They’re Back!

See this oil painting of a painted bunting come alive in under 1 minute (time lapse)

Today was a horrible day- seeing a painted bunting was one of the few good things about it, so I’ll focus on that. Painted buntings are migratory birds so their presence is relatively brief. It’s always a delight to see them! See the 3 short videos I took of a painted bunting from past seasons. Ours is smaller and rounder than the one I painted. The last video shows him with his buddy a red cardinal, and a hummingbird flits in at the end.

A painted bunting at the feeder
Longer footage of a painted bunting making a mess at the feeder
Painted bunting hanging out with his cardinal buddy

They’re Back!

Watch this hummingbird oil painting come alive in about 1 minute (time lapse)

The hummingbirds are BACK! LOL, I’ll tell you how I encountered their return. I was preparing for our unexpected move, and taking down the garden hose holder by unscrewing the hose clamps with a screwdriver, while wearing bright colorful floral gloves. Well, the hummingbird must have thought my hand was a flower and he tried to land on me. I didn’t see him until I moved my hand and he blitzed away making a loud buzzing whirring sound that I thought was a bee’s buzz. So I jumped a mile and yelped, as I saw the little bird flit away, seemingly annoyed at the drama and disappointment that I was not the flower he was looking for. 😀

Do you remember when I shared this video I took last year of a hummingbird in our tiny bird swing? I always feel happy looking at this. Here you go! Happy Sunday!

46 seconds of bliss, video I took of a hummingbird using the bird swing

Small Signs of Hope

See this oil painting “God’s Promise” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)
See the real life place, real double rainbow in photos I took when a hummingbird flew into it

When I painted the double rainbow painting, I was disappointed that I didn’t paint it in a more realistic way, but it was meant to be a fast project. It was somewhat experimental, using a paper towel to blot and remove some color for a fading effect. It worked to some extent, but not to the level I expected. I could have done it better with a paintbrush. But that really wasn’t the point of that particular project. It told a story, which means it met the objective. I had to drop my personal disappointment and move on to the next painting as it was a heavy painting schedule that year.

Well, it was this painting that someone criticized as “a five year old could have done it”. In isolation, this particular art doesn’t represent the kind of work I’m capable of, or the body of work I have done. I thought about removing this from my collection, but I told myself that if I cannot remain humble enough to show my failures and disappointments, then I have lost my way. So every now and then, when I need a double rainbow painting to tell my story, I will dig this one back up even though I know that it doesn’t impress people who judge my art (and me).

Today I was feeling down because the house we inquired about renting had already been promised to someone else. We were too late, and it was upsetting because I’d reached out to the property management and they didn’t answer me. It is like I don’t exist and don’t matter, when it is their company who has managed the house that is pushing us to vacate- you’d think they’d care a bit more about our situation. It brings up a lot of times in the past when I was forgotten, abandoned, not noticed, rejected, and left to fend for myself. These aren’t happy feelings, but I’ll have to push hard and make myself (my family’s situation) noticed.

So, the stressful ordeal continues. We have two months to find a solution to our housing problem. I was stewing about this when washing our outdoor furniture today, preparing it to sell next weekend during a yard sale. I hope to raise enough funds to cover some of our moving costs, and also let go of things to reduce the load we have to move. It’s just stuff. We’ve let go of our possessions before and we can do it again. At least we get to keep more this time. But even so, you can image that my mood while cleaning our things, for others to take for very little, was not exactly joyful.

I scrubbed the furniture down with a bleach solution made with dishwasher pods and hot water, which worked very well to remove pollen and dirt. Then I hosed everything down while listening to music through my headphones (a luxury I don’t often have because I need to be always available and listening to the household while multi-tasking, but this chore was outdoors and I was alone). As I was spraying the water, I felt the sun on my face and realized that I was relaxed. I was enjoying myself- the beautiful weather, the exercise, the music, and the solitude. Everyone was either inside or at work. It was just me and the water, and my music.

This song was playing by MercyMe. The lyrics in particular at that precise moment were “You were made for so much more than all of this” You’re beautiful, just as a rainbow formed from the spray of water. The rainbow, even though easily explained as basic science- water from the hose was caught by the sun- felt like much more than a random event. The rainbow seemed to float in front of my face because it was windy and the water spray was spraying back at me. It was like it was my personal rainbow, almost ON my person.

“Beautiful” by MercyMe lyric video

I will take this serendipitous experience, the water spray rainbow as the MercyMe song played at that same moment, as a small sign of hope. Everything will turn out OK. We’ll weather through the challenges. And if you are going through a difficult time- may you too feel hope that your situation will soon change for the better.

May God bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you, and give you peace.


The Journey

See this oil painting of a double rainbow “God’s Promise” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse)

I saw this double rainbow above the trees behind our house. You will see these trees and a rainbow in the video I share next. My painting is symbolic and simplistic, and in the end, I felt insecure about it. I really wanted to make the rainbows faint and more realistic, but in the end, I kept them bold and childlike. When I received a very unkind comment about this art I stopped sharing it, as it confirmed my own misgivings and regrets about this painting.

However, I have since said to myself that the journey is where the joy is. I hung a new lawn flag with the inscription “Joy is in the Journey” just today. I put it near my dormant rose bush, knowing that in the early spring the roses will bloom and the inscription will be beautifully metaphorical.

I painted this with the intention in my heart of sharing the beauty and joy that I saw. If others see only what I saw in it (the failure to create a masterpiece, and instead it “looks like a five year old did this”), then they are missing the love I tried to share. They are not seeing the language, only the literal paint on the canvas. What that rude person didn’t know, is that I have painted over 100 paintings (or more, I’ve lost track), since this rainbow art. I am a special person who he has dismissed.

Below is a video I took behind our house. The world is a wonderful place, and often it is the imperfect, childlike journey that matters most. This is the world that I see, and I try to share it with you the best that I can. God bless and keep you, this day and always, and may you always have hope.

Watch this hummingbird flying into a double rainbow! (second rainbow faint)

Another Delight!

Watch this hummingbird oil painting come to life in 1 minute (time lapse)

This is another of my hummingbird paintings, that I painted for a children’s book, but my blog post today is about the same kind of hummingbird I shared with you yesterday. There’s another surprise video that I took today! You might remember that in the past I said that birds come to me when I sing? 

It was something I discovered by accident when we were raising guinea fowl and I couldn’t get them to come back to their shelter at night. I tried calling for them, but one day when I was outside singing just for the love of singing, I noticed that they responded to my voice and came nearer to me. In fact, they kept coming toward me as if in some sort of spell… it was wonderful! So, instead of yelling my fool head off and those birds ignoring me, in the evenings I’d sing a hymn and they’d come home from wherever they’d been hiding in the fields!

As I’ve previously shared, we used to have a hobby farm and had to sell it when the company my husband worked for left the country and ghosted our town, leaving everyone unemployed. We had to start over and it’s taking us a long time, but we focus on each step. Anyway, the guinea fowl days are gone, but I discovered that wild song birds and hummingbirds also respond to my singing! 

I’ve hoped to capture this experience for you, and I’m getting closer to doing that. I have a video to share… it’s not quite the same exhilarating experience I have when I don’t have a phone held up (they don’t like that). If I’m still and don’t have a phone held up, a hummingbird will come within INCHES of my face, hover, and stare with direct eye contact, his tiny eyes locking with mine. It’s kind of scary actually. I never know if he might actually fly directly into my nose one of these days! 

But so far they don’t do this when I have a camera/phone held up. I could try a tripod in the future, but that might spook them too. We’ll see. This time there were two hummingbirds, but they look identical so I don’t know if you’re seeing the same little guy or if one flew in/out and the other then flew in/out. But you’ll see that when I sing, they fly out from wherever they were hiding. Isn’t it amazing? Stay tuned after the video, I have an update!

So, while I was playing the video back, I could hear the chittering sounds that the hummingbirds make. I was confused because I didn’t recall that being in the video. It wasn’t! Since I could clearly hear HIM, just outside the patio windows, he must have heard me as well, via the video! He chittered all the way through my singing on the video and stopped when the video ended! 

