New Painting

See this oil painting “Walking to Piano Lessons” come to life in under 2 minutes (time lapse)

This is a cherished memory of my two daughters walking hand in hand to piano lessons. The sisters are on our gravel driveway, walking down the long, steep hill, where they will then cross the one-lane gravel road and walk directly into the foot of the neighbors’ long driveway to go up their long steep hill. They will then do the reverse coming back home. So it literally was “uphill both ways”!

Even though the piano teacher lived directly across from our house, it was a long walk from our house to theirs, and during the snowy icy brutal Minnesota winters it was an adventure to walk on their own without falling. The girls are far apart in age, as you can see here, but now that they are much older than this, their age difference isn’t very noticeable.

We planned to live on this rural hobby farm “forever”, and it would have been our kids’ childhood home, but seven years after building the house, the company my husband worked for moved out of the country, shuttering much of the little town. I’ve told you all of this before, but I didn’t know if you’d recognize this land as the one I’ve talked about. I’d know it anywhere, whether a photograph or a painting.

When our neighbor, my children’s piano teacher (our son took piano lessons too, but he preferred guitar), said she was selling her piano for an upgrade, we bought it so our kids would have their childhood piano, it was a lovely piano. We moved it with us for the first move post selling our house, but we had to sell it before moving to Ireland (we are back in the United States now, in Georgia). The piano is long gone. They have plastic keyboards now that they seldom play.

I teared up a bit while watching this video. I’m glad I didn’t know then how it would all turn out and how the world is now. I’m still hopeful for the future, but that future is not today. Today, we’re still in a rebuilding and loss season, while the world is dystopian, delusional, and seething with malice. But, in my mind, I can go back in time to this memory of when my girls would brave the long cold snowy walk to piano lessons. And then I re-direct my thoughts to the many good things about my life now, how close we are to finally finishing our “starting over” journey, and how the best is yet to come. Nothing stays the same forever.

Baby it’s Cold Outside

Watch oil painting “Savannah Snow” come alive in just over 1 minute (time lapse)

This painting was inspired by a rare snowfall in the Deep South (Savannah, Georgia), the first year we moved here. Of course it would snow! It would have been the first year of my life to live in a place that doesn’t snow, and yet it snowed, just like it had in Ireland where it can be somewhat rare to get measurable snow. It seemed that endless winter followed me wherever I landed. I was born in upstate New York where we had “lake effect” snow which resulted in snow banks so high that it was impossible to see cars coming at a crossroads. I remember a snowy day when the snow was up past our front door and it was hard to get out. I lived in places in the Midwest and up North in Minnesota, where it was not uncommon for snow to start in October and the last snow to drop in May! I grew to feel despair when winter was settling in.

So, I was looking forward to something new. Funny how the locals all told me that it “never” snows in Savannah (untrue, it snows every few years). It was amusing and not surprising that my arrival felt like the reason why it snowed heavily that first winter, between Christmas and New Year’s. It was a blessing for us, as our son was upset about no snow and was having a hard adjustment in general. It was as if by a miracle it snowed in the Deep South. It was a Christmas present to our family and helped us through that first winter.

Finally, the following year here in Georgia there was no snow for the first time in my life, and hasn’t been since. But, it’s cold tonight and there is a possibility of dropping temperatures below freezing. This may be another rare Southern winter in which there is measurable snow. We shall see!