I can’t think of a more fitting symbol for hope in the new year than milkweed seeds. Each seed is poised to be carried aloft by the wind, harboring potential for new growth wherever it lands. Milkweed plants uniquely nourish caterpillars of Monarch butterflies, creatures of beauty and brilliant examples of the interconnectedness within native…

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When I was a teenager, I had a poster of Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper on their Harleys from the movie, Easy Rider, taped to my bedroom wall. It was the early 1970s, and I lived in a town of one thousand people in rural southeastern Illinois where conservative values held sway. Those values left…

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It’s New Year, a traditional time for review and reassessment for many of us, and I for one am considering the ways in which this new year needs to be remodelled, not so much seeking a return to normal, more about establishing a new normal in light of the emotional impact of the past year.…

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On October 6, 2020, the Swedish Academy announced the year’s Nobel prizes in Physics and, two days later, in Literature. The selection committees may as well have collaborated, so tuned were they to the pulse of a uniquely awful year. Louise Glück, poet of “isolation, betrayal . . . and death” (NYT 10/8/2020), won for…

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As we say goodbye to 2020, we reflect on all we have lost and all we still hope for. I remembered this painting and felt it captured my thoughts. Like this willow, several of the trees I’ve painted over the years no longer exist. For a while, I thought perhaps I wielded the brush of…

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(Ed note: This essay was the first part of a letter sent by family friend David Norcross. It was so insightful and entertaining that we asked David’s permission to reprint it on the Lens. Thank you David!)   Christmas 2020 and Other End of Year Musings “And every picture shows a perfect family…” No one…

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A few weeks ago—just after Thanksgiving—I received an unexpected package in the mail from artist/curator Crystalle Lacouture. Contained within was a limited run wood-block print, a directive, and a booklet of matches, all related to a timely project—#farewellgoodbye2020. The message of the letter, which you can read at the link below, was essentially this: 2020…

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The turmoil and tumults of the too many tragedies during 2020 will hopefully dissipate during 2021.  In Turbulence and Among Fractures, Life Goes On, recently completed, sums up my year, one thankfully tempered by residing in the sublime beauty of Maine.     Copyright © 2020 Joanne Tarlin Joanne TarlinJoanne Tarlin paints atmospheric, abstract, and…

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I wrote “Reverence” several years ago to commemorate the aftermath of a fire that gutted the First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Given our current tragic loss and a longing for what was, the piece has just as much significance for me today. Our lives have been ravaged by a viral fire, one that…

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I’m continuing to paint through my quarantine, hopeful that the vaccine will give me the keys to freedom in the new year. Here’s another sampling of pieces from previous days. Day 180 Conformity is a modern suburban landscape I painted to celebrate my stint of sheltering-in-place.   Day 195 Double Dutch. The simple joys of childhood…

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