Spring of Hope

See this oil painting “Flower Angel” come to life in 2 minutes

Today was much better! It was a beautifully gorgeous sunny and warm spring day. I was right, my next blog post isn’t a dreary “Losing Hope” theme like yesterday’s. I worked at packing for the unwanted move, while opening my mind more to the idea that this will end up good for us in some way in the end. I worked on my painting and transplanted more bell peppers for our plant sale. The first created something new, the second is letting go of my garden since we have to vacate before harvest time. Life is often this way, something gained while something is lost.

I imagine our lives as a train station where tracks run both directions. Sometimes they run at equal speeds, sometimes not. Sometimes you can see both trains at the same time, other times not. But one train doesn’t negate the other, even if their journeys and destinations are different. I have to remind myself of this often because I have a tendency to feel as if I can’t enjoy the pleasure trip if a crisis trip is running alongside on the other track. But most of the time there’s an overlap of good things and bad things. We can’t wait for all of the bad things to go away- we must live our lives and find joy where we can.

So, on that philosophical note, I’ll wrap up by saying that our housing problem is unresolved. In fact, it’s worse. There are now NO homes that meet our needs listed for rent by the property management, and very few outside of that company either. What few are available are ridiculously expensive. It’s not a good outlook at the moment. It could change any day. If it doesn’t, we’ll muster through somehow. I’ll take one day at a time. It was a good day because I had a better attitude. I got a lot done. And my husband brought home cookies.


The Unexpected

See oil painting “Porch Flowers” come to life in about 30 seconds (time lapse)

Here’s what I originally wrote about this art:

“When we moved here, I didn’t know that the shrubs near the front porch were the flowering kind, until one day they burst out in beautiful pink and white blossoms. The flowers graced the ground when they fell, leaving a carpet of petals. The floral shower right outside our door was such a nice surprise!

Sometimes in life we fear the unexpected- the call we don’t ever want to receive, the news we can’t bear- but there are times when the unexpected is a blessing. From the big surprises we didn’t see coming, to the small ones, an ordinary day can change in an instant over a cascade of flowers.”

So, here we are several years later, and these flowers are in bloom again. If you’ve read my recent blog posts, you might recall that there have been some unexpected developments- shocking sudden deaths- four of them within a few months of each other. I thought there were five, but my mind seems to have inflated that count. Now I’m worried that there IS a fifth one that I’ll learn about soon.

That’s a lot of “unexpected”- and not the good kind. Yes, an ordinary day can change in an instant. This time around, I feel sad when I see these flowers. They seem to be funeral flowers at the moment.

This is how life is, beauty is in the perspective. We can see something beautiful and feel joy, or feel sadness, or something else entirely. Here’s hoping that the next unexpected thing that comes our way is a blessing.

Peace be with you and your family.


Can we Trust Ourselves?

See this oil painting of a field of lilies come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)

Can we trust ourselves to always feel or act in a predictable way? Do we ever take ourselves by surprise by doing something that seems out of character? The above painting, “Consider the Lilies” isn’t in my typical style. Sometimes when I sit down to paint, my art doesn’t flow the way that I expect. It doesn’t mean that the new style is bad, even if I don’t personally like it. It only means that it’s different, not what I expected. That’s true of life in general.

There are times when we don’t do or feel, what we’d ordinarily do or feel, and this may be unsettling. But it may be a good thing to let ourselves be unpredictable from time to time, especially if we eventually settle back into a peaceful space of stability and authenticity when we’re done trying something new. We can choose to adopt the new direction or go back to how we usually do things, seeking calm and balance once again. Change can be good, whether temporary or permanent. It’s when we worry about change that we open ourselves up to stress, anxiety, fear, and sabotaging our happiness.

Matthew 6:28b-30a: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you?”

How amazing it is, the beautiful intricacy of nature! All creatures fit together into the tapestry of this world, even common flowers like lilies. What a blessing it is when we can simply “be”, when we can accept our place in the tapestry without worry.

When we see ourselves sliding off our normal course, we might feel as if we can’t trust ourselves, as if we’ve betrayed our true nature. But change doesn’t have to mean that we’re losing who we were before and turning into someone we won’t recognize. It’s possible that we’re only expanding who we already are.


