Jonalyn's Watercolor Blog

Reading the COVID Stories

My favorite part of my art show “Saving Lives” was reading the stories my visitors left for me. When you paint an exhibition helping people explore and remember the lockdown years, listening become such an important part of the gallery. I’m poring over these stories these days.

The End of the Show

Friends have asked if I felt sad when my art show “Saving Lives” concluded.   I did experience some sadness, but I felt more grateful and a little relieved (more on that in a moment).  It felt good to finish strong. That last week I had more people visit and share stories than any previous week. A junior in high school chose to purchase the one print I had available of “The Sugar Shack” for her room.

J. has been looking for a print for the last year. She fell in love with this “Sugar Shack” print at my gallery and used her puppy business funds to purchase it for her room.

Saving Lives” has dominated my life for the last several months. I learned how to meet the local people who love art. This act of showing up and meeting the neighbors around me took some courage. I was unsure if any rudeness would surface, or if people will want to engage with their hearts. It can be discouraging when people hide from truth, or turn away from other’s stories. I’ve seen that play out as people walked in, read one placard in “Saving Lives” and turned on their heel to walk out. And I’ve met many people this summer, often the smoothest speaking adults who cannot abide to read and engage with their hearts.

And so, I’ve come to better admire the gallery visitors who engage with their hearts. I’ve met many of you who let my paintings speak. I’ve learned better how to let my art work its goodness.

To those of you who took time to share a story with me, I want to honor your willingness to process some of the hardest things in my Saving Lives gallery. I dedicate this blog to you! 

Reading the Stories

One highlight as I’ve closed down the “Saving Lives” exhibition was reading the stories. 62 stories handwritten and pinned into the empty frames I had hung. And this only represents the written stories, dozens of people verbally shared their stories, too. I’ve written them all down after each gallery. So many stories to sift through and pray over.

I wanted to share a few from children and teens that particularly moved me. I was curious to know what young people had to say about the COVID years.

62 Hand-written stories from my gallery “Saving Lives” a gentle watercolor journey through the COVID years

A gallery visitor, younger than 10 wrote,

During COVID we were going to Florida and we had to have Masks on the whole time time we went through security and the whole plane ride and then through the airport in Florida.

A gallery visitor, younger than 8 wrote,

Do it now! We will not wait! (illustrated with two syringes)

A teen visitor from Colorado,

The first year COVID hit I went to the bike park in Fort Collins. Masks were required on the lifts, in the lines. While wearing the masks I couldn’t read anyone’s facial expressions. I couldn’t tell if someone was excited or scared while telling their story of the past trail run.  For me the expression of people’s faces is one of the biggest reasons that I like my sports. Seeing a big smile after a good run or a frown after a bad one shows me how important it was to them. It shows me what the sport means to them. With the masks on it was a lot harder to see the happiness, joy, or passion that comes from the sports I love so much.

A teen visitor from New Hampshire,

During COVID I walked the halls in school with my mask below my nose to breathe more properly. I would feel faint as I climbed the stairs of my school with my mask on.  Every time I put my mask down just a little bit I was yelled at by my teachers, mostly my math teacher. She was always so strict and didn’t like me at all. I’m happy be able to see people’s face properly again.

If you still have a story to share, it’s not too late. Write me personally or in the comments below.

New Paintings

I am finishing up a commission of a family’s three children. What a privilege to paint children for a family who will treasure these for years to come!

Below you’ll find new miniature landscapes that are available. These make wonderful presents for Christmas. A set of barns and a set of moody landscapes.In about a week these pieces will go into my shops and galleries. And please note, my prices will be increasing soon. So, if you see one you like, send me an email before the week is up.

Portrait of Wright, 18.5 x 20″, original watercolor by Jonalyn
Portrait of Cora Jac, 18.5 x 20″, original watercolor by Jonalyn
Portrait of Fleet, 18.5 x 20″, original watercolor by Jonalyn
Two strong atmospheric pieces, the left is “Sleeping Soundly” Steamboat Springs, CO and the right is “Wolfeboro Sail- Yellow“, NH. Both are 3 x 4” and $49 each unframed, framing available.


Powder House Row“, Exeter, NH, 5.5″ x 15”, framed in gold with a cream mat board, $500


Two barns from Steamboat Springs, CO, the left is “Better Days“, the right is “Last Light” of the famous barn at the base of Mt. Werner. 3 x 4″ and $49 each unframed, framing available.

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