THE GUIDING HAND

Grandpa tried throughout the summer to start a new little grapevine for Nio from his Concord grape vine. He thought about the sweet purple taste of the grape and how Nio would like it. He thought about sharing some things that he enjoyed very much with his grandson – gardening, sunshine, eating grapes off the vine.

All of his efforts failed, all his little cuttings died – except this one.

It was time to go visit and his grapevine was still very small and vulnerable. Well, he promised a grapevine to Nio (and you never break your promise to a child). He had to bring it.

Those fellows dug and dug out there in the backyard dirt, in a space where dad’s lawnmower would not be impeded. In fact, they had so much fun digging, they first dug a big hole – knee deep on Nio, and filled it with water. There is much fun playing in mud and holes.

Grandpa loves his grandboys.

Then they got down to business just a little ways from the hole they filled back in, so little brother wouldn’t fall in head first. Little brother also likes to tap a little bit firmly or pull things out of holes, and Nio was quite careful to protect his grapevine.

“The Guiding Hand” – 28″ x 22″ – Oil ©2023

One may plant, one may water, but it is God who gives the increase… and miracles.

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.

“NEW IN TOWN” AND OLD DREAMS

Rudy Giuliani posted a short video of NYC today. I once stood, like many, in the same vantage point. It excited me to see, and reminded me of a painting I did in 2015. I visited my daughter, and she was the best of tour guides. It was one of the few times I was able to visit a city as a tourist, to see the sights… The Statue of Liberty, the 9-11 Memorial and Museum, Times Square, the Met…. wonderful experience. “New In Town” – Watercolor – ©2015

"New In Town" - Watercolor - ©2015Bohlender

I titled it “New In Town” partly because of my newness, but there is a woman pushing a baby buggy, a traveler bringing his suitcases, a very pregnant woman. There was so much going on, so much to take in at one time. It was exhilarating to remember the city, and doing the art.

There has remained a slight yearning in my heart to open a tiny gallery. I am the worst of business people, but would have a coffee pot there in my dreams. The gallery I was in closed several years back, and I refrained from finding another at the time. Also I live in a place with very limited traffic, and I drink my coffee while I paint or with my husband. Sometimes we consider moving, but it is something to long consider. So my dreams are safely tucked away, and they are not practical… a perhaps just a little in the realm of unreality. 🙂

Yet I was stirred by Mr. Giuliani’s video, and grateful I had a chance to see “the city”. It was a happy memory with someone I love in NYC, at Time’s Square.

I pray for peace in America, where we can walk as a free people, with hustle and bustle or in quiet and serenity… we have the freedom now to choose where we will be. There is freedom in Christ, to follow Him wherever He goes. Amen.

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.

“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.

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.

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.

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.

What Was From the Beginning

Front and back covers for the latest in this unfolding, a private Bible study with illustrations, somewhat literally translated. The front cover is a link to amazon.

As always, there is room to disagree with me on dates, or thoughts, but… come into His Garden, and enjoy the Life.

Pier Joy

While visiting Mississippi, I was very blessed to spend some time observing the brown pelicans. I found them to be very communal and happy sort of folks.

They were having so much fun, that a heron wanted to come visit.

Along with the fun times, I found them classically beautiful, and hope to do more of these amazing creatures of the sky and sea.

Using old canvases leaves slight imperfections in texture, but I don’t mind that. Here is the process, where you can see the slightly washed over painting of orchids, the sketching, and painting.

“Pier Joy” – 30″x15″ – Oil ©2021

P

Flutterings, Shakings and Movings.

Having received a batch of homemade papers from a friend, and a topic – “Butterflies”, once again I was moved into a creative mode in mixed media.

In this particular piece, the theme of “butterflies” evolved, or fluttered into thoughts about how do butterflies – or what do butterflies – tell us about God.

Well, in Genesis 1:2, the New American Standard Bible says: “The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” Moving over the surface, or hovering over the face of the deep, or, in the Strong’s Greek Concordance you might find “fluttered” or “shook” or I can’t remember the others. The word might be in the Old Testament maybe five times.