Hopefully I can capture it on video when the hummingbirds come near my face and look directly into my eyes. So far this is as close I’ve been able to get to video taping this experience. I hope it was fun to see!

BEAUTIFUL Surprise for You!

Before I show you the surprise, watch this hummingbird oil painting come to life in 1 minute (time lapse). This is inspired by our real life feeder on the patio, and this is one of the types of hummingbird friends who visit us… that’s a clue for what I’m about to surprise you with…

but first, see the real life inspiration for my painting in action in this 24 second video I took…

So, now you know that the hummingbird looks like… and I can share what happened. My daughter bought me a new phone that has an AMAZING camera (thank you, thank you, thank you!). I wanted to try out the camera and wouldn’t you know it, yesterday there was a rainbow… and a second lighter arc appeared… a double rainbow! Some people say that they have never seen a double rainbow, others say that they are rare, but they seem to follow me wherever I go. Anyway….

I was taking pictures of the double rainbow when a hummingbird flew into the shot! He “photo-bombed” my pictures and it was BREATHTAKING! I couldn’t believe how my new camera caught his flight and I could zoom in and crop it to a detailed picture of his flight path. I put a short film together, and next I will post the photos separately so you can see them more clearly. 

I hope you enjoy your surprise. This really is something very special!  When you see this, don’t you feel that this world still has very wonderful and hopeful things?

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

I’ve Joined the Butterflies!

Watch this oil painting come to life in 1 minute (time lapse)

I’ve come back inside after a crazy experience with nature! So, first the background story: my daughter found a bright happy tank top blouse at the thrift store and imagined me wearing it as I happily tend to my patio garden. It’s a turquoise/teal with a bright magenta/fuchsia floral print. And, indeed, I am wearing the blouse right now, and was tending to the garden…

I was bent down low to the ground because I was checking on the strawberry plant runners. Before tropical storm Elsa blew through the Savannah area, I removed my strawberry plant from its hanging hook (the winds would have knocked it to the ground), and placed it in the crook of a tree, near ground level. I decided to leave it in that sheltered place and realized it was easy to propagate new strawberry plants by adding small pots to the end of the runners (vines that create knobby sections that produce roots for new strawberry plant offspring if they connect with soil).

Anyway, so that’s what I was doing. I’m a small person (five feet one inch tall) with very dark hair. When I was squatting down near the tree, examining the strawberry runner pots on the ground, apparently all that could be seen of me is my bright floral shirt because suddenly and overwhelmingly I had become one with nature! I’d joined the butterflies or something….

Cardinals came out of the woodwork (literally, they flew out of the nearby woods), and gathered quite near to me. I held my breath, watching them through the branches of the tree that held my strawberry plant. It was quite fun to be so close to these beautiful wild birds! I turned my head to see that I was surrounded by nature, as suddenly a hummingbird was flying directly to me!

There was an awkward moment when the hummingbird realized his mistake. I was not a flower or a butterfly, or any part of his natural world. He hovered in the balance for a couple of breathless seconds. It felt as if time stood still. His wings fluttered in a soundless blur. Then, he zipped away as fast as his little body could go.

With my cover blown and bitten by mosquitoes, I went back inside. But what an exhilarating experience! For a brief time I’d joined the butterflies and was one of “them”, the tiny beautiful creatures of nature. In that world, nothing else matters but the moment. The family of cardinals flew together, taking turns at the bird feeder. Family and food, with a superpower to fly- what a life!

We too can prioritize good food and good company to share it with. It’s really our own choice to deprive ourselves of the daily celebration of life that the wild birds and butterflies have. True, we cannot fly, but we can surround ourselves with beauty, and make joyful basic needs our primary focus. It doesn’t take much money to enjoy a savory meal with people we love. During these troubled times, we need happiness more than ever.

God bless you, my dear friends. Join the butterflies for a few minutes today. The only moment that really matters is now.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

New Painting Finished!

