Yesterday’s post called “HONK!” is wistful, expressing the simple desire to be as free as the Canadian Geese I painted. Today, I feel more like this snarling lion, as I’ve read so many angry stories and my own personal events are infuriating too. The vibe I’ve picked up from most of you is the same.
Whether it’s minor irritations that drip, drip, drip into our spirits like a maleficent faucet, or major frustrations that drench us like a scathing bucket of frothing malice dumped on our heads, fury is contagious and dangerous. If we don’t protect ourselves, we may drown in our own stress and anger. And when we collectively feel rage and despair, we bring each other down as individuals.
When I find myself drawn into the chaos for too long, I pull the plug and take a break from the madness. Balance is healthy. If you feel yourself sucked in, not living your own life, and paralyzed by news events, it may be time to take back your purpose. YOU matter. You matter as a sovereign human being, whose private situations and emotions are known only to God. No matter how big and how grand the global battles may be, they are never too big to diminish your struggles, your pain, your frustrations, your hurt, or your hope for a better day.
Stay strong and know that you are loved. God bless and keep you this day and always. May the sun shine upon your face.
2022 is the year of the tiger according to Chinese tradition. Tiger years are “all about going big or going home”. The tiger is known for power, daring, and doing everything on a GRAND scale. Courage, leadership, quick action, and crazy dreams are also traits associated with “tiger years”.
I found this interesting, even though I know nothing about these traditions. From my own perspective, I was floored because when I went to write tonight’s blog post, my tiger painting sprang to mind as the one to share, so I looked it up to see if it was remotely possible that I’ve painted an animal that is “the year of” for 2022. I about fell off my chair when I saw that this year’s animal is a TIGER! Wow. So, even though I don’t have any connection to those traditions, I *do* have personal experience with mysterious serendipity, intuition, and thoughts or feelings pressed upon us that we can’t explain in the natural world.
Happy New Year, dear friends! May you fully embrace your “tiger year” with good courage, big dreams, and risks based on hope for the future. God bless and keep you, this day and always, and well beyond 2022!
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“In brokenness, we find healing. We learn what parts of ourselves we want to put back together, and which pieces we don’t. This process can feel profoundly sad, as we may be temporarily lost.
When we lose the people, places, and purpose that defined us, we have an opportunity to make different choices. This can be a liberating and life-changing experience. We can be more of who we were always meant to be.”
May we see what’s possible in ourselves. We have the power to be who we were born to be, should we choose it. Let us accept the challenge to be happy, regardless of our circumstances.
God bless and keep you, this day and always, and may 2022 be a year of unlimited hope and spiritual prosperity.
In my blog post called “Season of Advent” I told you that I had a lot on my heart about Advent, but my story would have to wait because it was a long day and I was going to bed. Tonight I will try to put into words what I’m feeling. Those of you who have been following me for a while already know the story of this oil painting, but I’ll summarize it (and yet it will still take a long time to tell even the short version).
I painted this before I became a full time oil painter. You can probably tell that my setup was primitive. My art board kept sliding and falling because it was on a flimsy table-top easel. I didn’t have good lighting, and I filmed this with my old camcorder that didn’t have HD. But my heart was into this painting, more so than many of my others that would follow.
Dad died when he was 37, Mom died 25 years later. Both died from slow, torturing terminal illnesses. I was in my bedroom that shared my parents’ bedroom wall when Dad was dying from cancer in his room. I knew it was the end, and I tried not to listen, alone in my room while the relatives were with Hospice on the other side of the wall. Many years later, I was my mom’s caregiver. So, I experienced the deaths of both of my parents and both died traumatically. As in, these were not sudden deaths or dying-in-sleep deaths, but slow deaths that ended only after wishing it was over, and then feeling crushing guilt for feeling such a horrible thing. I could speak volumes about this, and maybe one day I will, as I think it could help others going through watching a loved one die. But that day is not today. I’ll move on:
When Mom was dying, she talked about Dad and her memories went back to when they were young and dating. When she died, it was like Dad died all over again, like they’d both gone together. No one (but me) would ever tell his stories again, as no one in my circle had ever met him. He was gone before I met my husband. The loss of my parents made my soul ache in a way I never knew was possible.
A few physical, tangible things remain, that prove their existence in this world. One of those is the Nativity set that they made together. Mom poured the ceramic molds to create the figures. Dad hand painted them. I was inspired to paint the main figures of the set as an oil painting representation (the art at the top of this blog post).
My story will now abruptly switch gears. This (the images and video of my Nativity painting) is the art that BLM/Antifa conspired to delete from my website. At the time, I had very few visitors to my website, so it was very obvious what had happened. But, just in case it wasn’t clear, they made sure to upload a snarky devil cartoon in place of the blog post and art that they deleted. This was part of a larger terror campaign against me and many others in January 2017 (and this sort of thing- and worse- continues to happen to this day). I had done nothing wrong. I was just on a list of names of people who had supported an independent social media platform (one that I later quit, and never had any real association with other than enjoying posting my art there and making friendly connections). Anyway, rather than get too far into this, I want to focus only on how it affected me to be targeted, afraid that they’d go after my kids, and how violating it was that they deleted my art.
It was a spiritual attack. My parents were both cremated. I have no grave to visit. I have no flowers to lay down. My painting was a memorial tribute to them. My website at the time had few eyes ever on it, so it was such a shock when my site was invaded and my files were rummaged through. I’d told the story about my parents in that blog. Who could be so heartless as to delete it? No empathy? No human warmth?
