that as well.

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“Autumn Leaves”

Watch Natalie paint this art in 2 minutes (time lapse)

“Autumn Leaves” is part of the 2022 collection “Seasons” (of life and nature). Paintings in this collection celebrate seasons of life (metaphorical, representational, or inspired-by-real-life scenes about milestones, rites of passage, and shared human experiences of love, aging, family, and beyond) as well as seasons of nature (literal scenes depicting autumn, summer, fall, and winter). “Autumn Leaves” represents the change of seasons and the spiritual process of letting go. [prints available below]

Oil painting “Autumn Leaves” by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

Small Print “Autumn Leaves”

All small prints are approximately 8 x 10. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.

$33.50

Medium Print “Autumn Leaves”

All medium prints are approximately 16 x 20. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.

$65.50

Autumn Leaves oil painting by artist Natalie Buske Thomas 300 dpi

Large Print “Autumn Leaves”

All large prints are approximately 24 x 30. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.

$98.50

50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Seasons (of Life and Nature)

Oil painting “Generational Tree” by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

Seasons

“Seasons (of life and nature)” is the current collection, for 2022: New art is added as Natalie finishes each piece. Subscribe to Natalie’s blog to receive notifications of new paintings on the very day she finishes them. Scroll down to see the menu of finished paintings and the progress made on this collection to date.

Paintings in this collection celebrate seasons of life (metaphorical, representational, or inspired-by-real-life scenes about milestones, rites of passage, and shared human experiences of love, aging, family, and beyond) as well as seasons of nature (literal scenes depicting autumn, summer, fall, and winter). Natalie’s art is produced as free videosprints for sale, fashion and books. Links to art in the collection are on this page and will be updated as each new painting is finished. “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Seasons” (book four in the “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by” series) is scheduled to be published in November 2022. Previous finished collections in the “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by” series: Nature (2021), Christian Faith (2020), and Savannah, Georgia (2019).

List of Oil Paintings in this Collection, linking to their pages here on the site, and also citing physical pages in the upcoming hardcover book:

  1. Spring and Summer
    1.1  page 6-7
    1.2 page 8-11
    1.3 page 12-13
    1.4 page 14-15
    1.5 page 16-17
    1.6 page 18-19
    1.7 page 20-21
    1.8 page 22-23
    1.9 page 24-25
    1.10 page 26-27
  2. Weddings and Babies
    2.1 page 30-31
    2.2 page 32-33
    2.3 page 34-35
    2.4 page 36-37
    2.5 page 38-39
    2.6 page 40-41
    2.7 page 42-43
    2.8 page 44-45
  3. Autumn and Harvest
    3.1 “Autumn Leaves” page 48-49
    3.2 “Pumpkin Carving” page 50-51
    3.3 “Pumpkin Latte” page 52-53
    3.4 “Apple Orchard” page 54-55
    3.5 “Campfire” page 56-57
    3.6 “Thanksgiving” page 58-59
  4. Changes and Milestones
    4.1 page 62-63
    4.2 page 64-65
    4.3 page 66-67
    4.4 page 68-69
    4.5 page 70-71
    4.6 page 72-73
    4.7 page 74-77
    4.8 “Generational Tree” page 78-79 
  5. Winter and Bereavement
    5.1 page 82-83
    5.2 page 84-85
    5.3 page 86-87
    5.4 page 88-89
    5.5 page 90-91
    5.6 page 92-93
    5.7 page 94-95
    5.8 page 96-97
    5.9 page 98-99
  6. Celebrations and Holidays
    6.1 “The Christmas Dance” page 102-103
    6.2 “Nativity Scene” page 104-105
    6.3  page 106-107
    6.4  page 108-109
    6.5  page 110-111
    6.6 page 112-113
    6.7 page 114-115
    6.8 page 116-117
    6.9 page 118-119

Natalie’s lifetime goal is 1k finished oil paintings. Join her on her journey by following her blog.

Painting Storms

Eye of the Storm” was inspired by maps that track hurricanes. The dangerous swirls were created with thick layers and vivid white paint (White Titanium). Frantic paint strokes and stark contrasting colors create tension. The danger and excitement of a storm is expressed with confident lines, bold colors, and heavy texture.

Oil Painting "Eye of the Storm" by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

This next oil painting, “Statue of Liberty Struck by Lightning“, was inspired by news photographs of this real occurrence in New York City in 2020. Slightly skewed and unnaturally fluorescent, the effect is somewhat surreal, which lends itself well to the awe and wonder of lightning strikes during a storm– especially when the target of the strike is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world!

Storms can be depicted through stark contrasts, heavy texture, confident paint strokes, and skewed surreal perspective. This final example shows a different approach. “Waves of the Sea” is about the anticipation of a storm. The waves are painted in an unnaturally ordered way. The sky looks like it’s getting dark. There’s a feeling of the wind picking up, even though there’s nothing in the painting that’s blowing. The lighthouse stands ready to lead sailors home.

