Forced to Slow Down

Watch this oil painting illustration for children’s book “Grandpa Smiles” come alive in under 2 minutes (time lapse)

This part of the book was inspired by when my son was in the hospital for surgery and his recovery. It was hard seeing my normally happy and active child so weak, sad, and listless. He is a college student now, healthy and sturdy.

Active people hate to be forced to slow down. That’s my status for today. Saturday I was pulling weeds and spraying the concrete with strong jets of water from the hose. I sprayed an ant nest and the tiny furious insects immediately swarmed my feet. I was wearing sandals, so even though I sprayed my feet off as quickly as I could, they had already stung and bit my exposed skin many times.

Here it is, two days later, and the itching and swelling are still miserably intense. My foot swelled so much that it feels funky to walk on it. I didn’t sleep well last night because of the interminable itching, despite creams and medicine, which only took the edge off. So, I’ve been forced to slow down, to ice my foot and give my body time to heal from this irritating development.

I hope to bounce back quickly, but for now, it’s difficult to sit in one position for too long as my foot swells and itches like crazy. No painting until I kick these allergic reactions to the ant bites, or until I find a way to paint with my foot elevated (if this ordeal goes on too long and I lose patience with it). I have already found a way to do dishes by propping my foot up on the counter while I use the sink. Good thing I was a dancer in another life.

Using this incident as a spiritual metaphor, there are times in our lives when something happens that forces us to slow down. Our normal busy thought patterns are disrupted. Our usual daily thoughts are put on hold. During such times, we become philosophical and reflective. We wonder, if our regular life can be stopped suddenly without our consent or warning, perhaps the things we do aren’t as important as we thought? 

What do we miss doing when we are forced to slow down? What are we relieved to have an excuse not to do? How can we do more of the former and less of the latter? When we are forced to slow down, it’s an opportunity to re-evaluate how we live. 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

Something Funny

Watch me paint this terrifying children’s game of tag in 1 minute (time lapse)

Thought we could use something lighthearted today. Surely you too have played this childhood summer game of “Goose Tag”? No? Well, first you need a pair of mean geese. Then you need bullying neighbor kids and goading cousins. The final ingredient to achieve the full experience is to be the scrawniest kid in the pack.

"Summers spent at Grandma and Grandpa’s in upstate, New York included many adventures. One of the most harrowing was a game called 'Goose Tag' which was hosted by the neighbor kids whose family kept live geese in their yard. The geese would get riled up at the very sight of us and give chase. We’d run as fast as we could before they could 'tag' us. The last kid to make it to the safety of the porch got bit on the seat of the pants. Since I was the youngest and smallest, that person was me more than once."

- from book "50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Nature" by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

This oil painting was first published as children’s book illustration art for the book “Fred“. It’s now included in the collection “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Nature“.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

Take my Hand

Watch oil painting “City of Savannah” (city near me) come to life in 2 minutes, time lapse I shared this painting here on the blog

Read More »

New Painting

Are you enjoying autumn treats? My daughters love the specialty coffee and snacks that come out this time of year. They especially love their sister

Read More »

“I’m SUPERMAN!”

Watch me paint “Superhero“, an illustration for children’s book “Grandpa Smiles” in one minute (time lapse)

"Grandpa Smiles is my first oil painting book. I wrote it about my son and my late father. Dad died young (age thirty-seven) after losing his battle with cancer. He didn’t live to see me grow up, get married, and have children. But somehow, my son has a special bond with the grandpa he never met. This simple picture book illustrates how Grandpa smiles; watching over his grandson’s life from birth and every year since."

- About the 2014 children's book "Grandpa Smiles" by Natalie Buske Thomas

Read special story “Grandpa Smiles” in under two minutes in the short video version above.

Update to the above story…

 

Before my son went to college, he first took a few classes at a tech school. Of all places, we were temporarily (for only one year) living in the same state where my father had lived, and the nearest tech school was the same system that my dad had once taught classes for! The connection to his grandpa continues to amaze us.

 

The story behind “Superhero” (the page “The Child Leaps”) is shown in the video below. This was my little guy when he was a toddler. Every year since, he wore a Superman costume- in bigger sizes as he grew (the illustration for Grandpa Smiles is inspired by how he played as he was older, tearing around the house and yard).

 

I can’t remember the day when he finally hung up his cape, and I’m glad I don’t. Growing up happens gradually, otherwise we’d drown in buckets of tears. But, I’ve seen evidence over the years of times when my son rose heroically out of nowhere, as if secretly there’s still an “S” hidden under his jacket.

My son is also the inspiration for many of the stories in the comic “Dramatic Mom“, both the version illustrated by my talented daughter, and the unpublished version drawn by me (featured image for this post is a sample of that). I will share some of the funnies from the “Dramatic Mom” family comic series in a future blog post.