I’ve been missing my brushes and paints.

That’s why I squeezed in some time (two days to be exact) to unpack my watercolors and brushes and begin work on “Stopping to Reflect.” Painting subjects beckon me at almost every turn here in Oneglia, Imperia. And at this time of the year, the light is especially crisp and the colors seem to be more saturated. I’d also been wanting to do a companion piece to my watercolor, “At Rest” which was completed back in May. You can read about it in another post.

Painting brings me back to my center.

There is nothing that connects me with my deeper, truest self, other than immersing myself in painting and creating. Call it the best kind of free, yet potent sedative for the soul. I couldn’t ask for a healthier addiction!

I dubbed this smallish (15″ x 11″) watercolor “Stopping to Reflect” because of the subject and because of my need to slow down and recalibrate. In these strange days and times, self-care and regular self-check-in are important medicines. I find it far too easy to slip into less healthy self-medicating behaviors like eating (a particularly enticing addiction here in Italy) and drinking good wine (ditto). Then there is the TV and the tidal wave of new programming offered to us with streaming services. I confess that I’ve been living for the finale of Casa de Papel (Money Heist) and I’ve been binge-watching several other series. But, moderation is key, right? And for me, it’s all about making room to tend to my creative soul and dedicate time to using the talent I’ve been given. My dear Momma Liz, who nurtured this talent, would want this to be my top priority.

Living at the sea is such a blessing.

Believe me, I don’t take this for granted. And like my mom (and my big sister you has become quite the watercolorist) I’ve always been drawn to water subjects. I remember watching Momma Liz tote her Prang watercolors to the docks of Little River at the South Carolina coast to paint boats and fishermen. The same was true for Ocracoke on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She passed down her love of painting life by the water to my sister and me. “Stopping to Reflect” pays tribute to her. And I hope her spirit is smiling knowing that I’m keeping the faith.

Diving into more water subjects.

I’ve sketched out a couple of canvases for oils. Both are Greek subjects from the island of Folegandros, but I’m going to set them aside for now because they don’t include water. Another subject, three young men swimming from a vantage point directly overhead is demanding to be done first. This scene is from Puglia (the heel of Italy’s boot).

What’s funny is that my analytical mind wants me to be practical and do the other subjects first. But I’m learning to follow where my heart is pulling me. “Stopping to Reflect” may have been a small watercolor, completed in a short window, but it has allowed me to reside in that interior space and make my creative decisions from there.

I hope you enjoy seeing this new piece and hearing about my creative process.

Jed is a Signature Member of the prestigious National Watercolor Society.