FRESH GARLIC

I love garlic, but this is the first time I’ve painted it. It seems still life is my newest favorite. I love food. My husband brought this in fresh after cleaning it. I had to paint it. It makes sense to paint what we know well, and love heartily.

A favorite way to eat garlic is to line a pan with bacon and put your meatloaf into it. Surround the meatloaf with peeled (or unpeeled) garlic cloves, baking til the meatloaf is done. I also use raw garlic in ear oils or for fighting colds. Medicinal herb books are fun to read.

And garlic is also very beautiful as a plant, especially when the scapes curl and make ready to seed. This garlic is beautiful the way my husband brought it for us,

“Fresh Garlic” – 16″ x 8″ – Oil

This was pretty easily sketched in and begun. I had a little trouble in the middle, but most paintings do. Here are a few stages. I forgot to do more until finished.

Beginning a painting is always fun.

I have been working on a study of Acts. Acts is one of the larger books in the Bible, with longer chapters. It takes a long time to “do my version”, illustrate it and handwrite the whole thing. It is time I love to spend.

Also, the 4th Mr. Floppysocks book is underway. You never know for sure where a story will take you, but this one is not for little children. They might like the pictures and be held on your lap and you can read it to them, but mostly what they’d like is being close to their moms and dads. The Floppysocks books are difficult (for me) to describe or to designate an age group.

Mostly, I’m grateful to think about things other than world events, when I paint. Other times I have to pray to remember that our God has things well in His hands, no matter what it looks like out there. My husband reminds me to “give thanks in all things” because all is given by our Lord Jesus.

Sometimes I get excited to see what He is working out through all of this, when I have an extra dose of Faith…

STAND THEREFORE

Sometimes it seems that those against us are greater, but, “Lord, open our eyes that we may see.”

“Do not fear for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 2 Kings 6

In the strength of Your might, Lord, make us to stand.

“Stand Therefore” – 20″ x 30″ – Oil ©2022

“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who shall be heirs of salvation?” – Heb. 1:14

The angels, messengers, are standing. They are prepared, entering, waiting. And we put on the full armor of God so that we may stand in the strength of His might…. “Having done all, to stand.”

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

Stand.

STAND.

“In times like these” we can do what we can, some can do more, some less, but we can pray, to and with the One Who rules the universes. My husband told me of his verse this morning, “and the God of Peace will swiftly crush satan under your feet… the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you…” Rom. 16:20. He said when He crushes satan, it will be swiftly done, not necessarily soon.

I had at some time wondered “why do we pray” if God already has everything predestined according to His plan and will. Prayer brings us into His Person, His mind and sharing in His working, and administration … the joy of His presence… We may also be aligned in warfare, in His arms wrapping around us, relationship, reality, salvation, and much more, at various times and occasions. We, as His children, serve Him in His Spirit, just as the angels.

I know His angels are here, and they come according to His bidding. Angels assist us, whether we know it or not … sometimes we see, sometimes in hindsight. Our Shepherd takes care of us.

“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent to minister for them who shall receive the inheritance of salvation? ” Heb. 1:14

“And He says to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, from now on you will see Heaven opened, and the messengers (angels) of God going up and coming down on the Son of Man.” John 1:51

“He who went down is the same who also went up far above all the heavens, that He may fill all things—” Eph. 4:10

He is full-filling all things, He is the Ladder, His will is being fulfilled, His angels are His servants… His warriors (hosts), His messengers, He is their Course… their King.

I wanted to paint the angels, what I saw, but didn’t quite know quite how to position the angels, their attitude, their arms. I had photographed a wonderfully clouded day, part of which reminded me of a stairway or ladder. I began by painting that cloud scene, and it was the beginning, the base layer. Everything else is coming a step at a time. It looks some different now from the image shown here.

It seemed interesting to me that a previous time I had painted angels, they were pressing against the curve of our atmosphere, watching, protecting, but not entering. (This is a portion of a large painting done a couple of years ago).

After that, another painting with angels, and our prayers, shows our praying pushing back, entrapping the darkness from our side, the angels working from heaven, and all the power and directives and power coming from the Throne. The angels are in the heavenlies, more interactive.

“Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of his power….Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect.  Stand therefore….” Eph. 6

STAND.

We are to stand as well. Pray. Be ready…

In the new painting, the angels are entering. They are standing.

I will show more of the new painting when I progress… in the “opening” of the portals from heaven to earth in praying, in the Lord’s timing. The angels ascend and descend on that ladder, and they are awaiting their appointed time. They are watching, waiting, ready, standing. How marvelous. The Son of Man in the Heaven and in His Body on earth, and He filling all things…preparing for us to go to Him.

