NOT GONE, JUST AWAY

Today I was remembering my friend Junior. Friends are rare, and good. Junior was a cowboy, I was empty nesting and mid-lifeing and everything that comes during that time. Junior and his wife blessed me so much then.

Everything I learned about cowboys, I learned from Junior. He took me out where the cowboys work, explaining what they do and how. He kept me from causing catastrophes while I was out there, and was responsible for allowing me the chance to paint the entire cowboy series from my experience there.

These are two images of paintings with Junior. He is wearing the black hat. The first one is entitled “Tellin’ A Windy”, and the second I can’t remember the title, but I consider it to be one of my apex pieces.

Some of what I learned about ranchers is that they are excellent stewards of both land and animals. And they love both.

Junior has been away now for 2 years. It seems awhile longer than that.

“Tellin’ A Windy” – 24″x20″ – Oil

And then,

Someone else who less personally had great influence in my life was Gene. Gene has recently gone “from breath to air”….

His books have contributed much to my life in the adventure of being in Jesus, of He in us, of His Presence and Livingness now. Church Life as being in Christ, experiencing Him, and sharing Him.

Church Life expressed practically through us, or “putting wheels on it”, Gene had much more to say about that than I could know. That, too, is arranged and fulfilled by Jesus’ Life in His people.

Some brothers must have enjoyed “Star Wars” along with Gene, as for a special event for his 60th birthday, one brother asked me to paint this for them. Captain and First Mate. So also I found it fun to place an altered version of the intro to the original Star Wars program, as Captain Gene may have told it:

Outside of time and space, the final Frontier
These are the voyages of the Ecclesia Enterprise
Her forever mission
To explore New Realms
To seek out His Life
And rest in His Love
To boldly go where Christ in you has gone before…

Well, maybe he would have said that a better way.

And below an image of some saints, sharing in the Love of our Jesus together, singing in a brotherly embrace… Gene was not a fan of pews.

Memories of people we love… remembering times with them. God is good. Whatever our lives are, it is given by God from His Love…

As far as new work goes, I am about half way through another episode of Grandpa and the Boys, this time, planting a baby grapevine together, in the dirt. Young boys and old boys love playing in dirt. If I don’t screw it up, it will be a good one. It is an oil, 28″x22″. And also, I am now working in chapter 20 of Acts. Lord give grace in all the work. Amen.

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.

Joy Bucket

In times when we cannot see each other, I am especially grateful for skyping and messengering. Praise God for a daughter so willing to visit, especially when she is so busy.

When she was a baby and young girl, I called her my “joy bucket”, because truly, joy emanated from her being. I found that same quality in her son.

During one of our skype visits, I took a photo of the screen, not the best photo quality, but enough to work from. Until I can see him, it’s the best personal resource I have to work from.

I only posted a portion of the image, protecting their privacy, but it gives you an idea of a clarified photograph that I was working from.

I was happy with the outcome, because I think I captured his joyful curiosity and interestedness.

“Joy Bucket” – 18″ x 14″ – Oil

May all babies have the degree of loving and coziness as this little fellow.

A True Love

Monkey is getting very old. All his life he is faithful to his family pack, and very tolerant of his “puppy”. He lets the little guy crawl, lay, and hug on him with utmost appreciation, and even in older age, forbearance. He loves the one who adopted him years ago without faltering or blinking. He is a loving “person”.

He is also very loved in return, wonderfully loved by his family pack.

“Monkey and Nio” – 14″ x 18″ – Oil ©2020 Bohlender

I painted this in love for both the subjects, and the family pack. I pray it will be a symbol of the shared times, a memorial of a beloved dog-friend, a remembrance of a precious childhood.

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.

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.