Time and Roses

Watch oil painting “Time” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)

I shared the story behind this painting in an April blog post called “Beauty of Time”. It was a long post and I shared a photo of my real life roses with you. I’m reminded of that today because here it is November and two of my plants have roses in bloom! It’s late in the season for this, but it’s the Deep South (Georgia, USA), so it’s not that surprising really. I was happy to see the beautiful deep red flowers.

I will probably have a new painting to share tomorrow if my day goes as planned. I finished some sewing projects today and caught up on some other things. I’m tired, so I’ll wrap this up. Good night, dear friends.


Red Flower is REAL

See oil painting “Dancer in a Floral Forest” come to life

in 2 minutes (time lapse)

I painted this as an imaginary landscape, but it turns out that those red flowers are real, and I may soon have one in my possession! The flower looks remarkably like it to me, anyway. My daughter took a photo of a red flower that looks very similar to these red ones I painted and said that she always sees hummingbirds near those flowers on campus. Later, she texted that there will soon be a plant sale on campus. So we’re hoping that they’ll be selling those red flowers!

If not, we’ll track down where to buy them, and eventually we’ll have new red flowers for the hummingbirds. I love it when there’s a new surprise quest to find an elusive (elusive to me, the flower doesn’t seem uncommon for this area) new nature treasure. Sometimes my paintings seem to foreshadow future events in ways that are quite mysterious. In this case, it’s just a simple red flower that becomes a joyful treasure hunt and special memory with my daughter, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

When I one day have this red flower, I’ll take a picture of it- hopefully with a hummingbird near it at the same time. Small quests give us something to look forward to. The more quests we accept, the more we are given. When we expect to be surprised by serendipity and joyful connections, we are!

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BAD DAY

Well, there must have been a bad moon a’rising because today was a horrible day. The close on our house was cancelled, and then thankfully

Read More »

Happy Day!

Today we had the opportunity to bring the kids to the house we’ll be closing on. Until now, they’d only seen the pictures and video.

Read More »

Bandits!

These birds have been coming around and stealing our strawberries! What a disappointment! I was enjoying a fresh berry with Cool Whip as a snack

Read More »

Easy Going

This painting was a “free paint” project, in which there is no reference, plan, or agenda other than to let the paints flow. I start

Read More »

WOOT!

“Fred” was my dad’s nickname for me. This painting was inspired by a black and white photograph he took to complete an assignment for a

Read More »

Wild Days

Ever feel that you live your life with reckless abandon, like these wild horses? What do they care about consequences or the worries of tomorrow?

Read More »

aww

My daughter brought me one of the boxes she packed herself for our move, for me to load onto the POD container. She said it

Read More »

Ooh, Pretty!

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

Read More »

Bearing Up

The PODS container was dropped off today. I spent hours packing the first round of our household, mostly by myself. I felt victorious, like this

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HAPPY NEWS!

Thought this joyful hymn was a good choice to celebrate my good news update: WE GOT THE HOUSE! We still have the inspection and the

Read More »

Missed it?

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

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Show Update

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

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Packing Up

I spent several hours today packing up my art in preparation for our unexpected move. You can probably recognize ones I’ve shared with you (in

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Gator Tale

Something interesting happened yesterday at the sale. It was the last day of the 2-day event and I was discouraged because we still hadn’t had

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What a Day!

I’m so exhausted, I feel like this jellyfish painting- surreal and floating. Guess what? Day one of the sale (I mentioned this yesterday) already exceeded

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No Word Yet

Our weather here is now beautiful, after being cold or raining for quite a stretch. I’m feeling like my tree landscape oil painting above- clear

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Whirlwind Day!

Mellow music, marshmallows on a stick, and dancing flames – a fire can be welcoming and sentimental – childhood memories, family vacations, and warmth on

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Another New Week

Watch this vase of flowers oil painting come to life in 1 minute (time lapse).

Did you have a restful Sunday? I hope that today you took time to reflect on the week ahead, and you’ve made productive, creative, and hopeful plans. Even if your plan is something simple, like spending 15 minutes outside each day, may you do what your heart tells you to do. God bless you and your family.