Oil Painting "Waves of the Sea" by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

Painting Music

The connection between art and music is very strong. Sometimes when I hear music, I imagine what I’d paint to express the song. An idea flickered through my mind that I could collaborate with indie musicians and songwriters to create something truly original… never before seen!

My painting experiment pushed me to new heights and helped me grow as an artist. This first piece was inspired by the original composition of a talented pianist. When I heard it, I asked him if I could use his music as inspiration for my next painting.  I painted what I see in my head when I hear his beautiful music. “Dancer in a Floral Forest” is the result (the composer is credited in the video).

This next piece was selected for its lyrics. Words are a powerful inspiration for art. When I heard these lyrics for “Be Strong”, I knew it was an excellent choice for my painting project “Eagle and Dove”, also known as “Peace through Strength”. Credits to the singer/songwriter appear at the end of the video.

In this last example, I wanted to be brave with creativity. I composed my first ever original piano piece, which is simple, slow, and expressive. I created this music for my oil painting “Serenity Piano”. 

I now create shows that incorporate my singing, music, and dancing into live painting. Some of the show format is “variety show” style, in which these acts are performed separately, but sometimes I combine them… like singing while I paint live. I want to continue to push the boundaries and try new ways to express what’s in my heart, whether it’s profound, silly, bittersweet, or joyful. Our human experience shines brighter when shared through music and art.

Painting Imaginary Places

The reaction to my art is very individual, as is art in general. What is “meh” to one person, may be emotionally powerful to another. I sometimes paint from real life scenes, photographs, or memories, but other times I invent the entire concept from start to finish- just letting my imagination flow. It’s fascinating when people connect deeply to a place that only existed in my mind, but once painted, now exists in the natural world as if it were a real place. The place is real to the person who connects with it.

Someone told me (after seeing my “Mountain Landscape” video, below), “I want to go there!” The trouble is, this place doesn’t exist other than in this painting. I didn’t even look at anything to paint it. I just put music on and let the scene take on a life of its own. 

The water is a moving, active element. I let the flow of the water direct the painting. In this way, the scene fell into an organic sense of order, as the scene mimicked the natural world. Water often shapes our landscape.

In the first painting I shared, “Dove in a Forest”, the scene looks less natural because it is rigid and orderly. The trees are like columns. But this style appeals to many, and that piece is a favorite of one of my dear friends. I tried to learn what people like about it, but they find it hard to describe.

Maybe it has something to do with the contrast between the still and wooden quality of the unnaturally orderly forest and the beauty of the living dove, who is in flight? The greens, odd blues, and browns of the forest are in stark contrast to the bright white dove, who seems to glow. Contrasting elements that share the same space can be felt as “balance”. Balance and harmony are peaceful.

Let’s talk now about the third painting I shared, “Rose in a Moonlit Forest”. This one is more about an imagined emotional and mental space, than about a fantasy imaginary place. First, I’ll share the video.

You may have noticed that this piece originally had a different title- “Blooming Through”. This art was painted for a charity auction to benefit families with children who have autism.

(autistic mind is) like a solitary rose growing against all odds inside a stone wall, surrounded by an environment that is quiet, dark, and yet when the moon shines- a brief, perhaps rare, light- is mysteriously beautiful.

Natalie Buske Thomas, "50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Nature" Tweet

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 Experiment

Painting 1
A simple oil painting of a closed flower
Painting 2
A second painting of the bud opening
Previous
Next

See this art come to Life!

This was a fun painting experiment to see how feasible it would be to create a very basic, crude “stop motion” style animation by painting a series of similar living objects and then putting the video together as one. To make this video truly incredible, I would have had to paint probably 100 different versions of each painting, to show all of the steps in each transition. Obviously I wasn’t committed to doing that!

But, this quick method of painting an illusion of a flower coming to life was emotionally satisfying, especially when set to music. The motion of watching the paintbrush move creates a life of its own, so this is really a whole new type of animation. I’m happy with the effect and, now that I see how well it works, I’d like to try it again in the future with something more complicated and detailed.

I love inventing new methods for how I do things, and experimenting with ideas. To save time and cost, I painted on tiny square canvases for this project, which made the effort a bit tedious. I used fine detail brushes and felt very constrained. I had a headache when done, as I couldn’t freely paint in my usual style and had to stay so tightly on task. But, it was the right decision because I wanted to fit this little game in between other projects I’m doing. As a working artist, sometimes I have to modify how I create art, so that I can stay on schedule. It’s a worthy sacrifice because it pushes me to produce more work and become who I want to be.

I call this series “Crocus in Snow“.  When the first flowers pop up through the ground- even through snow- our hearts leap with hope that spring is coming soon. Some winters are darker and longer than others. A simple flower means so much.