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.

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.

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.

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.

“Butterfly Ride in a World of Grace”

While working on “Letter From Patmos: A Revelation of Jesus Christ,” I also completed the mixed media of butterflies and the painting “Best Friends in a Butterfly World.” The third in the butterfly series is an acrylic piece, 10″ wide by 40″ tall.

Acrylic is a different animal altogether than oil painting, yet after painting illustrations in 4 books in acrylic, I am beginning to get a better feel for it, and enjoy its possibilities.

“Butterfly Ride in a World of Grace” shares the imagination of a young boy, who hears butterflies speak and he flies on a regular basis.

It also shows that all the Light, Butterflies, Flowers and Adventures are given from the Hand of God.

“Butterfly Ride in a World of Grace” – 10″ x 40″ – Acrylic
©2020 Jean Bohlender

An awkward size canvas chosen for horizontal landscapes years back, I thought it was perfectly suited for this painting. I did not photograph the process for this one, yet my process is similar in most ways for oils, just the technique because of the medium changed.

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.

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.