What have I been doing during the pandemic? Everything I love to do. A
friend gave me sourdough starter last fall, so we’ve been eating A LOT
of bread. And I got an Instant Pot for Valentine’s which I thought was
pretty unromantic, but as it turns out I’m having a love affair with it!
I’m working more than ever as a psychotherapist, all remote. Doesn’t
“remote” sound weird in the context of therapy? A “remote” therapist?! I
have been playing the guitar and singing, working my way through the
bluegrass songbook. Playing with our new puppy Acadia, our companion to
Sasha who is now 10. Both chocolate English labs. And spending time in my studio. I’m working on a series of 10 pieces, each 10″ square. Here is the first one, entitled “Ring the bells that can still ring” which is a line from Leonard Cohen. Gardening, hiking. In our little bubble in western Connecticut, weathering this in our house in the woods. Meanwhile the sky is falling. Such a strange, disturbing time.
Stephanie Roberts Camello:
When the pandemic hit and shut down my two shows that were already installed, and really everything I had planned, I could do nothing for about a week but watch the news, check on my folks, and worry. I brought my sketchbook home and some paints to use while the t.v. was on, but found it all very uninspiring. I continued to worry, but remembered a project of using shibori techniques that I had been sewing on muslin before this all began. I pulled it out and found hand stitching to be a calming and centering process. With time on my hands, I made some shibori folds on more of the same fabric, dyed it in an indigo dye bath (which I had in storage) and sewed up a few pillow cases.
I also made lots of masks like so many of us and found if I was going to start painting again I would have to unplug from the internet and radio from time to time. A kind of self preservation. I continue to stay secluded and limit my trips out as there is so much uncertainty still.
Dona Mara Friedman:
“Stay at home“ has given us opportunities and setbacks. We usually work a number of different part time jobs which keep us connected to our community and allow us a living. With the art center, local theater, galleries and inns all closed, we have time for other interests. These times have allowed both my husband and I to concentrate on helping the gardens to flourish. The connection to nature, which is my constant source of ideas for painting, is now also our sanctuary and will be our food source. Being herbalists we have a keen eye for native, nutritious plants and now more than ever are focused on living from the land. Living in the country with six acres the possibilities are many, the photo shows one of our gardens.
Dietlind Vander Schaaf:
What am I doing during the pandemic? I am gardening up a storm. I’ve always gardened a little, but over the past few years that has taken a backseat to teaching. With travel plans and workshops on hold or cancelled, I’ve had lots of extra time and being outside as much as possible is how I like to spend it. For most of April and May I painted nonstop in my studio, but as soon as it was warm enough to do so, I began working in my yard. I’ve planted annuals and coaxed my perennials. I’ve added a bunch of new plants and shrubs. I’ve mulched and weeded and moved things around. I’m growing tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, two kinds of beans, lettuce, kale, chard, and a ton of herbs. But mostly, I grow flowers. Making my yard into a work of beauty featuring as many native and pollinator-friendly plants as possible has been life-affirming to me. As a bonus, I hired my friend’s 14 year old daughter to help me. I have known her since she was 5 and I am like an auntie to her. We get to spend quality time together and she makes a little money to boot.
What Am I Not Doing During The Pandemic? I am not traveling to teach and I am not going out to restaurants. I miss both of those things. I love traveling and I love teaching. I had plans to travel to Chicago for a work conference, Ontario to teach, and Minnesota to exhibit and teach with my friend Jodi. I missed going to Provincetown for the International Encaustic Conference, which I look forward to every year. I had a workshop in Rhode Island at the Providence Art Club that has been postponed until next year.
Although I have been able to run a small class with three students and I’ve done some privates, it’s mostly been me alone in my enormous studio painting. I look forward to teaching again with larger groups. Teaching is my passion and where I thrive.
Pamela Dorris DeJong:
Things I am Doing During the Pandemic: Marathon telephone sessions with my daughters, playing with hairpieces, making books for postcards, gardening, cooking, completing self assessment nurse practitioner exams, renewing all of my various licenses, creating a Blurb book for Mother’s Day, postcard making, photo session with a professional photographer, spring cleaning, Christmas shopping, Window visits with mom at Assisted Living Facility, and last of all, painting and collage. Also I started walking every day. Mostly I am glued to the television updates on whatever is going on. There is so much going on, the anxiety sometimes gets the better of me. Then I smoke a little cannabis.
I have been spending some unpleasant hours trying to clean up and clear out my old attic studio space. I run into too many odd things that say “use me with encaustic”. So now there’s even more junk stuffed into my small garage studio! It’s really hard for me to throw things out. Since running into some woodcuts, etchings, press proofs, drawings, etc. from college, I’ve been trying to salvage some by putting them on panels, painting over with encaustic, trying to turn them into something new. An etching proof (lower center) is one that I think I’ve finished or repurposed. A black woodcut on rice paper, now with encaustic paint under it, is on a board under the nude.
What Am I Doing During The Pandemic? This pandemic morphed my busy life to a settled stillness. Watercolor paintings of objects in my home kept me ground and engaged when my mind was bouncing all over the place. It became a form of meditation. Now, as the world moves more again, I have stayed quiet. I made room for a “still life” in the most literal sense and I love it.
What Am I Doing During The Pandemic. Two of our adult children, Zac and Jacob, live by themselves and are working from home. With seriously curtailed social lives, they have been filling some of their free time playing virtual games with my husband, Ron, and me. We connect by Zoom (usually through our computers) and play Settlers of Catan (Catan HD app) or Codenames (horsepaste.com) on secondary devices. I love playing games, but Ron…not so much. It’s rare that I can coax him into a game of Scrabble or Rummy when it’s just the two of us. However, this opportunity to spend time hanging with our kids, as well as adding a little variety to otherwise uneventful days, has engaged all of us. I am savoring this game time, appreciating that in better times we will certainly share less time together. Zac lives in Los Angeles, and Jacob in D.C., so this virtual family game time has been the silver lining of the pandemic for me. I’m not sure how creative this is, but it certainly lifts my spirits and sustains me so I’m able to focus and move forward in my studio practice.
How I spent my Pandemic Spring. Rescheduling canceled workshops and exhibitions. Applying for loans and grants. Learning Zoom, and video editing. Re-writing workshop syllabi. Photographing demonstration materials. Attempting bread-making again, not finding yeast, finding flour; finding yeast, not finding flour. Photographing artwork, mounting work to panels, wiring and labeling, and delivering paintings. Coping with anger and despair at selfishness, ineptitude and outright corruption in our country. Coping with sorrow for those who could not be with dying family members. Coping with fear and despair about the environment. Coping with dismay over paper and plastic bags from the supermarket, and our transfer station not accepting recyclables, Being grateful for my health and my family’s health. Being grateful that my studio is in a barn on my own property a gallery owner who was willing to open safely. Being grateful that my business was deemed essential and I could keep my employees working and paid. Being grateful for gardening clients who offered to pay us anyway.