mark this time (COVID-19)

Two artists from the UK, who host one of my favorite podcasts, called Art Juice, decided to create a project called “Mark This Time” as a way to dedicate the creations and thoughts and experiences due to the global COVID-19 shutdown. They asked that people share their responses through Instagram and Facebook – which I think is just really cool.

We are experiencing an unprecedented situation. One that calls for artists to step up. We need positive messages. We need reportage. We need insights. We need community. We need to mark this time. The media mark this time with dramatic exaggeration. The politicians mark this time with obfuscation  — it falls on artists to mark this time by bearing witness, by being present, by documenting,  by connecting, by offering perspective – most of all by sharing our experience and letting it shine a light on the experiences of others. It falls to us to truly mark this time.” from Louise Fletcher Art.

I thought I should jot a few words down since we are in the midst of a historic event.

When things started to get bad in March, ie. governments started proclaiming things be shut down, I knew it would get worse before it got better. I didn’t run right out and buy a mask. I wasn’t panicked, but I figured everyone was going to get “sick” or at least be asymptomatic. I am no doctor, but it was pretty obvious that this flu-like virus wasn’t going to just disappear.

I had already given my two weeks at my old employer and was in the midst of training my replacement when the government starting tightening the restrictions.

I held out that my new employer had been so eager that they would make it work – whether that meant working remotely or part-time (or a combination of the two). They first pushed my start date by a week, but by that date, they had informed me that they were rescinding their offer. I worked until March 27th and that was that.

Fortunately, almost my entire family has been self-isolating so I can visit my parents and siblings. Plus, now that my sister lives with me, I am not alone at home all day. I have made three grocery trips in total. I found cloth masks for sale on my second trip and finally wore it when I stopped to grab some eggs the other day. Everyone else was also wearing masks.

I have paused my “Baby Steps.” The only thing left on my debt snowball is about $480 on my car, but because I am paid ahead, I don’t owe a payment until 2021. I am not making any money, but I am also not spending it. With no debt but my mortgage, my bills are low.

Even though I am not worried about money currently, I am worried about my job outlook. This is my fourth week of unemployment. I have had one in-person interview (which is still in progress) and one phone interview. I have applied to five jobs. I would love to be hopeful that once things go back to semi-normal that the company will offer the position to me again. However, I am not sure what that means for my job search currently.

Otherwise, I have been relaxing and taking this time to catch up on chores, read books, cook, and paint. I read Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, watched Russian Doll and Tiger King on Netflix, and knit several scarves. My art hasn’t been the main focus even though I wish it was. Sometimes, I am so nervous to paint. I get anxious that it won’t turn out as I want it to. I am proud of what I have been doing though. I should remember that.

Charlie is quite happy with the situation, as you would imagine. Every morning, as I drink coffee and watch some TV, he gets out of bed and comes to me for a good fifteen-minute rub fest.

studio time during the shutdown

I have been re-working old pieces for the past few months. When I say that, I mean in the three times I sat down to paint since the beginning of the year 2020, I have been working on the colors and perspectives of three of my old pieces.

The first piece, above, was one that I didn’t like. Even when I “finished” it the first time, it wasn’t really completed. I usually feel that way though. It always seems like I could keep working something forever. In reality, I work on it until I am bored. The Staredown still doesn’t seem finished though. I think it needs to be blended together in some way. I may need to recolor the body or add some goldenrod. I’m not sure.

I have also been playing with watercolors as a means to study color mixing. I love watercolors, but I am really bad at them to be honest. I enjoyed this session (below) of playing around with the color wheel to achieve moodiness and cohesiveness in a palette.

The other two pieces I am re-working are still in progress. Both are portraits of my sisters. They needed something more to make them come alive. I have been trying to remember that photographs only need to influence and motivate a piece; they don’t need to be duplicated in the piece. In effect, I have been attempting to be more ethereal and fantastical with the colors and backgrounds. I want my work to reflect my interpretation of the moment that was captured by the photograph.

I am really proud of the progress I made on the one below.

a lovely list – inktober 2019

I do love the word “lovely.”  I never shared these on the blog, but I did a little bit of ink work during October of last year to get into a better habit of sketching. The habit didn’t really stick, but I liked what I produced. Markers and pens have never been my go-to utensil of choice, but the practice was good for me. I like using hash marks. There is something very freeing about allowing the marks to represent a figure or shape. Enjoy!