Something Different

Watch this oil painting of peach pie come to life

in about a minute (time lapse)

When we tried the peach pie it was something different and new for us, that first year after we moved to the deep South in Georgia. This week, for my husband’s birthday (he likes pie better than cake, and I’m the opposite- I prefer cake), we tried something different again. It was a maple syrup pie, a recipe I found from Canada. It was good, very rich; a small piece is plenty. He thought it was fun to try a new pie.

We have our favorite foods and desserts that are our family traditions, but it’s good to try something different too. This is a good recipe for life as well. Enjoy the familiar, the things we know, the habits that have become tradition in our families, and the lifestyle that is comfortable and usually preferred, but on occasion step into something different. Be open to new things, to change, and to experiences that depart from our regular way of doing things.

Just like when we take a trip and when we come back we say, “it was good to get away, but it’s sure good to be back home,” taking a break from our usual way of doing things can push us out of a rut and into a spiritual space of gratitude. And if we like the new things we try, we might incorporate them into our lives. The important thing is to feel joyful in our daily regular lives, and it can help to try something different. But if you can’t travel or make major changes, don’t worry, sometimes all it takes to feel an extra boost of joy is trying a new pie!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

October Morning Surprise

Do you remember when I shared my outdoor painting experience this spring? Watch my Plein Air oil painting experiment in this 2.5 minute time lapse

What is fun?

Watch this oil painting of my son jumping in leaves come to life in 48 seconds (time lapse) You might remember when I shared this

Are you Safe?

See oil painting “Guardian Angel” come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) I last shared this painting here with you in August, in a

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

Roaring, Snarling or?

You might remember when I painted the snarling lion in the video above, as it was fairly recently (August). Perhaps you see him as growling

Seasonal Perspective

Watch oil painting “Trees and Stream” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse) When I shared this painting with you in July, I was thinking

A Rose by Any Other Name

Watch this rose oil painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) The old saying “a rose by any other name”, derived from Shakespeare,

Are your seeds growing?

Watch this oil painting of a lily come to life in under 2 minutes (time lapse) I had lilies just like this one in the

Grace Will Lead me Home

When we were planning our move to Ireland, I was grieving the loss of my only remaining parent, my mom (Dad died when I was

A Month Ago

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

Orchard Season

Watch this oil painting of an apple tree branch come to life in 1 minute (time lapse) Have you been enjoying pumpkin spice goodies and

Seeing the Future

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

Autumn in 2021

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

New Painting

Watch my new painting “Pumpkin Carving” come to life in just over 2 minutes (time lapse) Father and son enjoying an autumn custom of cleaning

Melancholy

Watch this lighthouse painting come to life in 1 minute

(time lapse)

I share this one when I’m feeling melancholic, flitting back and forth between faint optimism and bittersweet sentiment, and a gloomy premonition that something bad is about to happen. This sense of doom is partly an empathetic response to the way the wind is shifting on the world stage on a particular day, and partly a personal, individual perspective that is complicated and unique to me (although my own emotions are often astonishingly in sync with other fellow humans, even with people I’ve never met). 

Melancholy can be channeled into beautiful things. I tend to be more introspective and lost in my art when I’m feeling a bit blue. Depression or a funk is a different state, and I find no benefit to emotions so low as to be unproductive and damaging to one’s health. So I’m definitely not advocating for sadness that causes a person to have difficulty leading a normal life. What I mean is the kind of sadness that put us in a quiet, restful state that may evolve into empathy; a profound connection to fellow humans and our shared plight. This state of being is a good foundation for creating art.

When you’re feeling a bit blue, embrace those emotions by channeling them into a project you can escape into, as if alone at sea on a peaceful cloudy day, in which you can just see the comforting glow from a lighthouse. You won’t lose your way home. Stay in the cold murky waters for a while. Take in the beauty of the moment; as our joy is defined by our sadness. When we don’t know sadness, we may struggle to fully appreciate joy.

