“When COVID-19 abruptly upended our lives last year, it separated us from the routine and events that usually root our lives in time — work, school, dates, social outings, sports events, ceremonies, travel, the things we plan for and look forward to. Life tends to be a blur without those anchors,” Ruth Ogden concluded after studying people’s perceptions of time during lockdown. I can totally relate to those findings, yet despite all of the blurred lines, I’ve had a few tangible successes in my art career this year.
Creatively, I was going strong for a little while.
One of my greatest accomplishments this year has been working on my website, ArtfulPursuits.com. In addition to blogging regularly, I opened my online store selling art and art prints. It was quite the learning curve to create the product listings, establish an eCommerce portion to the site, and integrate it with print-on-demand services.
I was also ecstatic to participate in my first art gallery exhibit. I submitted a piece called “A Stitch in Time” in November created as part of the USPS Art Project. It was accepted and exhibited at InLiquid, a gallery in Philadelphia at the Park Towne Place Art Studio.
I completed a book for the Sketchbook Project that lives in the Brooklyn Art Library and might someday travel in the Bookmobile. Our volume’s (16) Bookmobile tour was canceled due to COVID, but maybe they will take the volume for a post-pandemic spin. Regardless, I can’t wait to get to New York and visit the library!
I crossed the finish line of #the100dayproject in 2020. My project was #100stitchedcanvases where I collaged, painted, and embroidered on stretched canvases. I’m very proud of the body of work I produced and the techniques I developed. If you’re interested, check out this blog post to get a better idea of how to embroider on a canvas.
Another fun opportunity arose when a book creator asked for permission to use one of my art journal pages as an illustration in his collaborative book about Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I’ve seen the draft and I’m proud to be involved in such a cool project. If you follow me on Instagram, I’ll certainly announce when the book is released.
I’m proud of these accomplishments, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that COVID has made me less productive than I hoped. I don’t have a daily art practice like I did pre-COVID and I don’t have a new collection to laud.
I lost my job. The kids moved to online school with very little structure. Happy hours became Zoom events. Sports had cardboard cutout fans in bizarrely quiet stadiums. Highly anticipated weddings were postponed, art classes were suspended until the organizers finally admitted they weren’t going to happen, and a trip to Italy was sadly refunded eradicating hope that I might return to Europe soon. It was all very unsettling.
For the majority of the year, I called myself a Home School Manager. I have one kid in elementary, one in middle school, and one in high school. All 3 of them were home for over a year. Now, they’re in a strange hybrid schedule of in-person and online school that leaves us with slightly more structure, but less time. I drive to and from schools with short interludes 4 times a day. I feel like I’m sputtering. I start something and then have to stop.
It’s all a bit of an energy zap; as a result, my mojo has waned.
Transitions & Goals
This summer, we’re PCSing from the Seattle area back to DC. It’s a big move, but I’m looking forward to the transition as a turning point, a fresh start. We bought a house in Northern Virginia. I have a gorgeous space for my art studio flooded with natural light and forested views. I love setting up my new art studio each time we move. Unpacking all of my supplies always inspires me, and new surroundings fuel my practice.
Once we get settled, I want to return to my sketchbook and resume my daily art meditations. I also want to get back to my Bujo Art Journal practice. I really enjoyed it, but a calendar just didn’t have a lot of purpose once everything shut down.
On the business side, I am preparing to produce an online art class. When I set up the new studio, I will devote an area for filming. That will also help me meet my goal of regularly adding videos to my YouTube channel, Instagram, and blog.
No one could have predicted the pandemic and all of its casualties — literally and figuratively. I wish I had spent the year being uber productive, but I’ll take the small wins, big plans, and try to grant myself some grace. In the coming year, may we all return to some form of normalcy in our daily lives and may our creativity be abundant.
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