Unplanned, I found myself in Prague on November 17—the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. The day the Czech Republic began its break from communism—a mostly peaceful movement to freedom started by students confronting legions of armed police by holding forth flowers and chanting…
“WE HAVE BARE HANDS”
In this non-violent defeat of communism, not one life was lost.
Being in the thick of the joyous celebration of freedom was contagious and I found myself so touched by the warmth and spirit of the Czech people. They relish their democracy and speak their minds—they are salt of the earth solid.
I came back to DC with an urge to paint.
Prague gave me so much artistic inspiration: The towering ancientness, the coral and green rooftops. The beautiful winding river. The cobblestones. The John Lennon wall days before it was white washed. Dancing in the streets on November 17. The hottest Bikram studio ever encountered (and the snarkiest teacher).
I pasted maps, newspapers, and beer labels on my canvas and painted in thick, muted hues reminiscent of the city. And then my painting stalled.
This wasn’t the city I wanted to paint. Because the city I wanted to paint was about renewal, risk, openness, pushing things further than then had gone before. About students who took a risk to challenge authority and set their country free. This is a city of passion and color, albeit buried slightly below surface.
And so my painting, too, took a revolutionary change from where it began and I painted celebration onto my canvas.
The words of the Velvet Revolution—“We Have Bare Hands”… ring in my ears in light of the recent challenges facing America –the protests. The chants of “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” and “I Can’t Breathe.” I saw the spirit of what the youth in Prague brought forth to change their country’s fate. I feel more hopeful that we, too, can find peaceful solutions to curb the frightening violence that has erupted on so many levels.
It’s amazing how traveling a far (or even with a book or film) can leave you unexpectedly with something new in your heart. This is a gift to bring home.
I took new strokes on my canvas today—opened to a new, unplanned direction. My art is a reflection of what lives in my heart and all that I have added in my journeys.
This is what I love most about it all—leaving your heart open wherever you go… to learn, listen and change. Collecting the spirit of the people you meet, being inspired.
Wishing you new journeys near and far.