New Painting – 1st for new 2022 Collection!

Watch oil painting “Generational Tree” come to life

in about 2 minutes (time lapse video)

You might remember that I finished the 2021 collection “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Nature“? I said I’d reveal what the 2021 collection is at a later time, and that time is NOW. :::drum roll please:::

The 2021 collection is called “Seasons” (of Life and Nature). Paintings in this collection celebrate seasons of life (metaphorical, representational, or inspired-by-real-life scenes about milestones, rites of passage, and shared human experiences of love, aging, family, and beyond) as well as seasons of nature (literal scenes depicting autumn, summer, fall, and winter). 

The first oil painting in the collection is “Generational Tree“, which is a good transition from the Nature collection to the Seasons one, since it is a piece that could have been in either. “Generational Tree” represents the passage of time; how the elders in a family reside at the top of a mature tree and are the branches which through the ages become fragile and one day fall away- yet the branches below are healthy and strong, tender new twigs will continue to grow, and the roots created long ago will give life to this family for many years to come.

I’m very excited about this new collection because I’m going to lay my heart out through my paintbrushes. I didn’t look at any reference, photo, prompt, or even out a window for “Generational Tree”. I listen to your comments, and something one of you said about free painting settled into my brain and encouraged my soul to do more of this style of painting, in which I don’t restrain and constrain my art. I’m not saying I’ll never look at a reference for guidelines on proportions, perspective, or details (especially if wanting to get markings and anatomy correct when painting animals, people, and other identifying subjects), but my previous collections were probably 70% or higher art that was planned, used a reference, and was held to the boundaries of the project goals. I’d like to decrease that to 50-60%.

“Generational Tree” was of course a safe project for free painting because it’s simply a tree and a basic landscape (very organic, nothing precise about it). But I’d like to challenge myself and remove the safety net more often. I will still look at a reference when painting specific people when I want to capture a resemblance, but there’s no reason to look at a picture of a person when I’m painting an imaginary person.

But the decision to free paint more often is not really what I meant by laying my heart out. The theme of this new collection lends itself to meaningful work that I will be personally invested in, in a deeply emotional way. That will show in my art if I let myself be an instrument of the source of where creativity, expression, and raw (not taught, born with- or suddenly gifted with, such as after an accident, grief or a diagnosis, etc… in other words, a blessing) talent comes from. Arrogance has no place in art. Art is a language meant to share empathy with humanity. It is not meant to be hoarded or controlled by elites. It is not meant to be restricted to only the select chosen. It is not meant to be about the artist, the possessors of art, or the gatekeepers who decide which art gets seen.

Art speaks to people in ways that we can’t put into words. It is my lifelong desire to let my life be used to heal others. When people see something in my paintings that feels like a message of hope for their own lives, or a whisper from God “I see you”, or a confirmation of faith in humanity… that in a dark world, we still have light, love, compassion, and a deep desire for goodwill for all mankind, it’s beyond myself- it is a personal connection between the viewer and the art that no longer belongs to me. It’s a lofty goal, to be an instrument of healing, but I am honored to strive for this to be my lasting legacy. I’ll also paint lighthearted projects, not everything will feel so heavy. Look for a few paintings that are simply fun.

Thank you for being a part of my journey toward my lifetime goal of 1k finished oil paintings. Along the way, I hope that one of my thousand paintings (years from now!) will make a difference in your life. You are loved by God, and you are never alone. If I can remind you of that, then it’s been a good day.

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Eye of the Storm

Watch this oil painting inspired by satellite imagery of a hurricane come to life in under 2 minutes (time lapse)

During our first year in Georgia we evacuated for Hurricane Irma. It was my first hurricane, but I’d experienced tornadoes, blizzards, and other dangerous weather in other places I’ve lived. Powerful storms can change lives forever and can be devastating. I will be thinking of all of the people in harm’s way from Hurricane Ida, and praying for safety and rescue for those in need.

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“Americana”

Watch Natalie paint this Americana art in 2 minutes (time lapse)

This landscape art is included in the collection “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Nature“. See the full length 4th of July variety show that features this painting in a live taping.

“Americana” by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

Small Print “Americana”

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

$33.50

Medium Print “Americana”

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

$65.50

Large Print “Americana”

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

$98.50

Painting Memories

"My Daughter Reading in the Butterfly Garden"

The first oil painting I ever did is the portrait above, “My Daughter Reading in the Butterfly Garden“. She’s long outgrown that yellow dress, and storybooks like the one she’s reading here, but the memories live on in paint. We had to sell that beautiful property years ago, so that too is bittersweet, but in our memories we can travel back to the places we once called home, and go back in time to when our family lived there.

In the short time-lapse video below of “My Son Jumping in Leaves“, my son is on that same land, a hobby farm in rural Minnesota. I can almost hear him laughing!

When comparing and contrasting the two paintings, notice how a poignant memory, frozen in time, can be depicted equally by a subject that is peacefully at rest (sitting, reading, or otherwise still) and by a subject that is caught in mid-action (like jumping in a pile of leaves). Action is shown through blurred lines and thick strokes, high contrast, a simple color palette and heavy texture. Stillness is shown through softer colors, smoother brush strokes, many varied colors, and greater detail.

Memories of good times

This last example is another painted memory, but my family and I aren’t in the painting. That’s because we are on the other side, looking in. This was our view of cheery graffiti one fine beach day when we walked across a pier at Tybee Island, so far away from our home and life we’d had to leave behind.

The oil painting “I Love Life” captures that moment when I was taking a picture of this happy message, and a shadow caught my eye… it was one of my daughters taking a picture of this same scene, at the same time. Here we were, making new memories in a new favorite place.

A few minutes after our pause on the pier, we joined the people at the beach. So, you might say that we stepped inside this painting, or that I painted a glimpse of our then-future and now-past. And, when I see this painting, it all comes back to me, or perhaps it moves forward.

When we stand in that space between the past and the future, the past might be represented like these old pier planks: weathered, faded, and yet still standing. We can see the future just ahead, in the endless, limitless ocean. When painting concepts like the past and the future, color choices such as brown (earthy, past) and blue (heavenly, future) can help tell the story. Concepts such as letting go, moving on, and positive thinking can be told through brush strokes, color choices, textures, stillness or action, complementary styles and contrasts.

May we make peace with the past, look forward to the future, and let our present self say, “I love life.”

Sporting

Something Different

Worn

The Unusual

Painting Miracles

Miracle Dancer” is an oil painting that tells the story of when I was 15 and recovering from a white water rafting accident. About two hours after I was out of the water I had an odd type of seizure. I didn’t lose consciousness and the convulsions were only from the waist down (just my legs). But the effect of this left me so weak that it was difficult not only to walk, but I had slurred speech and my arms were weak as well. The seizures got worse, daily, and lasted longer. I was hospitalized for weeks, then released with no improvement. Months later (I was then 16) I overheard a doctor say, “One day she won’t get out of that (wheel)chair again.” I refused to believe that. Long story, but I worked hard and danced in my next recital- and earned a trophy too! Life’s stories of hardship and triumph are told through the language of art when words alone can’t express what we feel.

Color expresses the duality of hardship and miracles, as the contrast between somber darks and ghostly lights tells the story. Blue is a color of the natural world, but looks haunting in this painting- as if an unhappy outcome exists in an alternate reality. The dancer’s pink shoes ring out as cheerful in this otherwise gloomy scene. The dancer is moving toward the light, which could mean many things. Some may see her as leaving the pain of this world (eternally), but my intention was to show a return to living an active full life (as if escaping a deadened spirit in which I never dance again). The swirling motion of the paint strokes create action, representing both the movement of the dancer and the change in life circumstance.

Miracle of Life“, has a similar brush stroke pattern of swirling shapes (like “Miracle Dancer” above), as if a mighty wind or supernatural force is interacting with the elements of the painting. But here, there is the addition of earth tones (green, brown, flesh) and very few darks. The duality isn’t between pain and joy, but between the organic, spiritual aspect, and the scientific, logical. Painting rounded shapes and subtle shades represents the spiritual and organic, while rigid lines and stark contrast depicts the scientific and logical.

In this last example, the concepts of “Miracle”, duality, spiritually, life, and death are depicted by heavenly yellows, golden tones, and warmer shades. “The Miracle Dulcimer” exists only as a book for now, but I plan to one day develop this as a painting, probably with the full instrument and a more involved landscape. The current landscape shown on the book cover is cropped from a photograph I took on the hobby farm where I once lived. This sky is what I saw when Mom was still alive, and when my husband made this gorgeous musical instrument for her. That story is one that I’d like to tell in paint one day, but probably not for a couple of years. I’ve painted a lot of that type of work (relating to grief and hardship). I’m now in a resting space of letting go, moving on, and settling in to my new life. When I’m ready to revisit those memories, I’ll create the painting that is in me; it’s just waiting for the right time.

Painting Shows

Good news! Painting shows are now a regular event. Current painting shows are HERE, moved to a permanent page for adding new episodes.

Enjoy!

“Grandpa Smiles” Videos

Watch me paint the illustrations for children’s book Grandpa Smiles

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“Flying to Heaven”

Watch Natalie paint this illustration from children’s book “Grandpa Smiles”

“This art (‘Flying to Heaven’) is the eighth illustration for my first oil painting book Grandpa Smiles, published in 2014. It is a short sweet inspirational and comforting children’s book about losing a grandparent. A family’s love is forever.”

NOTE: There are several more oil paintings featured in the book that do not have videos:

  1. The boy’s karate class attire and backpack
  2. His shoes
  3. Profile of the boy as preteen and teen
  4. Portrait of the boy’s grandparents on the wall

Items 2-3 were done on scrap flatboard. Item 4 was a previous painting for a gallery exhibit.

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“Cardinal in a Tree”

Watch Natalie paint this illustration from children’s book “Grandpa Smiles”

“This art (‘Cardinal in a Tree’) is the seventh illustration for my first oil painting book Grandpa Smiles, published in 2014. It is a short sweet inspirational and comforting children’s book about losing a grandparent. A family’s love is forever.”

Read “Grandpa Smiles” in this 2 minute video version
Visit the Menu of Painting Shows, Videos and FREE Classes

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“Hospital”

Watch Natalie paint this illustration from children’s book “Grandpa Smiles”

“This art (‘Hospital’) is the fifth illustration for my first oil painting book Grandpa Smiles, published in 2014. It is a short sweet inspirational and comforting children’s book about losing a grandparent. A family’s love is forever.”

Go back to the Grandpa Smiles video page.

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