This video is a segment from the Easter Show 2022. It shows live painting in real time and then the footage is sped up via time lapse (to shorten the video time). This painting is currently still wet on my easel. It will take several more days or weeks to set completely. You can see me looking down as a I paint. I’m looking at a lily to get the general shape of it. From there I can just go with the flow, but I like to get the botanical aspects right so that the flower is identifiable as an Easter Lily.
Personal update: After yesterday’s depressing house hunting experience in which we looked at a house that was nothing like its online photos, and was instead a house of horrors that would take a lot of money to make livable, today’s experience was amazing! We put an offer on the house we saw, so we’re back to hoping and praying that we get it. May we win this time! I’ll tell you more about this later. It’s been another whirlwind day. We have less than three weeks to get an offer signed to be able to close before we are forced to vacate. It’s nerve wracking, but Faith over Fear, right? Oh how I hope we get this one!!! We have a wonderful real estate agent who is helping us every step of the way. We are giving it our all, our best fight.
In the good news, bad news scheme of things, covering the garden plants was mostly successful in protecting them from frost damage. Some of my plants died though. I lost some bell peppers, eggplants and flowers (cosmos, morning glories, and moon flowers). Some of my grapes and roses have a bit of (survivable) damage.
Other flowers were thriving today, especially when the sun and warmth returned. It was mostly unpredictable which flowers would be “here today and gone tomorrow”, as all young seedlings are tender and vulnerable. Yet some lived to grow another day and will likely bloom in a few weeks, while others withered, and some died rather instantly.
This is a metaphor for us humans. We may not know who will be here today, and gone tomorrow- it may even be ourselves who don’t make it to grow and bloom. In the good news, bad news scheme of things, when we know that each day is precious and fleeting, we may be inspired to live as if time is short. We must grow and bloom before it’s too late.
Much of my life I thought I might die young like my dad, as so many people would tell me, “You’re just like your father.” But in this aspect I am not like him. I outlived his years on Earth a long time ago, yet I still live as if I could be gone tomorrow. I want to know that I’ve done everything I could to live a full life, with people I love, and in alignment with the purpose I was born for. I don’t make much time for people I don’t like, things I don’t like to do, or conforming to what’s expected. I do make time for what feels special to me, even if my faith, passion, and ideas don’t make sense to anyone else.
Let us be like the flowers. They don’t know how long they’re here, but they work each precious moment toward the day when they’ve grown into their beauty. May we be beautiful!
It’s that time of year again, when many people reflect on what redemption means. For those who practice Lent, this may mean taking part in fasting or giving something up. For many who don’t religiously participate, the Lenten season may still be a time of reflection. These challenging times are especially focused on what it means to be set free, both literally and spiritually.
Last night I had a nightmare that my husband, oldest daughter and I were in a car that was flung off a cliff. As the car descended, I told both of them that I loved them, and I reflected that I had a good life, if this should be the end. But I prayed frantically for a miracle. Then we landed- onto a thick black mat that seemed made of melted rubber, like children’s indoor commercial play-area flooring. The mat was floating on foamy water, as part of a landfill. Our car was nearly on the center of the mat. We had survived! My dream self said, (because we are alive) “We must be here for a reason.” Then, my awake self thought the same thing: We are alive. We must be here for a reason.
I spent the day doing more than I usually do. I am grateful to be here. Let every moment we’re here be heavy with purpose. May we treasure our time and our energy, lest our purpose be frittered away by the manufactured realities that others push on us. We were made for so much more than this. This Lenten season, let us reflect on what mercy is, and know that we are loved by God.
We’re having an early spring here in Southern Georgia, USA. One of my strawberry plants already has a flower on it and a few strawberries! I was busy most of the day planting seeds and tending to other garden jobs. The sun was shining for about half of that time and it was easy to forget the troubles of this world. When things get to you, try planting something and watch it grow. I don’t know why it’s so therapeutic to do this, but it just is.
I ordered myself a couple of gardening T-shirts. I was laughing at all of the fun choices. I settled on “It’s not hoarding if it’s plants”. LOL! That’s what I’ve actually said before. And the other I chose is “I just want to work in my garden and hang out with my butterflies”. You might remember me blogging about something similar in post “I Joined the Butterflies”, so I just couldn’t resist that one! I also got two positive thinking shirts: “Faith over Fear” and “Do More of What Makes You Happy”. Then I was definitely at the end of my budget and had to stop! But, that’s my summer wardrobe sorted. I only needed a few T shirts for working outside. I’m good on dressy clothes, but those aren’t practical for digging in the dirt.
I let the painting experience flow and evolve, and I liked the way it went: starting with an abstract background layer, then adding a middle layer of leaves/foliage, and ending with the foreground main subject layer of the flower. I later repeated this technique with intention (planning, instead of just stumbling upon it while “free painting”). It’s become one of my signature styles.
Sometimes we try too hard, when life would be so much easier if we let things flow naturally. And then, we can learn who we are and do more of that. As we wrap up another Sunday, may we reflect on who we are, and let ourselves be that person. It’s all that is ever asked of us – just be who we were born to be, the best that we know how.
It’s been very hot here in the deep South, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. After all, it’s Georgia in August. During the hottest days of summer we fall behind on the yard work because it’s too miserable to push ourselves to care. The weeds enjoy running wild and free until the days get cooler and we get back on track.
One of the weeds we get plenty of is clover, which reminds me of the wild shamrocks in Ireland- a beautiful place where I lived for a short while. So I really don’t mind seeing clover and I often leave it where it’s growing. It even has a season when dainty yellow flowers are in bloom, which inspired me to paint the clover painting in the video I shared today.
Sometimes people see a weed, when others see a pretty flower and strong hardy greenery. Spiritually, what may offend some, may inspire others. A person or idea that “will never go away, and just keeps growing no matter how hard one tries to cut it down and get rid of it”, may be a truth that is resilient and will survive no matter how many forces want to kill it.
How do we know which flowers are pretty and should be allowed to stay, and which are weeds and shouldn’t be allowed to grow? Well, the answer lies in boundaries. May we always have the freedom to nurture our own gardens, growing what we wish, and keeping what we believe in. If others see weeds, may they never trespass into their neighbor’s garden to kill them. For every gardener deserves the freedom to decide for oneself what is worthy.
Watch me paint “Flower Angel” in just over 2 minutes (time lapse). Please turn sound on to hear the beautiful music that brings emotion to this experience.
I put the last brush stroke on this painting this morning. It is still on my easel. And now the afternoon is before me, with glorious sunshine and plans to spend time with my family and in spiritual reflection. We have another new week ahead to prepare our minds, bodies and spirits for. Rest well, my friends.
“Strawberry Flower” is included in the collection “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Nature“. This art was inspired by a strawberry plant tended to by Natalie’s daughter. The delight upon seeing the pretty little flower appear and then the first juicy red strawberry is now a warm memory of the first summer days living in the Deep South (Georgia, United States).
This art was painted January 2021 for art collection “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Nature”. “Crocus in Snow” is a series of three oil paintings that bring to life the hope of spring coming soon. This project was an experiment to film three separate paintings to give the illusion of a painting changing and developing. To truly do this right, there would have been many more phases and steps between the three stages. However, this was a quick project and the effect showed that a stop-motion style of animation could work with classical oil painting, although it would be so time-consuming that it’s likely not worth it for most artists. But, if the project were set up at a separate station to dabble with here and there, it may be something interesting to add to the workflow. The idea DOES work, it just might not ever feel worthy of the time investment.
Trying new things, even if only a quick version of it, aids creativity. It forces the artist to do something different and breaks the monotony of the usual work pattern. So, from time to time, it’s good to depart from routine. That’s true of any type of work or schedule. Do something different, then see how fresh your perspective and energy is when you go back to your regular routine.
“Our first year here, I was so excited to have a vibrant garden on my little patio. I can see it from inside the house, and we bought a compact 2-person swing that fits on the patio so we can sit outside among the flowers, birds, and butterflies. One of our first investments was in an inexpensive “butterfly tree”.
The small tree has butterfly shaped flowers that really do attract butterflies and hummingbirds. That’s how I was able to train the hummingbirds to visit our home. I put a sugar-water feeder in the same pot as the tree. It worked almost instantly!
Best of all, the tree blooms nearly continuously for most of the year! It’s such a lovely gift to our family. I looked it up for you just now, and I was happy to learn that it’s easy to propagate and share this plant! I will definitely do that. The tree is apparently actually a “bush”. It is called Clerodendrum Ugandense (Blue Butterfly Bush). Mine is outdoors, but others consider it an “everblooming houseplant”, so I could try starting some indoors as well. I wouldn’t enjoy hummingbirds or butterflies inside, but it’s a pretty plant on its own. Now that I know how easy it is to start new plants, I’ll soon have many more of these, indoors and out!”
List of Oil Paintings in this Collection, linking to their pages here on the site, and also citing physical pages in the hardcover book: