As I reflect back on 2021, I recall my family’s adventurous and beautiful time while living in South Korea, along with our many changes since moving back to the U.S.A.
We left S. Korea in June with tears in our eyes, as we absolutely loved our two-year stay. We were heading to Fort Benning, GA. knowing that many changes were upon us. Our oldest daughter would be leaving for her first year of college in Colorado and our youngest daughter would be starting high school. We would eventually find a puppy to welcome into our family. And we would experience reverse culture shock as we acclimated to the U.S.
With all of these changes, I found it to be very difficult to begin my art again and I soon realized that maybe this time in my life wasn’t about producing, but more about reflecting. I knew that I also needed to create to keep me grounded.
I think a part of me was grieving for the beauty I had in Korea, all of the inspiration I had at my fingertips, and my special friends and our travel adventures.
So, I started to do what I always do when we move somewhere new, and that is, to find my inspiration and to see what is unique to the new area. It just wasn’t going to jump out at me, as it had in Korea. I found it through quieter presentations and maybe this allowed me to continue to reflect on past moments.
Fort Benning, GA and the neighboring city of Columbus, have many walking trails; including the riverwalk trail along the Chattahoochee. The trails wind past historical buildings, churches and homes, beautiful old trees, and gorgeous flowering bushes, magnolia trees, and gardens. I have enjoyed finding inspiration and taking pictures along these quiet walks.
Instantly I was drawn to the alluring magnolia flowers and they would become my first painting series at Fort Benning, as well as my theme for my annual Christmas ornaments. I found that I also could continue my love for collecting vintage things at many of the local antique shops. Painting magnolia flowers on old mason jars and whiskey and apothecary bottles became popular and are fun to design.
I also painted a series on paper and a Korean roof tile of the charming Fort Benning Infantry Chapel, which sits at the end of my street. The chapel was built in 1935 and is Georgia Colonial in style.
Finding ways to build joy comes to mind, as I think about the new year upon us. For me this means, taking time for reflection, creating, resting, and trying something new.
I look forward to 2022 as I imagine the many things that are unknown at this moment. We can’t wait to learn of our new assignment/post that may bring us closer to family and friends. Our Chocolate Lab we named Bear will become a joy to take on a walk. There may be an art book in the future that I’ve been thinking about compiling to include my progression as an artist that takes into account the many inspirations from living an active military life that entails frequent moves and the ability to adapt and transition.
Wishing everyone a new year that brings warmth, beauty, and meaning to you in 2022!
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