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'Every day, good day'

August 29, 2017


For 40 consecutive days this spring, Wendy Wan, ’18, went to Pony Pasture on the James River to paint what she saw. As she wrote in a blog post about the project, she initially felt frustrated by not being able to finish her pieces during her visits. Over time, her growing connection to the river pushed that frustration aside:

“This got worse and worse every single day,” she wrote. “All my doubts on whether I could paint burst out, and I started to think maybe my drawing technique was not good enough or maybe I just don't have the eyes for painting. I felt like I couldn’t paint anymore. I wanted to quit. 

“So I went to the river as [if] it was my last time. I did not care about making a perfect painting anymore. I was just there. It was just me and the river. By the time I had to leave, only a third of the canvas is filled. As usual, I went back and hung it up.

“For the first time after so many days, I felt something in my painting. I felt a connection, between me and the river. I felt I was there. I wasn’t there to paint. I was just there. And it was my river, the river that no one else can see the same. I was completely present to the moment. ... Maybe to be human is to slow down, is to take your time and to be totally present to the moment so that you get the worth of every second.”