New Painting – “Ballet Shoes”

This is the third oil painting in my new series for 2023 “50 Oil Paintings Inspired by Joyful Living”, for the section called MUSIC. The first painting was “Mountain Dulcimer“, the second was “Tap Shoes” and now this third one is “Ballet Shoes”. I’ll share videos of me playing the dulcimer, tap dancing, and teaching ballet in the near future on this blog.

The journey through joyful living will bring stories about life events, hobbies, and beliefs that make me happy, but are also universally joyful for humanity in general (such as music, even if you don’t share my specific areas of interest). Some chapters are light and basic, others heavy and spiritual. Some projects are fast/short, others are longer and more intense. There will be a mix of highly detailed, realistic and powerful art, as well as loose, easy, watercolor-like pieces (like these first three in the MUSIC section).

Most will be painted at home with only the camera as my audience, others will be for live shows. As in the past, the plans for this collection will change when inspired by something unexpected. A joyful life is flexible and open to new directions.

I hope you are enjoying the approach of spring. I’ve been busy landscaping and gardening, but still fitting painting in. I plan to pick up the pace and make faster progress on this year’s collection. I have to work fast if I want to make my lifetime goal of 1k finished oil paintings!

New Painting – “Tap Shoes”

Here’s the second oil painting in my new 2023 collection “Inspired by Joyful Living”. For most of my life I’ve been a dancer (student, teacher, choreographer, and in recent years online classes/shows- although not very often as painting takes much of my time). My main genre is tap dancing. Those tap sounds you hear in the music are mine – I’ll share the video part of the clip in a future blog post.

Some people fear that dancing leads to socially dysfunctional behaviors, but in every culture, dance is an expression of pure joy that is often completely innocent of any wrongdoing, as you can easily see when watching how a baby responds to music. Even plants and animals respond positively to music. So, while we may agree or disagree about whether dance is appropriate or “which” types are appropriate, I hope that no one takes offense at the concept that physical energy in response to music may express joy.

New Painting – “Chickadees in Holly”

Latest oil painting (birds in our holly tree), from the 2022 Christmas painting and variety show. If you missed it: Watch free now. Here we are, another year gone. Wishing you a joyful 2023, with hope and faith that blessings will come to you and your family. Happy New Year!

Here’s to another year of painting toward my 1k finished paintings lifetime goal. Are you with me?

Subscribe to my blog to receive e-mail notifications when I post something new.


MERRY CHRISTMAS from our house to yours! This year’s painting and variety show was filmed in our new (to us) home instead of in a fake set. I hope you enjoy your time with us, and you are invited to sing along to favorite Christmas carols and beloved hymns. Please share with your family, friends, and social connections. God bless you, one and all!

SUBSCRIBE to get notifications when I post something new. Never miss a new painting!

New Show!

Last year’s Christmas show feels long ago and far away, at least for me it does. So much has changed, so much has happened, and I can barely keep up with who I am in this new life. I wondered how I will even do my shows in this new place- will I do them at all? YES, I will. And what if no one even cares about my shows? Should I even bother? YES. I won’t give up something special I’ve created from the heart for three Easters, one each 4th of July and St. Patrick’s Day, and two Christmases. That’s seven painting and variety shows, a pretty good run. But it was the beginning, not the end. I’m gaining more experience and becoming better at what I do, and as before, my family makes guest appearances. I hope you’ll tune in to Christmas Show 2022. Until then, here are my past shows if you’d like to see them again, or if you’ve never seen them before:

See all other painting and variety shows here.

Subscribe below to get an email notification when I have new blog posts, that’s where I’ll announce the new Christmas show.

Last Month of Autumn

As we head into the last month of autumn, may you give yourself a few moments of peace to watch me paint these 10 fall scenes. Each video is about 2 minutes long (time lapse) to see each painting go from blank canvas to finished art. This first video (above) is called “Autumn Forest”. Scroll down to see the photo of this painting and more happy fall scene videos.

Oil painting “Autumn Forest” by artist Natalie Buske Thomas

Oil painting “Pumpkin Carving” : my husband and son, when he was little

“Autumn Leaves” oil painting

“Autumn Angel” oil painting

Oil painting of my son jumping in leaves for “Grandpa Smiles” book

Oil painting “Pumpkins and Mums”

“Little Girl in Tree” oil painting for children’s book “Fred

“Autumn Tree”, a short relaxing project

“Autumn Cabin” an imaginary scene in an illustrative style

And, finally, here’s my latest autumn oil painting “Thanksgiving Turkey and Pumpkins”. I hope that you have a wonderful holiday weekend ahead, even if your country doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Wherever you are, and even if the change of seasons doesn’t fall upon you the same as it does for me here in America, this is a good time of year to reflect on our lives, find gratitude for our family and friends, and seek the joy of thankfulness for all that we are blessed with- no matter how humble our circumstances may seem upon first glance. For, if we are alive today, we are blessed. Time is precious. May God bless you and keep you, this day and always.

New Painting – “Thanksgiving Turkey & Pumpkins”

Watch this Thanksgiving scene come alive in less than 1 minute 30 seconds (time lapse video, above).

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve last posted, when prior to our recent move to Savannah, Georgia I’d been a daily blogger and prolific painter, working feverishly toward my lifetime goal of 1,000 finished oil paintings. Even though this move should have been easier, because we didn’t move out the country this time, or even from out of state (we were renting in a temporary location about 40 minutes’ drive from here), it was an unexpected move (we planned to go house hunting next year but the landlord wanted to sell the house we were living in and we had only two month’s notice to get out). I’ve told most of that story on here before, but my reason for bringing it up again is that it has taken me much longer than I thought to settle into our new life, and I wanted to explain my absence.

Several events happened to disrupt the process and make the transition much more stressful and life-altering than our previous moves. And, since we plan to make this our “forever” home, to the extent that such a thing is in our control and possible, this move means much more to us. I want to invest my time and energy into building a community for myself and my family. That’s different from the temporary approach and mindset we had in the years leading up to now. Connecting with people in person, face-to-face, heart to heart, in a much bigger way- out from behind the camera or the computer- was outside of my comfort zone. I’d been so reclusive that I’d lost a bit of myself along the way.

Besides this dramatic change in lifestyle, I had to face some giants that I’d been avoiding for years. Facing up to unpleasant, confrontational, or unwanted situations is never going to feel good, but hiding from these things only makes them loom larger in the shadows. If we were sitting together in person, I’d put the kettle on and I’d speak honestly about all of this. It’s been quite a physical, emotional, and spiritual journey.

It’s even been an intellectual ride, as I’ve also learned new things about a variety of subjects: landscaping, home improvement, how to get rid of rodents, how to successfully remove a hoard that was buried in the yard to deceive/hide from prospective buyers of a home, and more delightful topics such as how to become a better singer, how to take good care of vocal chords when singing regularly, in-depth religious discussions that lead to life changing perspectives to heal and build a new life, financial habits to weather storms and enjoy blessings, and much more. Most of these things I can’t talk about without putting myself into a position of too much personal disclosure online, as now I’d be talking about people, places, events, and organizations that someone may see themselves in. So, out of respect for my and their privacy, and inadvertently sticking my foot in my mouth, I can only generalize. To borrow from a famous line, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.

I hope that my return to painting, blogging, and sharing with you is taking shape now. I will do my best to stay on track. I can feel my spirit calming down and the possibility of a steady life close at hand. Instead of scrambling to react to each new twist and turn (personal instability as well as shared world-wide chaos that all of you have been experiencing on various levels), I see the road widening and the skies clearing. I feel hope and optimism rising, regardless of the grief, fear and despair that weighs heavily upon humanity.

God bless you, and Happy Thanksgiving- for my fellow Americans who celebrate this special day- and for all others who celebrate in spirit. This is a time of year for reflection and gratitude, as many of us have extra time with our families and there’s a pause in our schedules. More than any other year I’m decorating big for Christmas. My heart is full and my emotions are a rollercoaster ride. Truly, all that really matters is God, family, and community. And my joy in all of that will shine brightly this year! As I will soon be singing in the Christmas choir program, “Ring, ring the bells!” Enjoy dinner with your loved ones and set out your best shiniest sparkliest decorations.

Oil painting “Thanksgiving Turkey and Pumpkins” by artist Natalie Buske Thomas, part of the 2022 collection Seasons.

Back to Work! Session 3

Well, it’s time to get back to work on the new painting in progress. Normally I wait until the painting is finished before sharing, but sometimes I share each session at a time so that you can see the progress (in the time lapse video above). If you missed Session 1 and 2, those are already on the blog. Here’s Session 3 that I did today. I took several days off to work on other things and to enjoy family time. I hope everyone is doing well and your September is a blessed one!

Session 3’s work on oil painting (my daughter when she was little and the road outside our house had minor flooding) “Walking in a Puddle” – I’ll wrap this up soon, one or two more sessions. I may finish it tomorrow, we’ll see how it goes.


How does it work?

