My Christmas Presents!

See 3 surprises in less than 30 seconds!

Sharing one of the presents from each family member of this theme: the nature that I love and share with you all here, through my oil paintings and stories. The above video shows the gifts my husband and oldest daughter gave me for my garden and the images below show the bird and butterfly related gifts from my younger two kids.

My son gave me this beautiful cardinal
It came with a very nice sentiment on the attached tag
And these special butterfly hair clips are from my youngest daughter

It feels good when the people we love understand who we are and what makes us happy. I loved receiving presents to help me enjoy my garden and beloved birds and nature. It is a Merry Christmas indeed! God’s world is a gift for everyone. JOY TO THE WORLD!


Holiday Break

Watch “Pumpkin Latte” come alive in 1 minute (time lapse)

Our house is already changing from pumpkin spices to gingerbread. Today we decorated the Christmas tree and made cookies. Yesterday for Thanksgiving we had a glorious feast! I was proud to use fresh garden rosemary, parsley, and basil to stuff and season the turkey. I went outside early in the morning while it was not quite light out, but I could see my breath in the chilly November air. I was like Santa choosing only the best reindeer for the mission- only the greenest and prettiest herbs made the cut for our Thanksgiving turkey.

Aren’t those fresh greens pretty? Their shapes are perfect!
Before roasting: turkey stuffed with an apple, orange, lemon, onion, parsley, rosemary, and basil. I also made herb butter with garlic and greens to spread under the skin and over the skin of the turkey. This is what makes it moist, tender, and in no need of basting.
It turned out VERY moist and tender, didn’t need a knife. It pulled apart with just large forks and tongs and the family could cut it easily with a fork! This is good because my husband has banned me from ever using an electric knife again after a certain incident from a few years ago… (The knife fell from the counter and I instinctively reached out and grabbed it to catch it from falling. I was very, very lucky that I caught it by the handle and not by the blade! Whew, that was close to a nasty accident. It was my painting hand too, so it could have possibly been quite tragic for me.)
My dinner plate, crammed full of food! I didn’t want the yams or cranberry sauce.
And here’s the cake I made last weekend. I took a chocolate cake recipe of my mom’s and made a few creative substitutions. Instead of milk I used eggnog, whiskey and espresso! Other than that, it was just chocolate cake! 🙂 The frosting was AMAZING. I modified a buttercream recipe.
The house even has a chimney on it. This bundt cake mold is made in the USA by Nordic Ware. The unfortunate crack you see is because I ran out of batter and had to quickly make more, so it’s two different cakes (one had the whiskey and espresso in it, the other had eggnog; both were chocolate cakes other than those substitutions for the milk). Anyway, I will make a double batch of batter before I begin next time. I’m going to make three of these tomorrow for my kids to decorate. The wreath is fondant and the snow is frosting. The trees are painted with a green food coloring pen. I didn’t add any other decorations, but my kids want to do more with theirs.

I have more stories to share, but this blog post is getting rather long! So, I’ll just leave this at the food highlights for now. I hope all of you have been enjoying your Thanksgiving break, and if you don’t celebrate this holiday, may you have a joyful weekend anyway!

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 out a pumpkin for carving (my husband and son, when he was little)… my son would put his face so close to whatever my husband was working on, lol. Fortunately this was just the part of cleaning out the pumpkin. This painting is for the new collection, a series that tells stories about the seasons of life and nature.

What is special about this new series is that more of my paintings will come from the heart and I’ll connect more personally to my art. That will show in my work, so I expect that some of my best pieces (to date, the best is yet to come!), will come from this collection. Whenever we put ourselves and what matters most to us into what we share with others, that special energy shines through in a way that is alive and recognized by others as an authentic human experience. Art is a language and when we tell our real life stories, we are understood in a way that goes beyond words.

Something New!

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

This oil painting is not the “something new” that I want to share, but this art is used as the book cover for a new project I’m doing for Kindle Vella, a new service that launched today. You can read parts of books for free, then after that you can cash in tokens to read more (if you want to). It sounds like a fun new thing to try, and I hope that you try mine!

You will notice that some of the episodes are stories I’ve shared here, but the ones I’m publishing currently are new stories that I’ve not put on the blog, including one that I just submitted (and will take a little while to go live, so if you don’t see episode 7 called “Lost Locket”, please check back later). All of the stories have related oil paintings that you can watch me paint on this site. If you do decide to check it out, please help me get started in this new adventure by sharing my story with others or writing a review. Thank you!

Bunting is REAL!

First, the oil painting, then the story behind it… make sure you don’t miss the video proof that my elusive Painted Bunting bird exists!

Watch me paint Painted Bunting in under a minute (time lapse)

“A gorgeous bird appeared on our patio. I thought maybe a neighbor’s tropical pet bird had escaped. I’d never seen anything like this in the wild. I looked at a bird identification guide for Savannah. This is a migratory bird who visits our coastal area, called a “Painted Bunting”. Well, of course I had to paint it! My family gave me a tower bird feeder to attract this type of bird. I look forward to the spring return of painted buntings.”

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

Update to the above story…

 

For many months the painted bunting did not return, and it seemed like my family was beginning to doubt that I’d seen what I thought I had. But finally the elusive bunting appeared and he is REAL! This little guy is slightly different from the taller one I painted, but he’s definitely the same breed of bird I saw the first time. And, he visited many times after this sighting, so my video was validated by the family seeing this extraordinary exotic bird with their own two eyes.

 

He- or they, if the missus is along (you can see a glimpse of her peeking around the feeder in this video) never stays long. He eats from the feeder and quickly moves on. His migratory season is short; days or weeks in our area, not months. But the bunting is very much REAL, and beautiful!

Watch a Painted Bunting having a snack at our patio feeder

(I filmed this from only a short distance away, from inside the house behind the patio glass door – had to be quick, he doesn’t stay long!).

See previous post for more art like “Painted Bunting“, painted on black canvas: Painting on Black

I hope you’re enjoying my new blog series, “Stories that Inspire my Art”. There are many, many more stories to tell! I’ll post these daily, but 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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Trapper John

First, the oil painting, then the story behind it… make sure you don’t miss the Trapper John video I filmed from the safety of inside my house!

Watch me paint this Gator art in under 2 minutes (time lapse)

“We get gators in the lagoon behind our house. Trapper John came out and removed a big alligator using a pole, his bare hands, and duct tape. I watched the adventure from inside the house, through the glass patio doors. When the gator was safely bound and loaded onto the back of his truck, I went outside and asked if it was OK to take pictures. Trapper John moved the gator so that I could get a good shot. The gator’s tail felt like an underinflated tire- rubbery, squishy, and oddly soft. The police officer on the scene said- after I touched the gator- that he was surprised the alligator was being so docile. The officer was amused by my photo shoot. He said, “Welcome to Georgia.” Besides gators, we also have snakes. There was a small one inside our house, which gave me a phobia of lying on the floor. No more yoga for me! There was a large one outside our house, which gave me a phobia of mowing the lawn. Now I wear boots or ask my husband to do it. One day I was filming a cute little toad and my husband pranked me by pretending to see a snake. He laughed about that for entirely too long. Well, a few weeks later, he came in from mowing with a sheepish look on his face. He thought I’d seen him jump a mile when he saw a snake in the grass. No, I’d missed that, but I can imagine it and it’s a safe bet that I’ll have another opportunity to see it.”

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

Update to the above story…

I bought my husband some cowboy boots for Christmas!

Watch Trapper John remove an alligator from the lagoon behind our house! (I’m filming this from a safe distance)

He looks like he’s being arrested… hopefully before he’s committed any crimes. A woman was recently killed by an alligator. It’s rare that humans are attacked, but small dogs are sometimes victims. Best to remove alligators that wander into populated areas! There is a wildlife preserve just a few miles from here. The gators roam safely and freely there.

See previous post for more backyard art: Painting Reptiles and Amphibians

I hope you’re enjoying my new blog series, “Stories that Inspire my Art”. There are many, many more stories to tell! I’ll post these daily, but 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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New Blog Series

Yesterday’s blog post was the final installment of the series “Compare 3“, in which three oil paintings are compared to a theme. My blog will host Irish art and my painting show over the next couple of days, but after St. Patrick’s Day, I’ll launch the new blog series “Stories that Inspire my Art“.

Stories will include videos such as when Trapper John dragged an alligator out of the lagoon, inspiring “Gator and Snake“. You won’t want to miss it. Sad and poignant, bittersweet, loving, sweet stories… and funny, whimsical, and uplifting ones too.

But, before we move on…

If you missed any of the 35 posts in the previous blog series, here is the complete list for “Compare 3“:

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