There is another one, an Angel, or Messenger, in Revelation 10, in the future, when Jesus is in the process of claiming His earthly kingdom, one foot on land, one foot in the ocean.

Stand. He is doing all the rest.

It is nice to share in thought and deed, progress or lack of it… my work space I am fortunate to have, an easel that my husband made for me… some time ago, and the beginning of my present work. Hope I don’t screw it up. I’ve also been working in the book of Acts, now on chapter 10.

The “featured image” is from a book I did, from a series in a personal Bible study, from 1 Peter. I love doing the studies.

Remembering the Cowboys

I had a good friend named Junior. He is passed on now, but a few years back he taught me a lot about cowboys and their work. I didn’t know much before these times, but I came to respect them, their care for the animals and the land, their working together when round-up times came.

Junior took me back into the places where they did the work, where they brought the cattle in from vast spaces into small holding pens or near watering holes, usually a ways from the highways, sometimes over rough terrain.

It was enjoyable then to paint the horses, the men and the cattle. It was a time of transition for me and an adventure, good painting times. I was showing at a couple galleries and had a few one-artist shows. It was a lot of work, but I got it done.

I didn’t romanticize any of it, and painted the men as they are today, and the work as they do it. They each have their own ways, but all were skillful and work together.

“Cowboys in Tandem” – ©2022 – 60″ x 48″ – Oil

I don’t know where these fellows are today, two are passed on. But I will remember their hands and their ropes, the way their horses respond to the cattle and the man on their back. It’s like poetry at times. It was an experience I treasure. I didn’t know before this that some horses can talk to you if you listen.

I don’t remember how many paintings all together I did of the cowboys, but it was many.

There were four different ranches I went to. Each was unique and well managed. I am forever grateful for them letting me be there, taking hundreds and hundreds of photos to work from.

I was reminiscing about my friend Junior today, remembering him. He was a fine man, his wife equally as wonderful. But I miss him. He was one of the good men on the earth.

God is good. It’s amazing the places we go and people we get to know in a lifetime.

I have added a new tab on the home page menu, “Western Art”.

Word Prompt of the Month “Bridge”

This is a fun idea.

This painting “Red Iron Bridge” was painted in 2018. It is a scene looking from the modern bridge on the highway looking away to the old bridge crossing over the Gila River. It is mostly private land, with beautiful cows grazing along side the meandering river.

“Red Iron Bridge” – 30″ x 24″ – Oil

There are plants growing over some of the railings and maybe a skunk or two living underneath the bridge. There are frogs and other living things.

Most of the bridge is intact. No driving is allowed on it anymore, so it is a pleasant walk back in there.

Most of the trees are cottonwood in a semi- desert terrain. It’s beautiful to see a natural flowing river.

I have to compliment the cowboys and ranchers in the region. They have a tremendous respect for the animals and the land.

Well, that is my contribution for “Word Prompt of the Month” encouraged by WordPress. I am grateful for a little inspiration.

“Good Buddies”

It was a cold and snowy morning, the only snow we had this year. My husband went out to give Jack a snack on the rocks out front. Jack is wild, but comfortable enough to stay close, yet behind the big rock. I loved this scene, I loved the peace of it, and the friendship of a man and a raven.

“Good Buddies” – 20″ x 20″ Oil

Jack comes to visit every day. He likes things that most of us don’t, so he gets food scraps and other tidbits. Every once in a while, for special occasions, he gets an egg. That is a very special occasion. The rest of the time, Jack is a mighty hunter, taking care of himself.

The tall rock he is standing behind is his very special perch, from which he surveys the small valley that is his territory. No one else gets to sit on that rock for long.

In the foreground are snow covered trimmed lavender bushes, where cottontails sometimes hide when Jack shows up.

Loving Mario

There is no greater Gift from God than being given a child. We are entrusted by God to raise them to Him. It is the most important job in the world, and we are never more tired, even exhausted, yet it is a treasured and joy-filled time of life.

Nursing our children provides a time of closeness and mutual nurturing, nothing is sweeter. The time is peaceful and calm, a love-bubble for the two of you. Not to mention the mother’s milk is full of healthy things for the baby, guaranteeing immunities and lots of good things.

And there is nothing sweeter still than seeing your daughter’s joy as she loves beyond the deepest exhaustion, fulfilled in motherhood. Her child is happy and beautiful. She gives her life to her children fully and without reservation. I love seeing her with her boys.

“Loving Mario” – 20″x 20″ – Oil ©2022 Bohlender

I suppose this is the last of works from our last visit. This is the fifth piece, extending my time with them some. Mario has already grown, and is doing amazing things. He’s a happy boy, gregarious and jolly. I look forward to when I may see them all again. God is good, He knows all things in our hearts.

