Following the Work

There are pieces that want to be painted. They literally show you what they are, and we become a servant to the work. This was one of those.

The vertical climb of the Hope above the flying seagulls lifts one’s soul from the earth, to a more beautiful place.

I loved spending time with the Lord in this piece, a reflection of a part of my time staying in a more primitive cabin next to a small lake, healing, learning, remembering.

Layer by layer, I followed the work, and then the seagulls began to fly.


Rising, Like Hope  – 18″x 36″ – Oil

“Rising, Like Hope” was a piece in my first one man art show, along with Empty Nester and Earl’s painting – there were around 20 paintings there. Most were seeking Hope.

The painting went home with a man who purchased it from that show, we had our photo taken together in front of the painting. I was pleased it went home with someone who truly knew how to rise. It is a piece I hope I see again.



The “Romance” of It

Once upon a time, I had my “romance novel” phase, with one particular author: Diana Gabaldon. Her Outlander series sparked an interest in me that no other in that genre has or had done.

I started reading the series from a used paperback copy of “Outlander” in 1993 or 4. I bought edition 4? and waited in line as she signed copies in Barnes and Noble, a line that wrapped around the store. For my purchased copies of the first 3 hardcovers, I have signed bookplates, ordered from her web site then. I gobbled up every available story in that series, through new editors and printers, the cover changes, the “Outlander Companion” scandal when the first companion book came out, rather than the new novel. I have read up to the current book, “Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.” However, there became so many offshoots and parallel plots to Jamie and Claire’s own story, that my fervor cooled enormously. Then the tv movies they made just had a “little more color” than I’m used to that the love scenes lost their mystery and intimacy. I also hope I don’t die before I know the ending to Jamie and Claire’s own story.

But, back to the days before the Battle of Culloden, in her books, I could smell the heather, feel the tearing through the stones, and Jamie became my hero. Who could be more alluring? The history was magnetic, I had to find a way to be Scot. There must have been some in my dna, however I failed to find even one gene in that direction. I bought books on the war, the clans, the dirks, etc., and put out two paintings during the time of my ardent, early love.

The first painting was an attempt to paint Jamie. I missed it, but when you’re in love, what would that matter? I had bought a Gaelic Bible, and painted the verse from Micah, “Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise!” in Gaelic on the painting. A little corny, but when you’re in love, what would that matter?

I donated the painting to a fundraising auction, the auctioneer stole the painting and never put it up for bids. He, apparently, was Scot. He also was made to recompense me by providing one of his own art works, a silver tree, which reminds me of those days, even if the silver is as tarnished as my initial fervor.


“Do Not Rejoice Over Me When I Fall” –  24″x 48″ – Oil ©Jean Bohlender

The second painting was my response to the history of the Battle of Culloden, my dismay resulting from the Redcoat’s nastiness, Jack Randall’s in particular.

I painted the untrue outcome of the battle, where the Scot stole the horse, and killed the Redcoat. Indeed, the true history was dark and tragic.


A Different Ending – 60″x 48″ – Oil ©Jean Bohlender

Of course, it was a redhead Scot, in Fraser dress plaid, on a white horse, no less.

This painting is somewhere in Texas, I traded it years ago for a piano for my daughter.

These images are taken before I had a “real camera”, one day I hope to have better images. But for now, they tell the story, and a good story it is. Diana Gabaldon can tell an amazing story, that is a fact.



A Tribute to Veterans

Veteran’s Day provokes a sense of gratitude, and pride, in my heart.

I have seen the varying costs to some families and their family members who are serving our America in the military.

My experience has been that no matter what our political leaders may be doing, the veterans serve from the heart, for America, the people, their people.

After 9-11 our whole world changed, as did our own Nation. Some of the people serving allowed me access to their resources from their experience to paint a tribute from. It is a gentled tribute, they do not speak of the things that are not. Nor do they normally show photos of the things that haunt their own minds. You can view other paintings in the series on the page Military Tribute.

While painting these paintings, I prayed for them, seeking to understand the world they were now a part of and what were the changes happening in them.

C130 – 60″x30″ – Oil — C17 – 60″x30″ – Oil — Going Home – 14″x18″ – Oil —

Title – 28″x22″ – Oil

Featured are Air Force, Marines and Army, but I give a very great thank you to all of our serving and retired veterans.

I wish you a peaceful Veteran’s Day.

Nio Sleeping


Nio Sleeping. His little cheek squishes into the mattress below him, his nursing-lips satisfied into fullness, and there is peace and total trusting rest. The sleep of the innocent. The sleep of a well-loved baby.

Nio Sleeping is my latest work, completed just a week or so ago. He is drying, before I send him off to his mother. I loved painting him, trying to capture the baby folds and chubbies. It took a few days to get the squished cheeky just right, and the light defining the curve of the nose shaped for nursing.

Nio’s skin tones are a fine blend of cultures, his hair a soft, yet vigorous, curl, his satisfaction complete. His bedcover was really full of big green frogs and lily pads, originally casting a greenish light onto his skin. I felt a long term portrait would be more enjoyable without all the activities behind him, and his actual mood would be better presented in the neutral blues and grays.  He’s all snuggled in and safe.

Time passes too quickly, this time of chubby folds, soft snuggles  and total trust in shared existence with mother. The closeness is precious, treasured and always kept in a mother’s heart.