Art in the Time of Coronavirus

art shows new art studio works in progress

Things are very strange right now. I suppose it goes without saying. To me things are mostly the same. I spend great swaths of time alone anyway, and have for most of my life. I grew up inside the Wenatchee National Forest in Washington, where there weren't a lot of year-round residents and not much to get out and see other than trees. But there is still a weird feeling in the air. I don't know if it's the feeling of unpredictability, or that everyone else is on edge, or what, exactly. I was frankly shocked when we went to the grocery store on Friday night. We will be eating some strange combinations of food this week since nearly all the staple items were gone by the time we got there.

It's a little funny to me that I happen to be working on a painting of the Spirit of Columbia as all of this is happening.

I was recently asked to be the Artist Guest of Honor for LibertyCon in June, and of course I accepted. I love LibertyCon and look forward to it all year. I immediately knew I wanted to paint Columbia for the convention's art. I think she will be on t-shirts and badges, perhaps also program books? I forget. I'm hopeful that our American spirit of adventure and embracing the unknown will shine through in these bizarre and startling times. I'm hopeful that people will practice some of that old fashioned American practicality and stay home when they can. And I really hope that people will also embrace whatever it is that makes us tough enough to suck it up and stop buying 92 rolls of toilet paper.

For me, things are pretty much the same, but I have been thinking a lot more about how many rolls of toilet paper I have left. I had an art show coming up this month, but it has been postponed. It was local for me so no sweat, no reservations to cancel or airlines to fight with. A lot of my friends haven't been so lucky. Many have lost thousands on flights, hotels, and other fees associated with exhibiting at conventions, plus the lost business. I make most of my money at home, but conventions are still a big chunk of my income, so I know how much they're hurting. I hope that we can all stay home so we get this thing over with and conventions can get back on track before the year is a wash-out, and before it takes my friends' art businesses with it.

 For the rest of the day I'll be working on the ocean behind Columbia, and then I'll be onto the next thing. "Gems of Summer" has already sold, even though I haven't started it yet, so I've picked out the colors and I'm ready to switch to that piece as soon as Columbia is set to dry.

Here are the two color mock-ups for these pieces. I used to make these digitally or in watercolor, but that didn't really make sense. Then I'd spend most of my time trying to figure out how to make my oil paints match what I had done somewhere else. Now I just print out little copies of the paintings, gesso them with clear primer, and go to town with oils until I figure out which ones to use on the final. Then I keep these little studies and take a lot of notes along the way so whenever I get to the final project I remember what I was going to do.

I hope that you're well and you stay healthy, whoever you are and wherever you happen to be. Share the TP with your neighbors and be kind to those that still have to go outside and work. I'll just be here on my island, painting the waves and looking forward to the flowers that I am sure are coming after all this rain.

(Oh, and if you're concerned about ordering things, I'm still shipping as long as the mail lady will come get it and I'm a habitual Clorox-wiper, glove-wearing germaphobe, so you could probably eat off of anything in my studio if not for all the questionable pigments and solvents.)


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