Be Thou my Vision

Singing “Be Thou my Vision” in English and Irish (Gaelic) with my daughters for Easter Show 2022

I hope you are enjoying this Easter weekend with loved ones and are feeling peace in your spirit. I’ve uploaded the Easter Show 2022 in separate short videos of the different segments (two oil paintings “Easter Lily” and “Jesus at Calvary”, two songs “I’ll Fly Away” and Irish hymn “Be Thou my Vision”). The best viewing experience is here on this site because I can upload the highest quality large HD files. However, your family and friends probably prefer to click on a platform link that they know, so I’ve put these clips and the entire show on YouTube also.


Missed it?

2021 Easter Show

If you missed last year’s Easter Show, here it is. It’s quite different from the 2022 show in many ways, but yet the general format is the same: painting and singing. This one has a story that runs via captions, and it’s more about family and tradition than this year’s deeply spiritual show. If you’ve not yet seen it, I hope that you do. It’s a much needed respite from the dystopia of our time.

On a personal note: The update from yesterday- we did not get the house. They accepted another offer. So, we’re back to looking. We are now down to three weeks to find a house and get an offer accepted in time to close before we must vacate. The housing crisis is real, folks. The rental market is even worse. Way too many folks needing houses for the few available and they are price gouging. Renters are even in bidding wars, offering to pay more than the asking rental price to get in ahead of someone else. Hopefully we’ll be able to buy a house, as that seems the better route even though we were planning on doing that next year and are having to move Heaven and Earth to make this happen now. Prayers appreciated.


Show on YouTube

Please share with your family, friends, and social media connections.

My Easter Painting Variety Show is now on YouTube, for those who prefer that platform for easy sharing. The best video quality is here on this site though, so you may want to view it here if you’ve not already seen it. I’ll make smaller clips soon of the individual segments so you can view/share your favorite parts.

Moving update: still no word on whether or not our offer on the house will be accepted. Waiting on pins and needles! Meanwhile our move out date looms ever closer and it’s feeling scary. Faith over fear. It will all work out, because it has to!


Holy Week Begins

See “Cross and Lily” oil painting come alive in under 2 minutes (time lapse)

On this Palm Sunday, may you feel encouragement for the week ahead and the hope that Easter and spring instills.

Today we put down an offer on a house- alongside at least six other competing offers! We don’t know how things will go for us, but we are expectant and hopeful, excited, and willing to put our hearts out there. The deadline for us to vacate looms, so the pressure is rising. Yet, we know it will all work out somehow. There is a future for us, a place prepared for us- may each of us believe this physically and spiritually.

Did you see my announcement yesterday about my Easter show? I launched it here on the site. I’ll be uploading it to YouTube, BitChute and possibly other platforms. I also plan to create short clips of each segment for easy sharing of favorite parts of the show. The full length Easter show is here.


Show Update

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

I finished the final taping segment for my Easter show today! When the video is finished I will launch the show, giving you time to share it with family and friends ahead of (and on) Easter weekend. I hope you will find the show entertaining and joyful, yet powerful and inspiring. View my previous shows here.


Letting Go – Again

See angel releasing dove oil painting with real beach shells come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)

I’ve used this same painting for a very similar blog post called “Letting Go”. In that post I said these wise words “We may not have control over time, and future events, but we always have a spiritual choice about how we respond to change.” Ha! I better take my own advice to heart, lest I be a hypocrite. The past couple of days I was in a sour sullen snit about the shocking news of learning that we have to move in about two months, when we intended to continue renting this house until after my husband’s graduation (he’d gone back to school after losing his job when the company he worked for moved out of the country, and he’s nearly done- graduates in June- but too late to get us out from under this predicament).

Today I pushed myself to start the taping of the Easter show even though that was the last thing I wanted to do, as I need to start packing! But I’d already committed to doing the show and had invested in it. Yesterday I finished making my dress and I finished the set design this afternoon. Taping has begun! The first segment is done- and it went much better than I thought it would. No matter what’s going on in our lives, we have to choose whether or not to let those temporary circumstances paralyze, discourage, or destroy our purpose. I could have canceled the show, but that would have been wrong.

Letting go of worry, anxiety, dread, fear, resentment, bitterness, despair, and anger is a perpetual experience. Life will never be perfect and if we allow our human condition to stop us from acting on our plans, we will leave things unsaid, inspirations never created, places never traveled, and destinies never reached. So, we must plow through and do the things our heart is stirred to do, even when we don’t feel like it. “Fake it ’till you make it” is real. Not only will we get to where we want to be if we keep doing it, regardless of how close to the bottom we are when we start, but we’ll also become joyful if we fake feeling joy.

Today’s work on the Easter show included dressing up in an outrageously festive gown and singing songs that are truly joyful. I may have started out faking the joy, but shortly after I forced myself to be joyful, I really was! I had a happy time today. I am glad I gave up my stubborn attitude and chose to let go.

My stressful circumstances will change, with or without my cooperative attitude. I can stomp my feet and tantrum my way through this ordeal, or I can aim for high energy to work at a smooth transition. I can look for positive serendipitous events that fall neatly into place. If I look for these things, I will find them. If I work for a smooth transition, I am likely to have one. Change is often difficult. We can hate every minute of it and be no better off. Or, we can rise to the challenge and fake joyfulness until we feel the joy.


Show Plans

See this 3 panel panoramic oil painting landscape for Easter Show 2020 come alive in 2 minutes

It’s that time of year again – I’m working on the new Easter Show 2022. The above painting was for my first holiday show, Easter 2020. Since then I’ve done several shows, including last year’s Easter Show 2021 (below):

This year’s Easter 2022 Show painting is planned, the songs are chosen, and I already have the start of my dress. I’m making the rest of it myself and I hope you’ll love it. I figured I better up my game and make one-of-a-kind gowns instead of missing an opportunity to be creative.

These holiday shows are separate from the new shows I plan to do on a regular (weekly is the plan) basis. Those have been temporarily postponed due a number of things that came up and bumped it off schedule. I will put it back on schedule as soon as I can. You might recall I mentioned an inspection I had to prepare for that came up without much notice, and I’ve been planting seeds indoors for my garden. I have limited space and need to use containers because I don’t own this property and can’t put anything into the ground. This makes for a good challenge, and I’m fine with that. Bring it on! I already have a lot of goodies sprouting. But, it is a lot of work to grow our own food and I have to fit it in quickly so I don’t miss the optimal window for our growing zone (8b). Anyway, I didn’t want you to think that the new vlog/green screen show I was talking about has been postponed indefinitely. It’s only on hold, especially since this has now merged with the Easter show prep.

If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I say what I mean, do what I say. I will deliver the show I promised soon. Until then, new paintings as I finish them, and in a little over a month I’ll launch the Easter show. Busy times. It helps us escape the gloom and doom of this world when we focus on positive, productive, happy things. But I can’t always measure up, and some days I’m just in a nasty funk. Today was sort of like that. I got it together by the afternoon, partly because I was looking through our Easter song choices and it’s hard to stay sullen and resentful when seeing such beautiful lyrics of hope and promise.

Stay strong. God bless you and yours. Spring will be here soon! May the new season bring peaceful times for this dark world.


“Easter Sunday with Grandma”

This oil painting “Easter Sunday with Grandma” is featured in the book “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Nature” and is also a live painting show event for the Easter Show 2021. The story that inspired this painting is narrated in the Easter Show.

Watch Natalie paint “Easter Sunday with Grandma” in this 2 minute time lapse video
Full Painting “Easter Sunday with Grandma”
“Robin with Eggs” (cropped from full painting)
“Pink Bell Flowers” (cropped from full painting)
“Going to Church” (cropped from full painting)

Enjoy Natalie’s art on fun, creative, and classy gifts for you and your family!

Tip Natalie to fund art supplies to reach her lifetime goal of 1,000 finished oil paintings, a series of live events, and surprising opportunities!

Maundy Thursday

Another Lenten season ends. As we head toward Easter weekend, my blog will feature Easter related oil paintings and short videos of live music events. On Monday, I’ll pick up where we left off in the blog series “Stories that Inspire my Art“.

 

In recognition of Maundy Thursday, the above oil painting features the feast from my larger painting “Jesus at the Table“. Below, my kids and I are singing with the church choir “The Feast Divine”. My oldest daughter and I were the entire soprano section. As you can see, this is a very small church choir. 

In the above song “The Feast Divine”, the lyrics that speak to me the most are about the bread of humility and the cup of nobility… one and the same. There are no class divisions in spiritual enlightenment. Powerful statements about class division are just as relevant today as long ago. I’m also moved by the phrase “Christ Himself, sacrificed”.

 

Before I wrap this blog post up…  a little something bizarre to share…

 

Those of you who’ve followed me for a while know that I share literally hundreds of videos. I clip them to fit short time lengths on a regular basis… sometimes daily. Weird unexplained ghosting or stray images that have been cut (split/spliced and edited out/deleted from the file) seldom pop up. I can probably think of only a couple of times this has happened in the past decade, meaning thousands of clips (because I’m counting my personal family videos as well). Anyway, so this is rare…

 

I edited this oil painting video (at top of blog post) to start with the feast, but somehow a fraction of a second, a deleted clip of Jesus appears! Well… serendipitous, a minor tech miracle…  whatever we want to make of it, that’s what happened! If you look closely, you’ll see Him appear as a very fast blip before the video starts.

 

These things (that come to each of us in different forms) can be explained away as coincidence, but I prefer to think of them as “God winks” (not my phrase, someone told me this a long time ago). Just one of those strange things that happen, that give us pause… dare we hope that a divine presence cares about our trivial little lives? Yes, let us dare!

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New Show!