If you’ve been following the progress of my new oil painting “Walking in Rain Puddle”, you’ll be happy to know that it is now finished

Read More »

Today’s Painting

LOL! It looks like my daughter (girl in the painting) is afraid of my fan brush in this still photo I lifted from the video!

Read More »

Go Light your World

This is the song that is featured in my oil painting “Candle and Bible” video. The music in the time lapse video is an instrumental

Read More »

New Painting

See this oil painting come alive in about 1 minute (time lapse video). Note: if you read my blog via e-mail, my videos probably won’t

Read More »

Happy 4th of July!

See this oil painting “Americana” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse video), or view the longer version in the 4th of July show. This

Read More »

New Painting!

See this osprey come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse video). My new art area is now fully set up and I should be

Read More »

Happy Father’s Day!

I’m finally working on a new painting. I’ll share it on Wednesday. My daily blog has fallen behind since our sudden, unexpected move. I’m still

Read More »

New Art Journey

I’ve lost track of how many oil paintings I’ve done, but “over 200” is possibly right. My lifetime goal is over 1,000 finished oil paintings,

Read More »

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

Read More »

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

Read More »

Patio Friends

First, the oil painting, then the story behind it… make sure you don’t miss the footage I took from my patio.

Watch me paint this hummingbird in under a minute (time lapse)

"This is a little guy that visits our patio feeder regularly. I get so much joy from seeing birds. It’s hard to explain why it would even matter to see these tiny creatures, but it feels like a gift every time ... We have several varieties of hummingbirds and sometimes they fight. I call their battles “Humming Wars” because their flight patterns and the whoosh/zoom noise they make reminds me of Star Wars’ special effects. Sometimes one of them will blitz by our heads if we are in their flight path. It’s a privilege when the hummingbirds interact with us. When they’re just peeking inside the glass to beg for their feeder to be filled, it’s not a high quality conversation, but there have been rare occasions when they’ve communicated with us without apparent self-serving motive. I was sitting on the swing one evening with my husband. We were quietly talking, when a hummingbird appeared. He looked directly at me, and then zipped toward my head, and hovered only a few inches from my face. It was a bit unnerving, as we made unwavering eye contact for several seconds. Then, I guess his curiosity was satisfied because he left. I could exhale again, whew! I thought he might have tried pecking at my nose for nectar."

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

Update to the above story…

 

My phone app alerted me that animated gifs were automatically generated from my photo albums. My pictures of one of our patio friends have now made this ruby throated hummingbird a movie star, debuting right here on this blog! (see gif below)

Hummingbird feeders take up very little space and you can enjoy them on a small patio or balcony. When your circumstances restrict you from a big garden, you don’t have to deprive yourself of patio friends. When we feed the birds, they visit us, and they are delightful company!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Painting Diary

When artists paint a diary of their lives, their work may be recognized globally, regionally, or locally.Flag at Tybee Island” is a famous icon, as it is displayed on the only road to or from Tybee Island, Georgia. Tybee’s beaches attract tourists worldwide, and because the Internet brings every corner of the globe to the far reaches of the Earth, one doesn’t need to visit a place to be familiar with it.

 

This particular icon was also given international publicity. The flag was featured in major media after police officers rescued it from flood waters after a hurricane. That news story was then distributed widely online. So, while I painted this scene because it is my personal happy milestone telling me and my family that we are nearing our favorite weekend place, it is globally identifiable. When I posted this art online with no description, someone recognized it immediately as the flag from the Tybee Island roadside. What may be a personal “diary share” in the artist’s mind, may be globally recognized.

When paintings depict objects, people, or events that aren’t globally recognized, they may still be regionally identifiable.Floral Cross” was inspired by a table display I admired on Easter morning at a new church I was attending. Each guest was invited to place real cut flowers into the cross display. I’d never experienced this beautiful Easter service ritual before, but the same experience was shared by all who attended that service, and was likely heard of throughout the region.

