Tag Archives: hope

Viral Imaginations in Pennsylvania

You may remember that last year I submitted a painting to the virtual exhibit sponsored by Penn State, called Viral Imaginations: Covid 19. This exhibit was put together by a collaborating group at the university, involving medical, liberal arts, and ethics departments, and administrators, educators, and students.

The purpose of the exhibit was to

  • give Pennsylvanians a place to speak about the pandemic and its effects on them personally
  • create an archive of the times
  • provide materials for others to use in various ways for now and into the future, such as lessons and research
  • to create a place for people to go and feel the companionship of others as we all work our way through the pandemic

Last night my husband and I attended the Zoom reception for artists.

I didn’t know what to expect, having never attended a Zoom artist reception. After a little bit of coaxing the Zoom entry process to let us in, we arrived and listened to an overview of the project. I had not comprehended the scope of the effort or how much the archive/exhibit is already in use by teachers and researchers, for instance.

We (virtually) met the persons responsible for putting the site together. Then we listened to poetry from the site read to us as we looked at images from the visual art. Interspersed among the readings were short sessions devoted to the themes the curators found that repeated in the exhibit. Leter we saw a review of all the visual art on the site.

It was very moving. The poems brought back memories from the early days of the pandemic, often upsetting ones. I was reminded how terrified I was about grocery shopping, for instance, while listening to a poem on that subject.

My painting was called “I Hope”. Here it is:

I was surprised and thrilled to learn that it was included as part of a school lesson plan based on a pandemic theme, Cartography. I had no idea this had happened until my painting and name appeared on the screen! Look here to see the lesson plan – it relates to the home and its place in the world during the pandemic and is aimed at grades K-6.

I am honored and humbled that my artwork could maybe be of some benefit, especially to kids. And this morning I am still feeling a sense of – calmness and gratitude, maybe? – that this event unexpectedly brought to me.

There is much focus, rightly so, on all the losses and griefs of this time, and the exhibit does not shy away from them – instead it faces them.

But the fact there is this exhibit, that there will be an archive and our thoughts and feelings remembered, that it is important to try to make sense of what has happened, and that people are creating art and writing even in these times – all of this made me feel hope.

Even though the pandemic is not over, as was mentioned several times in the presentations, I came away feeling hope. A year later I still hope.


Thank you to Penn State and all who have worked on this archive.

Here is the link to my painting on its page at the site.

Here is a link to my post on the exhibit submission from 2020.

If you live or work in Pennsylvania, you can still submit your art or writings related to the pandemic to Viral Imaginations. They will be accepting submissions at least until the end of the year.

I Marvel

This painting was made in July, 2020. Acrylics, 20″ x 16″.

This year has made me value the outdoors more than ever. Gardens, backyards, trails, woods: all of them have been companions and calm places for me. That is what this painting is talking about – I marvel at the healing a day, even an hour, outside can do for me.

I Marvel 20 x 16 7-20

Hands Up Let’s See What They Say

A little while ago, I came upon a post that suggested an activity that appealed to me – draw your hands and read your vision of your past and future. I found it on David Milligan-Croft’s blog  , and if you look there you will see his beautiful colorful version and more information about the process.

Anyway, something about the idea really appealed to me.

The parameters of the artwork included having one hand represent what you want to keep in your life, and the other, what you want to let go.

I didn’t want to divide things up this way. Instead, I decided to ask both my hands to be what I want to reach for, either now, or when it is possible, later. I wanted to express hopes, dreams, things I look forward to, and things I do already that I want to continue.

Nothing exotic, nothing cosmic. Just everyday pleasures, entirely attainable, I think, and modest in scale. I am grateful for my life, and I wanted to commemorate that thought as well as remind myself that there is always something to look forward to.

I may be getting too philosophical. It’s just what I felt at the time I sat down to work on this picture. It’s part of my Large Artist Sketchbook that I am currently working on, so one day it will get a poem written for it, too. I used pens, markers, and acrylic inks.

I found this a peaceful and calming activity. I can recommend trying it for yourself.

