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 with a general idea- such as a bird in a forest- and let the art develop as I listen to music and relax. This type of exercise can help artists break free from being over structured, tightly wound and too focused on the project goals, details, technique, etc., instead of letting creativity happen. Then, when going back to the regular painting schedule, the projects should feel easier. It’s a bit like pushing a cart with a locked wheel and realizing it’s not moving freely, then releasing the wheel and immediately feeling the difference in how easy it rolls.
We can experience this spiritually as well. It happens when we take a vacation from work, whether a pleasure break such as for a holiday, happy occasion, and travel, or a forced one due to unemployment, illness, or other circumstances. Being free from our regular routine forces our brains to think differently. When we get settled back into regular life we may wonder why we procrastinated doing things that are really no big deal. Why did we have no energy? Why did we waste so much time? Everything feels easier after some time away.
I’m missing my routine. My paints have been packed up for a few weeks now. I can’t even say how long it’s been because I don’t remember. It’s all been a blur ever since we found out we’d have to move- and quickly! But the whirlwind journey is almost over. May 4 is the day we close on the house. Life is changing!
Happy Friday, everyone. Whatever you’re going through, may you take time away to gain a new perspective. When you resume your regular schedule, I hope you find it easy going, like a bird in a forest.
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 see when I listen to his beautiful composition. This was the result.
It’s hard for me to put into words what this emotion is. It’s when we have a peaceful soul that can’t be shaken by temporary circumstances, earthly hardships, or any other setback. It’s a state of being that is expressed by “it is well with my soul”. And then, one day, a beautiful laugh is shared between loved ones, or a spontaneous encounter in nature occurs- like seeing a rose opening, a butterfly or hummingbird flitting past, or deer curiously peeking at us from a clearing- or we hear good news that changes our lives forever, and that’s when this joyful moment melds with a peaceful soul: our happiness bubbles over, creating freedom that dances in a floral forest.
Today I experienced a few moments that felt alive with such energy that it was “almost” time for a dance like that. I am so close to being HOME after so many years of temporary living. It’s still not a done deal and it could all fall through, but what if- no matter how horribly this forced move journey began- everything goes according to plan? Let the dance begin!
Tonight I’m disappointed that the houses we contact a listing agent about are already spoken for, before we even get a chance. Listings have dozens of contact inquiries after being freshly posted. So, it’s discouraging and I have to will myself not to panic. It will all work out, this unexpected move that we were blindsided by. The housing spike will hurt us, but we’ve been through worse things and we can get through this.
There are times in life when there are things that are out of our control personally, and also world wide. When those days are upon us, it helps to think of the consistency and stability of seasons and nature. They don’t worry. The animals and plants grow and thrive, while the sun rises and sets and the winds storm and calm.
A dove in a forest- if we don’t see it, does it not give us peace? We can imagine it. We can choose to be peaceful instead of anxious. It’s difficult. I’m not saying I’m getting it right every moment because I’m definitely not! I’ve already had some snitty tantrums and weepy moments. I have to work at the calm.
Whatever you’re facing, may you allow yourself to be human. But knowing that it’s not healthy to let adrenaline-pumping emotions surge for too long, be a little less human, and more like a dove in a forest. There we are, just gliding through the cool trees on a sunny day.
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 it again in autumn, maybe around October. I was right. Wow, I could see the future! I’m being silly, but the truth is that we all have limited abilities to see the future. Some have an amazing gift of prophesy and others may only be able to predict things that are obvious, like my example above.
Life is like this painting. We see part of the path, but not all of it. How much we can see at one time depends on our perspective. We may have strong intuition about what’s ahead, or maybe we’ve detected a pattern and have logically analyzed our situation. Or maybe we have no idea what’s beyond our view, but we’ve accepted the not-knowing.
You might remember when I first shared this painting when I finished it in April? Here we are, five months later, and I’m guessing you are feeling a lot of the same emotions that I am. When spring came upon us, I felt hopeful that the change of seasons would bring positive developments along with the blooming trees and sunny skies. Then we slipped into summer, and my optimism waned. Now we are entering autumn. With fall leaves changing, soon we’ll be hibernating again in a deadened world of shorter days, longer darkness, bare trees, and the emotions that come with the reflections and reminiscing that ring in the holiday season.
I don’t have extended family who visits, nor do I visit anyone, but I enjoy the time I spend with my own little family (my husband and kids). I’ve shopped early this year and their presents are already stashed away, long before Christmas. I want to make sure that we can celebrate so brightly that our happiness and gratefulness outshines anything dark that may be upon us in December. I’m also investing in new baking projects and food ideas, party plans (even though it’s just us, we are a party!), and of course the big holiday show that I’ll be sharing with all of you. I want to encourage you to think ahead about how you want to spend your holiday season and prepare for it in a way that is bigger and brighter than you’ve ever done before, even if it’s just you alone.
I will be here with you, same as always. I am committed to blogging every day. So even if it seems that “no one” is around, someone always is. Stay strong, stay positive, and plan for happiness.
“That’s me, on the swing. My real life swing is actually a rather cheap, much smaller, version of this, but I enjoy my time on the patio. The morning glory vines along the top were real, but we later yanked them out because birds were perching on it and pooping on the swing! The birds don’t usually come around all at once, but all of these do visit our patio in the places I’ve painted them. The bluebirds visit seldomly, while the cardinals and hummingbirds are here every day and I’ve begun to think of them as my friends!
The potted red roses and wisteria are real, as are the plants in the white trellis/planter combo my husband made for me (lavender and a grape vine). The pink vines I painted aren’t there, but were planned to be- ditto for the potted Gerber Daisies. The white roses in the foreground aren’t there- that’s where my patio door is. I’ll explain the rest of this painting over the next two pages (refers to physical book- here on website, just scroll down).
My real life patio is about half this size, and there’s no path leading off to a secondary garden (no hedges or white picket fence either). The forestry is real. It surrounds a lagoon (man-made retention pond that isn’t in this painting, but is in the Blue Heron and Savannah Snow paintings). Our yard ends very near the patio.
Years ago, we owned a hobby farm in rural Minnesota, but the company my husband worked for moved to Canada and ghosted the town. We sold our house and started a new life. It’s been a long, uncertain journey. We are finally rebuilding our lives, although it means renting a small house with a tiny yard for a few years.
While I no longer have our Babydoll Southdown sheep, hens, or other animals, the wild birds keep me company. My garden patio is full of life, and I am content to wait for our lives to take off once again. We will have our own home again one day. For now, this is my home- home is where our heart is.
More about the painting: The tree on the right is the butterfly tree that I showed you in a previous painting. The shepherd’s hook is there, with the bird feeder below it. The cardinals sometimes pose exactly like this. We’ve changed things up a bit since I did this painting. We’ve added a red tower for smaller birds, that’s supposed to attract the elusive migratory Painted Bunting I showed you earlier. We’ll see, come spring!
This type of flower is called a Cherokee Rose. I’ve been told that it can take up a lot of space, so I’ll need to wait until we have a bigger yard before adding this flower to my real life garden. It is the state flower of Georgia, so I painted it separately as well (next painting).”
List of Oil Paintings in this Collection, linking to their pages here on the site, and also citing physical pages in the hardcover book: