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I've been back home for over a week now, I was happy to experience the comforts and familiarity of home intially, despite my exhaustion. Jet lag was not horrible but not great, and it was only the past few days that I've felt some degree of normalcy with time and body rhythms.

Time though, as I expected, seems to be confusing, as the atmosphere of changing seasons approaches, and most especially, daylight shifts and the days become shorter. Amazingly it is the last real week of summer as children return to school next week, before labor day. This requires a mental shift that I have not made yet.

Art is on my mind, a lot. I've gone through hundreds and hundreds of photographs from my trip, taken both with my phone and my camera. This trip was the first time in ages where not having to hover around a child with me, I could devote my attention where ever I chose, and relished the chance to photograph places. I have come to appreciate the realization that our view is ever changing, and that a visitor and traveler often has fresh eyes to view places that a resident is so accustomed to. I recall after living in Japan so long I no longer saw places and people as tourists did, along with that the excitement of the new, lost on the familiar. It had been a long time since I had visited Europe so it felt fresh to me, and I enjoyed deep appreciation, and the motivation to capture it through photos. At the same time I work from photographs so I knew that the images could provide me with material to work from, potentially, for a long time.

I have finished up a landscape painting that I had started before I left, it was easy to get back into. After that I was thinking of doing more work based on carvings of the Romanesque Church in Assisi, Santa Maria Maggiore, but I've struggled with the photographic references, and the degree of deterioration of the sculpture. The church looked like limestone with some sandstone carvings. Having worked in historic preservation I know these materials are some of the most vulnerable to deterioration from pollution, and a number of them look worn down, the original sculptural shape softened and less defined. I am still not sure if I can find models that will translate well into painting.

So at the same time I had an idea in my head recently to return to some of the pigeons I have painted before, this time on a larger scale, and so yesterday I started my initial drawing for a painting.

Meanwhile, getting back into exercise is important for me physically and emotionally. I had worried that not having rigorous exercise for two weeks would be quite difficult upon my return. I had a number of workouts to do the best I could without equipment, and I did several of them, but I could feel especially with so much time spent sitting and working in a much more sedentary manner than normal, my stamina was declining. I am struggling to get back, and yesterday was my third attempt, and the most I was able to exert myself. The level of soreness and vulnerability I feel physically in my body confirms the challenge of my age, and efforts to be in decent shape. Friends my age sometimes look at me like I'm crazy, but for me the price I pay by not doing it is far more painful and lethal to both physical and emotional health. I don't even feel like it's a choice- I have to do it.

Days spent talking with an artist friend in the mountainside at the residency were very precious to me. Listening to another artist, whose work is very different, but someone whose career and life is devoted to art, was so valuable. Some of the dilemmas in my mind in the past year, and challenges, especially in terms of being an independent woman and artist, finding my place, vision, and expression as an artist, were shared and meaningful to my friend and her life. I feel energized and in some sense more determined to work further to express my individual views, talents, and expressions through my art and life, shedding societal bias, social pressures, and outdated views the world has of women
at middle age. I feel freer, rejuvenated, and emboldened to develop myself further. I have a clearer vision of what my next steps are, after a period of a lot of reflection, and hovering. I feel inspired.

A new view