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"If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person."

- Fred Rogers

I've been pondering recently the importance of my connection with and to others.

In our COVID world of minimized contact with others and mask wearing, and the political divisiveness that seems only to have increased, I'm feeling weary from a lack of socializing like I never thought I would feel. I've always felt comfortable being on my own hiking, riding, reading and keeping busy with a myriad of activities that don't require anyone else.

But just like anything else I've taken for granted, the lack of socializing has now come to my awareness in a near overwhelming way, as if it was building unbeknownst to me and has now flooded my consciousness.

Although nature is the focus of my art, I realize people are my inspiration. From the people who have said, "I'd really like it if you would paint..." to the artists I've painted along with in tutorials, to the artists in the Montana Watercolor Society who now participate on Zoom calls to share their work, their questions and their ideas, I realize now that it's people who keep me painting. It's my desire to connect with others through my painting that keeps me painting. And those connections are even more important now that they aren't as easy to make.

I had two conversations with strangers this past week that became surprisingly personal and meaningful within minutes. Their humanity shone through even with half of their faces covered by a mask. I was grateful they took the time to connect, and show a little window into who they were and what was going on in their lives. The interaction awakened a resolve in me to make sure I connect with others in spite of our current environment that seems to drive us apart.

I will continue to focus on nature with my art, and continue to be inspired by my connections with others. Thank you to all of you for your inspiration.


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