This series of mixed media paintings began as an art challenge with a group of friends. Our assignment was to create an artwork that would reflect how 2020 impacted our lives with the theme “Surviving the Storm”.
As I began to reflect on the year and how I would approach this, my first thought was to do a painting of The Storm. Although my process always starts with a 2-D surface it wasn’t long into this series that 3-D nests, boats and vessels became necessary. As titles and images began to emerge I needed to create these forms like birds creating their nests, out of all kinds of foraged fibers and feathers I had in my house. I had learned to knit several years ago so I needed to knit as a cathartic and relaxing daily ritual. My one rule for this project was I wouldn’t buy any materials other than my canvas boards or paint supplies, an attempt at seeing how I could survive without going to the store for every little thing I needed or ordering it from Amazon. These paintings needed to express the tension I was feeling as well as the excitement this challenge presented as I considered the different emotional phases I was going through.
A large part of early 2020 was dealing with physical/situational/tangible changes and loss. Not being able to see family or friends or travel was the biggest challenge for those early months of covid, trying to make masks, remembering to wear them and washing hands constantly. Trying to find a new normal took a lot of energy. For the first few months that energy was spent in trying to keep life as normal as possible. The first piece Don’t Rock my Boat was all about the emotional energy it took to maintain equilibrium and comfort in spite of what I was feeling. The storm was growing.
This next period was more emotionally charged as my normal wasn't finding a new normal. By late summer what the storm hadn’t already stripped away of my cozy protected life, the Flotsam and Jetsam that had previously been so precious was no longer relevant or useful to life with Covid. The journey had become an internal one, The Royal Road to the Interior inspired by an historical marker describing one of two early roads into and through Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Then came The Great Silence as I waited for circumstances to get better. The next phase of the pandemic not only included social distancing and more stringent stay at home orders but also watching and processing what we were seeing on the news. This period was more emotionally charged as my impatience was Raging.
The realization and finally accepting that this will not be over soon nor do I have any control over it actually helped me to get refocused. Connecting with The Spirit gave me a calm and peace and with that came a freedom of acceptance and ultimately a buoyancy. The focus was no longer on my obsessive need to try and control my circumstances but a release and with that a lightness of being. Riding the Wave, is a playful representation of being in the moment because that is all I have.
Although this series was completed before any vaccinations were available these paintings still resinate as very real and meaningful stages we can go through during very hard and difficult times.