Recently, I asked folks to send stories about animals who had changed their lives. Artist Susan McDonnell sent me her story, told through a painting. As an explanation for the painting, here is what she wrote: “In the early 2000s, I lived in a house with a small garden pond. In the late Spring, a Red Darner dragonfly took up residency. I started taking photos at a distance and got closer and closer. Over time the dragonfly let me get within inches and then let me lightly touch its wings. This dragonfly showed up every morning around 10 and patrolled the pond until around 4 pm for about 4 months. We ‘visited’ every day and I spent a lot of time quietly observing and marveling at the dragonfly’s beauty. As you can see from the photo this dragonfly was a bit of a ham.” McDonnell was already an accomplished artist, but her moments with the dragonfly were transformative. “It was at this time my paintings became more focused and detail-oriented in subject and technique,” she wrote. “All that slowing down, observing and being completely delighted every time I went to the pond and saw the dragonfly had returned had a huge influence on my paintings from […]