What is Real?

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Acrylic on cradled board painted around the edges, 24″x36″.

The inspiration behind this painting was our trip to Chicago. We have never been to this beautiful city and when we had a few days to travel around my birthday in January of 2020, we decided “why not”. Yes, everyone was saying it’s not a good time to go, and our plane was diverted because of the snowstorm and then when we finally arrived to Chicago, t turned out to be some of the coldest days of the year.

Still, after living in California for many years, we got too soft. Sharp cold, wind and snow were from almost forgotten childhood.

The city was a picture of a modern winter tale. It consisted of lights and shadows, reflections,  and sparkles. We walked the pedway tour, took a route above along former train bridges, and visited Conservatory. The last stop was probably the biggest influence on this painting. We ran from the taxi to the entrance, walked in, and then marveled suddenly finding ourselves in a plant paradise. Wondering there for hours along huge halls with ascending glass ceilings, I was thinking how we can appreciate this warmth so much after being in biting cold.  How there is right time and place for everything, and experiencing the large variety of life situations helps us to have a perspective.

When I was a little girl growing up on the edge of the city in Ukraine, I did not like winter. It was long, dark, grey, and bleak. I was dreaming of the summer long days and almost hibernated, slowing down.  I am much more fortunate now, that I have learned to listen to what I feel and make my situation better, finding beauty in the current moment along the way. When winter and cold come, we light a fireplace. When I cannot get warm, I take a hot bath. When it’s dark, we turn on daylight bright lamps and the mood lifts. And it’s important not to hurry and love this dark, cold and stark season just the way it is.

Take life moment by moment, walk slowly.

This painting is not so much an escape, as the portal into warmth you can find within yourself.

“Tell me one last thing,” said Harry. “Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?”
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows