PANDEMIC BLOG POST- SEPTEMBER- #2
What Am I Doing During The Pandemic? I have been keeping one foot in the studio and one foot in the garden. My garden had been neglected over the past few years, so I weeded and transplanted for what seemed like months but was rewarded with a bountiful veggie garden and flourishing vibrant flower gardens. All this outside garden work inspired me to incorporated floriculture into some new fun artworks. On the business side I applied for a Grant to add e-commerce to my website so I can try and keep my artwork propagating around the world!
I also integrated meditation into my daily life to quiet the worry and uneasiness of this bewildering and complicated time. So grateful for the sounds of summer. A band of neighborhood children, who’s cheerful voices have entertained me during the long HOT July and August days. PLUS masks!! Can’t forget I made a heap of masks.
For me, the pandemic inspired me to have weekly painting sessions over FaceTime with my mother, who resides in CT. We started painting every Tuesday night, and in the process, I was able to create a whole new series of work inspired by my visit to Costa Rica in January. It has also helped me be with my mother in the best way that I can, and to nurture the special relationship that we have. I have been focusing on the outdoor show that I do every year, Art on the Trails, that has drawn great crowds because of the lack of other art viewing opportunities. I have a show at my local library that is inaccessible since the library closed in March, but the staff took videos of all of the work and featured individual works every day for a few weeks as a way of giving my show attention.
These 3 images are the result of a 3-day (9 hr total) Zoom workshop that I enrolled in, taught by Wayne Montecalvo, an R&F instructor. I signed up for this workshop “Digital Images & Encaustic ” before Covid, expecting to travel to Kingston NY in March. Cancelled of course, so I took a chance and paid a to take the class on-line…a virtual learning experience, my first. The jury is still out on whether I’d do it again. I found it extremely hard to stay engaged just watching a monitor and listening, often to questioning participants whose presence was unreal. Setting up my ipad in my studio helped as I was then able to work while I listened. I certainly learned a few tips and concepts but I feel these workshops are far higher priced than need to be. At a certain price-point, say $100 (we paid 4x that), there is value. Gotta be a great money-maker for those who want to teach on-line. Hope this helps those considering taking the virtual dive.
The thing that is getting me through these hard days is having a studio to go to. I’ve never had the space to create large works and make large marks. I’ve made 10 large collage pieces since the pandemic hit and now I’m working on a book project. In the mix is a print portfolio I’m working on. Days where I feel like I haven’t accomplished much, my husband reminds me that I don’t have an efficiency manager to answer to. Good days find me in the studio making art, listening to podcasts, reading, taking a zoom class; bad days find me horizontal convinced I have Covid-19. Most days are somewhere in the middle. Now that I’m retired and the million details of my job are gone, my mind feels liberated. Here is an image of some mark making for collage pieces — simple but beautiful.
I am a member of Galatea Fine Art in Boston. We shut down abruptly in the middle of my show in mid-March due to the pandemic. What a blow-out reception we had on First Friday, March 6! The gallery was packed with people in the hallway. Cheek to jowl. Sold a lot of work. In addition to the pandemic, there was a massive water line break that flooded many spaces in the SOWA district at that same time. There was extensive damage to our space and some work was destroyed (not mine) But we are re-opening! Friday September 4 from 6-8pm is the first First Friday since March. The number of people in the gallery will be limited and face masks required. No food or drink will be served. Our first show will be a group show that will be up through the end of October. Here’s to hope for a return to gallery shows!
The pandemic has haunted my night dreams and my day work. I have made prints about contact tracing, two non-functional face masks on Encaustiflex, a black and white encaustic piece about racial tension, paintings of people dancing alone, and one picture in early April titled “Keep Your Distance”. This picture was and is in a virtual show, and won an award from the New Bedford Art Museum. When the museum opened its doors last month, they asked the award winners to bring their works in for a mini-representation of the virtual 2020 Member’s show. The Providence Art Club galleries have also reopened; I’m happy to be hanging in two actual shows right now.
Since March I have been quietly making art in my studio and safely distancing myself from fellow artists. Although my art building is now open to visitors, I am closed during First Fridays and SoWa Sundays choosing to open by appointment only. The longstanding pandemic is teaching me to slow down, value what is most important, and make better choices so as to bring more balance and harmony into my life.