Garden Greens with Tomatoes

Whoah. This one was challenging for me. I had to redraw three times, paint twice – and alas, came out from the place of having to get every little crinkle and wrinkle in the lettuce. It was just finished today. I get excited to finish.

Yet, I am satisfied now, that it is the best I can do for the time being. What a joy to paint things you grew in your own garden.

“Garden Greens with Tomatoes” – 20″x 10″ – Oil – ©2022

This painting was painted over another painting of a Bible verse from Revelation, so there is the secret prayer under the food… “Even So, Come Lord Jesus”.

Then, while composing this post, I remembered that the “word of the month” for posting is “green”, and that worked out pretty well.

Time to get out another canvas. It’s nice to be on a roll.

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.

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.

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”.

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.

Pier Joy

While visiting Mississippi, I was very blessed to spend some time observing the brown pelicans. I found them to be very communal and happy sort of folks.

They were having so much fun, that a heron wanted to come visit.

Along with the fun times, I found them classically beautiful, and hope to do more of these amazing creatures of the sky and sea.

Using old canvases leaves slight imperfections in texture, but I don’t mind that. Here is the process, where you can see the slightly washed over painting of orchids, the sketching, and painting.

“Pier Joy” – 30″x15″ – Oil ©2021

P

Peace. Be Still.

I paint while listening to news.

“Peace. Be Still.” – 10″x 14″ – Oil

This is my first one for 2021.

If anything, there is a reason for Trust.

On one of my trips to Miss. I stopped at the cemetery near New Orleans, an impressive tribute to the aching in people’s hearts. I photographed a statue of an angel mounted atop a mausoleum. I removed the wings, but suggested they are still there. (I think angel “wings” in art are symbolic of flight. But that’s another story.)

Right now it seems there is a tremendous aching in our hearts – for our loved ones, for our Nation, for our President, our world. There is a call for believing God, in Jesus…

Be still, in the rest that only He can give. Lord, bring us into Your Peace.

Mr. Bunny

This is my last painting of 2020, finished New Year’s Eve.

“Mr. Bunny in the Lavender” – 8″ x 16″ – Oil ©2020

There used to be many jackrabbits in the area, some were smaller and wiry, some were larger and relaxed, relatively tame. Several were my friends. Mr. Bunny loved the coolness around the dampened areas and shade around the lavender. He also liked to eat the echinacea leaves.

There were many rabbits that year, now there are hardly any. I loved and missed seeing him, so I painted this from my photo of him.

Here is the process:

Mr. Bunny has actually appeared in two other paintings that I have done, both in self portraits. In the first, the watercolor, he is laying at my feet. In the portrait, he is by Jeff’s feet.

“One Nation Under God”

I love painting over old canvases when they’re not too lumpy.

After sketching in the forms and blocking in the painting, the painting seemed to sail. They don’t always “paint themselves”. A lot of my work takes months to do.

The owner of a gallery I used to show in asked me to not be so specific in my work. I didn’t know then what that meant, but here it shows all the people and not one is recognizable. The idea, not necessarily the detail, is stronger.

This painting is a special part of the prayer in my heart for our America… the people’s heart, the people’s country, the people’s recognition of our reliance upon God for any good thing.

The color varies at times of day and lighting, so I went out to the northside just before full sunrise and took this photo for northlight color:

“One Nation Under God” – 20″ x 20″ – Oil – ©2020

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.

A Very Present Help

While praying for our country in this time of turmoil and darkness, I was feeling tired, a little frightened by what is happening in this present world and in this present darkness that is in the world…. until He comes, our King of kings.

While praying, I began to see the “Wind of prayer”, the effects of prayer according to His Spirit in accord with His will and purpose. This “Wind” that pushes back darkness, this “Wind” that comes from the One Who is the Warrior through us… in us… Oh Lord.

His Life in us and to us as we are in this world, and the aid of His ever-present messengers (angels)… we are never alone. Praying, this connection to God, in Him, listening, reacting, doing, according to His Spirit… You help us, O God… an ever present Help in the time of trouble.

I began this painting not knowing where it would go, just the “physical” motion of Wind pushing back the darkness, trapping it in the air, not on the earth or in the heaven. The last part of the painting to come was the figure praying and “getting help” through one of the messengers, some of whom are in the battle… a transfer of Divine Strength and Power and Life… like Jesus had in the wilderness and in the garden, He was strengthened.

“A Present Help” – 20″ x 24″ – Oil – ©2020 Bohlender

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.

The Gila River

The Gila is a meandering river in it’s natural course, as beautiful as a river can be. It is one of the last free flowing rivers in the western U.S., originating in the Mogollon Mountains of the Gila Wilderness. It is over 600 miles long, a tributary of the Colorado River, flowing through New Mexico and Arizona.

This view of the Gila River is off the Turkey Creek Road, outside the town of Gila, and is my eighth painting of the river.

“The Gila River in the Fall” – 30″x 15″ – Oil – ©2020 Bohlender

I began painting this last fall, then abandoning it at middle stages. Recently, it appealed to me again and I worked it, enjoying the distance, the direction of the river.

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.

“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.