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, generally means that no matter what we call something, it remains the same. These days when propaganda flows more freely than the truth, words are given new meaning, and actions are given new words, but in the end, truth is truth. No matter what new words are given to describe what’s happening, the truth will be known. By some, the truth is felt immediately. Others take longer to see it. Many more won’t see it until a pivotal moment when they believe what they see because the right person, the right place, or the right time has caused the truth to finally be seen by them. Still, there are a few who will never see the truth because they are incapable or unwilling to see it.

If you ever feel discouraged, as if you are living in a different reality from others, always keep in mind that a rose is always a rose. It has the characteristics of a rose, regardless of what we call it. Truth is eventually known, and it doesn’t matter if not everyone can see it. The characteristics of truth are the same regardless, and those characteristics bring forth justice, peace, and healing.

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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 lives, seasons change. The beauty of nature reminds us that “this too shall pass”. May we feel the peace and tranquility of fall, the quiet hush before the darkness of winter. If you live in a part of the world where the seasons are different from ours here in America, I hope you don’t mind being pulled into autumn tonight.

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 this painting at a gallery exhibit. I thought it would be a good one to re-share for this Sunday. I hope that you are able to find peace in this day and can reflect on how you want your week to go. God bless you and your family.

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Worn

Bad days

Watch this deer oil painting come to life in 2 minutes, and then see below for the real life video I took today!

Even when humanity is having a bad day, a dark day, a day of violence and unspeakable horror, nature goes on as if untroubled by the woes of mankind. Chaos and evil may rule our minds, yet the seasons pass undisturbed, giving us hope that we will feel peace once again. This is what I saw today. There is a magical moment at the end when eye contact is made. May you too experience this second, in which your breath stops, as you too make eye contact with peace on Earth, as fleeting as that beauty may be.

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Darkened Woods

Watch this oil painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse). And, if you’d like to know what inspired this art, read the story behind it.

Tonight my heart feels heavy, as many things are weighing on me- many of these things are probably weighing on you as well. The spiritual woods of darkness and solitude, where God speaks to us… this is where I need to go. I plan to pray, rest, and read for a while before going to bed. I will pray for YOU. I believe that I don’t need to know who you are, or anything about you. All I need is to feel empathy for anyone who needs prayer, and that’s all of us. May God bless you and keep you, may His face shine upon you and give you peace.

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Happy Sunday

Play Video

Watch me paint “Flying to Heaven” in under 1 minute (time lapse). This was for a children’s book called “Grandpa Smiles“.

Here we are, another Sunday will be soon over, and July too is gone. It’s now August and a new season is upon us. As we approach this upcoming week together, I wish you a productive and joyful experience- no matter what turmoil and fear is outside our doors. Spiritually, may we maintain focus and inner peace.

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Letting Go

Watch this Angel Releasing Dove painting come to life in 2 minutes (time lapse), using broken pieces of shells I found on the beach, and a tiny “dove” from inside a sand dollar I also found there, at Tybee Island, Georgia.

There are times when we must let go, and let our hearts say, “Go in Peace”. This may be a spiritual letting go, a time of grief, or a physical letting go. It’s back to school time for many families and those of us who are facing this transitional time may be feeling more anxiety than usual. After deferring college or other situations, we may have expected a better situation for this year, only to find that the situation has escalated.

Letting go is difficult under ordinary circumstances, but when we are pushed harder than anticipated, it can be more challenging to reach spiritual acceptance of the change of seasons. School is just one obvious example, as it affects so many of us at around the same time every year. But all of us are touched by the change of seasons, as we see summer end and the passage of time has brought new things into our lives that may have been expected or wanted, or may be unexpected or unwanted. Either way, change is difficult.

Even good and happy changes bring a strong degree of stress. It may help to imagine our spiritual self as this angel, and the dove may represent the peaceful outcome of letting go, accepting that life is changing. If the change involves another person, we may wish blessings and a glorious, happy, prosperous, hope-filled flight into the unknown. May we rely on the strength of our love for others to see them through to the other side, if they have passed, or to see them into the future if they are launching into new experiences.

Perhaps the process of letting go is about ourselves. When life changes for others, it impacts us. Even if no one in our personal circle has a major life event, the seasons still pass. Time itself brings changes that cause us to reflect upon our lives and adjust to our new self. As we see July slipping into August, we may feel the change of seasons closing in. We may not have control over time, and future events, but we always have a spiritual choice about how we respond to change.

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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.

🎂

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Happy Sunday!

Watch me paint “Floral Cross” in under 2 minutes (time lapse)

Peace be with you today as you reflect upon the week we finished and the new week ahead. No matter how exhausting the world feels, may we feel spiritually refreshed to face our challenges with strength, hope, and perseverance. God bless you and your family!

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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

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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

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Do you have the heart to Celebrate?

Play Video

Watch me paint this sea turtle in less than 1 minute (time lapse)

The sea turtle in my oil painting is Matthew, a rescue animal at the marine center on Tybee Island. When I saw him he was fully recovered and swimming peacefully in his tank. Shortly after my visit he was released back to his ocean home.

Imagine if we could see Matthew now. What might he be doing, in the post-2020 dystopian world that mankind has created? Well, I imagine he’s still in a state of relaxation, swimming to his own rhythm regardless of worldly chaos, darkness, fear, malice, death, and oppression on the shore.

I saw a lot of debate about whether or not it’s OK to celebrate holidays such as Independence Day when we are hardly free at this point in time. But it is when we are enslaved the most when we must celebrate what it means to be free! When the chips are down, if we leave the table it means that we have accepted the loss. Accepting a loss of freedom is to submit to slavery.

Who desires us to stop celebrating? It’s sad that our own “side” (fellow humans who claim to wish to be free, sovereign over their bodies, choices, and homes) should align with the oppressive regimes and their mouthpieces! Shaming each other or being a voice of discouragement and despair is exactly the kind of drive toward hopelessness that abusing regimes desire. For when we are without hope, we will comply and submit. We will give up that which makes us independent and free. We will enslave ourselves.

I do not comply.

I do not submit.

I celebrate my God given rights,

and I hope that you do too.

If you missed my spectacular 4th of July variety show, in which I laid my heart on the table; and my family also committed their time and talents to the project… please watch. It may inspire you to celebrate, even when it seems as if there is nothing to rejoice over. In my show I also share my personal American story, a story that should be relatable in general, no matter which country you call home.

No ruler, king, or evil empire of technocracy can create laws or commit illegal actions over our spirit. If we are spiritually like Matthew the sea turtle, we can live by our own rhythm no matter how grim the state of the world is. There is no compliance officer who can force our hearts to be hopeless. Choosing peace, joy, and love is always our right. I celebrate this freedom.

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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