The Gift of a Crayon

My grandson sent me a brown crayon.

It is one of the most precious gifts I have ever been given. Those little hearts and hands share so richly…. especially a “slightly” used crayon.

He is an artist in his own right, and I wanted to share the value of a gift and a brown crayon.

My husband sharpened it a little bit for me, and I set up shop. I had to work very quickly before the sun came up, so my light source wouldn’t change much, quickly sketching for reference, then crayon.

I made a print out of this process, talking about the lights and darks of things. I hope I made his day as happy as he made mine.

A lot can happen with a brown crayon.

While I was working, I was thinking of the song, “Your steadfast love, oh Lord, never ceases, Your mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning, new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness, O God, Great is Your faithfulness.”

It’s true.

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.

Goings On

I have been painting, slowly on a painting of horses I saw up on the mesa. I think it might turn out quite nice, if I don’t mess it up at this point.

What I have been working diligently on is building up my website with a lot of the art work I have done in my life, separating it into categories, organizing files, resizing images (I just learned about optimization, but I don’t know if I actually got it right yet). I think it all re-started when I posted about cowboy paintings. I also re-added my old domain name to the site, so I have two names that go to the same place.

It seemed like a good time to show you a doll that recently introduced himself to me as I was making him. Originally, I thought a sweet Waldorf type doll would be nice, but this doll took on his own personality as we worked along. I discovered a new way to make a nose, and he wanted to be mostly bald with a mustache. The clothes were like a simple woodsman or something. I was liking him. Everything is of soft fabrics – flannels, fleece and fuzzies, and a little yarn.

Then I asked my young grandson to name him, and he immediately announced his name to be “Judah”. Interesting and surprising, but he was certain of his choice. Well, I thought if his name is Judah, he needs a little cap and prayer shawl, which I learned are called yarmulke and tallit, ( I hope I got that right, sometimes I am not accurate in my searches).

Judah’s personality wanted to be, so here he is.

“Judah”

I really like this doll, and added him to my other dolls in the guest room, just for fun.

Also still working on the Book of Acts, but haven’t illustrated the pages for chapter 7 yet. That is a project that is calling as well.

Nice to visit with you.

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.

Arranging the Bounty

I love where we buy groceries. It is a small store, not so complex and huge. In this store, I can buy what I need without having to wade through so many options that becomes confounding. It is wholesome. I am grateful. Because I love this store, I decided to paint a scene from it, in love.

The day the food trucks arrive the workers become very busy… in a lovely way. They care about the food quality and presentation. I love that. They roll in the cart full of new boxes of fresh food, distributing carefully, artfully.

I painted this on a used canvas, a failed portrait that I washed white over it, yet the dark background showed through, as well as some of the form. I blocked in color areas and tried to capture that perspective, vital as it is, with line. Then continued bringing in all of the abounding wonders.

You can see the arm of the portrait that lays sideways in the first image, but then the progression of the painting. The final painting:

Arranging the Bounty – 30″ x 24″ – Oil ©2021

It took awhile to paint this one, but I’m a dab at a time kind of painter. I hope it honors the beauty of the woman and the produce, and the love in the store.

Praise God for the wealth of our America. It has been a free and rich Nation.

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.

Watercolor Happiness

I’ve been working a little bit in watercolor again lately, getting used to the medium again. Some of my tubes dried out completely, so I cut off the tubes, placed the pigments in small jars in water, and like it well this way, seeing the color as it is, going from washes at the top to solids at the bottom of the jar.

What first inspired me was the poppies blooming this spring, that color of red was so wonderful. I was seeing that color in my thoughts, and on a Windsor and Newton color ad, and I had a tube of Daniel Smith organic vermillion that needed rejuvenation. And watching the Sennelier videos (Yves-Marie Salanson), got me going. Ouuu the poppies. I might do an oil next spring, when the poppies bloom again.

“Poppies” – Watercolor – ©2021

Poppies wilt quickly, and drop petals, I started from life, but took a photo to finish from.

Then after I was sent a photo taken at a carnival through the fences, with things covering the subject matter and all kinds of things going on, I loved the expressions on their faces. What daddy would not be so very proud and pleased with the earnest efforts of a brave, responsible young driver. I couldn’t see the front of the truck, so I made that part out of other images of antique cars, and wanted simplicity, so eventually, I only drew the people and the car, and added the balloons.

I think I shortened the car just a little, but proportionally it still works ok, maybe even added a little charm. Sometimes our shortcomings in art improve our work 🙂 .

“Joy Ride” – Watercolor – ©2021

I hope soon to be able to take a ride in this little fellow’s carnival truck. What a fine boy he is.

So, in my ongoing quest to use art supplies on hand, I have plenty of watercolor papers. I have always loved D’Arches 300# cold press (poppies), and the carnival ride is painted on a lighter weight, but I like it.

Best Friends in a Butterfly World

These children have been friends pretty much half of their lives. They live in this world in a special way, they create together, run and play in a world of light and love. There isn’t much room for other things yet. Praise God.

Each has a loving mama, who take time to teach and be with their children. They read and sing and paint, and visit forests and nature centers and doggy parks.

I painting these “butterfly world” paintings, I get to visit them in this world.

“Best Friends in a Butterfly World” – 20″ x 20″ – Oil – ©2020 Bohlender

The painting took awhile, as I was also working on a book called, “Letter From Patmos: A Revelation of Jesus Christ,” a personal illustrated Bible study in the book of Revelation. I’ll post about that soon. Under this painting, was a wooded scene from years ago with lots of branches. Even though I sanded before reusing the canvas, there is still evidence of the older painting strokes. I liked them being there after all. I also changed plans mid way, removing a plant that was unnecessary and distracting, even though it was beautiful in person.

Here are photos of the process…

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.

A Walk by the River

It was a perfect day, the warm air and sunshine, a child so eager to explore… the tadpoles did not disappoint, nor the sparkles and rocks.

“A Walk By the River” – 18″ x 14″ – Oil ©2022

God is good to give us such special days. He is good to bless us as mothers, a potent force in the universe raising His children to Him… and watching them be awed by His reflections in nature.

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