Why I chose this simple painting for Valentine’s Day Gather and Paint
So it was a trip to Niagara Falls for our second time. Kids ages 7 and 15 in tow. Things had been tough for our family, now, for quite some time.
We wound our little Honda Civic, Icemoon, through mountain passes and forests, built and struck camps, packed and unpacked and packed again. Along the way there had been discoveries of ten pound chocolates and galleries full of glass. We tracked down bears only to turn up bunnies and butterflies, and we had entrusted ship’s captains with our lives, believing wholeheartedly we would not drown under megatons of plunging and churning river.
On the way home we found ourselves in Philadelphia. We arrived at the required touristy Liberty Bell location, a bit of education thrown in for the homeschooled child, gazed at the crack….yep…it’s a bell….yep…. it has a crack…. mmmmhmmmm…. For the life of me I can’t remember why this thing is importanat and in a museum.
After ingesting all the important history of the bell, we wandered off through the city and to our delight we encountered a huge plaza loaded with giant board game pieces. We measured ourselves against the bright blue, red, and green Sorry pawns, and relished in the whimsy of photographing ourselves laying inside of the Monopoly wheelbarrow and riding the backs of gigantic Chess knights.
Onward we explored and came upon a large fountain loaded with city kids frolicking in the wide, surrounding pool, a sight never to be seen in our conservative downtown. We couldn’t help but join so we waded in and enjoyed the liberation from the heat and the feeling that we’d be arrested if we got caught doing this at home. After the cooling of toes and taking in the joyous sights of toddlers splashing, we turned back and was delighted to discover, as we shifted our gaze up slightly, four simple red letters… L.O.V.E. It turned out we were enjoying the leisurely experience of Love Park. We snapped plenty of family photos underneath the sculpture just like everybody else, but I have to admit, this simple sculpture, four letters in Times New Roman font, really speaks to my soul.
How do colorful letters soul-speak?
See, I love. That’s what I do. I easily fall in love with pretty much anybody and then give all my nurturing and loyalty. Love drives me to drop what I’m doing and rush to check on my 20 year old when she’s frustrated, or if my husband suddenly curses while working in the back yard with tools. Love compels me to leave my warm, heated home, on Christmas, during a blizzard, to drive hours to spend the holiday with my parents, whose power is out. I love so strongly that i want to fix everything for everybody, and get sad when I can’t. Love.
So things were tough on this trip. So tough that love was a challenge. Along with the fun discoveries, we also had to endure misfortune. Sunburns, sleepless, noisy nights in hotels and campgrounds, vomiting from food poisoning, poison ivy, the exhausted breakdown of a seven-year-old, and a 15 year old’s attempts at sexy poses were all pretty unbearable. Along with these intolerable instances, the specter of mental illness clouded our patience and joyous auras. “Us Against Them” played a huge part on this vacation as well: Adults v/s Kids, Teen v/s Stepmom, Sister v/s Sister, and Spouse v/s Spouse. But family dynamics always stretches us to our wit’s ends on road trips, so why do we keep doing this? ……….. LOVE
Click here to see other Gather and Paint class offerings https://artunabated.com/classes/gather-and-paint/
Here’s a link to learn more about Love Park https://myphillypark.org/what-we-do/programs/lovepark/