I had done nothing to these people. I didn’t even know who they were. I was no threat to them. I was a broken, grieving person who was experiencing the loss of my husband’s and my own jobs, the uprooting of our family, having to sell what we built and believed to be our “forever” home, watching our kids take pictures of their favorite climbing tree and every room of their childhood house (the house in the above pictures)… while we were headed for years of rental homes and instability as we worked to rebuild our lives.
We are still not fully arrived into our new lives, but we are nearly there. My husband went back to college and there was an internship period as well, so it’s been a long road. But he is now on the last leg of it. I too am “nearly there” in my new vocation. As we move into this season, there’s a lot to reflect upon and a lot to look forward to. When sold our home, we also sold most of our possessions to finance the rebuilding of our lives. None of the things from the above photos are ours anymore, except for the Nativity set and each other. So, this particular set by my parents is very dear to me, as well as nativity scenes in general for their spiritual meaning.
Advent is a time of year when many Christians go through a time of serious reflection and joyful expectation. Like I mentioned, I went through a prolonged period of deep reflection and hope that lasted several years, and it was during that time when the “activists”, sponsored by my own government, put me on a target list. I was frightened that they’d find my kids on campus, as they knew their faces and where I lived. I didn’t know how far they’d take the terror campaign against the people on their list.
Yet, even then, what struck me the most was the deletion of my Nativity painting. Something inside me changed that day. I learned who I am, and I am a fighter. I believe strongly in honoring life, both on this side of it and beyond. I will never give in, give up, or back down. I will not be silenced. I will not be defined by others, by a collective, a mob, a cult, or a government. I am an individual. I am sovereign. My motives are my own, based on my life experiences that are unique to me. I will not be judged or condemned by those who have no spiritual authority over me. I will not lay down my paintbrushes. I will never stop reflecting on what was, nor will I ever stop expecting joy in the future.
The season of Advent brings out the Nativity scenes, and I will never be able to experience this in the same way again. It is highly personal, and the spiritual connection is much stronger than it ever was. And because of this, I am currently working on a new Nativity oil painting. I hope you will connect with it, and feel the beauty of peace, reflection, and anticipation of joy- in this life, and beyond. No amount of hate can stop this love. It is a gift for all who wish to receive it. God bless you and your family.
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I painted this just over a month ago, you might remember when I shared it. It feels like much longer to me. Does it to you? I thought of this one to add to my spree of fall related paintings. Something about the sky feels moody and ready for autumn even though there are still flowers in bloom and green leaves on the tree.
In the video, do you notice how the oil paints look when they are wet and the light shines on them? The sky feels real when the light interacts with the paint as I add each layer, along with the choreography effect of time lapse footage synced with music. What I share is often more about the experience of painting than the painting itself.
Sharing my art through moving, fluid video (and live on stage) is what I want to contribute as an artist, and as a fellow human. It is my hope that I can touch lives through sharing this experience, and that people like you will feel a connection- and will make it your own experience. Your reaction is personal and unique to you, and may even be difficult to explain to others. It is my wish that you feel understood, even though I can’t possibly know your story or why you might feel something meaningful to your own life when you watch these oils flow into finished paintings.
Watch oil painting “Autumn Tree” come to life in under 2 minutes
This short project began with an abstract background. Next, while it was still wet, I added a tree design. The rather undefined or unfinished tree, then blurred, feels like 2021’s autumn doesn’t it? So many things aren’t in focus and the winds of change have nearly broken us, yet we stand our ground and we’re more resilient than we may have thought we were. We don’t have clear vision to know how this all turns out, but we can choose to have hope for the future.
Believing in miracles, prayer, faith, self-belief, confidence, positivity, a determined spirit – all of these things can lead to amazing outcomes. But, as we exist in the human condition of mere mortals, we do not have a perfect, immortal life on this earth. There are times when we don’t get the miracle we long for, and for those times, sometimes the only miracle we can have may be peace. When we are at peace with what is, and what can never be, we are delivered from the worst parts of grief and suffering. So even when we don’t get the deliverance we hope for, we are delivered through hope itself – hope of a beautiful future in the next life, and courage to power through whatever we are dealing with in this one. But, sometimes we DO get what we want. For those times when we receive the miracles we pray for – REJOICE!
From Natalie: “When I was Mom’s caregiver, I brought her cut flowers from my garden every time I went to see her. I lived in Minnesota at the time, where the growing season is very short. There is no way my flowers should have continued to bloom for as long as they did, but they lasted until they were no longer needed to bring to her. My yellow roses were our favorite, and the rose bush was just outside my large kitchen window in the middle of the open floor plan house. When Mom died, a rabbit visited us, and sat peacefully alongside the yellow roses. This was a landscaped area near the house- why didn’t the rabbit go to the nearby woods, or long field grasses, under one of the many trees or shrubs? No, the rabbit sat openly, just outside our window, never leaving the yellow roses. She sat like that for several days. Then, when we were ready to let go, she was gone. Love is not bound by this physical world. Love is forever. Whatever caused the rabbit to stay near us during our time of grief, we appreciate the peace that this gentle creature brought us.”
Small Print “Visiting Rabbit”
All small prints are approximately 8 x 10. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.
Medium Print “Visiting Rabbit”
All medium prints are approximately 16 x 20. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame
Large Print “Visiting Rabbit”
All large prints are approximately 24 x 30. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.