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I’m HOME!

All moved in and my Internet is up. Did you miss me? I missed you! I’ll catch up when I can. Just wanted to post

Moving Day!

This looks nothing like the house we’re closing on, but our house IS in Savannah. I had no idea when I painted this several years

MOVING TOMORROW!

WHEW! The issues are finally resolved and our delayed close on the house will happen TOMORROW! Tomorrow is moving day! I shall fly like this

S T R E S S E D

Today was a highly stressful day. We still haven’t closed on the house and we are now running out of time for the moving pods,

BAD DAY

Well, there must have been a bad moon a’rising because today was a horrible day. The close on our house was cancelled, and then thankfully

Super Laundry!

My son is college age now, not a little boy like in this art for children’s book “Grandpa Smiles” (about my dad, who died before

Happy Day!

Today we had the opportunity to bring the kids to the house we’ll be closing on. Until now, they’d only seen the pictures and video.

Bandits!

These birds have been coming around and stealing our strawberries! What a disappointment! I was enjoying a fresh berry with Cool Whip as a snack

Easy Going

This painting was a “free paint” project, in which there is no reference, plan, or agenda other than to let the paints flow. I start

Joyful Memories!

Moving is so hard and bittersweet. The passage of time is on display with every box that is packed, every room that is emptied. Today

WOOT!

“Fred” was my dad’s nickname for me. This painting was inspired by a black and white photograph he took to complete an assignment for a

Wild Days

Ever feel that you live your life with reckless abandon, like these wild horses? What do they care about consequences or the worries of tomorrow?

aww

My daughter brought me one of the boxes she packed herself for our move, for me to load onto the POD container. She said it

Nature’s Music

This painting was an experiment. A talented indie composer shared his work online and I asked if I could use it to paint what I

Ooh, Pretty!

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

LOL, Pumpkin

I planted a couple of pumpkins in grow bags and decided that I’d take those to the new house. Well, one of the pumpkins decided

Bearing Up

The PODS container was dropped off today. I spent hours packing the first round of our household, mostly by myself. I felt victorious, like this

Lead me HOME!

When I painted this city of Savannah oil painting, I had no idea that I’d one day live not very far from this fountain square.

Strawberry Mine!

Guess what’s ready to eat already? I had the most delicious vibrant red fresh strawberry with a bit of whipped cream, MMMM! But you know

Moving Soon!

Oil painting “Autumn Cottage”, time lapse video to watch Natalie paint this art, journey of move during housing crisis

As Summer Leaves Us

Watch this “Flower Angel” painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse)

You might remember that I shared this oil painting when I finished it at the beginning of May, while the promise of spring was still unfolding. And now here we are approaching the end of August and summer is soon ending. The time has gone by quickly, yet slowly… as time often does.

As summer leaves us I remember how grateful I was to see flowers and feel the sun upon my face when spring first came to us. Now that the heat and insects have made outdoor experiences unpleasant, and the flowers are mostly gone, I suppose we’re feeling ready for the change of seasons. But whether we are committed to it or not, autumn is near – at least it is in my part of the world.

With so much uncertainty, it is comforting to remember the sameness of seasons. Every year we experience twelve months, fifty-two weeks, and twenty four hours in each of those 365 days. Time passes, both quickly and slowly, and when it does we can look back with certainty that the time we spent is now in the past. Given all that we’ve been through since this time last year, we may be relieved to see the seasons slip forward.

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“Daisies”

Watch Natalie paint these flowers in 2 minutes (time lapse)

This art is included in the collection “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Nature

Oil Painting “Daisies” by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

Small Print “Daisies”

All small prints are approximately 8 x 10. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.

$33.50

Medium Print “Daisies”

All medium prints are approximately 16 x 20. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.

$65.50

Large Print “Daisies”

All large prints are approximately 24 x 30. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.

$98.50

“Butterfly and Yellow Flowers”

Watch Natalie paint this art in under 2 minutes (time lapse)

“Butterfly and Yellow Flowers” is included in the collection “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Nature“. Prints available below.

