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…

HORSES ON THE MESA

Sometimes we take drives to beautiful places.. We don’t go often, and generally when we do, it’s for peace and beauty, not seeking much company.

However, one day these very friendly horses were on the roadside, not at all frightened by people, they were the nice kind of company to have.

So we stopped to see them. One even came to say hello, putting his face into the truck window. I thought he’s accustomed to getting goodies from his owners, and they most likely deliver the hay from a pick up truck.

I know better than to feed other peoples livestock or to go onto their ranch land, but on the road, I could take photos. I decided to paint from them, and just finished this painting.

“Horses on the Mesa” – 28″x 22″ – Oil – ©2022

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Another helpful tip: if you want to take a ride in the country, if there is a closed gate, make sure you close it again after driving through.

I really appreciate the care ranchers give to the land and animals.

He Is A Rewarder

Heb. 11:6 – “…for He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

Read all of Ps.127 – “…Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is a reward…”

It is a distressing thing to even begin to realize what is happening in our country, and world, in regards to child trafficking and abuse. My stomach clenches in pain even trying to comprehend what people like OUR and other groups who rescue children find and try to help. It is also evident by our abortion rates that it is a thriving business also.

I do understand that a nation will fail outside of the salvation of Jesus Christ. A nation will not stand without His blessing and mercy.

You must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder. Children are one of His rewards, they take work, but they are not a burden. Women are saved through childbearing – bearing them until they can live well in this world by the grace of God in their own lives.

When I first sketched this idea for a painting, it was in heaviness. I saw abuse, darkness, tragedy beyond “Les Miserables” or similar concepts. My understanding of what was happening in our Nation was in tears and sadness. My idea was not light.

My favored models are not nearby, so I just began to sketch on a used canvas and wanted to see where it would take me. It was not into darkness.

I was gladdened to see the truth in the Word of God. Children are a man’s arrows, they will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate. Children are the fruit and strength of a nation. Killing them and other things does not meet the enemies in strength and glory.

I had always only seen these verses within the context of the church – the body of Christ, His building the House. But He is at work even til today. Salvation and Redemption are available to all now. Lord, build Your Kingdom, pour out Your Spirit into America, and the world. Come Lord.

“How blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways.” Ps. 128:1

“Children Are a Gift of God” – 24″ x 30″ – Oil ©2021

This painting is about America loving her children… protecting and guiding them. It is the strength of a Nation for mothers to be raising children before the Lord. They are a gift from God.

Our Nation will be great only in Salvation and Redemption. God is Good, God is Light, there is no darkness in Him. The end result is in His total Victory.

“Blessed in the Nation that fears the Lord”.

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.

“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.