Patio Friends

First, the oil painting, then the story behind it… make sure you don’t miss the footage I took from my patio.

Watch me paint this hummingbird in under a minute (time lapse)

"This is a little guy that visits our patio feeder regularly. I get so much joy from seeing birds. It’s hard to explain why it would even matter to see these tiny creatures, but it feels like a gift every time ... We have several varieties of hummingbirds and sometimes they fight. I call their battles “Humming Wars” because their flight patterns and the whoosh/zoom noise they make reminds me of Star Wars’ special effects. Sometimes one of them will blitz by our heads if we are in their flight path. It’s a privilege when the hummingbirds interact with us. When they’re just peeking inside the glass to beg for their feeder to be filled, it’s not a high quality conversation, but there have been rare occasions when they’ve communicated with us without apparent self-serving motive. I was sitting on the swing one evening with my husband. We were quietly talking, when a hummingbird appeared. He looked directly at me, and then zipped toward my head, and hovered only a few inches from my face. It was a bit unnerving, as we made unwavering eye contact for several seconds. Then, I guess his curiosity was satisfied because he left. I could exhale again, whew! I thought he might have tried pecking at my nose for nectar."

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

Update to the above story…


My phone app alerted me that animated gifs were automatically generated from my photo albums. My pictures of one of our patio friends have now made this ruby throated hummingbird a movie star, debuting right here on this blog! (see gif below)

Hummingbird feeders take up very little space and you can enjoy them on a small patio or balcony. When your circumstances restrict you from a big garden, you don’t have to deprive yourself of patio friends. When we feed the birds, they visit us, and they are delightful company!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

Painting on Black

Painting on black canvas is a fun exercise that pushes an artist to try new styles and techniques. The coating on a black canvas is often different, and possibly powdery. The stark contrast between the black background and wet oil paint can make the colors seem luminescent, which may be the desired effect for certain projects. I was happy with how this gorgeous bird turned out on black canvas. He’s called a “Painted Bunting“, and appeared one day out of the blue on our patio. Of course I had to paint him! A glowing vibrant painting effect was perfect to show off his vivid colors.

Painting on black canvas can be a surprising choice for some projects, making old standards fresh and contemporary. “Peaches in a Bowl” has an old school traditional fine arts look to it, with a twist. The glowing colors look almost chalk-like, yet this art was painted with oils. Changing our medium can lead to unexpected outcomes and (perhaps unintentional) renaissance.

This last example, “Miki’s Dragon”, illustrates when the medium is a perfect match for the subject. The project goal was to create a vivid red dragon that personifies the friend I was painting this for. A pediatric ER doctor, she collects dragons and was over the moon to see herself “as a dragon”. The dragon has her purple hair, is holding her initial M, and its tail is the medical symbol, the Caduceus. But, one of the most important elements is what was made possible by painting on black canvas- the fierce quality of the vibrant red, as it honors her strong spirit and captures her bold personality. I painted this art as a thank you gift, and when she looks at it, she is reminded of who she is. 

Oil painting of a red dragon

Experimenting with different mediums can lead to trying new styles and possibly even stumbling upon new methods, ideas, and techniques that will enrich our artistic journey forever. One creative venture leads to another. Do you remember “Eye of the Storm” from my previous blog about Painting Storms? That art was also painted on black canvas and I love the way our planet looks surreal through “glowing” colors. By the way, writing this blog has given me an idea for a future painting on black. This is how it is, when we expand our minds by trying something new… our imaginations are charged up and unstoppable!


Watch Natalie paint this art in 1 minute (time lapse)

This pair of male and female goldfinches was painted for the children’s story “Bird Days” and is also included in the book “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Nature”. Prints available below.

“Goldfinches” oil painting by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

Small Print “Goldfinches”

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


Medium Print “Goldfinches”

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


Large Print “Goldfinches”

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