Last year’s Christmas show feels long ago and far away, at least for me it does. So much has

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Sand Dollar

First, the oil painting, then the story behind it… you’re invited to reflect upon what this means to you.

Watch me paint “Living Sand Dollar” in a minute (time lapse)

“I saw this living sand dollar in the touch pool at the Marine Science Center, but I’ve also seen many sand dollars at the beach. The living ones are dark and pop through the sand during low tide. We are not meant to take those, as removing them from the ocean will kill these special creatures. One time I saw a woman with a full bucket of living sand dollars and I felt grief stricken. But, when a sand dollar is light and dry (bone white and brittle, or turning that way), it is no longer living, and may be collected as a wonderful beach treasure souvenir.
The sand dollar is a fascinating simple sea creature with markings that have deeply religious and spiritual meaning for many Christians, and are especially meaningful at Easter. There are markings on the front and back, and “doves” inside (discovered only when a sand dollar is broken open).For many, the sand dollar represents the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ:
1. Five slits in a configuration may represent Christ’s wounds while on the cross
2. Markings look like an Easter lily with a star in the middle, symbolizing the birth of Christ
3. On the opposite side is an outline of a poinsettia, or Easter lily
4. Tiny doves of peace and hope are inside (white bird shapes that were once the sand dollar’s teeth)
Besides all of this, sand dollars are special to me because my dad brought one home to me when I was a child. He had been to Savannah for a military training exercise and had found the sand dollar on the beach. He told me that I needed to go one day, that I would love it. Dad died from cancer at age thirty-seven, after having beat it once before when in his twenties. He had served two tours in the Vietnam War. I had recently turned sixteen years old when he died. Many years later, I not only got to visit Savannah, but I now live here, and hope to make it my forever home.
When I found my first sand dollar on the beach, I held it up to the sky and said, 'This is for you, Dad.'"

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

Update to the above story…

 

The art in the second video “Angel Releasing Dove” probably looks to you as if I was painting my sand dollar story as it relates to me holding a sand dollar to the heavens for Dad… but my conscious mind wasn’t aware of this connection until now, when putting this blog together. It was simply another painting project.

 

At the time, I’d found a bit of a broken shell that looked like an angel’s wing, and the idea to incorporate the actual shell into a painting of an angel was born. The “dove” idea came later when I realized that it was the right size to add to the painting. But really, it was just about using cherished treasures from a beautiful day at the beach with my family, especially my daughter who was walking with me when I found the broken shell and agreed with me that it looks like an angel’s wing.

 

So, it was new memories, not old, that inspired the angel and dove painting. And yet, obviously, it looks very much connected when I see the previous sand dollar story next to the angel and dove video. In this way, I once again see how our past, present and future are always connected- even when we can’t see it.

 

Sometimes that connection is seen easily by outside eyes, while we are oblivious to it. But does our unawareness made the connection disappear? I think not. Someday, we may see it. When that happens, it doesn’t make the reality suddenly reappear, it simply means that we are aware of it. Our awareness, recognition, admission, or approval of reality is unnecessary for truth to exist.

 

Nor do we need to understand serendipity or natural wonders, for those miracles to exist. And that brings me to a timely point to ponder:

 

If the religious meaning that some assign to a sand dollar is offensive, could a sand dollar be “banned”? The sand dollar is a living creature. Only when it is dead does it become a “thing” to possess and reassign to our own significance. The reality of the sand dollar’s life or death is not altered by the opinions, beliefs, passion, appreciation, or malice of humankind.

 

I invite you to ponder what happens when the free will of people to determine for themselves those thoughts that are kind or unkind to share, the words that should be said or left unsaid, and when the power of language that may hurt another may be considered a weapon; is controlled, stifled, and enforced by entities who perceive themselves as a moral authority over thoughts, ideas, words, and the association, distribution, possession and communication of these concepts. What happens? Is the truth altered? What is changed? Is the world a better place?

 

Is the sand dollar living or dead? If people no longer believe in religion, as is the wish of a very large movement (which is, of course, in itself a religion, though they are blind to it), for the “good” of the planet, will the sand dollar’s markings fade? Will they be erased? No, of course not. We cannot remove all traces of symbolism or reminders of what humankind believes, thinks, or feels that is “wrong”.

 

The sand dollar is a primitive living creature who is in many ways more free than we are. It is allowed to simply “be”… except when opportunistic beach goers collect these fragile beings while still alive, thereby killing them. The reasons for controlling other living beings may be scorn, condemnation and the prevention of influence and ideas that entities do not like… but sometimes control is about possessing another being, even if that possession denies them the freedom they need to thrive… or survive.

 

When I posted my Easter show yesterday, I named the video file “spring show”, because I wanted to avoid censors that blacklist the term “Easter”. Whatever your feelings about religion, politics, and other causes, I invite you to ponder what affect it has on us when entities control our freedom of thought, and our ability to share our thoughts with others.

 

Just as a sand dollar can never be “banned”, we are alive-imperfections and all- and are meant to be free.

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