“And the Spirit of God Fluttered Over the Surface of the Waters” -©Bohlender 2020

It seems that I have thought of that hovering as a birthing, or a resurrecting. Some say “brooding”, which leads me to sadness or pain, or death. Perhaps chaos. But in considering that the same word might be “fluttering”, there was a joy released into the creation and over the deep, more like a birthing or a working… a fluttering, and a working, digging deeply to extract all the goodness brought forth from the thoughts of God in the flowering of the universal creation.

“For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.”

Yes, of course this mixed media falls short of the grandness and beauty of our God, and all the beauty of the creation in Christ Jesus. But it is a nice thought to have flutter by.

In the mixed media, along with homemade papers, I used dried pansies and sunflower petals, copper wire, shiny things and sequins, acrylic paint, semi gloss mediums, shiny papers, glue, a box, pieces of other watercolor art works, and buried under gel mediums, tiny LED lights that I turn on, for fun.

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.

Light in a Butterfly World

My grandson loves to pretend he is a butterfly, or a dinosaur, or whatever new creature he is learning about. The uninhibited sense of wonder and joy springs from his heart, and I like entering that “Place” with him. Sometimes in his “Place” he goes on great boundary-less adventures, a wonder-filled place of vast Dimension, Light and Awe.

We were walking through a forested park with gentle trails where children could freely and safely adventure and learn. Their eyes lit up with expectation and each experienced their own realms… one in dancing and joy, one with a sense of mission, and one taking it all in and keeping up with the big kids as quickly as her little person willing could.

The dogs were not there that day, but I added his doggies so he could have a remembrance of them in later days. His doggies always watch out for him as their own puppy, and love him sincerely. Here they had his front side and back side well covered and protected, while running with their pack.

I might have subdued their clothing colors more  in keeping with a softer feelings of a dream world, but I more wanted to depict them as they were, recognizable at this stage in their lives.

What a gift to have friendships as little ones, growing up together with mamas who are good friends as well.

“Chasing Light in a Butterfly World” – 16″x 20″ – Oil – ©2020 Bohlender

I think I’m finished. But one never knows where adventures may lead.

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.

Studying Revelation

“And to the messenger of the out-called assembly in Philadelphia, write:

The True One, the Holy One, the One have the Key of David, and the One opening up and no one shall shut, and shutting and no one shall open, is saying:

“I have seen your works. Be perceiving, I have given in your sight an opened door which no one is able to shut, it being that you have a little power, and you keep My Word and do not deny My Name….”(Sorry for the off-square image and water mark)

Jesus is the Door, He is the Key, He is the Way, the Truth and the Life..

Montage in Hebrews

I was given some handmade papers and fragments as a base to create a mixed media from… a montage, adding my own bits. Not my normal patterns or colors, it is fun and challenging, as I’m already gathering in other textures and color. I’ve been studying in Hebrews for quite some time, I thought I may take my theme from that awesome book. I’ll post the final results when they arrive, Lord willing.

papers by J. Giammarco

Hebrews is an amazing sight into the Father’s heart into Christ and His out-called, the holy ones. Even while illustrating the book, there is so much more I want to see, this is a good opportunity to explore. Below the mixed media image, is a page from my study, the whole thing hand written several times over. I absorb better in hand-written and drawn studies.

“A Body You Have Prepared for Me” – Mixed Media

With this page, I was mostly fascinated with “Yet a body You have prepared for Me.”… and that Father was embracing Him all while He was doing the will of His Father. He offered Himself for the joy set before Him. He offered Himself for love of His Father and us. All things are created through Him. We, too, go outside the gate to Him, into the heavenly City, by His life and power.

©Copyright 2019 J.C.Bohlender

“A body You have prepared for Me.” Thank You, Lord. In Him, we are Your dwelling place.

©J.C. Bohlender 2019

“Fresh Pick”

“Fresh Pick” – 16″x 20″ – Oil ©2019 Jean Bohlender

After a good garden year, it was nice to finish this painting of some of our produce. Beginning right away, it took a month and a half to paint. The last picking of the year was just 2 days ago, after a good cold night.

There is a certain kind of melon, that most of the time has a very smooth, yellow rind, that tastes so sweet it transports one to the realization of what the heavenlies must be like. That is why the cantaloupe is “the star” of the painting. The sweetness, oh! the sweetness.

After a time of not painting, it is nice to start anew, this time just for the love of it.