I think it is safe to say that none of us will forget 2020. Before the current unpleasantness hit our shores, I was looking to the new year anticipating a break out year! January was the month that our gallery hosts an exhibit of its new artists from the prior year, of which I was one. We held a Roaring Twenties themed reception, and celebrated joyously.
The next goals on my radar included entering a Celebration of Women juried show and a group show with three other artists. I was painting, and painting, and framing, and painting and framing some more. I had inventory typed up, reception items in the pantry, and invitations in hand. Then, things started sounding ominous. In a matter of days, everything ground to a halt. Gallery closed; exhibition cancelled. The show I entered took place, but my daughter had been sick that week, so I didn’t attend the opening.
The next thing I knew, my daughter’s internship and my husband’s job both became virtual and in the home. In the busyness of two other adults around all day, I abandoned making art; I doom scrolled John Hopkins, CDC, and WHO sites. My anxiety increased to the point I found myself holding my breath for no reason. Many artists make art to ward off depression or to keep their minds off troubling matters, but I just didn’t want to paint. I had painted intensely for several months and felt as if I had exhausted my inspiration. I binged Love is Blind, (but skipped Tiger King), created an island in Animal Crossing and waited for the world to get past the pandemic.
The Florida Watercolor Society Convention, like most in-person events, shifted to a virtual event. Artists learned video production and editing and a week of workshops, demonstrations, happy hours, and an exhibition review were attended on screens. It was well-attended and spirits were high! All of a sudden my social media feeds were rife with online class offerings! Some of my dream instructors were available on Zoom! As much as I miss in person workshops, the convenience of this is something I hope continues.
The world has shifted and I’ve learned that I need to keep showing up. I’ve gone through a stack of unfinished work and completed a few. Holiday commissions have been coming in. My paints are wet and I’m ending the year with a brush in hand. I wish I had spent the year being more productive than ever, but I’m granting myself and others grace in this terrible time. Stay safe in the coming months and may creativity find you.
Nancy Murphree Davis