Jonalyn's Watercolor Blog

Remember – Panning for Gold

Did you know local New Englanders have good things to say about the art of remembering. If you attended my “Saving Lives” art gallery you already know the role art plays in helping us remember what is too easy to forget.

Memory Block

I’ve listened to memories and watched as people look through my paintings and then say, “I just didn’t remember these things. It’s so easy to forget the lockdown years.” Remembering requires we want to dig into the past and mine out the nuggets that matter. Often we need someone to hand us a pan, show us where the gold is, and encourage us as we work. In a conversation with a therapist friend of twenty years she shared this insight, “Social media has impacted people’s abilities to remember in friendship. The amount of scrolling and information overload seems to impact memory retention and then you add unprocessed trauma, attachment issues, development issues.” We have a surge of people who just cannot remember well.  So while we want to be whole, we want to be present, many need help. This is one of the reasons I paint, to help people remember what they need to be whole.  

If you take the word “remember” apart you have re (which means “again or anew”) and member. Re-member, to put the members together, again, maybe in a new cohesive whole. Remembering is to form a whole picture so you can point to it and say, “See, this is what happened to me.” I have this experience in my gallery as I watch people remember, connecting with a piece because it is like a glimmer of gold they’ve been missing. But, how many of us just cannot remember the one piece we know we need? Art can serve us in this place.

Missing Piece

Recently, my boys couldn’t find the final piece in a puzzle on the solar system. “This is the most annoying thing of all!” my oldest announced after we had scoured the floor, under the couch, and even under the puzzle itself. We couldn’t re-member, we couldn’t sit back and sigh with that satisfaction that the picture was complete.

When I paint I’m re-membering the broken pieces of our lives. I try to paint wholeness through the images that move me. If you saw something in my art or in my writing that glimmered in your memory, you enjoyed a connection. You are one of the few who want to re-member. Some piece of you is willing to uncover (or at least witness someone else uncover) the missing pieces. Many of you will sift your mind for that missing piece, even when it seems like everyone else has given up.

In honor of re-membering, I’ve painted “Saving Lives” a gentle watercolor journey through the COVID years. There remains one weekend left to see the “Saving Lives” exhibition. We are extending the gallery through the month of August, open for pop-up hours and by appointment.  I know many of you aren’t local, so I will keep you posted when the Online Gallery Experience becomes available. You’ll be the first to know as a subscriber to my blog.

New Paintings

As always, below you’ll find a few new paintings before I list them publicly. The first is titled “Powder House Row”. And here’s the story.

I was walking down the Swasey Park river walk when I saw this couple working to row together. I could tell the woman up front didn’t have much experience. And the man in the back wasn’t sure how to coach her. It took several tries before their oar strokes matches in unison. It was like they were remembering the art of rowing together. If you let your eyes drift above them, to the left, you’ll see the Exeter Powder House from the Revolutionary War, reminding us of a time when gun powder was hoarded and stolen by the British and then safeguarded way up here in Exeter by the Patriots. This was the powder that would be used in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Re-membering our past, more pieces mined out to sparkle in one picture, as we row along our American story.

Should you be interested in either painting, please reply to this email for more information. I will be listing them in my online Shop within the week.

And remember, every painting has a story, find yours!

Powder House Row – 5.5″ x 15″ – currently framed in cream mat with gold – an original watercolor by Jonalyn Fincher


Waiting for Coffee – 7.5 x 9.5, an original watercolor by Jonalyn Fincher

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