Ireland wishes #1

I was supposed to be on a 10 day retreat in Ireland starting yesterday. I had so many hopes & plans for this trip, emotionally, spiritually, personally, & creatively. A few months ago, I started to plan some creative goals & prompts for myself during the trip, gathered some supplies & dreamed of inspiration; then the pandemic shadow loomed & grew.

I have a tendency to avoid emotional roller coasters and could be described as sleep-walking in my feelings sometimes. (Want to guess my Enneagram number? 😆) I didn’t really deal with the coming cancellations and changes; they were just facts I needed to face.

But yesterday hit hard. I wasn’t packed and on an airplane. I wasn’t meeting my new companions and hugging a dear mentor for the first time in ages. Instead, I was struggling with another day of facilitating two class loads for my kids with a month of home learning still to go (NYC schedule for the win). I was still cooking on a hot plate with a non-working stove holding my dish rack. I was still cleaning the bathroom at 11pm because I just needed to do something.

I woke up this morning in our tiny apartment and watched the sun stream in. I’m still quarantined in NYC and this year continues to show up differently than any of us planned or imagined. But my spirit still longs for inspiration and change. So I pulled out my Irish Studies trip photos from 2004. I laughed and smiled at the horrid quality of photos and the 20-something me before any hints of my current life existed. I carved out some space in our school schedule and I painted a quick Ireland landscape from a grainy photo. I may do this every day for my 10 days loss. Or I may abandon it in search of inspiration elsewhere. But today I stared at Ireland and mourned and sighed and looked at beauty.

There is beauty in ashes, and even in grainy 2004 photos.

Creativity & Painting in a Pandemic


Finally sat down and painted today. I needed it so much. Even though it is hard to find the time and the space in the new “normal.” It was a relief to my brain to come back to my paints. To think about each stroke rather than what is going on in the world. 

An instagram friend posted a picture last week of her and her cat in Beirut. I immediately bookmarked it because it is brilliant. Not only is it a window picture, which I adore; but it showed an amazing reflection, her cat, and her delighted face. I had to try painting it.

What a lovely afternoon sketching and painting, but also thinking about her and her awesome cat far away and yet fighting the same issues. I’m thinking about windows around the world, most of which are suddenly full and worried and hurting. Don’t lose hope. Look for that sunset reflection. Look for the joy, even in a perplexed cat’s face. We’re all in this together.

Upper West Side block painting

Made this for a friend who also loves NYC! It was fun and nerve-wracking to see it coming together as I painted. Overall, fairly happy with it. Maybe not quite illustrative enough? Good experimental piece as I sort out what to do with my picture book dummy.