Going Home While Staying Home

Going Home While Staying Home

Marcia Wilson Holliway
Monday, October 18, 2021 to Friday, December 10, 2021

Mid way through 2020 I was struggling with what to do with myself. I had lost a lot. All of us had. Events, students, income and face to face connections. I had my studio, thankfully, however it was lonely there. I so wanted to take a trip somewhere, to escape this craziness we were living through. I wanted to “go home”. Home to the Florida Keys, where I was born, where I grew up. Where I knew I’d feel at home. Of course, that wasn’t an option.

Every time I went to Instagram to see what everyone was up to, I’d see my niece, Stephanie’s post of well, home. Her home. My home. She had photos of the blues and greens that bring peace and comfort to my soul. The photos were reminders of the soft salty air causing the palm trees to dance across the sky and gritty sand between my toes. It reminded me of the beauty and wonder of life in “paradise”. God’s creation that he blessed me with as I lived my traumatic youth (it wasn’t all good).

Stephanie’s photos took me back to my childhood dream of becoming a “Key West Artist”. My idle, Mom’s best friend, Maxine Mc Mullen, was one. She was my mentor. My kindred. I still have the painting she did of me sitting on the beach at Bahia Honda that she refused to sell because it was mine. I too longed to be a Key West Artist. But how was that dream to be when I’m stuck here in the middle of the U.S.A during a pandemic. I saw my dream and time slipping away.

I had a choice. I had a choice of either becoming more home sick and stewing in the regret of not living out my childhood dream, feeling sorry for myself or to go home some other way. I came up with the idea of asking Stephanie to help me out. NO, it wouldn’t be the same as being there in Plein Air, but it was something. She was in the right place and thankfully she was willing. After a bit of consideration, we agreed that she would post one photo of her choice (that was a bit scary) on Sunday for the last 6 months of 2020 and I’d use each one as a reference for paintings that week.

I gave myself limitations on size and shape to narrow things down and allowed myself to explore and play with a variety of mediums including watercolor, mixed media, Conte Crayons (soft pastel), oil pastel and gouache (my newest medium).

I encouraged Stephanie to include photos of herself and others and I’m so glad she did, as those are my favorite paintings. The images that brought connection to her and her brother, images that brought me connection to my brother and sister-in-law are connections that we all were longing for during this trying time of “staying home”.

It’s been an adventure I will never forget. Even now those colors, sounds and sights fill my soul and comfort me through this traumatic event we are still living in. My hope and prayer is that these paintings bring you to a place of joy, comfort and peace too.

"Wag More" 4x4 gouache, 2020