These flowers are probably the closest thing I have right now to what my new “Freedom Rose” looks like, but imagine the buds and open flowers as much more yellow (not an orange yellow) and more closed/structured petals and shape (like a perfect little rose). I’ll take a picture of my roses in the near future. They are truly beautiful and I look forward to bringing them to our new house!
My nerves are still running high as we’ve not yet closed on the house and something could still go wrong in the process. I’m trying not to let my worries get the better of me. When my new roses opened up today it was like a sign of encouragement. We see what we look for. If we look for signs of bad weather, we’ll see dark clouds. If we look for signs of hope, we’ll see beauty. God bless you and yours. Enjoy your weekend!
Sharing one of the presents from each family member of this theme: the nature that I love and share with you all here, through my oil paintings and stories. The above video shows the gifts my husband and oldest daughter gave me for my garden and the images below show the bird and butterfly related gifts from my younger two kids.
It feels good when the people we love understand who we are and what makes us happy. I loved receiving presents to help me enjoy my garden and beloved birds and nature. It is a Merry Christmas indeed! God’s world is a gift for everyone. JOY TO THE WORLD!
What we see and feel about art is highly individual, personal, and intimate. It’s always interesting to see what people respond to, and what they like. It’s even more intriguing when the work I don’t like is a favorite of others- like this yellow butterfly which I didn’t enjoy painting, even though I tried to and had a few fleeting moments that felt sort of like joy. And then I didn’t like the finished art either. I was frustrated by it and almost binned it.
But it ticked off a box for a project goal and it would have been foolish to dump it, and get behind schedule, just because I didn’t personally care for it. So, I was committed to it. Well, my daughter really liked this one. I suppose that’s not too surprising, since sometimes we have the exact same taste in something (and compete to grab it first!), and other times we are polar opposites.
Later, when I shared this painting, one of my customers said she really liked this one, as one of her favorite works I’ve done. REALLY? But why? The thing is, I can’t even say why I don’t like it. I don’t know why. I just don’t. And that intrigues me… it’s how I know I’ve made it as an artist. My art isn’t about me and as soon as I set my paintbrush down, it no longer belongs to just me. It doesn’t even matter if I personally don’t like my art or if I don’t connect with it. Someone else will, and it’s not up to me to decide which paintings they can connect with and which ones I don’t allow them to see. No, art as a vocation is a language that is shared without censorship, not even self-censorship.
Now, obviously if my painting fails to make a project goal at some point- which has never happened- then I can justify binning it. But I’m past the skill level for that to happen. I’m rather stuck with my projects if my only real issue is “I don’t like it”. I don’t have to like it. If I insist that all of my paintings must be to my personal taste, I’ll never reach my lifetime goal of 1k finished paintings, and I’ll also have a one-sided conversation. Sometimes others connected differently to art than I do. What I might see as a disappointment, another person may see as special. Why is my perspective superior to theirs? It isn’t.
This same philosophy can be applied to all human interactions and ways of communicating. We must be humble enough to lay down our impulse to be the arbitrator of what people should connect with or what they should hear, see, do, think, feel and believe. We are not all the same, but our needs are the same. We all need to be respected for who we are, given freedom to think as we wish, and an opportunity to reject or connect on a deeper level to things that we can’t explain.
Watch my poor beautiful butterfly tree come to life in under 1 minute (time lapse), flowers only… and then in the painting below you can see the full butterfly tree. My heart broke when this tree died this year so I special ordered a new seedling.
So, one tree dies and another is born. I hope my new seedling grows healthy and is soon tall with many flowers. It’s doing well so far and is currently looking healthy. I have a rather somber, but also uplifting story about a human life that dies and another is born. I will save that story for tomorrow.
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Grandpa Smiles is my first oil painting book. I wrote it about my son and my late father. Dad died young (age thirty-seven) after losing his battle with cancer. He didn’t live to see me grow up, get married, and have children. But somehow, my son has a special bond with the grandpa he never met. This simple picture book illustrates how Grandpa smiles; watching over his grandson’s life from birth and every year since.
“This art ‘Blue Butterfly’ (the ‘Flutters By’ scene) is the third illustration for my first oil painting book Grandpa Smiles, published in 2014. It is a short sweet inspirational and comforting children’s book about losing a grandparent. A family’s love is forever.”
“That’s me, on the swing. My real life swing is actually a rather cheap, much smaller, version of this, but I enjoy my time on the patio. The morning glory vines along the top were real, but we later yanked them out because birds were perching on it and pooping on the swing! The birds don’t usually come around all at once, but all of these do visit our patio in the places I’ve painted them. The bluebirds visit seldomly, while the cardinals and hummingbirds are here every day and I’ve begun to think of them as my friends!
The potted red roses and wisteria are real, as are the plants in the white trellis/planter combo my husband made for me (lavender and a grape vine). The pink vines I painted aren’t there, but were planned to be- ditto for the potted Gerber Daisies. The white roses in the foreground aren’t there- that’s where my patio door is. I’ll explain the rest of this painting over the next two pages (refers to physical book- here on website, just scroll down).
My real life patio is about half this size, and there’s no path leading off to a secondary garden (no hedges or white picket fence either). The forestry is real. It surrounds a lagoon (man-made retention pond that isn’t in this painting, but is in the Blue Heron and Savannah Snow paintings). Our yard ends very near the patio.
Years ago, we owned a hobby farm in rural Minnesota, but the company my husband worked for moved to Canada and ghosted the town. We sold our house and started a new life. It’s been a long, uncertain journey. We are finally rebuilding our lives, although it means renting a small house with a tiny yard for a few years.
While I no longer have our Babydoll Southdown sheep, hens, or other animals, the wild birds keep me company. My garden patio is full of life, and I am content to wait for our lives to take off once again. We will have our own home again one day. For now, this is my home- home is where our heart is.
More about the painting: The tree on the right is the butterfly tree that I showed you in a previous painting. The shepherd’s hook is there, with the bird feeder below it. The cardinals sometimes pose exactly like this. We’ve changed things up a bit since I did this painting. We’ve added a red tower for smaller birds, that’s supposed to attract the elusive migratory Painted Bunting I showed you earlier. We’ll see, come spring!
This type of flower is called a Cherokee Rose. I’ve been told that it can take up a lot of space, so I’ll need to wait until we have a bigger yard before adding this flower to my real life garden. It is the state flower of Georgia, so I painted it separately as well (next painting).”
List of Oil Paintings in this Collection, linking to their pages here on the site, and also citing physical pages in the hardcover book: