Losing Hope

Watch me paint this oil painting of a lighthouse near Tybee Island, GA in 1 minute (time lapse)

Well, the rental market has spiked out of control! The cheapest rent for the number of bedrooms we need, expanded to a wide area that would require a long commute, is $400 more per MONTH than we are currently paying. That’s nearly $5,000 USD extra we’ll have to pay this year in rent!!! And that’s IF we get the cheapest rent we’ve so far found, and those have already all sold out- already rented! So it goes up from there. There’s a house that would cost us over $1,000 more per month, so, over 12 grand for the year. No, no, no, that will sink us!

The property management of this house says that rents and home sales have gone crazy. There’s nothing they can do to help us, except honor their contract with the home owner and send us the vacate notice (because she wants to sell and cash in, which is understandable, but it means we are once again the LOSERS in this game of life, in which corrupt politics elevates some and crushes others. It feels like we are always the ones crushed! Do you feel the same?). So we’re being kicked out during this treasonous economic housing crisis, with only 2 months to find a place and move out. Except there’s no place to go and all of them will charge us way more than the rental house is worth.

Husband’s job offer is in this area (so we do not want to move yet again to another new state), but he won’t start until after his June graduation and assuming he passes his licensing exam (he will, but the exam testing dates haven’t even been posted yet so we don’t know how long the wait time will be for taking it, getting results back, and then getting the start date). It will be only a few months though, so I tried to find a 6 month lease option to cut down on the horrible rental costs (no) and then asked if an exception could be made. No such luck.

Well, I guess I better say goodnight. Tomorrow will be a better day. I will then be positive and willing to share something better than this. But, I think it’s good to allow myself to be human, and show you that my hope doesn’t come from an easy life. I am not privileged or special. I’m just a person who is sometimes lucky, and often not. My hope comes from faith that tomorrow will be better, and is deeply rooted in a love of God, goodness, happiness, nature, creativity, humor, the collective empathy of the best of humanity (like you!) and my family. Hope doesn’t come from circumstances or lineage. It comes from within.

I’m feeling better already. It will all work out, even if temporarily- it doesn’t. The fruit of the Spirit doesn’t come from earthly prosperity or the easy road. It comes from a faithful life. Of course during times of extreme grief (which I’ve experienced and you probably have as well), we cannot expect ourselves to feel hope at all times. And that’s normal. But when the crisis is the type in which we still have our spouse and children, food on the table, and the expectation of a better future (like this housing situation I’m in), we can muster through another bad year.

God bless you and keep you, and may His face shine upon you, this day and always. And if you can spare a moment to pray that our family find the right housing, I’ll be grateful.


Let your Light Shine!

See this oil painting of a lighthouse come alive in 1 minute (time lapse)

How long will we be paralyzed by the dystopia of 2020+? During the past couple of years I’ve taken up gardening and sewing, but I let my musical instruments dust over. Today I spent time playing music. My fingers are sore, I’ll have to build up callouses. I’m going to add music to my weekly schedule. If not now, then when?

Let your light shine! Time is being stolen from us, and if we let it happen, we’ve surrendered. What have we always wanted to do? Our lists may look different, but our goals are probably similar. We want to do things that bring us joy. The pursuit of happiness may need to be worked hard for and it may be hard to make the time, but if we put in a few minutes every week and never give up, we will do the things we’ve always wanted to do.


Hope Set High

See my oil painting of a lighthouse come alive in 1 minute (time lapse)

Like a lighthouse that guides us home, may we have our hopes set high that the best is yet to come. As we look ahead to 2022, it’s easy to feel the wind of the storms from the past years on our backs, and sense the darkness closing in, but look for the light. God bless you and keep you, this day and always, and into the new year ahead.


Peaceful, Heartfelt

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

This lighthouse art is one of my favorite projects. I’ll talk more about that tomorrow. I love how the music tells the story. Today I’m feeling grateful for what is, accepting of what isn’t, and hopeful for what is yet to come.

I was sorting through my video files to clear space for the Christmas 2021 show I’m starting to film this week (are you looking forward to this year’s show? I hope so!). While sorting, I found this clip of me singing.

I was feeling overwhelmed by something that day and sang this. I no longer remember why, or why I never shared it. I will share it now, as this is my mood for today. God bless and keep you, may His light shine upon you and give you peace, this day and always.

Natalie singing “How Great Thou Art”

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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. 

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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

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

New Painting, Finally!

I’m finally back to work after our big sudden, unexpected move. The move took wild turns and we ended up buying a house at least

Want to go to Church?

If you watched the above video (a clip from this year’s Easter Show), you saw how emotional I was while singing the cover of “I

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,

New Cardinal Friends

New birds have already found us at our new home. These cardinals are different, as I knew they’d be. When I was sad about leaving

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

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

MOVING TOMORROW!

WHEW! The issues are finally resolved and our delayed close on the house will happen TOMORROW! Tomorrow is moving day! I shall fly like this

S T R E S S E D

Today was a highly stressful day. We still haven’t closed on the house and we are now running out of time for the moving pods,

BAD DAY

Well, there must have been a bad moon a’rising because today was a horrible day. The close on our house was cancelled, and then thankfully

Super Laundry!

My son is college age now, not a little boy like in this art for children’s book “Grandpa Smiles” (about my dad, who died before

Happy Day!

Today we had the opportunity to bring the kids to the house we’ll be closing on. Until now, they’d only seen the pictures and video.

Bandits!

These birds have been coming around and stealing our strawberries! What a disappointment! I was enjoying a fresh berry with Cool Whip as a snack

Easy Going

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

Joyful Memories!

Moving is so hard and bittersweet. The passage of time is on display with every box that is packed, every room that is emptied. Today

WOOT!

“Fred” was my dad’s nickname for me. This painting was inspired by a black and white photograph he took to complete an assignment for a

Wild Days

Ever feel that you live your life with reckless abandon, like these wild horses? What do they care about consequences or the worries of tomorrow?

aww

My daughter brought me one of the boxes she packed herself for our move, for me to load onto the POD container. She said it

Nature’s Music

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

Ooh, Pretty!

These flowers are probably the closest thing I have right now to what my new “Freedom Rose” looks like, but imagine the buds and open

LOL, Pumpkin

I planted a couple of pumpkins in grow bags and decided that I’d take those to the new house. Well, one of the pumpkins decided

Bearing Up

The PODS container was dropped off today. I spent hours packing the first round of our household, mostly by myself. I felt victorious, like this

Lead me HOME!

When I painted this city of Savannah oil painting, I had no idea that I’d one day live not very far from this fountain square.

Strawberry Mine!

Guess what’s ready to eat already? I had the most delicious vibrant red fresh strawberry with a bit of whipped cream, MMMM! But you know

Moving Soon!

Oil painting “Autumn Cottage”, time lapse video to watch Natalie paint this art, journey of move during housing crisis

Be Thou my Vision

I hope you are enjoying this Easter weekend with loved ones and are feeling peace in your spirit. I’ve uploaded the Easter Show 2022 in

HAPPY NEWS!

Thought this joyful hymn was a good choice to celebrate my good news update: WE GOT THE HOUSE! We still have the inspection and the

Missed it?

If you missed last year’s Easter Show, here it is. It’s quite different from the 2022 show in many ways, but yet the general format

Show on YouTube

My Easter Painting Variety Show is now on YouTube, for those who prefer that platform for easy sharing. The best video quality is here on

Holy Week Begins

On this Palm Sunday, may you feel encouragement for the week ahead and the hope that Easter and spring instills. Today we put down an

EASTER SHOW LAUNCHED!

HERE IT IS! Launching my new Easter Painting Show now, to give you time to share this special video with your family, friends, and social

Show Update

I finished the final taping segment for my Easter show today! When the video is finished I will launch the show, giving you time to

Faith over Fear

Well, we finally got our pre-approval, but the house hunting news is bleak. First of all, we couldn’t get the loan type we wanted, and

They’re Back!

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

Packing Up

I spent several hours today packing up my art in preparation for our unexpected move. You can probably recognize ones I’ve shared with you (in

Gator Tale

Something interesting happened yesterday at the sale. It was the last day of the 2-day event and I was discouraged because we still hadn’t had

Exceeded the Goal!

It was a day at the beach! No, it was a day spent in the driveway selling our things in the yard sale, but my

What a Day!

I’m so exhausted, I feel like this jellyfish painting- surreal and floating. Guess what? Day one of the sale (I mentioned this yesterday) already exceeded

No Word Yet

Our weather here is now beautiful, after being cold or raining for quite a stretch. I’m feeling like my tree landscape oil painting above- clear

Whirlwind Day!

Mellow music, marshmallows on a stick, and dancing flames – a fire can be welcoming and sentimental – childhood memories, family vacations, and warmth on

Wish me Luck!

Yes, these are just weeds, but when I saw the dainty sprig of clover and its pretty delicate yellow flower, I thought of shamrocks and

Resistant to Change

Well, guess who’s cranky about our unexpected move? Mr. Cardinal. He was giving me the sulky grump face all afternoon because I moved things around

They’re Back!

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

Out of our Control

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

Small Signs of Hope

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

It’s a No

The update to yesterday’s post “Feeling Froggy?” is: no. No, the home owner is not willing to extend our lease by one month so that

Feeding Critics

First the oil painting, then the story that inspired this art and the update. Do YOU feed your critics? Everyone has critics, whether you do creative work or not.

Watch me paint “Waves of the Sea“, 2 minute time lapse

“‘Waves of the Sea’ is inspired by Scripture about trials and perseverance. James 1:2-6 ~~~‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.’ ~~~Through it all, never give up. When the seas are rough, during a storm, and whenever troubled times come, a lighthouse guides us home. Faith over fear, perseverance through trials.”

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

Update to the above story…

I was still active on social media when I painted “Waves of the Sea“. I was often censored and throttled, so I was mostly seen only by a small group of people who quickly became friends. When I shared my art, I was sharing stories of encouragement. I knew some of the people who looked forward to my new paintings were going through a difficult time or were facing hardships. Some deal with chronic pain and suffering, or are grieving a loss. These are heartaches that no one can fix. There is no money to repair what is broken, and no words that can express the unfairness of life’s cruelty.

Sometimes, when there are no words, art is a balm for the raw places in our soul. It’s a language that transcends our struggles to communicate. We can express empathy even when we don’t know who will view our art, and we can’t possibly have foreknown their private pain. 

Even if you are too young to have heard a real life record (vinyl album) screech to a halt on a record player, we’ve all heard that sound as a meme for the uncomfortable jolt when there’s a sudden end to a pleasant experience. That’s what happened when a stranger popped into the thread under my “Waves of the Sea” video. The unsolicited critique was that I should have painted the sea in a more realistic manner, softening the waves around the coastline.

I often ignore unsolicited advice from self-appointed critics, but if I am approached in a place of visibility where others are watching/listening, I always represent/defend myself. Because the comment was made publicly and subtly implied that I lacked the skill to have taken that advice on my own accord (an accusation levied at my professional ability to perform my job), I responded publicly. I did so briefly, but clearly.

                                  HOW TO HANDLE CRITICS

  1. Ignore them.
  2. If comments are made in public, counter any false or misleading statements with calm and professionalism.
  3. Take any useful feedback under consideration, but don’t give them the power and energy to dim your light.
  4. Outshine them!

 

In the case of “Waves of the Sea“, the critique was mild and relatively harmless, but it still met my criteria for a response because the person hijacked a public thread with misleading comments about my work. So, I explained that the painting is a metaphor and that I often paint in a way that might look odd or unrealistic in order to illustrate a point (the waves were meant to be exaggerated and otherworldly). The conversation was brief. The critic was polite, but the thread that had- until then- been warm and welcoming to others was now cold and dead. The record had screeched to a halt.

Because my intention in sharing my paintings is communication and connection, I’m not much interested in unsolicited critique. I don’t put much stock into with what others think I should do. I have lived too many years of my life under the expectations of others, and that life was not fruitful. Their ideas were not better than my own. But, the problem at this point was not what was said, but that this person disrespected the conversation that this painting was having with those who needed it.

The earlier in life that you reach spiritual confidence, the sooner you are free to live the purpose you are destined for.

I learned that it is not always best to ignore critics. Sometimes we must fight. Why? Because the petty vindictive monster that drives people to jump in, tone deaf and arrogant, will destroy what we build up. We must fight for the good that we are destined to do for others. When I fight back, I protect my lines of communication to those who need me. I protect my purpose, my vocation. I protect all that I work so hard for.

 

I have discovered that it is not virtuous to be passive. It is irresponsible. I am trusted with talent and relatively good health. I must use it, to honor those who have gone before me and cannot serve. I can’t let those who destroy what others create simply run right over me. More is asked of me than this, whether I like this role or not.

 

It is not virtuous to be passive. It is irresponsible.

 

I don’t work for critics. The purpose of my art is language. I am not motivated by “experts”, judges, the art world, or the system. I am not persuaded by the latest groupthink or trend. I don’t care if “intellectuals” think my work is insipid (well of course it stings a little bit, but not enough to change my ways). I work for those who feel something from my art. Ultimately I work for God: I follow where I believe I’m lead. I chase what I feel is my purpose, not what others tell me to be.

Know who you work for,

and why.

Never take orders

from a boss

you’ve not permitted

to be your authority.

Always keep it professional, calm, and truthful of course. Out class them at every turn, but don’t let them walk all over you and your life, work, etc. Never let them win.

Unsolicited advice is mostly harmless (but not entirely, I’ll address that later). Only take the advice that you agree with, even if they are “right” and you are “wrong”. Otherwise, your creative vision is hijacked. I don’t mean that you shouldn’t learn techniques for how to improve your craft, or accept life coaching to improve your relationships, work, etc., but that you should keep the final say- the “veto power”.

 

While most critics aren’t dangerous, always be alert. I’ve been “cancelled”. I’ve had death threats against me. I was told, “Good thing your dad didn’t live to see you grow up”. Mobs gave 1 star ratings to my public selling areas to ruin my career (and succeeded, I never sold again on those sites that they brought down to 1 star averages). I’ve been hacked, my work deleted, and a devil posted in its place. I’ve been censored, blacklisted, and slandered. I’ve been put on a public list for others to destroy. I’ve been hated and despised for no reason. I’m not thin skinned. I can take it. They can’t break me.

Truth be told, I don’t respect the opinions of people who are driven by hate and malice, who would seek to hurt and punish people they don’t even know. Had they even looked into who I am, and what motivates me? No. They don’t bother to research those they seek to tear down. It’s usually nothing personal. If you are being attacked, please know this. It’s seldom about you… do they even know you?

We feed our critics when we validate their attacks

by accepting them as truth,

by becoming emotionally defensive,

or by passively leaving in defeat.

Critics may hide behind socially acceptable excuses such as:

  • “I’m only trying to help”
  • “It’s just advice, take it or leave it”
  • “Just my opinion”


Or, they may flip the bully>victim dynamic to paint their victim as the bully:

  • “You don’t have to get bent out of shape!”
  • “Don’t attack the messenger”
  • “If you can’t handle criticism, you shouldn’t be (putting your work out there, saying something controversial, etc.)” In other words, blaming you.


Don’t fall for these shaming tactics. Ask yourself:

  1. What do I owe this person? (probably nothing!)
  2. What do they owe me? (politeness? What standards of social interaction do I have for myself, and do they meet those standards?)
  3. Does this exchange feel like “help” or harassment?
  4. What motive does this person have for approaching me? 
  5. Is this person dangerous?


Ultimately, we all deserve the right to surround ourselves with pleasant people whose advice we welcome, and limit our interactions with people whose “help” or feedback is meant to disrupt, hurt, or even endanger us.

Now, when it comes to mild criticism, like the kind I received about “Waves of the Sea“, it looks harmless on the face of it. It’s just advice, right? No. It broke the conversation that was meant to be healing and helpful to others. I work hard to serve humanity in this one small way, and someone was tone deaf and arrogant enough to ruin it in one tweet. How do the negative nellies have so much power? We can’t just roll over and let this pattern go unchecked, because trust me, it will only escalate.

It must be a spiritual phenomena because people will come out of the woodwork when I’m low and beaten. If I let the negative voices overwhelm me, it invites more in. When I imagine myself as strong, invincible and unsinkable, with a light that covers and protects my energy, and most of all I consciously work to maintain an honest motive to connect with others in a healing and positive way, the critics seem to wither away. When I am weak, they are strong. When I am strong, they are weak. 

Thoughtless people prey upon those they think will not defend themselves. They are spiritual and intellectual cowards. I wish I could teach you how powerful you are, but you may have to learn it through experience, if you haven’t already. Life is the best teacher, but it’s so painful and slow… if only the wisdom of the elders could be inherited by the young! Well, many have tried to tell us. I’m hoping that my children can learn these truths faster than I did. I would have been free so much earlier if only I’d known that I was more powerful than I realized.

But, if being raw and honest… I was set free when my mom passed away. She was my biggest and most hurtful critic. She often said she was angry to have been pregnant with me, but never once- not even when I took care of her every need when she was ill- never once did she add, “but I’m happy I decided to have you.” That one phrase would have been so healing. I never heard it. I made the choice to let go, forgive, and accept that I will never have closure unless I create closure for myself.

As the years passed, I learned that I didn’t need to hear it. My family is happy I was born. And *I* am happy I was born. I need neither the approval or permission of anyone to be joyful. I don’t need to be loved by anyone to be given worth, but I’m grateful to those who do love me. When we finally understand that we do not live under the authority of anyone but ourselves (for even God has granted us free will to choose who to serve), we stop letting critics disrupt our life’s purpose.

Stand your ground. Protect all the good things you are meant to do and share. Invest in yourself, your energy, and your inner light. These are treasures that do not belong to you, but are meant to bless the world. It is our responsibility to defend the treasure we are entrusted with.

If each of us holds steady, we’re like a lighthouse in a storm. We can shine a safe way back to others who are lost at sea. No matter how hard the waves rage and crash, may we persevere, and hold our light steady.

"Waves of the Sea" oil painting by artist Natalie Buske Thomas
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Light House

First, the oil painting, then the story behind it… make sure you don’t miss my philosophical questions for you.

Watch me paint this lighthouse in a minute (time lapse)

“My dad’s one and only painting in his life was of a lighthouse. Decades later, I was inspired to paint one, after seeing this lighthouse both from the road on the way to Tybee Island, and then later from the sea while on a dolphin boat tour. This lighthouse is located two miles west of the tourist attraction, Tybee Island Lighthouse, and is actually on Cockspur Island. The first Cockspur Lighthouse was built in 1849 to mark the entrance to the south channel of the Savannah River. Because it wasn’t working adequately, it was later rebuilt in 1857. To preserve this historical marker, the lighthouse isn’t open to visitors. What do you feel when you look at this painting? Hope, above a sea of unknown depth & profound sadness? Do we focus on what lies beneath, or look to the Light? Art says something different to me, depending on the moment, even if the painting is my own work. So, my answer to how this lighthouse makes me feel will be different depending at where I am in life’s journey, or what my mood is at that time.”

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

Update to the above story…

 

It never occurred to me that Dad’s lighthouse painting was probably inspired by a real lighthouse that he’d seen. His painting was almost sketch like, not detailed. But when I was researching for an upcoming project, I stumbled upon images from where Dad grew up. I was surprised to see that there was a lighthouse in that area of upstate New York. Why did I never know this? Or maybe someone mentioned it and I didn’t remember? Why hadn’t he ever taken us there, or did he? Could we have driven past it when he was showing us his childhood places?

 

If so, why didn’t I remember? Was it because the tour through Dad’s places was during his last visit home, when he knew he was terminal? He was told he had only two months left to live and some of that time had already gone. I had a hard time listening to what he was saying as he gestured out the car window. I couldn’t even tell what he was pointing at sometimes, and I didn’t know some of the people he talked about. I also couldn’t see much from the backseat and I was likely nauseous, as I hate traveling in the back of a small car.

 

For all of those reasons, and possibly others, I may not remember having seen Dad’s lighthouse. But it’s also possible that he never showed me. A third possibility is that I’m wrong about the inspiration for his painting, but on this third point I feel the most confident about. I do believe the lighthouse near where he lived is likely his painting inspiration. The rest, I don’t know.

 

My philosophical question to you is this: does the truth matter? I can’t prove one way or another if Dad ever told me about that lighthouse. It’s been too many years, and most of the people who may have known are also dead. Is the truth dead also? When does reality no longer matter? Does it have an expiration date?

 

What if the truth was never known in the first place? Maybe Dad never mentioned the lighthouse inspiration to anyone. If truth is never known, does it matter?

 

What if I’m wrong, and there was no particular inspiration for Dad’s lighthouse? Maybe he painted it on a whim from his imagination, which is what I’d always assumed. If something never happened in the first place, yet people believe it does, does truth matter?

 

What creates reality, our perception of truth, or the actual truth? Dad didn’t know what I thought about his painting, or that I’d one day paint a lighthouse of my own. I don’t know what inspired his painting, or if it had personal meaning to him. I do know that he felt a deep connection to lighthouses spiritually, as a symbol of his Christian faith. I am remembering that as I write this.

