Jonalyn's Watercolor Blog

Who Would Visit My COVID Art Show?

My show “Saving Lives” has been open for one week now and I’m meeting many people who want to visit my COVID art show. “Saving Lives” tells the untold stories from the years of lockdowns and masking that many of us, frankly, would just like to forget forever. And yet, my show also tells the amazing stories of reunion and beauty, too. The response from guests has confirmed that the timing was perfect. People are ready to start thinking about this time, reflecting and softening. I’ve only received one hater response, at least so far. But, that’s not worth sharing this beautiful Saturday. Instead, I want to share a wonderful story from a woman who came to “Saving Lives”.

Meet Robin

This is Robin, an oceanographer, retired professional and combat veteran wanted to visit my COVID art show last week. In this picture below, she’s pointing and grinning over this painting, “Flying the Friendly Skies.” Robin is a caring, brilliant woman who travels the world for her work and her friends. She’s also very interested and seasoned at facing political questions. I accepted her invitation to hear Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speak in Manchester two weeks ago. She knew someone who got us to the front of the long line, because that’s the way it is with Robin. She often knows someone in power and uses her friendships to help her other friends get a chance to participate.
In the pic posted below, Robin is pointing to “Flying the Friendly Skies” a painting about travel during the COVID years. See the mask over the plane’s nose? Robin actually laughed at the image, which is good because I meant it to be funny. She told some stories of how difficult it was to travel during the lockdown, how she had no trouble in the southern states, but once she hit the northern states of New England the penalties grew. She was permitted to stop for gas, but not for the bathroom. A Coca-Cola worker who moonlights as a pastor wanted to visit my COVID art show and was sitting listening. He heard her stories and chimed in with one of his own, echoing the same experience of being banned from using any facilities as he rode across the states on his motorcycle. They swapped stories of having to break the rules to respond to the calls of nature.

Swapping Stories

Laughter, head-shaking, story-telling echoed in the Foundation Art Space of downtown Exeter. We closed down the Grand Opening of my Saving Lives art show with these stories of gritty human needs and the impossibility of keeping all the rules. I sense God bringing precisely the people at the exact time they need. New friends are taking flyers to post back at their homes, churches, and places of business. I ran out of flyers again last night.  The response has exceeded my expectations, about 40-50 people stopped by last Saturday, 20 people just last night, and I was delighted to hear so many new stories. Many of them wrote them on the blue cards (blue like the colors of the surgical masks we wore) and pinned into the blank frames. See the pics below.

One final fun piece about Robin I just have to share. While reading each placard and looking at my art, Robin modeled what I had envisioned and planned for all my guests. She would read a story and exclaim with some sort of emotions, “Oh, that makes me so mad!” Then, she’d swivel on her heel and look at one of my peaceful landscapes. After calming down a bit, she’d turn back around to more of “Saving Lives”.  I relate to this experience of ping-ponging between beauty and pain. This is how beauty has reinforced my own life, too. Beauty forms an oasis as we face the realities of life. And I am so grateful others are finding my painting capable of bringing both honesty and healing and rest.

Visit my COVID Art Show Online?

I was honored by Robin’s witness and the stories she shared last Saturday. Should you want to come visit my COVID art show, you can stop by through all of July (details below). And there’s a good chance I’ll be open through August as well. And if you are not local, I’m pleased to share that I have been filming to create an “Online Gallery” for you to see these paintings, read the stories in my galley. I think we’ve just secured a drone filmography to capture overhead footage of the town so you can cyber-visit my COVID art show from the comfort of your home. As subscribers to my blog and newsletter here, you’ll be the first to know when the online gallery launches.

While you’re waiting for the online gallery experience, I can offer you two interviews to hear more and see some “Saving Lives” paintings. The first is my husband’s interview of me during our podcast “Back Porch Conversations with Dale and Jonalyn”. You can listen to this free episode here. It’s the first time I explain how the training to paint “Saving Lives” began before the lockdowns even started.  And if you missed my last post on this show, check out my last blog post “A Sneak Peek into my COVID Art Show.”

The second is this interview with The Republican Professor. You’ll hear the backstories and see several rough drafts of my paintings process. Since it’s filmed you can enjoy seeing as well as hearing about my art show. We also talk about censorship and courage in these days. Watch here

Feel free to share this post with friends who may live in this area (scroll to the bottom for show details). Because people are so glad they came! For instance, Julia, a good friend from Maui, told her friends at the beach about my show when she learned their family was from (wait for it!) Exeter, NH. And would you believe her Exeter family came to visit my COVID art show?! They came for the Grand Opening and were the first to actually understand what “Saving Lives” was all about: honesty, grief, hope and recovery. God is good to connect us over so many miles.

Thank you for your prayers and support!


Robin pointing to “Flying the Friendly Skies” at my art show


Pointing to the many stories written, drawn and clipped into the frame.


My son writing and drawing his COVID stories this week at the gallery.


Some new friends sharing their stories after walking through “Saving Lives”.



A still from the interview with The Republican Professor. Watch it here. Or you can find it on YouTube.


Dale interviewing Jonalyn at their podcast “Back Porch Conversations”. Listen here

Visit my COVID Art Show
Art Show Details for “Saving Lives”

Dates: Every Thursday (4 – 8pm), Friday (4 – 8pm), Saturday (1 – 5pm) in July, 2023

Live Music
18:81 Band – Sat. July 15, 1-5 pm
Nancy and O. Harp Duo – Sat. July 22, 1 – 3 pm
18:81 BandSat. July 29, 1 – 5 pm

Location – Downtown Exeter
Foundation Art Spaceon the River Side
111R Water Street, Exeter, NH 
Parking -Robert H. Stewart Waterfront Park.


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