Summer has been so sweet this year. Sweeter than usual. When the only way to see most of your friends and family is to be outside, these warm, long, summer days have felt like such a gift.
This year, because of where I live, I didn’t see anyone outside of my bubble between February and August. Even when my siblings visited we stayed outside at first, sitting around bonfires in the cold and wet months.
When summer came, everything became easier. We could stand two metres apart from people and visit with them in the same space. We could sit outside and share a meal. We could go for walks and bike rides.
Because I had to travel to see my friends, it took a little longer to get a plan put in place. While I waited, it was so hard to feel so physically disconnected from my people. Luckily, we were connected online. And when they shared pictures of sunflowers it felt like they were reaching out with warmth and light directly to me. Like they were sunflowers themselves.
So, I painted their photos. Each of the paintings in my sunflower collection is based on a photo taken by a friend. Normally I work off of my own photos unless I’m doing a commission but these held extra meaning to me because of who took them. They were so fun to paint because I felt like I was spending time with these dear people.
When I finally got to see the friends who took the photos in August, we were outside in the fresh air and sunshine. It felt wonderful to share space with my friends. Even if we had to hug with masks on. And it was such a treat to bring one of the paintings to the woman behind the photo it’s based on. It felt like things were coming full circle.
Now as the days get shorter and cooler and I can feel summer begin to exhale and release into fall, I want to hold onto those memories of being in the fresh air with the people I love. I have saved pictures of our time together and now I’m releasing these paintings into the world.
I hope they help you remember the beauty of this season and the gift of the time we’ve been able to spend in the same space as our people, thanks to the warm weather and long days of this sunflower summer.