When we are weary, the lighthouse will lead us back to the shore. We can rest, and let our breath flow out, relaxed, letting go of all of our concerns. As we lay our heads on our pillows that night, we sleep deeply; our fears lose their grip, our sadness lifts, and when we waken in the morning our energy is restored. 

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

October Morning Surprise

Do you remember when I shared my outdoor painting experience this spring? Watch my Plein Air oil painting experiment in this 2.5 minute time lapse

What is fun?

Watch this oil painting of my son jumping in leaves come to life in 48 seconds (time lapse) You might remember when I shared this

Are you Safe?

See oil painting “Guardian Angel” come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) I last shared this painting here with you in August, in a

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

Roaring, Snarling or?

You might remember when I painted the snarling lion in the video above, as it was fairly recently (August). Perhaps you see him as growling

Seasonal Perspective

Watch oil painting “Trees and Stream” come alive in 2 minutes (time lapse) When I shared this painting with you in July, I was thinking

A Rose by Any Other Name

Watch this rose oil painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) The old saying “a rose by any other name”, derived from Shakespeare,

Grace Will Lead me Home

When we were planning our move to Ireland, I was grieving the loss of my only remaining parent, my mom (Dad died when I was

A Month Ago

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

Orchard Season

Watch this oil painting of an apple tree branch come to life in 1 minute (time lapse) Have you been enjoying pumpkin spice goodies and

Seeing the Future

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

Autumn in 2021

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

New Painting

Watch my new painting “Pumpkin Carving” come to life in just over 2 minutes (time lapse) Father and son enjoying an autumn custom of cleaning

Experimentation

Watch this owl and rabbit landscape oil painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) You might remember when I blogged about this. I

Art Imitates Art

Watch this oil painting of a little girl in a tree come to life in under 2 minutes (time lapse) When my dad was stationed

Thankful Anyway

Watch this oil painting “Prayer of Praise” come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) It may be hard to feel like this today, a

Worn

Watch this “Armor of God” oil painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) There’s a lot going on in the world today, and

New Painting

Watch me paint this “Autumn Leaves” oil painting in 2 minutes (time lapse) No matter what is happening in the world or in our personal

Lion of Judah oil painting by Natalie Buske Thomas

Quiet Lion

Watch me paint this lion oil painting in 2 minutes (time lapse) I changed the music for this video today. Whatever you’re experiencing, you probably

Not Again!

Watch this oil painting about the dark side of the animal kingdom come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) I don’t have a painting

Happy Grief?

Watch this hedgehog oil painting come to life in about 1 minute (time lapse) You might remember when I painted this one and shared it

Melancholy

Watch this lighthouse painting come to life in 1 minute (time lapse) I share this one when I’m feeling melancholic, flitting back and forth between

History

Watch this oil painting of the day (July 23, 2020) that the Statue of Liberty in New York City looked to have been struck by

How are you?

Watch this oil painting of a bird in a forest come to life in about 2 minutes (time lapse) You might remember when I first

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

Things we See

Watch this jellyfish oil painting come to life in just over 1 minute (time lapse) You might remember when I shared this one in April?

A Gift for You!

First, do you remember this one? Watch my oil painting of geese come to life in just over 1 minute (time lapse). And now, I’ll

Goodnight, dear Friends

Watch this oil painting from the children’s book “Grandpa Smiles” come to life in just over 1 minute (time lapse) I painted this art for

Inspiring

My oil painting of my daughter reading in the butterfly garden… this one doesn’t have a video because I painted this before I started filming

Too Much Talking

Watch this parrot oil painting come to life in about 2 minutes (time lapse) These days it feels like there is too much talking, not

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

Sunday Rest

Watch this Irish Angel oil painting come to life in about 2 minutes (time lapse) The image in the video above is a photograph of

Art I Don’t Like

Watch this yellow butterfly painting come alive in about 2 minutes (time lapse) What we see and feel about art is highly individual, personal, and

End of Summer

Watch my tree swing painting come to life in about 2 minutes (time lapse) You might remember when I first shared this one when I

Not Much to Say

This oil painting is called “Silenced”. I originally painted it to express what it feels like to be censored, blacklisted, etc., but as it often

See What Happened Today!!!

I shared my sunflower oil painting with you before (2 minute time-lapse video above to watch me paint this). Well, now I have my own

Do you want a cookie?

Watch me paint these peach cookies with powdered sugar coating, from the book “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Savannah, Georgia” (1 minute time lapse)

When we were children and someone asked us, “Do you want a cookie?” we’d probably have said yes without hesitation (unless it was a type of cookie we didn’t like, or we were allergic to the ingredients in it). But as adults, the simple yes or no decision about whether or not we want a cookie is more complicated. 

Beyond any allergies or dislike for the cookie, we might also consider the calories, any ingredients that don’t fit into our diet plan, who made the cookie and how fresh it is, if the conditions of the cookie look hygienic or if the cookie has been touched by many people before being offered, if the cookie has hard decorations that could hurt our teeth, if the cookie is sloppy and will be messy to eat, if the cookie comes with a paper napkin or plate, if the cookie has a political statement written on it, if the cookie is sold by an organization whose politics we don’t agree with, if the cookie is offered free or at a cost, if we are expected to eat a cookie right before singing or speaking in public, if accepting the cookie means that someone else can’t have one (not enough to go around), if not accepting the cookie will hurt someone’s feelings, and probably other considerations I didn’t think of.

Every decision we make as an adult is more complicated than our decision making process we had when we were children. And though it may be tempting to wish for those days back, the truth is that most of us prefer to be adults. For if we still made decisions in a childlike way, we’d be as vulnerable as children. Rash impulsive decisions based on immediate rewards sometimes leads to dire consequences that hurt ourselves and others. There’s a good reason for humans to grow up and learn to make mature, fully thought out decisions.

But every now and then… if offered a cookie (assuming that a single cookie won’t ruin your fitness plan), why not just say “YES, please!” and enjoy every sweet morsel of it? Life is complicated, so it’s a happy thing when we take a break from the seriousness of this world. Sometimes a pretty little cookie really is just a pretty little cookie that tastes delicious and gives us a few minutes of joy. And we can say “YES, I want a cookie!”

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

Today is my Birthday!

Watch me paint “Autumn Angel” in 2 minutes (time lapse)

Since today is my birthday, I searched for an oil painting I’ve done that represents who I am. At first, I thought of the most obvious choices, such as ones where I make a cameo appearance, like “Come to the Garden” or “Natalie at the Fountain“. I also thought of paintings that others say represent me, or my most popular signature pieces, but in the end, I decided to go with the one above “Autumn Angel“, who doesn’t look like me, and has not been seen by many people.

At the time, the piece was just to fill a project slot for the collection “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Savannah, Georgia“. It was inspired by the statues and monuments of angels that tourists like to visit in Savannah’s historic cemeteries. I love the beauty and hope of angels and I decided to paint a “real” one based on likenesses and poses I saw in statues.

I wanted to connect with this oil painting, but I was surprised when I actually, deeply, did. The music especially had a profound effect on me. I watched my own painting video over and over. Something about it feels so sad, so bittersweet, yet loving, peaceful, and kind. Why? Why did I feel this way about this particular painting, when I’ve done so many pieces that were just another project to tick off my list?

Interestingly, this particular painting video was one of the ones attacked by a mob who sought to cancel it because the angel is white. They said she is an “Aryan angel” and therefore racist. Am I not allowed to paint figures who might look like my own heritage? (Irish) I have very fair skin that I cannot change. I had blonde hair when I was a young child that turned light brown, then very dark brown (nearly black) like it is now. I have green eyes. This is just the coloring I was given. I was not born “wrong”.

I have painted diverse skin tones over my career. I do not paint exclusively fair skinned persons. But that’s not really something I have to say. I’ve volunteered it because I want to show that I am experienced in a range of portrait styles, but not to defend myself against something I am not guilty of.

