Last year at this time I was dithering about what I needed to do before we left for Italy. Granted the prospects of travel were diminishing exponentially every day, as the pandemic took hold of the world. But at that time there was still what we thought might be a sliver of an opportunity, or the off chance that we might make it. But as it turns out we were out of luck. All plans were off and instead we sat at home and watched as Italy and the rest of the world began the horrendous battle with the scourge that is COVID. And as the pandemic took hold, we all started to grieve for the loss of the world as we had known it. 

When all our lives and all our plans for the future came to a stop, it was as if I lost the ability to dream. I found it difficult to paint or write or accomplish much of anything unless it related to the pandemic and the woes of social isolation. So, the Italian lessons, the books about the de Medici family, and the research into Vasari and his gang … all of it went poof. It was as if all of it no longer existed. My shelves were filled with unopened maps and unread travel books. My closet was filled with new travel clothes, my suitcase was filled with empty travel bottles, and my brain was fill with god knows what. But whatever it was it had nothing to do with good times and dreams. The world shrank down to the here and now. 

But time has moved on and I have learned to cope with the isolation, and even to thrive in new and inexplicable ways. The vaccine has paved a way into the future, though we can only guess at what that future may look like. And, along with an end to social isolation, it has given me hope that Italy may one day again be on my travel agenda. I can only hope.    

So, this new piece is about learning to dream again. But it also illustrates how the past year has taught me to go back into myself to explore new ways to see. It is constructed in a way that reflects how I see the world. I am nearsighted and never really see details until they are right under my nose. And yet the details are what I remember best. So here are the massed colors and forms and design that draw the eye, all painted in oil. But what one sees upon closer examination are the ephemeral details that appear only when one is close to the piece, or when the image is enlarged. Those delicious details are here drawn in pencil, into the oil as it dries. The pencil also has the effect of blurring the image so that it has a rather silvery surface. 

I’m not sure when or if I will be able to practice my Italian in Italy, but I will continue to practice at home so I can dream my dreams in Italian. 


  1. Connie—Love this painting! Have been watching Stanley Tucci’s CNN series on food in Italy and the most recent episode was Tuscany. Such good memories….

    1. Beautiful! Can’t think of a better dream than Italia! I agree , much good came out of the year that is behind us. Ciao and may your travel dreams come true.

  2. Those luscious dreams put into that painting… The richness of Tuscany captured with such finesse letting us all dream…. Beautiful

  3. Wonderful piece… it could become a new favorite. It reminds me of something you told me a couple decades ago, “Water is seldom blue, it’s usually reflective.”

  4. Loved your email and your painting. Italy is definitely worth waiting for. Now that things seem to be getting more stable in the U.S.A., we have to hope that Europe will get to a good balance. We really took travel for granted. Now that we are somewhat thwarted, we miss what we can’t have. Here’s to a better future for all of us mortals hungering for beauty and adventure and peace.

  5. This is such a beautiful painting! I love the scribbled details in pencil and your description of them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *