"take flight" by Ellen Kelley McHale
“take flight” by Ellen Kelley McHale

It is the last official week of school for the seniors at Concord Carlisle High School and one of those seniors is mine.  There has been a whirlwind of activity leading up to this point: SATs, ACTs, college essays, letters of recommendation, full course loads, college applications, waiting for the mail, interviews, more waiting, acceptances, wait lists, declines, prom, varsity sports, admitted student days and finally decisions made.  I said to myself at the beginning of the year that I would not be caught up in the frenzy, that I would pause often and enjoy this last year together before he goes off to college.  But that river just sweeps you up whether you want it to or not and before you know it, you’ve landed blinking and disoriented at the end of the year.  Where did the time go? Have I done enough and given him all the tools that he needs for the next chapter?

Our boy, this wild ride, his next chapter inspired my painting called “Take Flight”

"take flight" in vintage frame
“take flight” in vintage frame

Everything I’ve painted has been a journal of our life and this is no exception. I didn’t start out to paint these birds but somehow they showed up reminding me of our son and all of his wonderful friends we’ve had the privilege of knowing all these years.  They are all flying the coop, heading out to flex their intellectual muscles and make new friends and explore new places.  The time has gone too fast but what an exciting journey it has been for us, for him, for them.  To grow someone up and feel your heart bursting with pride because they have become a good and kind human being is an amazing feeling and to know that he will land safely even though you are not by their side is comforting.

Liam: North Bridge, Concord
Liam: North Bridge, Concord


Someone once told me “The best thing a parent can give their child is wings” – I think that is so true and this is what inspired my painting “take flight” – it’s for our son and for all of his friends that are gearing up for the next chapter.

take flight: mixed media; chalk paint, acrylics, pencil on canvas 12×18

see you soon,



4 thoughts on “Take Flight

  1. Maureen Stachowicz says:

    What a beautiful post, El! You said it all and expressed it perfectly in your painting. congrats to you all!

    • Ellen McHale says:

      Thank you Aunt Maur! Today is his last official day of school, last night was his last varsity tennis match … so many lasts leading up to the next bunch of firsts. Its emotional. xx

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