My next painting is already forming, my husband feeding the raven out front when it snowed the other day. Our raven friend Jack is rather spoiled at times.

Mario & Grandma

He’s the star of the show, and the sparkle in my eye. Mario is full of zesty life and I was honored that he felt comfortable with me. I would love to see him more, but that isn’t always doable these days. We were in a park, but the trees did not seem as significant as the feeling of shade nearby and we in the sunshine together.

“Mario & Grandma” – 28″ x 22″ – Oil ©Bohlender 2022

It wasn’t hard to make him the focus, the subject. He is that in real life also. Over flowing joy.

I take comfort in knowing that God has raised up children for this time in history, that He will take care of them, and all things work out according to His Purpose and Timing. No one is a mistake, our times are in His hand.

Mario and Mama

There’s not too much as wonderful as holding your baby, and feeling him melt into you in absolute trust and love. The joy of motherhood is beyond describing.

“Mario and Mama” – 12″ x 16″ – Oil ©2022

I think the next greater joy is watching your daughter loving being a mama, and loving her boys.

This was a happy painting to paint, it painted itself, and I loved being involved with it.

The color of the photo is a little off for some reason, the outside border is more golden, less green. I’ll retake photos another day.

Grandpa and the Boys

There is something wonderful about the sparkle of love, and the joy that carries through a good wrestling match with grandpa.

Grandpa needs as many naps as the little fellow, but he comes out full of fun and vigor, the winner of the match undeclared. I think they all won this time.

“Grandpa and the Boys” – 22″x 28″ – Oil

Although it isn’t a Rembrandt, I really like the joy of a moment captured, that maybe will be appreciated by the boys after we are gone, a remembrance of their grandfather.

Meanwhile, we await the Lord’s return, and love what He has given us until He comes.

At The Goosey Park

The delightfulness of having a friend you might grow up with, at least so far in their lives, is a treasure many of us don’t have. The children in this painting have known each other since babes, and they experience the loves and challenges of friendship often. Their mothers are good friends, often taking their breathing space at one of several parks where their children can run and play.

One of the parks is near a museum, the grounds are well kept and pleasant. A stream runs through it, and geese stay there year round, accustomed to big and little people. Whenever I am there, it is full of geese, and children.

“At the Goosey Park” – 24″ x 18″ – Oil ©2021

Below are the two earlier paintings of the same children. The beagle doggy has died, the bulldog is getting old and grey, but still smiles when he goes for a walk. I love seeing how these two children grew, how they are as lovely little people. I hope that I am able to keep painting them for more years to come.

The process of painting went from covering a used canvas with a white wash, into the new painting at the park, as shown below.

Autumn Afternoon

Every day I walk for health, for prayer, for enjoyment. I get to see the seasons change, the insects, the Creation and Power of our God. As an artist, I get to see abstract form, and color variations within the days and times of days. I have to admit that my lot has been cast in pleasant places. I am grateful.

The warmth of the afternoon light, the longer shadows and the sense of a day closing it’s eyes is restful, and I am pleased to retire with the setting sun. Somedays we know, in spite of the battles in the world, that all is well in the world, in my soul.

“Autumn Afternoon” – 36″ x 18″ – Oil ©2021

Usually the colors are not so warm, but this day, with the sun and sky as they were, the weeds and grasses at the stage they were – and some had red red stems, and maybe warmth in my attitude, there were few subtle grey-yellows, and still enough green in mesquites, and trees that must have a water supply. A small building is handily placed and distant enough that I didn’t worry what kind of building it might be.

There are more mesquite present, but unnecessary to the work and almost distracting, unimportant to what the scene was speaking.

Once again, I painted over a used canvas, and there are strokes that vary with the landscape strokes, yet add a pleasant sense of motion… air.

Beauty and the Feast

The rewards of gardening are many, the beauty, the flavor, the gift of food…

My husband brought in these radishes, just pulled out of the earth and fresh washed, laying them on the counter for me. I thought they were very lovely. I photographed them, and just now finished painting them.

“Fresh Washed Radishes” – 14″ x 11″ – Oil ©2021

Once again I used a used canvas overpainted with an orangey wash, I liked what peeked through, matching the countertop somewhat, and pleasantly surprising results.

It was especially delicious painting in the reds – cadmium red light, and alizarin, a touch of cadmium orange deep.

We had a freeze last night, and the water hoses drained, the harvest is mostly finished for the year. By the time spring comes, we are ready for more fresh radishes.

When we get too many radishes, I have found that roasting some is quite tasty as well, drizzled with oil, sprinkled with salt, pepper and nutritional yeast.

The Little Things

Some say that it’s the little things that count. I believe some big things do also, but those little things are quite vital.