Hands in Artist Sketchbook 4-2003

Small Landscape Day 51

Claudia McGill says: Such small details make a difference.

Small landscape, Day 51 - 5" x 7" on canvas board.

Small landscape, Day 51 – 5″ x 7″ on canvas board.

Do you like this little painting? Would you like to have  it? Remember, it’s Giveaway Time. For the details about the landscape giveaway, look here. Then…

Email me at claudiamcgillart@gmail.com and mention Landscape Day 51 or use the form below.

All available landscapes are posted on the Giveaway Page the day after they are published, until they are gone.



Today and tomorrow, Days 46 and 47, together make up the halfway point in the winter, and in the Giveaway, too.

We have two days for this event this year – there are 92 days in my winter count, December 21 to March 21. Leap Year has given us an extra one, February 29. It’s a special year!

Take a moment today to sit down and rest. You’ve gone a long way already, haven’t you?

Lorimer 1-31-16 #3 small

Small Landscape Day 23

Claudia McGill says: What a nice time of day, when you first wake up, and the sun is shining, and everything is warm and rosy-yellow. There are so many possibilities, so many things you can’t wait to get to be doing, that it is hard to know where to look first. The best thing is, this feeling is all in your head and really doesn’t have anything to do with the actual weather or season. If you don’t see it at first, you can just close your eyes and start over, looking for it until it appears (or you drag it out of hiding). I admit you may have to do this last part more than once. Putting some yellow paint on your paintbrush helps…

Small landscape, Day 23 - 6" x 6" on Masonite.

Small landscape, Day 23 – 6″ x 6″ on Masonite.

Do you like this little painting? Would you like to have  it? Remember, it’s Giveaway Time. For the details about the landscape giveaway, look here. Then…

Email me at claudiamcgillart@gmail.com and mention Landscape Day 23 or use the form below.

All available landscapes are posted on the Giveaway Page the day after they are published, until they are gone.


Something Special

I’ve been setting out little figurines for some time now. This activity has led to so many good thoughts and events for me. Here is the latest episode.

On Sunday, July 6, I put a figurine in an abandoned control box along the rail trail in Lorimer Park. There are quite a few of them left over from when the line was active, scattered along the trail. I think they make a nice spot for a little clay person.

The figurine in place on July 6, in the morning...

The figurine in place on July 6, in the morning…

...and a little closer view.

…and a little closer view.

I then went on my way. I was walking slowly that morning; I have some sore muscles from stepping off a curb while looking up at the sky (don’t do this, by the way). As I walked I reflected on why I liked putting these figures all over the place. I have no one answer to this question, but among other things I hope that they will bring a smile and maybe prompt a bit of kindness or generosity from the recipient toward someone else. I like the idea that I have something to give to others, however small, and that maybe they would find this same ability in themselves.

Anyway, I was lost in thought, when a man about my age, going the other way on the trail, came up to me, handed me a single marigold blossom, said good morning, smiled at me, and moved on, as quickly as that. I was left surprised, smiling, and saying thank you to his back as he walked away.

I felt I’d gotten a direct answer to my hopes with that little gesture.

So, we come to today. I was once again walking along and this sight greeted me this morning:

What I saw on July 7, in the morning...

What I saw on July 7, in the morning…

The figurine has already moved on! I am not surprised, as the trail is very busy on weekends. I hope she is doing good work wherever she has gone.

I am convinced there is something about Lorimer Park this year – some kind of special atmosphere, confluence of influences, rays from the sky, I don’t know what – but it’s been a very healing place for me this year. Maybe for others, too.

A Journey

Yet another little book. The fascination with the book form shows no sign of ending.

This book is called “Fares” for the obvious reason – the cover is a fare card for our local commuter train system. I had the cover and added the pages – then I did the artwork and then the text – so you can see it all flowed from the word on the front – Fares.

Here is the text and the pictures follow.


in the open air beneath the stars,

places, geography.

I had to leave
those who knew them,

I couldn’t help it.

I just wanted a little more

I wanted to find

the few who knew

I’ll look everywhere

hope might be