Even the things we see in our own backyards may be recognized, at least locally. I enjoy this little guy who comes to our patio hummingbird feeder often. He seems like “our” tiny wild pet, but he is of course an ordinary common bird belonging to nature. “My” backyard birds are all over the neighborhood, and little birds identical to him are local visitors to everyone in the surrounding area at the same time, as we share the same seasons, specific environmental conditions, and localized weather impacts.

When artists paint the things that they see in their daily lives as a shared diary of sorts, their work may be relatable on a global, regional, or local scale. However, spiritually, intellectually, and emotionally, any shared art can still be relatable, even if the viewer doesn’t recognize or connect with the painting through personal experience or prior knowledge. The beauty of sharing our personal lives with others is that we often find that other people have experienced similar joys, sorrows, and the full range of emotions that make us human. When we share our humanity, we are never alone.

“Come to the Garden”

Watch Natalie paint this art, and all 50 oil paintings in this collection (menu below)
Cropped section of Come to the Garden oil painting by Natalie Buske Thomas

“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).

Right section of Come to the Garden oil painting by Natalie Buske Thomas

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!

Bottom section of Come to the Garden oil painting by Natalie Buske Thomas

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).”

Come to the Garden oil painting by Natalie Buske Thomas

List of Oil Paintings in this Collection, linking to their pages here on the site, and also citing physical pages in the hardcover book:

  1. City of Savannah
    1.1 “City of Savannah” page 6-7
    1.2 “Natalie at the Fountain” page 8-11
    1.3 “House in Savannah” page 12-13
    1.4 “Guardian Lion” page 14-15
    1.5 “Autumn Angel” page 16-17
    1.6 “Steamship Savannah” page 18-19
    1.7 “Boiled Peanuts for Sale” page 20-21
    1.8 “Bulldog” page 22-23
    1.9 “Serenity Piano” page 24-25
    1.10 “Painting Colors” page 26-27
  2. Tybee Island
    2.1 “I Love Life” page 30-31
    2.2 “Living Sand Dollar” page 32-33
    2.3 “Matthew the Sea Turtle” page 34-35
    2.4 “Fungie the Dolphin” page36-37
    2.5 “Angel Releasing Dove” page 38-39
    2.6 “Flag on Tybee Island” page 40-41
    2.7 “My Kids at the Beach” page 42-43
    2.8 “Lighthouse near Tybee Island” page 44-45
  3. Birds, Reptiles and Amphibians
    3.1 “Gator and Snake” page 48-49
    3.2 “Tree Frog” page 50-51
    3.3 “Lizard” page 52-53
    3.4 “Blue Heron” page 54-55
    3.5 “Hummingbird” page 56-57
    3.6 “Painted Bunting” page 58-59
  4. Flowers and Trees
    4.1 “Pink Flower” page 62-63
    4.2 “Porch Flowers” page 64-65
    4.3 “Clover” page 66-67
    4.4 “Butterfly Tree Flowers” page 68-69
    4.5 “Savannah Tree” page 70-71
    4.6 “Dancer in a Floral Forest” page 72-73
    4.7 “Come to the Garden” page 74-77
    4.8 “Cherokee Rose” page 78-79
  5. Faith and Food
    5.1 “Floral Cross” page 82-83
    5.2 “Lenten Flower” page 84-85
    5.3 “Celtic Cross” page 86-87
    5.4 “Mary of God’s Favor” page 88-89
    5.5 “Lion and the Lamb” page 90-91
    5.6 “Breakfast with Friends” page 92-93
    5.7 “Peaches in a Bowl” page 94-95
    5.8 “Peach Cookies” page 96-97
    5.9 “Peach Pie” page 98-99
  6. Seasons and Weather
    6.1 “Pumpkins and Mums” page 102-103
    6.2 “Autumn Cottage” page 104-105
    6.3 “Spring Lambs” page 106-107
    6.4 “Peach Tree Hurricane” page 108-109
    6.5 “Eye of the Storm” page 110-111
    6.6 “God’s Promise” page 112-113
    6.7 “We Gather Together” page 114-115
    6.8 “Savannah Snow” page 116-117
    6.9 “I Believe in Santa” page 118-119