When I painted this city of Savannah oil painting, I had no idea that I’d one day live not very far from this fountain square. The lyrics of this song are serendipitous! Fortunately the home I’m headed for is still here on Earth.
I spent the day packing and cleaning for the move, but also doing batch cooking so the family has homecooked meals to heat up over the next few days. The first of two moving PODS will be delivered tomorrow and I’ll likely be too busy and tired to cook. Moving is stressful, and there’s so much other stuff going on to make it a pressure cooker, but this too shall pass and by this time next year I’ll be happy that I’m settled into my new life!
This oil painting features a cameo of me- it’s an unexpected self-portrait. That’s me in the red dress with my camera, taking a picture of this fountain to paint later. I took pictures from this faraway perspective and also up close. What I didn’t know is that while I was doing this, my husband took a picture of me at the fountain that he shared with me later. This made what I thought was just a task for work into a sweet memory. So I added myself into the scene, as seen through the eyes of my husband.
I hadn’t intended on adding any people, especially not myself! But now when I see this art, I think of how my husband does spontaneous things on occasion that surprise me. This art, for me, has become more about that memory (a real life action) than the fountain (a tourist attraction that thousands of people have photographed and hundreds of artists- especially students- have painted).
I’ve been sorting through photos to choose some to frame. Photographs can be an important influence on mental health, as the careful selection of which memories to focus on can be healing, empowering, and motivating. When we have few photos or only photos from the past, it can be easy to believe that our best days are behind us, gone. And if our photographs are nearly exclusively of times when we are on vacation, at a photo studio, or at special events, we see only our social or public selves, not our “everyday” authentic selves. The message we may inadvertently send ourselves it that our true selves are not valuable, as this side of us doesn’t make the cut for displaying in our space.
It’s important to occasionally re-assess the photos we display, and update our space with current, real memories that encourage us to live in gratitude for the present and hope for the future. Our chosen photographs can be part of a private selection, displayed only in our bedrooms or other non-public areas of our homes. It’s not important to share our favorite memories with others. But it can be significant to display these photos to ourselves and those who live with us.
Who we are in our real lives is enough. Although the best-of-times photos are important to celebrate (and will likely compose the majority of our framed collections), we do not need to be our vacation selves, our special event selves, or our social selves to feel alive. Just be. Honor real, ordinary, everyday moments as highly as the days we’re “supposed” to commemorate.
More important to me than the iconic fountain and famous landscape is knowing that my husband thought the lady in the red dress was worthy of photographing. May we still be surprised by those who love us, and live in wonder that we are so blessed to live another day. While special moments are perhaps few in comparison to everyday actions, it is the average day that is uniquely ours alone, and extraordinarily special. May we create lives worthy of remembering.
“This first oil painting is of one of Savannah’s famous squares. The downtown area features miniature parks, inside squares, between city blocks. The roads are narrow compared to the freeway and suburban areas, so the parks are visible from one to the next. They showcase trees draped with flowing Spanish moss, flowers, fountains, statues, and memorials. One of the park squares has an astrological sun dial on top of a sculpture of turtles; another has a sculpture memorializing fallen police officers- with their names engraved.
The squares are romantic and intriguing. While some enjoy trolley or horse-drawn carriage tours, I like to explore these surprises for myself, on foot. It takes several days to thoroughly enjoy each square and its surrounding eateries, museums, and more. Each area is well landscaped and there’s always a bench nearby. One such bench, in Chippewa Square, was made famous by its appearance in the movie “Forrest Gump”. The bench was brought in just for that scene, and has since been moved to the nearby Savannah History Museum.
The actual benches are inside the squares. The squares are surrounded by coffee shops, restaurants, pubs, shops, and residences, as well as a historic cemetery and churches. Locals and tourists enjoy walking their dogs, jogging, taking baby out for a stroll, and photography. Flowers and decor change each season, but the area remains lush and photogenic all year round.”
List of Oil Paintings in this Collection, linking to their pages here on the site, and also citing physical pages in the hardcover book: