Well, it’s time to get back to work on the new painting in progress. Normally I wait until the painting is finished before sharing, but sometimes I share each session at a time so that you can see the progress (in the time lapse video above). If you missed Session 1 and 2, those are already on the blog. Here’s Session 3 that I did today. I took several days off to work on other things and to enjoy family time. I hope everyone is doing well and your September is a blessed one!
Session 3’s work on oil painting (my daughter when she was little and the road outside our house had minor flooding) “Walking in a Puddle” – I’ll wrap this up soon, one or two more sessions. I may finish it tomorrow, we’ll see how it goes.
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.
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!
This is the painting I finished yesterday. Thanksgiving is coming up fast. Beyond a special meal that features a roast turkey, those of us who celebrate this holiday typically use this time to reflect upon our blessings, express gratitude, and gather with family.
My oil painting is of a roadside American flag on the only way to/from Tybee Island, Georgia. Police officers rescued it from hurricane flood waters because they knew how much it would mean to evacuees to see it when they returned, not knowing if they still had a house left, but always a home.
One’s homeland flag means something different to each individual, but for many it is a very powerful symbol that captures how our hearts feel about the health, safety, and prosperity of our homeland, and especially the well being of those people we love. My grandfather was a decorated World War II veteran. My father served two tours in the Vietnam War, then died from cancer when he was thirty-seven years old. My husband served in the Army, patrolling the E/W German border shortly before the fall of the wall, and then shortly afterward. Then he was deployed to Iraq. All three of these men believed that they were fighting against evil, communism or dictatorship, and tyranny “over there”, so that these oppressive, enslaving, and abhorrent regimes wouldn’t take over HERE. But of course, lust for power respects no boundaries, and it was our own government who is/was involved in so many horrible things.
They gave my mom a folded American flag at Dad’s memorial service. When people destroy or protest the flag, it feels like a desecration of not just a flag, but of a grave, regardless of the intentions behind the statement. It is something I feel deeply, as do many other people. I paint the flag often, not because I am loyal to politicians or to a fantasy belief in a perfect nation, but because I am grateful for the ground beneath my feet and the people who came before me. I wish the same for all persons, everywhere in the world. I’ve lived in Germany and in Ireland, and when I lived in those lands, I respected the flags of my temporary homes. I loved those people and places too. I wanted to belong, and to be part of the community in which I lived. I believe I could feel this way wherever God plants me.
It was so wonderful to be with the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, when so many had the Irish flag painted on their faces and waved it proudly. Never did I feel as if anyone was “superior”, but merely happy and celebratory. There was a kinship with everyone at the parade that day, as if for a few moments we were family. This is what it means to feel the warmth of a nation’s flag.
I’ve never met a veteran who served to defend politicians, governments, agendas, or causes (not directly or primarily). They all have said the same: they do it for those they love, for those at home. They believe that their homeland is meant to be safe and free for the children of the future. And they believe so strongly in the sovereignty of humanity that they’ll defend it with their lives. For this, we honor them.
Whatever deception has led to wars for profit, crimes against humanity, and great evil, is not the burden of those who simply yearn to be free, and want to protect their homelands, communities, and families. It is my wish that all wars would end, and no one would ever again receive a memorial folded flag. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if instead, all flags in all sovereign nations were merely celebratory colors, clutched in the tiny joyful hands of children to wave at parades? What a wonderful world that would be.
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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“Pumpkin Carving” 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). “Pumpkin Carving” represents autumn and celebrates family traditions. This scene was inspired by the artist’s husband and son.
Inspired by my family… that’s me in the red and my husband across from me. Our son in the green, and our two girls nearest to you. Of course this doesn’t look like us exactly, and is out of proportion and perspective, but it captures the warmth and love I feel when I cook for my family. The candlesticks are inspired by real ones I have that were my parents. Dad brought them back from the war and Mom would save them for “good”, which means that she didn’t actually use them. Both my parents died young. I have decided never to save anything for good. Every day that I am alive is a good day.
I spent today cooking up a feast for my family. The plan was to cook up a variety of meats and then use those in different recipes. A full day of cooking and baking that will provide meals for the week ahead. So, I made three dishes from sausage: an egg, red pepper, and sausage scramble for eating inside warm tortillas, a baked pasta dish, and as topping on a homemade pizza. I made three dishes from ground beef: meatballs with egg noodles and gravy, a second topping for the pizza, and part of a second baked pasta dish. And so on. I made cookies also, thumbprint sugar cookies with jam baked in.
The pizza was absurd! It was so heavy because I crammed it with enough toppings to be a meal all by itself: fresh mushrooms, red bell pepper, chopped sweet onion, sliced red onion, sausage, seasoned ground beef, ham, bacon, pepperoni, fresh mushrooms, tomato sauce mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. All of that on a hefty thick homemade yeast crust.
Cooking in a large batch like this can save time and money because each single package of meat was stretched into three or more meals. I plan to start my next painting tomorrow and I won’t have to set aside time to cook. My kids often cook for themselves, but that ties up the kitchen and makes a lot of noise behind my head. My “studio” is just the back wall of the kitchen.
So, there are practical reasons to occasionally take a day for cooking multiple meals ahead, but… the best reason is that the day of cooking means that all of these meals are fresh from the oven at once, like a giant feast. When my family walked in the door after a long day, much of it spent in heavy rains, they were happy to walk into a kitchen bursting with food. They said it smelled like a pizzeria in here.
Holiday times are a wonderful escape. Feasting with family and friends can feel like nothing else matters, and the stress of our lives is far away. Every now and then an ordinary day comes along, and there’s no holiday in sight, and it’s too long to wait for a season that’s months in coming. Why wait for the right time? Why wait for permission, convention, or a date on the calendar? The only day that matters is today.
“What is the holiday season like in Savannah? What is Thanksgiving like? Wherever our home is, is where we gather together. Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s pretty much the same, although there are some differences. There are more fireworks here, probably because the weather is mild. I’d love to see the ones that they show over Tybee Island on New Year’s. How exciting and beautiful that must be! But it will be hard for me to make the commitment to leave the house, because my favorite place to be for all of the major holidays is home, with my children and husband.
This painting is in a different style than I usually paint. It is meant to be representational, to allow you to imagine your own loved ones sitting around that table. It is, naturally, my own family, but I invite you to place yours there instead.
I look forward to this year’s holiday season, when it doesn’t really matter where we live, as the best part of the celebration is who we’re with. It’s hard when family members are missing due to temporary or permanent absence. I’ve lost both of my parents and many others as well. I think of them during the holidays, and I reach out to those who are facing their first Christmas without a loved one. We never know what tomorrow holds. Love is the most important thing, and it lives forever.
List of Oil Paintings in this Collection, linking to their pages here on the site, and also citing physical pages in the hardcover book: