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Illustration of 2 couples from the 1920s having a picnic in a field by the Jamestown, Rhode Island old windmill. The couples accompanied by 2 Jack Russell Terriers.  Jamestown's famous white striped cows (belted Galloway) are pictured in the background.
**click illustration to enlarge**
(watercolor illustration on paper, 18X24, 2012)

"Midsummer Luncheon"

"Midsummer Luncheon" is my visual love song for picnics, an awesome (in my humble opinion) pastime that's unfortunately turning into a thing of the past, overshadowed by the house BBQs that don't require as much effort from a growingly lazy population.

Growing up in a city some of my funnest memories are of day trips with picnics somewhere in the middle of nowhere. As teenagers my friends and I would pull together our measly resources, buy supplies and take a train to the countryside. We'd spend the day on a lake or in the woods. The guys would gather fire wood, while the girls swam or picked wild flowers to make the head wreath from. Closer to the evening we'd all sit down around the fire, have a couple of beers, and enjoy our food (usually shish kabobs). My friends took turns telling jokes or somebody played the guitar. There was always at least one guitar and all of us loved to sing regardless whether we were tone-deaf (like yours truly). Anybody could bring a friend or an acquaintance with them and that's how new friendships and new relationships were forged.

Back then, life in the newly-independent Ukraine of the early 1990's was no picnic (no pun intended). There were gangs, out-of-control crime and long lines for food. And yet we didn't have random school shootings by video-game obsessed loners. We were always outside hanging out with old friends or meeting new ones. I'm fully aware that some might find me old-fashioned, but I also know that I made others nostalgic for the good old days. The truth is that the good old days are not over. Yes, there is a ton of new technology, however, it doesn't mean you can't turn your cell off, and go have a picnic with your friends somewhere in the middle of the woods.

"The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters."
Audrey Hepburn

"We can't buy one minute of time with cash; if we could, rich people would live longer."
O. Henry

"What is your hosts' purpose in having a party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were the their sole purpose, they'd have simply sent Champagne and women over to your place by taxi."
P.J. O'Rourke