The Unusual

Watch this oil painting of the mother of Jesus “Mary of God’s Favor” come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse)

This oil painting was inspired by a statue I saw in Savannah, Georgia (and was for the art collection and book “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Savannah, Georgia”). It turned out a bit odd, but just like I talked about before, in the blog post “Art I Don’t Like“, once I share my art it doesn’t belong to just me anymore. Art is a language and what it means is left up to the viewer. The meaning can even change depending on the mood, perspective, and time that the viewer sees it. Something we saw in it yesterday, may look different today.

When I shared this art inspired by a statue of Mary, someone felt a strong connection to it. He had an emotional response to this piece that I must respect, even though I personally think this art is unusual and even awkward. That’s definitely not how this man saw it. He felt that this painting resonated with his spiritual connection to Mary, and to his faith in general.

I’m going to keep on painting, always working toward my lifetime goal of 1k finished works, and along the way, there will be times when my journey isn’t about me. Instead of dismissing ideas or chucking my work in the bin, I will be generous about sharing paintings that I don’t feel a connection to, knowing that someone else might. What is unusual and off-putting to one person may be special and emotionally important to another.

May this be a metaphor for our lives. We may not always know when our inner light shines brightly for another person. Never hide yourself away from others. Even when it’s difficult, intimidating, awkward, or humbling, let us pledge to be generous about sharing who we are. Our energy is a language and a gift that is meant to be shared. We may not see what others see in us, but what they see may be exactly what they need. This is a hurting world. May our light shine even when we don’t feel worthy or special. We are a work of art that has value when shared.

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Art I Don’t Like

Watch this yellow butterfly painting come alive

in about 2 minutes (time lapse)

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.

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October Morning Surprise

Do you remember when I shared my outdoor painting experience this spring? Watch my Plein Air oil painting experiment in this 2.5 minute time lapse

What is fun?

Watch this oil painting of my son jumping in leaves come to life in 48 seconds (time lapse) You might remember when I shared this

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

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

Roaring, Snarling or?

You might remember when I painted the snarling lion in the video above, as it was fairly recently (August). Perhaps you see him as growling

Seasonal Perspective

Watch oil painting “Trees and Stream” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse) When I shared this painting with you in July, I was thinking

A Rose by Any Other Name

Watch this rose oil painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) The old saying “a rose by any other name”, derived from Shakespeare,

Grace Will Lead me Home

When we were planning our move to Ireland, I was grieving the loss of my only remaining parent, my mom (Dad died when I was

A Month Ago

I painted this just over a month ago, you might remember when I shared it. It feels like much longer to me. Does it to

Orchard Season

Watch this oil painting of an apple tree branch come to life in 1 minute (time lapse) Have you been enjoying pumpkin spice goodies and

Seeing the Future

You might remember when I painted this and shared it on the blog in August. At the time I predicted that I’d want to share

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

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

Experimentation

Watch this owl and rabbit landscape oil painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) You might remember when I blogged about this. I

Art Imitates Art

Watch this oil painting of a little girl in a tree come to life in under 2 minutes (time lapse) When my dad was stationed

Thankful Anyway

Watch this oil painting “Prayer of Praise” come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) It may be hard to feel like this today, a

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

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

Lion of Judah oil painting by Natalie Buske Thomas

Quiet Lion

Watch me paint this lion oil painting in 2 minutes (time lapse) I changed the music for this video today. Whatever you’re experiencing, you probably

Not Again!

Watch this oil painting about the dark side of the animal kingdom come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) I don’t have a painting

Happy Grief?

Watch this hedgehog oil painting come to life in about 1 minute (time lapse) You might remember when I painted this one and shared it

Melancholy

Watch this lighthouse painting come to life in 1 minute (time lapse) I share this one when I’m feeling melancholic, flitting back and forth between

History

Watch this oil painting of the day (July 23, 2020) that the Statue of Liberty in New York City looked to have been struck by

Are you my Friend?

Watch me paint “Breakfast with Friends” in 2 minutes

(time lapse)

There are powerful occasions when we bond instantly with random strangers whose timelines intersect with ours, whether briefly or stretched out for years- perhaps even lifelong from that point forward. It could be as a result of a traumatic event that we share, such as meeting in a hospital setting while suffering from similar crises, or being on the scene of the same tragedy. It could be that we share school experiences or summer camps during our childhood, military service, working together, or living in the same space. “Space” may be literal, as in the people in our home, community, work place, or school. But space may also be virtual, like what is happening right at this moment as you read my words to you

I painted this art called “Breakfast with Friends” for the book project “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Savannah, Georgia“. It was meant to illustrate the section about coffee houses and tea shops in the area, but I don’t go to any such shops. I have visited only one, and it was because I was in the city for a one-time event that restricted my movements for a few hours. I wasn’t at the coffee shop organically, but simply because it was near and I was “stuck” on foot, waiting for someone. So, I felt it wasn’t genuine for me to paint a coffee shop as if I have authentic fond memories of patronage.

Instead, I painted how I really take my coffee (or tea… these days I drink more tea than coffee, even though I prefer coffee). I have breakfast at my keyboard. As I’m waking up, I catch up with whatever I may have missed while I was sleeping. Then, I connect with people. Back when I painted this, I was on social media and I’d post threads that many of the same people would engage in. 

These people felt like my co-workers, as I work from home and I’d chat with them as I started my work day. In the background, I was working. I’d flip tabs to check back on conversations. It helped the more tedious and boring aspects of my work go by faster, and kept me on track when doing routine tasks. I’d hold myself accountable by posting what I was doing that day, knowing I’d feel like a fraud if I didn’t actually follow through.

I stayed on track with my goals and ambitions because I’d announce my plans, knowing I’d feel pressure to prove that I’d done as I said I’d do. Because of this, my virtual friends made me better. Of course work wasn’t the only connection between us. I was a good listener when someone had something heavy on their heart, and I hope that I was of service and comfort to my friends. Usually though, we didn’t speak directly to each other, only “around” each other, and that apparently is enough to feel among friends.

Sometimes all it takes is to share our thoughts in a space like this, if we sense that people receive our words in camaraderie. There is a kinship among other creatives, writers, and artists, and anyone who appreciates creative work. There is a connection simply by reading or seeing the works of others.

I’ve mentioned several times, in various context, that I’m no longer active on any social media. The only place I engage in a virtual space is here, on my blog. My breakfast routine is now shared with you. Are you my friend? Without realizing it, the answer is YES- if you come to my space and feel goodwill vibes, fellowship, and intimacy that comes about when we feel understood. If you feel a connection to my words or my art, if you feel uplifted after spending time with me, then YES, you are my friend. If this is you, even if you never reveal yourself in a comment, my “Breakfast with Friends” painting is a tribute to YOU.  

I’d pour you a cuppa and throw on an extra egg or two… although today I had a caramel-salt mini cheesecake crumble muffin for breakfast. I made these special treats for an event on Sunday and I noticed that the crumble reminded me of a coffee cake, so of course I shall now have the leftovers for breakfast! So, in the revised painting, imagine a splendid muffin sitting there. Good morning, dear friends!

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