Above All Things

When You Wish Peony Garden 2
When You Wish Peony Garden, 20X20, oil, information

For the first time, I have a peony bush, and this tough little bloomer is already sprouting buds! I feel a bit like an expectant Mama, fretting over the soil, making sure tender tendrils are snug and covered on chilly nights, and asking hubby to remove a couple of stones at the base, just in case they cramped her style. My neighbor Courtney, when I pinned her down on the subject from a politely social distance across lawns this morning, admitted she didn’t remember what color the blossoms were last year, but said she was pretty sure they were pink. *cue heart bubbles*

Sometimes it takes the smallest little thing to incite a new painting in my studio, and an excuse to ring in pink peonies was today’s alibi for dipping the brushes into permanent rose. Daily painting has been ramped up considerably since this period of color contagion first began, and on some days I’ve been painting two to three new works. Many are canned, wiped, or set on the drying shelf with a sad sigh (do you ever express that sad sigh after a painting didn’t turn out how you envisioned?) Before every painting, I decide that whatever happens; good, bad or ugly; this is a study. Living a life in a state as a Permanent Work in Progress helps alleviate high expectations, and keeps the flower police at bay. As often as I tell my students that we are in a “judgment free zone,” I am just as guilty as anyone of being hypercritical of my own work.

But there is one thing I know for certain: If anything is going to lift us (me) through these strange days, painting will be the gift that gives back, energizes, and restores that feeling of hope and joy. It’s been said that we will look back at this time as the moment that the world stopped, took a deep breath, and picked up a book (or paintbrush) for the first time in years. Maybe this pause that has restored and refreshed Mother Nature and the air around us, will also be the balm that heals hearts too busy to process, too busy to rest, and too busy, in the past, to love the simple things that bring us joy. Be safe flower friends, you are loved.



Dominique Eichi roses

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Nancy Medina

Nancy is a master signature artist and instructor with over 1800 online students from around the world. She has worked with Disney, served on the art faculty of the Dallas Arboretum, and teaches workshops in France, Italy and across the US. More about Nancy

Reader Interactions


  1. Who doesn’t love Peonies…swoon!
    I just picked some today…first blooms, but rain on the way
    so it was sort of a rescue mission, lol. Rain sometimes
    weighs them down into the dirt…yikes!
    One caution Nancy ~every insect around will be attracted
    to their fabulous scent…so give them a gentle upside down
    shake when picked to avoid bringing little buggies inside 🙂
    LD – in Tennessee

    • That’s great advice Lynda! I’ll remember to shake them before bringing them into the studio. And I can hardly blame the bugs, if I were a bug, I’d want to live on a peony, too! : )

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