The unprovoked attack by the mob against my artwork was seen only by me. I simply disabled comments and stopped using that platform for new work. It was not a big ordeal involving crimes committed against me, like other situations were. This really was nothing at all… only a few anonymous hateful trolls. It could have become something more if I’d engaged with them, but I didn’t.

However, the incident stirred an expected response in me. I felt violated, as if my personal diary had been read and condemned. I felt protective of this art and didn’t share it much. Why did I feel such a personal connection to this particular painting? I’ve had to reflect on this to write today’s blog post.

While this angel doesn’t look like me, and while no one has given any attention to it as a signature piece of mine, nonetheless, it is this one that I connect with the most. It makes me feel powerful emotions and brings tears to my eyes. This is how I feel about the beauty of life in an ugly and hostile world, a world where joy and grief exist alongside each other.

I love my family so deeply that I cannot bear the thought of them in pain, in fear, or gone from me. The joy of loving them, juxtaposed with the fear of losing them (or them losing me) is what living full out is all about. We cannot have joy without an awareness of grief. Yet every day that we are blessed to share life’s journey is full, happy, and even if woven with trivial irritations or concerns- ultimately beautiful when we are brave enough to love.

Love is like this angel. God’s creation, the elements of nature, surrounds her; ivy is a shelter above her head and autumn leaves cushion her feet. She is not consumed by fire. Though the flames may rage, she remains beautiful and kind. She holds peace of spirit in her hand. 

When I looked out my patio glass at this very second, I could see three, no FIVE, birds right now. Two of them are cardinals. The other three look to be finches. They were perched peacefully alongside each other, occasionally fluttering to change positions. They are still there, but continuously flutter and move, so by the time I finish this blog post they will have moved on. A hummingbird has now joined in, had a nip, and is already gone. This is how fast things move in the bird world of nature.

But there are times when I am among them, when I dare not breathe lest they fly away… when they trust me to stand very near them, sharing space in the natural world, where nothing matters except this moment. We are truly living when we stand in love, extending peace, when the flames of this world can’t consume us, and when God’s protection is over our heads and beneath our feet.

We are blessed to be alive another day, and for me, I’m marking another year. May we have many more years together, as you journey with me to reach my lifetime goal of 1k finished paintings. Happy Birthday to me.

🎂

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

New Painting – Moonlight Landscape

Watch me paint “Owl and Rabbit” in 2 minutes (time lapse), a landscape that is also available as two separate works “Owl” and “Rabbit“.

You may have seen my previous new painting announcements when I finished “Owl” and “Rabbit”. The final touch was adding the moon. Keeping the landscape simple allows the viewer to write their own story, giving the piece an air of mystery. The art is divided three ways (each animal as a separate work and the landscape as a whole as shown here). If one is a fan of owls, but not rabbits, for example… they can order the print that features just the owl. This was an experiment for me, and I liked how it turned out. I may do a 3-in-one landscape again in the future.

If you’re keeping track, I now have only 3 paintings left for the 2021 collection “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Nature“. I’m getting excited now, as another set of 50 will be a wrap and I’ll start the new theme! Also, I got my new dress for the final show of 2021… it’s AH-MAZE-ing, darling, AMAZING!

Be passionate in all that you do. Let’s push ourselves hard to feel joy even when the world is doing its best to crush us with darkness. Spiritual and emotional strength leads to mental and physical protection from illness, exhaustion, and defeat. May we be powerhouses of energy and light, protecting ourselves as we shine for others. God bless you this day and always.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

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 »

Birds of a Feather

Watch this oil painting “Goldfinches” come to life in 1 minute

(time lapse)

There’s been a lot of propaganda, illogical fallacies, and other mean-spirited, agenda-ridden denigrating language to malign what was once generally celebrated: the natural social desire for “birds of a feather (to) flock together”. For political and other reasons, the normal need to be around people with whom we have something in common has been labeled as cult-like, an “echo chamber”, small mindedness, and much worse. This is nonsense! 

Unless folks are conspiring to hurt others or are otherwise in a dysfunctional and abusive group, it’s healthy to surround ourselves with people who share values, interests, careers, hobbies, culture, locality, and other factors in common. Isolation can make us physically ill from social deprivation. Condemning the practice of finding a sense of community with those whom we feel connected to, has the sinister result of replacing our natural fellowship with manufactured common “values” that primarily benefit the very entities responsible for shaming us for our normal, healthy social yearning to belong (hence their conscious or subconscious motive for an obsessive and controlling interest in the social networks of strangers).

When we’re pushed into steered social groups through shaming, intimidation, and manipulation, we may feel alone in a crowd. Why? Because birds of a feather flock together. No one can tell us who our bird friends are, as the reasons for feeling a sense of community, connection, fellowship, and empathy are very individual and highly complex.

What could look like an echo chamber to an outside observer is likely not a fair representation of why people connect. Even if the traits that the persons in the group have in common seem obvious, the underlying reasons for connecting are probably intangibles like:

  • Joy: a shared sense of humor (they “get” me)
  • Acceptance and respect for one’s values, faith, religion, culture, lifestyle, etc. (even if folks within the group disagree)
  • Passion for things that individuals in the group are keenly interested in or consider important (same priorities in life, similar focus on hobbies/career/etc., a lifestyle in common such as parenting young children)

Even if a group looks to be connected by politics, the real tether is still likely to be based on the three intangibles above: joy, acceptance, and passion. The people who “take the same side” on certain issues are probably people who share our deepest core values involving how we respect each other, how we “get” each other through humor, and the intensity of our interests. We should therefore push back on the tiresome trend to condemn how people socialize, and let people be free to find their own flock.

Birds of a feather really DO flock together, for good and for bad (unfortunately criminally bent people find each other quite easily it seems). Those of you who follow my blog may feel a connection to me and a deepening friendship, based on shared values in common. You may respect my authentic voice, even when you don’t always agree with me. You may feel that I “get” you when I post something humorous. You may feel understood and accepted when I share something that hits you where you are, something you can relate to. I hope so!

I welcome the concept of finding people who share something in common, as this is how we are naturally wired. It is healthy to find a flock and enjoy the company of birds of a feather. If you are one of my fellow bird friends, thank you for flying with me.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

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 »

Autumn in 2021

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

Read More »

New Painting

Watch my new painting “Pumpkin Carving” come to life in just over 2 minutes (time lapse) Father and son enjoying an autumn custom of cleaning

Read More »

Embracing LIFE!

This is a tree on “Rock Hill”, a rural area in Ireland near Grenagh. Grenagh is a village close to Mallow in Co. Cork. In 2016 I lived there, off a boreen (a narrow road in which two cars can’t pass, and ours barely fit ONE, it was hairy). VERY remote. Even the native Irish couldn’t find us, they’d get lost. We had poor cell phone reception that only came in if we used a signal booster and stood directly under it. We had spotty, slow, and unreliable satellite service for Internet. Often a simple website would spin and time out. We had no rubbish (garbage) service and had to drive our trash bags to the dump site which was several miles away. 

We were completely isolated, with no visible neighbors. Yet, for reasons I can’t fully explain, I never felt alone. Of course I had my family with me, so I wasn’t alone, but many people feel unnerved when in a remote location far from any stores, hospitals, and civilization. That wasn’t how I felt. I was at peace.

Tree on Rock Hill” oil painting while still on my easel

in the house we were renting in Ireland

I’ve lived in very remote areas and very urban. I’ve lived in the inner city of Minneapolis. I’ve lived in villages (Geisfeld, Germany) and in small towns, suburban neighborhoods and apartment communities. I’ve lived in rentals, “fixers” and a hobby farm with a house we built ourselves (partly ordered up, partly with our own two hands). I’ve had times of want and times of plenty.

Some say that home is where the heart is, or where our families are, but I would politely say that this is not true for everyone. Sometimes we are placed where we do not wish to be. Sometimes we lose family members and are temporarily or somewhat permanently without close ties, without any deep sense of family or community. That has been true of my life.

Through it all, my spirit and mind stay housed in the same body. Home is where I am. Home is wherever I go. I feel most at home when I am at peace, close to God. There are times in my life when I have the company of precious loved ones to share this journey, and times when I have not had that blessing. There are times when I feel a strong connection to the place I’m living, and times when I’ve counted down the days to leave.

Embracing LIFE is to seek joy regardless of circumstance. Even an enslaved person has free will, should they choose. Mindfulness is a commodity that cannot be stolen without our consent. Even if deceived, on some level we are responsible for delegating the responsibility of our independent thoughts to others.

Today I am in high spirits. I am ripe with fresh ideas for my art, work, and lifestyle. I was up early and transplanted seedlings that I’ve babied into sturdy lush greens. My garden is really taking off and it’s such a delight to see. I’ve already enjoyed compound butter and infused olive oil and vinegar salad dressing. One of the tomatoes is red and will be ready to pick soon. My strawberries are formed but still green. One day soon my garden will be bursting at the seams with goodness… all from a small patio space.

I’ve blogged several times about the painful sale of our hobby farm when my husband lost his job. One by one, flock by flock, all of our animals were sold or given away to good farming homes, including our beloved sheep that we had raised from lambs and the guinea fowl that we’d hatched as eggs in an incubator and raised into fully grown birds. I could list all of the animals and the losses, but it’s the garden that’s the point of this. We had a very large garden that was plowed down a hill.

The garden was my husband’s deal. It was too much for me. The ground was uneven and the area was buggy. I’m allergic to many insects and the constant threat of it was unnerving. The terrain was steep and rough. He planted the rows in a compact way that made it hard to push through without brushing up against the plants. It was really and truly not my thing. I tended to my roses and other flowers in the landscaped areas near the house. 

My gardening role then was to can the tomatoes, bake the zucchini bread to freeze ahead, and cook/store all of the other garden foods as well. He grew the food and dumped it onto the kitchen counter. From there it was my job to see that the food went from the garden to our stomachs.

But now, many years later, I have a pretty garden of my own. I’m honestly quite hooked on the thrill of seeing my hard work grow into fruition. Every day there is something new to see and learn. I’m astonished at the world that has opened up for me. I didn’t realize how little I knew about food. I’ve discovered bloggers who are teaching me that there are many different ways to eat that I’d never thought of.

I’ll still do the things I’m familiar with, like canning tomatoes and making refrigerator pickles from cucumbers. My husband has his own gardening space too, so there will be zucchini bread-making again in my near future, just like the old days. We haven’t abandoned the things we used to enjoy. But I’m delighted to try new ideas. My tastes have changed over the years and I’m especially intrigued by the nutrition found in herbs. My husband actually thought parsley was “just for decoration” and was surprised when I showed him the many health benefits of adding parsley to our diets.

Embracing life is about feeding ourselves good food… not just literally, physically, but also good mental and spiritual food. I’ve been studying new things and expanding my ideas about philosophy. I’ve been learning more about science and botany. I’ve been learning more about chemistry and health. I’m pushing myself to see beyond what I’ve always known.

Last night I was in a foul mood. Everything was getting under my skin, especially the dark, somber, dystopia of “current year” (a trendy phrase I despise, but it suits). As I fell asleep, my mind was full of angry thoughts and pessimistic emotions. I woke up several times. My broken, disrupted sleep ended when I woke up with a splitting headache.

But I walked into the kitchen, poured myself a cup of tea, and opened the patio curtains. A tiny hummingbird flitted away and my garden plants seemed to greet me. It was a splendid morning, if I chose to see it that way. It was up to me. Would I allow the world’s perception of my future to control my thinking (mind), my health (body), and my emotions (spirit)? Or would I see the truth plainly in front of me?

