Come fall, 'they' said it could get better. Well, that was a nice idea but after the Thanksgiving weekend it was obvious that things were not going to get naturally 'better'. We were all going to have to hunker down and wait it out until a vaccine could be developed.
Back in the spring I was due to join a number of other artists on an Artists' Residency but as happened to many events, it was postponed. This was when this group of artists joined forces to support one another with zoom meetings and art challenges. We are now well into the fall and still meeting virtually and feeling that this support has sustained us in both artistic creativity and personal support. Even though our 7th challenge has been completed we have decided to continue meeting just to chat and meeting to continue the challenges.
As we are still in the throws of a Pandemic, naturally this theme continues to be in my mind as I'm creating new work. In as much as I'm given plenty of time in my studio to accomplish lots of work, there are days when motivation is thin.
We've been told over and over that we are to stay home as much as possible to keep safe. As time has passed permissions have been given to create "bubbles" of people with whom we can keep in contact with, hence reducing the chances to catching COVID and spreading COVID. I the first painting above I was thinking very hard about "Finding My Bubble" of close people. But for the most part I chose to have a very small close bubble of people. I kept most of my socializing to zoom meetings and phone calls. It felt like a turbulent time. In the next piece, "Waiting in Line", I concentrated on life outside of home which mostly consisted of line ups of bubbled couples and distancing singles waiting for shopping, waiting for appointments and ensuring a comforting umbrella of safety.
Like every artist around the world, this year has been a challenge. On the other hand "we" have discovered new ways to work. New ways to communicate. And new ways to express what's going on with ourselves and the world.
I have always been influenced by my environment. That isn't just the geography of my neighbourhood. It includes what I see, what I can hear, what I smell and what I am experiencing as a whole. It is immersive. And now that includes our common, shared experience of this worldwide pandemic. My hubby says, "PANdemic means worldwide, stop saying, Worldwide!" But it just feels right to say the word WORLDWIDE. It brings home the magnitude of the situation.
So, YES, my work this past year has been influenced, guided and molded by the pandemic (notice, no worldwide word was used here). A few images below will explain part of that journey.
The titles may explain what each of these early small works are expressing. "The Path We've Been On!" clearly shows our wavy path on the murky ground of uncertainty. Fluid, dark but with moments of brief sparks of hope. Remember how we thought IT was over last summer? "Safely Inside" depicts our retreat back to our homes to keep ourselves safe. Last summer this was the ONLY way to feel and be safe. "One More May Enter" reminisces about that time when we were forming, selecting and enjoying our limited circles of family and friends hesitantly opening our doors to people one at a time but still keeping everyone at a socially "comfortable" distance.
I am preoccupied by the intuitive journey that paint takes me on with its colour and texture when working with layers that can be revealed through scratching back, rubbing away or lifting, to bring back the history of the previous layers.