June 7, 2008

Life comes full circle...

The photo at the right was taken many years ago (no, I'm not telling how many) in West Virginia. I was there the summer between my junior and senior years of high school to attend a Watercolor Workshop put on by Bill Gerhold. I was one of two 17-year-olds there; everyone else was in their 30s, 40s, and beyond. It was a great experience.

This photo was taken just prior to a bumblebee crawling up my left pant leg. I was embarrassed to have to take off my jeans to get it out, and then endure a day ill (I am terribly allergic to bee stings), but looking back I now realize it would have been far scarier for the adults in charge, had they realized I was allergic and didn't yet carry an epipen with me!

I love this photo, not just because of the jaunty plaid cap and long braids I wore back then, but because of the way it felt being in such an open, rural place. This was a magical location... we drove through a long windy dirt road to get here. There was an abandoned farmhouse near this barn...everything echoed of a life once lived here. I wondered what had happened to the family that once lived their life on this land.

I haven't any paintings anymore that I did on this trip to WV...where did they go in the succeeding decades... Those decades held a lot, but my interests and heart have barely changed. I still love the hills, meadows, farms, and the chance to paint whatever I want in an unhurried manner.

Now, my husband and I are in the midst of moving from city to small town. We'll have a house on a hill and beautiful trees extending out the back yard on and on. I'll get my hands dirty in the garden someone else started there and watch out for bees. I have an epipen now, and in many ways am better prepared to handle life's unexpected loops. But, just as I felt when my father, years ago, drove me from Canfield, Ohio to West Virginia... I can't wait to get there!

Update: 10/4/2010: In preparing a family scrapbook, I came across this photo of my father, Woodrow Phelps, taken as he and my mom drove me home from the painting workshop. We stopped at the Salt Fork Lodge central Ohio and here is a photo of my dad with his camera. He passed away twenty years ago...how I wish I could share with him that I am still painting today and that it was worth the time, money and effort he and my mother extended so I could follow my dreams!

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