The content and opinions expressed in this blog are mine. They do not represent the US Government or US Peace Corps - Jud Dolphin

Wednesday, July 11

New People, Art and Adventures

A year has passed since completing my Peace Corps service.  I've settled nicely into a one bedroom apartment in Washington, DC.  Gradually I have transformed the blank white walls into a colorful nesting spot where I can live a new adventure, nurture new friendships and create art.  

Ukraine remains close in my memory.  Most mornings when I take a shower, I quickly wet down, turn off the water and soap up.  I's a ritual that reminds me how I lived for many months without hot water and still had a wonderful life. As I start my day,  It keeps me mindful of others round the world who may not even have water.  And as my young friend, Bob, says, "It's green too!"

I have been trying to spend time most weeks on art.  This summer I joined others at the Chevy Chase Community Center just to do art together for a few hours.  Wonderfully, it has encouraged me to try new things and to grow in my abilities.   Last week the Center's Director invited me to submit a proposal for a class this Fall.  I think I will do it.  I always enjoy teaching and nothing is better for learning than to have students.

It's amazing how you get to meet people and discover fellow artists.   The landscape consultant for my coop association happened upon my patio.  I had been meaning to contact him but hadn't gotten around to it.  There he was as I was finishing my morning oatmeal.  

He complimented me on cleaning up the weeds from the perennials and creating new flower beds.  I told him about my Maine garden and how I was so excited now to have a space in the city where I could still garden.

We talked gardens for a long time.  I mentioned a few shrubs that needed trimming.  He asked if I needed more mulch.  We were like two kids who just discovered common interests.  The real surprise was as he was leaving and with one foot over the half wall ready to walk away, he said that he dabbled into a little watercolors.

Well!  That relaunched our conversation.  I invited him inside.  I showed him pictures including one that I recently entered into a competition.  I told him it was a first for me and while I did not expect to win, it was great to have the confidence to put a painting of mine out there.  He understood completely.    

Here's the picture I submitted.   
While I did not win, it is posted along with many other entrants.  I am very pleased.  
After an hour, Rob left and I got to thinking.  While in Ukraine, I had so many adventures.  I met new people here, there and everywhere with many remaining friends.  Maybe life in America is more predictable and certainly way more comfortable, but adventure still happens.  New people.  New friendships.  New chances to be in love with life.  

Inspired by Spring time birch trees in Ukraine.  

Waves and ocean grab our primal soul in powerful ways.  I gave this a try after reviewing a lesson on the Internet.  

Spring is always close in the imagination.  
Living in Washington gives me the chance to view cherry blossoms at their peak.  

A rose is a rose is a rose...

Florida, Art and Family

It's a last moment trip to Florida.  My younger brother, Pete, has moved to the sunshine state.  For many years, his retirement dream was to have a home on the water.  Now he's living his dream complete with a sail boat and beautiful sunsets.

He tells me that he will be welcoming baby Alice the newest member of our extended family.  I cannot resist the invitation and quickly make plans.  Off to Florida I go.
Looking across the grand canal, Cape Coral, Florida.  Congratulations, Pete, and may you enjoy many satisfying years.

Nothing says Florida as well as palm trees.
When I returned from Florida, I posted a quick watercolor sketches on my apartment door.

Early morning with breezes  gently swaying the palm branches overhead. 

A photo captures the beauty of a moment and becomes inspiration for another watercolr.  

The textures and colors of the dunes at dusk.  Relax and watch the sun go down.

Rita, my niece, and Bill came for a visit.  They are living in SF with their new daughter.  Mom and Dad cuddle baby Alice.  Of course, she is adorable.