  1. Painting Ahead: Natalie paints most of the artwork, leaving just one session to do LIVE at your church event
  2. Short Video Played at Live Event: The “ahead of time” sessions are taped and made into a short time lapse video to show to the congregation ahead of the LIVE painting (typically 2 minutes, but the custom video can be made to fit your event schedule – for example, if your choir is singing a 4 minute song and the desire is to fill the entire 4 minutes, the video would be time-lapsed for 4 minutes instead of the usual 2). The video is created WITHOUT audio unless you request otherwise, to run while your live music/singing is occurring. Natalie can add your congregation participation song lyrics or other titles to the video if desired.
  3. Painting LIVE! After the short time-lapse video catches the congregation or audience up to the current painting session, Natalie will finish the painting LIVE. If your worship team or choir is singing during this time, Natalie has both choir and P&W team experience if you’d like her to sing with you while she paints. From Natalie: “If I’m not mic’d, it’s fine to just let me sing along with the congregation without any chance at rehearsal. But if you’d like me to sing with you while mic’d (audible), please provide me with the chance of a rehearsal (giving me the music ahead for me to learn on my own is ok). I’m also flexible about not singing at all if you’d prefer I just paint.”
  4. More Details:
    1. How long will Natalie paint? From five minutes to thirty- it’s up to you! Don’t forget to include the opening time-lapse video. (For example: time-lapse video is played during song 1, lasting 3 minutes upon your request. Then Natalie paints live through 2 songs that you say will combined take 6 minutes. Total time then is 9 minutes, video + live while your three songs are performed). If you have a long program scheduled, Natalie can paint for up to 30 minutes while your events on the main stage unfold (for example: a special Christmas or Easter program in which a complete song service of many songs is planned). On the flip side, if you have a very short program planned, Natalie can add pre-recorded music from your own choir, or public domain or royalty free music to the time-lapse video, so it does not need inclusion in the live music portion of the event. In that case, only one long song could be enough for a short 5-minute painting session. In other words, Natalie is flexible and will plan for her live painting session to coordinate with your live music time frame. Just please give her the music ahead so she has an idea of when things are about to wrap up so that she can coordinate her final painting strokes to end on your final notes. It’s OK if your group doesn’t know precisely how long the songs will take, as long as Natalie has an idea of what the song sounds like when it’s about to wrap up. She knows from years of theater experience how to improvise!
    2. What is needed? Natalie brings everything (easel, paints, a small cart or stand for putting the paint supplies on). So, really nothing is needed. However, this concept works best with a camera focused on Natalie’s easel to watch on a large screen to see her paint the art up close, while also able to see her live in person. If your stage has a bump-out apron (area that extends into the audience), this may be the ideal place for the easel, out of the way of the musicians and vocalists, choir, orchestra pit, etc. Another option is to use floor space if any is available near the stage, wings, etc. The necessary footprint is about 3 ft x 3 ft of space (room for the floor easel and Natalie to stand next to it, room for a small cart/stand for supplies but that can be worked around if the space is too tight). Ideally the tech crew would have time to figure out ahead of time the best angle to film the canvas without Natalie’s body blocking the view. If your church doesn’t have a snazzy stage, tech crew with livestream, or ample space, God always makes a way. So please don’t feel that you can’t do this if you don’t have the ideal setup. Natalie can likely make it work with what you have.
    3. What will Natalie paint? Whatever you want her to paint, within reason. She’ll work with you to come up with a concept that fits into the theme of your songs or program. Or, you can choose something like she’s already done (browse through this site for ideas, perhaps start here with the Faith category). It will not be an exact copy of anything she’s done before, but it can be the same general design if you like something she’s already painted. Try not to make the selection of the painting a stressful exercise. This is meant to be a joyful experience.
    4. How much advance notice does Natalie need? If you choose a painting project that is very involved, it may take up to two months to complete (and Natalie has the right to decline a project that is too involved). A small project can be flipped in two weeks or less. So your selection may depend on how much time you have before your event. Please allow at least two week’s notice, while realizing that if you give only the minimum notice the project will need to be fairly basic (such as a candle and Bible, a cross and flower, etc., NOT Jesus at the Table, or a nativity scene).
    5. How much does this cost? Nothing. Natalie is doing this as a ministry. The Lord will provide. If you want to donate or to allow Natalie to sell art, books, etc. at a back table, your offer would not be turned down. But no, there’s no fee. If your event is not in the Savannah, Georgia area however, there may be travel expenses that we can’t cover and we’ll have to turn down your opportunity if the travel costs aren’t met by your organization.
    6. How far is Natalie willing to travel? From Natalie: “I’ll pray about your opportunity and listen to what God says.”
    7. What happens to the painting when it’s done? Natalie will photograph the painting and retain all rights to reproduce it in books, on gifts, as greeting cards, etc., but the original painting finished LIVE in your church will be donated to your church. There is no obligation for you to keep or display this art. You may choose to raffle it off as a fund raiser or gift it to a worthy cause. You may also decline to keep the painting (in which case, Natalie will take it home with her).
    8. How do I contact Natalie about her painting ministry? Please contact her through e-mail:

Food, Fun & Flowers

Enjoy my oil paintings that feature food, fun (hobbies, holidays, joyful things) and flowers. Many more paintings appear in other categories, so when you’re finished here, you can explore the rest!

See the art come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse video). Click and go!

And many more:

See many more paintings in these other categories: “Faith“, “Birds & Animals“, and “People & Places