Small Print “Butterfly and Yellow Flowers”

All small prints are approximately 8 x 10. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.

$33.50

Medium Print “Butterfly and Yellow Flowers”

All medium prints are approximately 16 x 20. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.

$65.50

Large Print “Butterfly and Yellow Flowers”

All large prints are approximately 24 x 30. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.

$98.50

Random or by Design?

First the oil painting, then the story that inspired this art and the update. Is YOUR life random or by design? Ponder this as you digest today’s blog post. You may be surprised at where your thoughts lead you.

Watch me paint Porch Flowers in under 1 minute (time lapse)

“When we moved here, I didn’t know that the shrubs near the front porch were the flowering kind, until one day they burst out in beautiful pink and white blossoms. The flowers graced the ground when they fell, leaving a carpet of petals. The floral shower right outside our door was such a nice surprise! Sometimes in life we fear the unexpected- the call we don’t ever want to receive, the news we can’t bear- but there are times when the unexpected is a blessing. From the big surprises we didn’t see coming, to the small ones, an ordinary day can change in an instant over a cascade of flowers.”

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

Update to the above story…

A few years have passed since I wrote that description. True, it was such a surprise that first year we moved here and the shrub burst forth in gorgeous large blossoms, flowers that “graced the ground” when they fell. This makes me chuckle now, because “graced the ground” has morphed into “made a mess”, making the property looked unkempt and neglected.

 

The shrub was planted too close to the house, something we’d not have done if we were planning the landscaping. Now it is a nuisance problem that we have to take care of. It is crowding into the porch and blocking the sidewalk. The once-pretty flowers are now more like an infestation of blooms that blot out the shrub itself and shed petals that, after a rain, become slippery wet piles of debris.

“Porch Flowers” is a good metaphor for living a life by intention (by design), or letting random events and circumstances dictate our lives. As in all things, balance is the answer. Letting fate steer us can be exactly what we need; to learn about new paths. Sometimes fate is cruel, but often it is pleasantly surprising, like the welcoming porch flowers when we were new to the area and felt so lonely. I’m still grateful for that surprise.

But life, and evolving into a higher spiritual place, is about changing. Whether we want to or not, the world grows around us. Sometimes random events of the past create problems for the future if we are unwilling to take control and shift gears from a reactive, defensive and passive existence to one of deliberation, intention, and active design. The predestination of our lives doesn’t exclude our participation in the planning.

When you think about your life today, how much of your daily routine is a result of random events, and how much of it is by design? What might improve for you if you plan an area of your life that has overgrown its place? What was once pleasing and wonderful may now be a disheveled mess.

Today, my husband and I will be trimming the overgrown shrubs and trees that surround this house. We are renters, due to circumstances that uprooted us from the home we’d built and loved. But our journey back toward living in our own home is not as long as it once was, and we’re already planning our future flowers, shrubs, and trees in our hearts.

Acceptance of fate, random events, and forced circumstances is a necessary skill for a happy and positive life. But, few journeys stay on the same road indefinitely. At some point the terrain changes and the path narrows. There are forks in the road and choices to make.

 

What then? Do we let fate decide? Do we flip a coin, or let superstition rule? Do we say “this must be a sign” at the slightest random shift in the wind? Or do we live by design and intention, making a conscious decision about which path we will take next?

Balance. Let go and let the winds of fate guide your sails, but don’t let yourself be steered into the rocks. Recognize when it’s time to take control. Life by design can be just as freeing. Imagine taking the wheel of a motor boat and zipping across the unknown waters much faster than you ever thought possible. When you like where you are, you cut the engine and let your boat drift a while.

Reflection is meant to be gently led. Metaphors are useful for applying to your own situation; leading not forcing.

 

  1. Imagine the porch flowers in your life, and name them (small picture).
  2. Next, imagine a fork in the road (middle view). What decisions do you see in your immediate future? Even small decisions can make a difference.
  3. Finally, imagine yourself at sea (big picture). What type of boat are you in? Are you being steered, at the wheel, or drifting?

 

Think about living by design… you may be surprised at where your thoughts lead you.

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