The paint is still drying on my latest oil painting, “Ca’ Rezzonico.”

When it does, I’ll add my signature. As I stand back, ready to call it finished, I realize that this actually is an emotional self-portrait that says, “We just keep waiting.”

Words can deceive. Words can lure us into an intellectual argument in a futile search for an explanation of why things are the way they are. During these last six to seven months, much of it spent in lockdown (government-enforced and self-enforced), I’ve turned to pouring out my heart with my paints and telling my overactive and often neurotic mind, supercharged with pandemic jet fuel, to just shut up.

Most of us are not very adept at indeterminable waiting.

And yet, that’s just what the great river of life seems to keep asking us to do, again and again. We don’t have much of a choice right now, do we? Patience runs dry as we long for the day when we can wake up, knowing we’ve begun to wrestle COVID 19 into submission (and not just a temporary dip). “When will it end?” I’ve asked myself (often petulantly). “Not anytime soon,” or “Not according to your time schedule,” are the answers that keep coming back. Big heavy sigh. So, we just keep waiting.

“Ca’ Rezzonico” is part of my “Venice at Night” series.

And, I have three or four more waiting to find voice through currently blank canvases. If you haven’t seen my first in the series,“Midnight Passing,” you might want to read the blog post about how this series got started.

But, this new painting took me by surprise in how it couldn’t have been a better expression of living in a state of indeterminable waiting and uncertainty. Yes, that must be me, standing there alone, waiting for the vaporetto that will take me away from all this current madness. I have my umbrella ready to protect myself from the storm.

But, amidst all this uncertainty, I have to remember that I’m weathering this storm surrounded by the beauty and grandeur that is Italy. I have been seeing Italy with new eyes during this global tempest. And, Venice, normally choking under the presence of throngs of tourists, can be seen and appreciated in a rare and different light. (Read my blog post A Nighttime Excursion in Surreal Venice).

Again, my painting hero Edward Hopper inspires me.

We just keep waiting is a theme in Edward Hopper's New York Movie

For me, Edward Hopper is a master of depicting solitary states. And his “New York Movie Theater” (completed in 1939) is a potent rendering of waiting. Why am I drawn into paintings like this? Perhaps its because I know that being cornered in a state of indeterminable waiting is actually a gift, an opportunity to come face-to-face with the shadowy parts of my psyche from which I usually flee. Maybe this is an opportunity for wholeness.

So, I will keep painting and see what my creative spirit has to teach me, bypassing the tricks and disguises of a mind that wants to explain and to control life.