 

So, as I’ve now finished the last sip of my coffee and I’ve been taken off guard by that memory of Dad’s faith connection to lighthouses, I’ll end with these thoughts… I’m calling this blog post “Light House” instead of Lighthouse. Are we seekers of a light house, or do we house light? Do we seek a house of light in the darkness, in a storm, and when we need to find our way back home? Or do we cast the light that others seek when they are lost?

 

Light house, or house light? Whether we are lost and seeking our way, or housing light to show the way to others, fate is only one factor. Much of what we do is manifested by our thoughts and desires. Even when we are in the darkest storm, destiny may prove us as both the traveler and the lighthouse keeper simultaneously.

See previous blog post that mentions this lighthouse painting: Painting Seascapes

I hope you’re enjoying my blog series, “Stories that Inspire my Art”. If you prefer not to check back to see if there’s something new, please subscribe to my blog to be notified when there’s a new blog post ready.

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Painting Seascapes

Seascapes are all about light and dark. Shadows, highlights, reflections, and gradients of color are what brings salt air to our faces. In “Lighthouse near Tybee Island“, the mood is set by the melancholic colors of the sea and sky. While overcast and gloomy, nightfall has not fallen, nor have storms blackened the sky. The lighthouse’s light is not on. The reflection of light in the water is representational, much like a lighthouse is a symbol of hope.

Short, choppy lines create a more realistic effect for both the waves of the sea and for the weathered look of structures, such as in “Lighthouse near Tybee Island” above. Changing the mood from wistful melancholy to bright optimism can be done through a change of color scheme and style. In “Steamship Savannah“, the looping continuous lines of the waves are more representational than authentic, and the tones are bright- as if lit by full sunlight on a glorious day. What a difference these changes can make! In the first painting, we feel the life of the sea hardy and the lost. In the steamship painting, we feel the excitement of discovery and pioneering adventure.

In this last example, we turn our attention to the coastline and happy sunny days at the beach. The tones here aren’t stark and vivid like the steamship painting, or murky and gloomy like the lighthouse painting. The mood is set through a soft gradient of pleasant neutrals contrasted by a bright red swimsuit that is repeated in the reflection on the sand. The result is a peaceful, joyful seascape. “My Kids at the Beach” is an oil painting that people tell me makes them want to go to the beach. A change in brush style from choppy or loopy to smooth and shapely, and a change in color scheme can dramatically and radically alter the mood of a seascape.

You can probably see the hopefulness, adventure, peace, and joy leaping off the canvas when I paint a seascape. Some art projects flow easier than others. When we paint what we love, it naturally shines through.

“Waves of the Sea”

“50 Oil Paintings Inspired by my Christian Faith”

Collection of 50 works of art: a coffee table book, fashion, prints, and videos

From Natalie: “‘Waves of the Sea’ is inspired by Scripture about trials and perseverance. James 1:2-6 ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.’ Through it all, never give up. When the seas are rough, during a storm, and whenever troubled times come, a lighthouse guides us home. Faith over fear, perseverance through trials.”

Watch Natalie paint this art (scroll down this page). Order gallery quality prints, here:

Small Print “Waves of the Sea”

All small prints are approximately 8 x 10. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.

$33.50

Medium Print “Waves of the Sea”

All medium prints are approximately 16 x 20. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.

$65.50

Large Print “Waves of the Sea”

All large prints are approximately 24 x 30. Giclee Somerset Velvet Fine Art paper. Free shipping. No frame.

$98.50

Watch Natalie paint “Waves of the Sea”

“Lighthouse near Tybee Island”

Watch Natalie paint this art, and all 50 oil paintings in this collection (menu below)

“My dad’s one and only painting in his life was of a lighthouse. Decades later, I was inspired to paint one, after seeing this lighthouse both from the road on the way to Tybee Island, and then later from the sea while on a dolphin boat tour.

This lighthouse is located two miles west of the tourist attraction, Tybee Island Lighthouse, and is actually on Cockspur Island. The first Cockspur Lighthouse was built in 1849 to mark the entrance to the south channel of the Savannah River. Because it wasn’t working adequately, it was later rebuilt in 1857. To preserve this historical marker, the lighthouse isn’t open to visitors.

What do you feel when you look at this painting? Hope, above a sea of unknown depth & profound sadness? Do we focus on what lies beneath, or look to the Light? Art says something different to me, depending on the moment, even if the painting is my own work. So, my answer to how this lighthouse makes me feel will be different depending at where I am in life’s journey, or what my mood is at that time.”

Lighthouse near Tybee Island 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