Today I have chosen to embrace life. Every day I must choose anew. It doesn’t matter where I am, where I live, or who is with me. It doesn’t matter if I am in lack or plenty. It doesn’t matter if I’m in pain or full health. The choice is always mine to make.

I will have a good day today because I choose it. I will experience joy, regardless of my circumstances. Whatever pain or grief I have, I shall set it aside into the private healing space of my mind and spirit. I will see beauty and let the sun shine into my heart. Will you join me in embracing life? The choice is yours. Every day we are blessed to be here, we have an opportunity to choose joy.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

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 »

Bluebird of Happiness

Sometimes called “bluebird of happiness”, seeing a bluebird is associated with prosperity, good luck, joy, life, beauty and hope. I saw my first bluebird this season and it took my breath away! I gasped and squealed aloud, even though I was alone. His belly was more red than brown, almost pink. The sun hit his blue wings when he flew away and it was gorgeous!

The cute plump bluebird above was painted for a children’s book called “Bird Days”. The one I saw looked more like the bluebird in this oil painting “Come to the Garden“, that is an exaggerated fanciful version of my real life patio. I painted a bluebird perched on top of the trellis, from my memory of seeing him there in real life. The trellis is an actual part of my patio (the path, fence, etc. are not real, nor is the row of white flowers in the foreground).

I didn’t get a real life bird video of a bluebird to share… I never seem to have my camera when he appears. But, if I do capture him on film I’ll post it. While cardinals have made their home here with us and live nearby year round, dining regularly from our bird feeders, the bluebirds are rare visitors.

I have a painting project in progress but, like seeing a bluebird, it’s rare that my husband is coming home early on a glorious sunny day. We plan to just “be”, doing home stuff at an easy pace while our kids are around us. I doubt I’ll get any painting done, and that’s perfectly fine. There’s always tomorrow to reach my 1k finished paintings goal!

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

New Painting – Something Cute

Watch me paint “Penguins” in 2 minutes (time lapse)

I hope this brightens your day! Here in the United States, we are past the dreary days of winter. I’d lived in snowy areas most of my life, but now I’m in the Deep South, where it seldom snows (it snowed the first season we moved down here, leading me to think that I brought it with me!). But even though I don’t have to shovel snow anymore or worry about freezing temperatures as low as -25 Fahrenheit, like when I lived in Minnesota (-31.6 Celsius), I still appreciate when the flowers bloom again, leaves return to the trees, and the sun warms up the land.

Oil Painting “Penguins” by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

This lovable baby penguin still cheers me, even though I’m embracing spring as I share this new painting. Joy is never out of season. May you feel as free and loved as this little penguin, no matter whether you stand in snow or atop warm dry land.

Never miss a new painting!

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

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 »

Autumn in 2021

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

Read More »

New Painting

Watch my new painting “Pumpkin Carving” come to life in just over 2 minutes (time lapse) Father and son enjoying an autumn custom of cleaning

Read More »

Worn

Watch this “Armor of God” oil painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) There’s a lot going on in the world today, and

Read More »

Beauty of Time

Oil paintings, the stories behind them, the real life picture I took this morning, then the update… Are you open to the idea that we don’t understand what time is, and often fail to see its beauty? What does fate, serendipity and destiny mean to you?

Watch me paint “Time” in 2 minutes (time lapse)

“Serendipity, the mysteries of life, and how the pieces of a great wondrous puzzle fit together, are beyond our comprehension, yet when we are free to hear the whispers beyond our universe, we hear God’s voice saying, ‘You are not alone. You matter. You belong. You are loved.’ If we know how to look, we see how people, animals, nature, music, art, and events are synchronized, as if the meaning of life centers around only ourselves, one single individual, who, along with the energy of millions of others, form the masterpiece’s gestalt. Time is fleeting, no matter how long we live, or even if we’ve never lived outside of the womb. In the vastness, time is but the anticipation of a single breath among a mighty wind. Time is precious, more valuable than wealth, more valuable than achievements, more valuable than governments. Time belongs to no one, yet is for everyone. Time has no physical boundaries of space or human limitations. Time is both grand and intimate. Time is beautiful.”

- from the book "50 Oil Paintings Inspired by my Christian Faith" by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

When I was Mom’s caregiver, I knew her little apartment inside and out because I was the one who cleaned it. Yet it looked completely different when Mom was no longer in it. That first time I entered the place after she had passed was when the first round of grief attacked me. Her tea cup was still sitting by her chair. It wasn’t right that it should be there if she was never coming back. Yet moving her cup was wrong too.

Sorting through Mom’s life was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. During that fateful weekend, we gave away many of her things and sold a few items. One of those items was a very large filing cabinet. We’d placed it into the hall with a sign on it.

A short while later, I opened the door to see a woman in her early twenties in the hallway. I was surprised, because Mom had been the youngest person on that floor, the third floor where only a handful of older people lived. The woman was interested in Mom’s filing cabinet. She liked to sew and thought it would be ideal for holding her craft supplies.

She was holding a newborn baby. It had been a long time since I’d last seen a baby that young. A strange feeling overtook me, as a thought struck my mind. I asked, “When was your baby born?” even though my heart already knew the answer. Yes, her baby was born on the same day that my mother had died.

There are many reasons why I shouldn’t have even seen the young mother standing there with her newborn baby. I also shouldn’t have been alone when I saw her. But in that narrow space of time, we connected. I was meant to see how as one left departs, another life enters. I don’t know if I can put it into words why this comforted me, but I’ll try.

I kept thinking, what if I’d done more? What if I’d nagged Mom earlier about going to see a doctor? What if I’d persisted when she refused to make the recommended lifestyle changes? Mom had said, “I made my own choices, Natalie. There is nothing you could have done.” But I struggled to let go of the idea that maybe I could have persuaded her to make different choices. Mom often said, “If it’s my time, it’s my time.”

One life entering in joy, as another (whose name was Joy) leaves this earth… it was Mom’s time. If she had been meant to stay, she would have stayed. I looked at that sleeping baby in his mother’s arms and said, “You have a beautiful baby. Congratulations!”

I took this photo this morning of the first bloom of the season from my potted patio roses. Isn’t it beautiful, standing tall in the early morning light? Compare it to the painting I shared yesterday. See how tall it’s grown? Notice that the tallest rose used to stand below the top of the trellis and now it is soaring above it.

In both my real life patio rose and the painted roses in my idealized garden, the color is strikingly beautiful. Roses such as these were difficult to grow in the frigid climate of rural Minnesota, where I was living when Mom was alive. I kept “arctic” roses that were born of hybrid research, and when in full bloom looked more like carnations than roses. These didn’t have the vivid colors of the tropical varieties I now have here in Georgia.

Mom would say that she didn’t have a “green thumb”. The only plant she kept was a pair of 70’s style plastic (now considered vintage) home decor gold-painted wall hangings, an outline of flowers on a vine type stem. My subconscious mind seems to have painted a loose likeness of those flowers in the “Time” painting I shared at the top of this post.

The antique watch in the painting is my husband’s, inherited from his grandfather many years ago. We now live in a place that neither his grandfather nor my mother have ever visited. We have a family who has grown past the ages when they were known. If they were seen now, they’d be as strangers.

Time has created a new life for us, and in this life, the roses are red. They are real, and they are beautiful. I do have a “green thumb”, as I love plants, animals, people and life. When it’s my time, I shall be sad to leave.

But I’m still here, and I envision a long life ahead of me. I have been gifted with time. How much love and joy can I pour out while I’m here? What is time, but an opportunity to connect… to add our unique piece to the universal puzzle, and for those who choose… to accept the challenge to live up to the purpose destined for us.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

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

Are you Safe?

See oil painting “Guardian Angel” come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse) I last shared this painting here with you in August, in a