I once was given flowers in a clear pink vase. The flowers were miniature irises and lilies. So beautiful. The flowers faded, but the vase remains to this day. I seldom have cut flowers, but sometimes I’ll go outside and take whatever is there into the house. I brought something in one day, and sat the vase on the counter by the tomatoes from the garden. The morning sun shined in just so, illuminating the beautiful vase.

“Reflections” – 12″x 16″ – Oil ©2023

The shiny natural granite counter top caught that sun, reflecting the vase and tomatoes just so wonderfully. I love the reflected light that bounces onto the counter and warms the wall.

This painting brought out several reds: alizarin crimson, cadmium red medium, cadmium scarlet, and a surprise of a color that is as exciting as it is new to me – called “Opera”. Holbein makes delightful oil colors, but this one literally sings in high c, and carries its own light. (It is also made into watercolor.)

The whites – zinc white, titanium white, Gamblin radiant white, Rublev Barite white… a delicious enhancer of other whites and colors.

The vase is painted in “Opera”. Ouu that is an exciting color. I once used the watercolor as an “aura” around some people having fun in the water. It sparked the joy into the painting. I wish I had taken a photo of it.

Another thing that attracted me to paint this was the hard and angled lines. What contrast to the roundness of the vase and tomatoes. Geometric shapes. This might make a good abstract as well. Hmmm. I think I will.

I love getting to see light.


Every year, during graduation times at the public schools, I hear or see parents who are supporting their child’s “new beginnings”, while beginning the realization of “they are leaving home.” No one would have it otherwise, I suppose.

I remember a woman telling me to be grateful that they had a reason to leave, as their son was 25 and still living at home – with no real desire to change his position in life.

Empty nesting for me was a time of tearing and huge adjustments. I missed them. And I had to redefine who I was, learn again who was this man that I had married years ago and forgot some in the busy-ness of giving those kids all I had to give, while he did the same in the work world.

It is a crisis time for some. But there is still that Rock, that Order of things. He graced me to stay and see that the best is yet to come, even if things never would be the same.

“The Empty Nester” – 24″ x 48″ – Oil ©Bohlender

This painting, “The Empty Nester” was painted during that time. It captured the empty arms, the empty time and purpose. That empty womb feeling (that would only be relieved when grandchildren came…) .

I had entered this painting in an art show at Tohono Chul in Tucson. It sold to someone who understood that feeling, I supposed. I did not get to meet the buyer.

I did get to talk to others during that show, and another woman asked if I really felt that way?! She said she was so relieved for hers to be out on their own. She laughed, and was purely delighted when hers left. So I supposed there are ranges of experience in what people have labeled “the empty nest syndrome.”

I pray for mamas. God gave us the most important of jobs, the highest position in all of the universe. We raise the future generations… and hopefully, through us the Lord imparts Himself and the knowledge of Him and His ways.

“The sufferings of this present time aren’t worthy to be compared to the glory…” The Lord is good.

Below, another painting I did in response to the agonies of the fact that many children are missing and abused, after learning about Our Underground Railroad and other rescuing missions. It was a prayer for the mothers in America to love her children. The children are given by God, not the “state”… not to be sold or … oh God, have mercy on the children.


I don’t have a title for this painting yet, but the headline might be a good one if there weren’t angels swirling about behind him.

Sometimes I am overzealous in my “capturing a moment”, and don’t even consider that one may not want their photo taken at that time.

However, in my zeal I couldn’t resist the dramatic lighting and a 5′ high painting making a background that had been set there days before ready to deliver elsewhere. I loved how the angels surrounded his face. It was cool.

He was using a toothpick after eating, and I liked that.

He was not as zealous as I was. In fact, I was unconsciously intruding. Hence, the “slightly” perturbed look… which made the painting wonderful.

He has a very serious expression facing forward, contrasted by the angels swirling about his head. It felt almost paradoxical if you didn’t consider the story of how it came to be.

“UNTITLED” – 14″x 18″ – Oil – ©2023

I was what he was facing, I must confess, I might occasionally be annoying. I do take a lot of photos, taking paintings from some of them.

The painting behind him was of 1 Thess. 4:16-17. The angels were swirling around Jesus as He was coming in the sky to receive His believers to Himself. A moment we hope for, a moment that is referred to as “the rapture”. That painting can be viewed when you select the “Christian Art” tab on the home page.

So there’s the story, and the painting. I like it a lot. I think he likes it, too. A good alternative title might be “Grandpa Needs a Nap”. Hehe.

Yet it is a more serious work, and I feel it could use a better title.

If you have an idea, let me know.


I love when the lavender and echinacea bloom.

The butterflies and bees find it quickly, and work all day. Sometimes the bees sleep in clusters on the flower stalks at night. There is so much life and beauty then.

Out of all the flowers I plant for pollinators, these draw the most, except for maybe the sunflowers. Zinnias do pretty well also.

This painting I just finished is from a bouquet I photographed on my kitchen counter last year. I loved the light.

“Still Life with Lavender and Echinacea” – 11″ x14″ – Oil ©2023

This year’s lavender is just putting out new shoots, and the echinacea leaves are filling in, ready to begin putting out flower stems.

There is so much beauty. I love considering the mind of the Lord in the beauty of His Creating. Praise Him.


This is 4th in an annual series I paint of our grandson and his friend. This year, little brother got to be there too!

I derived the painting from their mama’s photos. This was a happy painting to do. When I do get to see them, it is wonderful to go on walks and to parks. It is always an adventure.

It was lovely to witness that place we get to go into only as children, the world they experience for that moment of sunshine and friendship.

I pray I get to follow them growing for many more years.

“A World of Their Own” – 14″x 18″ – Oil – ©2023

I thought of the verse about unless we become as little children, we do not see the Kingdom of God… such a place of clear sight and heart.