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  • Writer's pictureAnna Kulseth


Experiences inspire. They stay with us, long after the credit card bill that made it possible is paid, and often times the best experiences in life are free. I’ve loved to witness, first hand, the irrelevance of an experience’s size, so-to-speak. It doesn’t matter. A grand vacation or a walk around your own block can be equally as compelling to the soul. But what determines that? We have no control over it; what moves our soul moves it, period. With no warning. No alert to pay extra attention or snap that picture before it goes away forever. But maybe that’s the point — to move the soul and not just our visual memory. And are those two things linked? The experiences that move the soul stay with us and become a part of who we are. An experience today, large or small, will affect our tomorrow, and some have the power to alter a life’s entire trajectory, albeit in tiny increments at a time. Capturing my own life experiences somehow, in a way more compelling to me than simply snapping a poorly framed photograph, makes me feel more connected to that experience’s affect on me. It’s the reason some people write in a journal, or photograph with artistic intention, or scrapbook. For me, it’s the reason I paint. This image of a flower shop in Bath, England in 2005 moves me so much that the photo has hung in every residence I’ve lived in since. It was captured during grad school on a study abroad semester in London, my first of what would become many international trips. I was the oldest in the class; in my 30s already, as the courage and confidence to attempt graduate school, let alone international travel, took me that long. On this day, several of us took a tourist day trip to Windsor, Bath and Stonehenge. I’m unsure what about this image moves me so, but I think it was the day-to-day inference of this flower shop amidst the thousands of years of history we were surrounded by. Of all the magnanimous sights to be enamored by that day, a random flower shop struck me most. Finally, thirteen years later, I painted it.


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