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The City So Nice They Named It Twice

Windows at LaGuardia Airport

New York New York, what a wonderful town! I am just back from storied NYC, where I soaked up time with my sons along with museum after museum, and loads of inspiration for painting.

The bridges! The skyline! The murals! The parks! The hubbub! The art. The inimitable spirit of New York City never fails to give me a boost. We went to The Met, aka The Embarrassment of Riches, the first night and again on that last, extra day given to me by the rain and Southwest Airlines. Thank you, thank you, thank you. We went to MoMA, the Brooklyn Museum, Dia (in Beacon NY), Christie’s Auction House, the Morgan Library and the Natural History Museum (full of nature’s art).

African textiles at the Brooklyn Museum

I’ve come home feeling almost too full. Van Gogh’s Cypresses at the Met, Georgia O’Keeffe’s watercolors and drawings at MoMA, the AI art of Rafik Anadol at MoMA, the huge iron pieces of Richard Serra at Dia, the musical instruments so artfully displayed at The Met (everything so beautifully displayed at The Met!), all the art everywhere. So many many things to take in and embrace. I was inspired by colors and shapes and yet I feel almost too full, not sure where to go with all of it.

I had thought I’d come home and paint a series of pieces in indigo blue and orange, having been captivated by the African fabrics against an orange wall. But what about the black and white pieces that I loved? And the sumptuous play of colors in that mind-blowing AI installation? What of O’Keeffe’s adventures with watercolor, charcoal, and pastels, one medium after another?

The beautiful Chrysler Building at dusk, across the East River

I loved ALL of it. I want to DO all of it. Yet time rushes by. Like the East River, it just keeps moving. And apparently, one needs to assimilate back into regular life. One must manage meds for the elderly dogs, schedule piano lessons for the school year, buy groceries, do laundry, somehow figure out what to do for one’s tiny business, tackle the weeds in the yard, imagine how a new floor might be put in the kitchen . . . All the things. So many things. All the things of regular life that one joyfully puts aside while off exploring.

This is how we do when we go away and come back home. And it means that we’re lucky to have the going away as well as the home to return to.

Yet the indigo blue and orange seduce me. The black and white. Glorious gobs of color, too. The urge to explore with all the media. I don’t want to lose that energy. It feels fragile, tenuous. I don’t want it to slip and fall beneath all the things.

“Did you ever have something to say and feel as if the whole side of the wall wouldn’t be big enough to say it on, and then sit down on the floor and try to get it onto a sheet of charcoal paper?” – Georgia O’Keefe

“As for New York City, it is a place apart. There is not its match in any other country in the world.” ― Pearl S. Buck

“To see takes time.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

If you’re looking for my cards or art, you’ll find all of that on my website. If you enjoy these letters, feel free to forward this one to anyone you think might like it. And if someone forwarded this one to you, you can sign up here to receive the letters right in your Inbox. Finally, you’ll find past letters and poems here.

Thanks for listening,

P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”

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