At the time, I was walking in the morning, loving the quiet, the solitude, the abstract patterns of nature, when this little fellow crossed my path. One really cannot miss the brightness of the velvet ant or the velvet mites in a place where most things’ colors at the beginning of rainy season are so subtle. And, I pay close attention and look down often because of things like rattle snakes and rocky ground.

It’s fun to catch the smaller miracles.

“Velvet Ant” – 8″ x 7-1/2″ – Watercolor ©2021

Painting in watercolor begins as pastel color, and builds into the stronger color and form. This time I had a little fun flicking a toothbrush to get texture into the rocky ground.

Thinking of miracles, it is a good thing to acknowledge them. We do have an amazing God Who gives Life and Breath to all things, in Love.

Family Life

We have a raven family, Jack and Jill are the parents. Each year they raise young, usually two – although last year they had three. They raise them, they teach them, they feed them even if they are a little bigger than themselves before they are able to feed themselves.

The quality of their family life is delightful. They sit close together, they nuzzle each others neck feathers, they have a system of feeding. They watch for other birds that want their goodies, or could hurt their babies.

The raven family sticks together, until death do us part.

Once several years back we had another raven family, whom I named Dipper and Squawker. Dipper hurt his wing and could not fly yet. I saw him and his mate together on the ground, he working his wings, she beside him. I am hoping he got well, because after awhile I didn’t see them any more.

This year’s babies have just “flown the nest”. I think it’s grasshopper time over the hill, a suitable time for new ones to make their own way.

“Daddy Jack Feeding His Young One” – 12″ x 10″ – Watercolor – ©2021 Bohlender

I love watching them, they love our strawberries and occasionally an apple, but for the most part they are pretty self sufficient. What a gift to watch.

A Happy Day With My Grandson

Getting to spend a little time with someone far away and somewhat older by painting and remembering him. How I love getting to see my grandchildren. Here is a record of some of the process from beginning to end.

The Gila River

The Gila is a meandering river in it’s natural course, as beautiful as a river can be. It is one of the last free flowing rivers in the western U.S., originating in the Mogollon Mountains of the Gila Wilderness. It is over 600 miles long, a tributary of the Colorado River, flowing through New Mexico and Arizona.

This view of the Gila River is off the Turkey Creek Road, outside the town of Gila, and is my eighth painting of the river.

“The Gila River in the Fall” – 30″x 15″ – Oil – ©2020 Bohlender

I began painting this last fall, then abandoning it at middle stages. Recently, it appealed to me again and I worked it, enjoying the distance, the direction of the river.

Happy Jack and The Sound of Music

When the mountains are snow-peaked in the early spring and the yellow bladderpods bloom, this spot on a hilltop reminds me of the high-meadow in the Alps where, in the film,  the family was escaping Austria. I can hear Julie Andrews singing when I am approaching the place from below. After the mountain snowmelt, the yellow wildflowers remain for a time, then fade away.

Happy Jack and the Sound of Music – 20″x 20″ – Oil – May 2020 – ©Bohlender

Sometimes I give Jack a snack, and he is encouraged by that small kindness to, on occasion, anticipate my pathway as I walk. He fluffs his feathers, croaking sweet love sounds. He perches in familiar spots, this weathered mesquite stump being a favored perch. Jack is a smart bird, willingly giving us space enough to make sure we are not overly frightened by his closeness. Yet he allows enough nearness when he poses and flexes his muscles for his next photoshoot, but most of the time he taps his large bill on his perch as an indication that he really is ready to get his treat.

Jack has a noble heart, loyal to his mate, “Honker”, and perfectly raven in all of his ways. We are a member of Jack’s murder, we love that he shares his territory with us.

Finding the Man

I’ve done a few portraits, the beginning stages of observing and drawing the lines help identify who that person is. There is front of you are some of the details of the heart and experience of who a person is… a very precious thing.

Then I block in light and color, a little bit, rounding out form and establishing a little more physical substance. At this point, I can begin painting.

The likeness is almost there, of course no one really looks like half their paint is missing, but it will flesh out in the working.

This is my first formal military portrait. I find intelligence, strength, a little humor, and along with all of life’s experience, a trace of the boy in the man. I found a certain curve to one of his eyes that I dearly hope to hold in the work, …a loving… a hoping.

I pray to honor the heart of this man in my work, holding it carefully while painting, and honoring him in the final work.

Here below is the finished work… I like it. There is a strength of character and awareness that I like very much.

24″x 36″ – Oil

I pray for our Military Men and Women. I pray for our America. I pray the Lord’s Will be Done. And I pray that we are one Nation Under God.

And thank you very much for your service to our America.