Plenty of Time

Somewhere in me was a constant drive, a spurring to do more, to accomplish as much as I could because time was running out. After mid-life, comes the acceptance of the loss of youth and the real-ization of coming toward death… getting older, finishing rather than beginning… the fear of maybe not having done what we have been put here for. Maybe touching something, but not quite holding it.

beholdingwatermark

“Beholding Yet Not Yet Becoming” – Mixed Media

It was a breath-taking struggle, a hard thing to accept until one day… one evening laying in bed talking to my husband, I was telling him I needed to do * anything *  or * everything * or * something * quickly because I was running out of time.

He reminded me that we had plenty of time. At that moment, Grace gifted me with the remembrance of where we come from and where we are going.

There is this certain Hope…. Expectation… an Inheritance of Life, everlasting Life in the heavens reserved for us in Jesus.

It occurred to me, I saw, that we have plenty of time… it will never run out. My priorities shifted to another Realm.

retreatwatermark

Retreat – 48″x 36″ – Oil Painted after being with sisters for a week in a Florida retreat. I cannot remember the name of the place.

 

On this earth, we do not have endless time, yet there is peace in knowing that we were chosen before the world began… our lives, thoughts, activities. We are known, and planned.  I think we are and do what God has intended. We will die, or sleep. Yet our God has everything in hand toward His purpose. And we will awaken to this Life. We do not end.

sunsetwatermark

Sunset – 18″ x 14″ – Oil – This painting is in a private collection in Denmark.

Here we are planted, and we rise to the Son. We might have a lot coming up, and it will be under our King. Of His Kingdom, there will be no end.

 

For the Love of Ravens

Yesterday I found a facebook page group who love ravens. I like seeing everyone’s posts and photos, stories and art depicting the birds.  It is a lot of fun to post photos, especially when Jack is willing to be photographed.

Over the years, I have painted only a few works of ravens, but recently published a little book through amazon.com called “The Bunny Circle and the Raven Tree.” In the story, the raven watches the valley from the top of his tree, witnessing the bunnies and other wildlife of the southwest United States. It’s a cute little story, yet educational and interesting.

raventreecopyright

A page from “The Bunny Circle and The Raven Tree”. ©Bohlender

Around our place, a raven couple has established their territory, much to our delight. I love watching them. Some of the images combined into this illustration are of the young bird, being trained. He knew little fear, liking to be near our house and windows. I must have several thousand photos of the ravens, with several being good.

IMG_5054 2.jpg

Then there was my lino block experience, I loved block printing for a short time in my life. I liked this raven a lot, using the prints both for sale, and thank you cards to purchasers of my paintings.

ravenswatermark

Morning Conversation – 20″x 20″ – Oil

Morning Conversation is a friendly depiction. All the birds loved the pecan orchard, the moist soil and shade. This painting is in a private collection in Texas.

ravenscopyright

Untitled – 12″x 14″ – Oil

Untitled used to have a title, but I cannot remember it. The painting has more of a jewel-toned violet, but this is the only photo of this painting I have. It is in a collection in Tucson.

Another’s Seasons of Passing Through

Lately I questioned creating without showing the work. It was a retirement experience, yet art does not retire. I am grateful. Every day there is still the work to listen to and work on.

It is a happy gift to realize when someone tells you your art has affected their life, that the Lord has – through His grace – worked through the work to touch another human being. Either as creating artists or sharers in viewing, there is a quiet sweetness knowing that we have listened, and we are heard.

This is most of a message received recently:  “I am familiar with your work… I purchased a painting of a chair facing a fence. You said it was part of a series painted when you had faced several personal losses. This email is in reference to two other pieces in this series depicting a woman sitting in a rocker and a second one where the woman is standing holding one arm – …

chairwatermark

The Empty Chair – Oils

Currently in my life there seem to be lot of things going nowhere and I remembered these paintings. I told you at the time that what I saw in those pictures was hope; a person who was tired, even very sad. Someone who just had to stop for a while and let the feelings of sadness, loss, despair, weariness pass over – but someone who would pick up and move on. Life was not over, just a season that must be lived through. A place all of us experience at least once in our lives.

sadwatermark

Title – 36″x 48″- Oil

Today, during a time of prayer, those two pictures came vividly to my mind. They ministered hope and encouragement that brought tears to my eyes and a joy to my heart. I was hoping to find pictures of them online. Failing that, I found a way to contact you and let you know just how much they ministered to me. I love my picture of the chair. When I look at it I see hope, faith, expectation. Thank you Jean for sharing your life in your art.”

Empty Nester copy

“The Empty Nester” – 24″x 48″ – Oil

I thank you for your letter – it is a very encouraging blessing to me – a reminder that we really are “passing through” a place that is not our home …. and difficult times that build “an eternal weight of glory.” That we have our expectation in Christ.

It seems that all three paintings were prepared for my first one man show, entitled “Passing Through – Seasons of Mid-Life.” Amen. Passing seasons…

“The Empty Chair” is in a private collection in Arizona, Sadness is in Washington State, and “The Empty Nester” is in a private collection in Arizona.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Business

Ranchers. Cowboys. There aren’t too many of those around most places. They are a unique breed of people. Like farmers, they have to know a lot about a lot of things, from machinery, animals, feed values, accounting, commodity markets, on and on. There is no specialized area of their occupation. But it is a specialized occupation all together. Under that unique type of hat that most cowboys and ranchers wear, they have to “wear many hats”.

