Behind the Painting: “Oh, To Be Young”

In early 2020, before all the stuff started, I took a trip to Florida to visit with my college roommate, Meghan. It was such a great time, full of adventure and laughter, but also some much needed relaxing. (This was the trip on which I got to enjoy Universal and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. A definite must for any fans of the franchise.)

There were a couple evenings when we made it to the beach shortly before sunset. We sat around listening to the small waves brush across the shore and watching little sanderlings pick through the sand before it settled once again. We also fought off a flock of seagulls that stole Meghan’s chip right out of her hand. She was not happy. I might have laughed.

As an artist and photographer, I definitely took advantage of the view.

The view:

The birds

While taking one of my many sunset pictures on this trip, a young girl came running up to the shore, quickly skipping away as the cool water touched her foot. It was adorable to watch her excitement. Everyone should get to experience the joy that girl did when she arrived at the beach. (It doesn’t have to be just-arrived-at-the-beach joy, just some kind of unfiltered joy upon experiencing something so breathtaking.)

When I went back through my pictures, I realized I had captured that small moment in a Live Photo, with the girl’s silhouette dancing away from the edge of the cold gulf waters. In one frame, the girl’s hand was cupped just over the setting sun. I immediately knew I wanted to paint that scene. 

(I’ve slightly altered the girl’s silhouette in the picture and the painting, seeing as I didn’t know who she was. I do wish I had noticed the image before, so I could have asked her mom if she wanted a copy.)

To be honest, I wasn’t entirely happy with how the painting turned out and ended up painting over the water and making the clouds purple. Tears were shed at some point, and I eventually reached a stopping point - the point at which I had to stop or I’d just make it worse. For my first big acrylic painting after a very long artistic break, it turned out okay. I’ll probably try painting it again someday. 

Follow me on Instagram (@nickole_and_dymes) to see more pictures of original traditional and digital art, and let me know which piece I should tell the story of next by commenting on the picture on Instagram!

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