A lot of farms and ranches are still family businesses, working together, learning what the other family members know to keep the business possible in today’s economy. I have discovered also that each family operation is uniquely run from all similar operations, varying skills employed and philosophies about their business.

Every one that I have witnessed seems to be the same, however, in their love, obligation and responsibility to the land and to the animals. They also seem to be very willing to help each other in any way when it is needed.

I thought I might write a few stories about the times I was invited into some of these ranches, camera in tow. This is the first “installment”, featuring a father and son. I was blessed with the generosity of the the ranch owners, the hands and friends who allowed me into their work and personal space. Some even had fun with it.

The rancher in this series has been featured in other artist’s work before. He has a natural personality that tells tales and whoppers without a word being spoken. Yet, his skill level is not a tale or whopper. He seems to know what he is about pretty well.

Before Picasso painted abstracts and distortions, he painted realism quite well. I think before a cowboy can be relaxed and play, he has to excel in his trade. I think that because of this man, with the rope and also painted leading the horse.

Roperwatermark copy

The Roper – 36″ x 12″ – Oil

“The Roper” was taken from the ground, looking up on the cowboy seated on his horse. He swings his rope, placing the lasso under the back feet of a running calf. Cowboys catch the animals, treat them as humanely as possible while vaccinating them etc., and quickly return the calves to the mother cows.

“The Roper” is in Colorado now, private collection.

happytrailswatermark

Happy Trails – 20″x 20″ – Oil

“Happy Trails” depicts the rancher’s son, riding the periphery of the herd after the cows were herded towards the fences, being held in a group until moving further, or until the strays were gathered. He and his horse seemed more actively inclined that day, than the cowboys and horses that calmly rode into the herd to cull.

“Happy Trails” is in a private collection in New Mexico.

Jim

“Jim” – watercolor

This simple little watercolor caught the joy and spirit of Jim pretty well, I thought. He had a good time in his work, here shown leading his horse.

The background of the watercolor is white, but the only photo I have of this painting was taken under a lightbulb which showed yellow. Ah, I don’t know why I did that when I know better. However, I do have a record of the work, and that is a good thing.

 

 

 

 

 

Farrier & His Horse Named Finn

Remember I talked about my friend’s coffee shop? Always interesting folks would show up there, anyone from travelers from foreign lands to Border Patrol Agents to cowboys, farmers and businessmen, and a farrier.

The farrier’s wife worked at a national park, and one of his jobs was shoeing horses.

(I wondered where the word “farrier” came from. According to The New Oxford American Dictionary, it is from a mid-16th century, Old French word “ferrier”, which, from the Latin ferrarius, from ferrum ‘iron, horseshoe’.”) It interested me to know that.

This farrier was gracious enough to let me photograph him shoeing his horse, “Finn.” Finn is a beauty, quite patient. So is the farrier with his craft.

After driving out to their place, I was able to get an entire memory card full of the photos of them working. I was happy to see the healthy feet of the horse and the wonderful work of the craftsman. The shoes fit well.  (I thought it would hurt my back dreadfully to bend over like that for very long.)

farrierwatermark

Finn & the Farrier – 18″x 22″ – Oil ©Bohlender

I love painting horses, their textures, their well defined personalities and forms. I also have loved painting skilled workmen, their tools and clothing.

Mr. Farrier has this painting, wherever they are now. I am happy it is theirs.

 

Steel Sharpens Steel

This morning I received an email saying, “The living and true God makes every one and every thing exactly what they and it are at any given moment, and He is the way to navigate every situation at all times.”

It is in harmony with the several other quotes I keep by my kitchen sink, reminding us that everything is from the wisdom and love of God.

“Remember this, had any other condition been better for you than the one in which you are, divine love would have put you there.” – C. Spurgeon

G. Edwards wrote, “Again, I am awed by the number of Christians who find it utterly impossible to take this experience as from the hand of God… something that He meted out to them because He loved them, that this experience had divine purpose.”

God’s word: ” …for from Him, through Him and to Him are all things.”

Knowing these things doesn’t make suffering any easier… nor does it make the sword pleasant. Suffering is by its nature very unpleasant, yes? Yet, it IS meted out by the hand of God to those He loves… whom He loves…. and even more, we forget what we know in the midst of suffering, until He gives grace… until we all are surrendered to His will… until He transforms us into the image of His Son….

sufferingwatermark

Sufferings – 16″x 12″ – Oil

Husbands and wives, workers and friends, things in the world… He uses all things to produce a suffering which produces refinement, sharpening, dependence. It is humbling to be the spur or channel through which another suffers. Every time. Still, I seem to “do better” at causing pain than receiving pain. God have mercy. I would that I did not cause another pain, yet God gives this and may use this to produce “a weight of glory.”

The Spirit of Jesus living through us is “the way to navigate every situation.” We die to our self not by our own will.

 

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.

risinglikehopewatermark

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.