Ten years ago I was caught in a snowstorm and almost didn’t make it home for the night. I worked in a department that was considered “vital”, Public Health Protection, so when the skies darkened and others worked from home my department was required to be there.
That night the roads were too dangerous to drive. I luckily caught a train to Brewster, NY and then an intrepid cab driver took me home.
This year, we have had no snow that accumulated breaking records of the least amount of snow for 50 years. I feel the change in the weather and the times and perhaps it is just the perspective you get as you age, but I feel a change. Whether it is global warming, changing El Nino or La Nina or the move out of the Holocene to the Antropocene I don’t know. But it is change that I feel a tad uneasy about. I came across a photo I took waiting and hoping for a cab at the train station and turned it into this drawing “Homeward Bound”.
A few years ago we visited Finland and north of Helsinki we visited a historic artists colony. I snapped a photo of a lake just as someone in a canoe came into view, past some scupltures of birds. My latest painting, “The Wind on the Lake”. Oil on Canvas. I have been experimenting with minimalism and paint texture recently. 22 x 22 inches.
I know I said I was going to spend a year working on 24 x 36 inch canvas in a minimalistic style. But sometimes my muse just wants me to paint a happy owl. Meet fluffy! And for those a fan of my black and white or more neutral work, yes, my black paints are laid out in the studio and more minimalism is coming.
The Covid pandemic has been a time of solitude. Of coolness. Of stagnation. Now as we are getting our vaccines and lockdowns are starting to be lifted, we can once again start to experience the warmth of being with other people. I find a hug, just warms me to the core. Touch is a powerful thing.
“The Power of Touch” Oil on Canvas. 24 x 36 inches.
“Flour Power” In 2020 many people turned to the soothing art of baking while in lockdown. Here is my still life with my baking tools, instead of vases of flowers.
A few things happened during the pandemic. People, unable to go out, to entertain turned to cooking and crafts and art. I have always baked my own bread. One day I went to the store and not a single bag of flour was to be found, the same for yeast. I found alternate sources and instead of buying yeast by the jar, I had to buy it by the pound from commercial sites. I learned to bake with Einkorn flour and learned the nuances of the different types of artisanal flours and raised my baking to a new level. The scent of bread in the house made us feel secure, and the loaves that came out of my oven, eased the fears we might not be able to get one or another item. Still lives are usually done with flowers in elaborate silver vases on rich tablecloths. But during the pandemic, flour had power.
“Intermission” Oil on Canvas. I originally painted this solely as a background, but as I sat in front of it, about to paint some detail on top, I just felt soothed by the colors and the motion of the brush strokes. The painting said “I am, as I am, enough.” So after the Covid panic and the wild election season of 2020, a calm intermission. Let’s hope the play has a ending that pleases all.
I painted this during 2020, trying to record in images what was occurring around me in the pandemic. Oil on Canvas 3 x 4 feet.
There are a lot of images. First you can see the flag is divided to represesnt the discord that we see in 2020. The red and blue stars represent the states fighting over so many things this year. Fear about election security. Protests turing to riots, political discord, and fear of the future. It’s a lot for a small blue planet.
And even though we are a small blue planet, we are even smaller in the scope of the universe. With all the energy and vastness of the universe, a tiny biological particle, a virus has brought us to our knees. People are in denial that it is as contagious as it is so we see a second wave, healthcare workers over come, and the fastest research for a vaccine this planet has seen.
The virus started in China, and China was not transparent in the early days, hoarded medical equipement and supplies and let it spread to the world without concern for the other people in the world. Here I show the angel of death, a bat (one suspected source of the virus) and a cheating pig with a ace up his sleeve outside an ICU. Yes, I see You China and Xi Jinping.
But hope is on the way with vaccines for the virus released and near release worldwide. The dove is symbol of hope and I painted the fluid in the syringes gold, as it is liquid gold.
And 2021 is near.
And you would think that would be enough for 2020. But for the first time in 800 years on December 21st 2020 Jupiter and Saturn will conjunct, appearing as a bright star. Some astronomers say this may have what was seen as the Star of Bethlehem, the first Christmas so many many years ago. A sign of hope. So the top of my painting depicts that conjunction. We end with hope.
This is how the world feels to be right now. We all exist in a form of isolation between the sea and the sky. Summer is here, but it is not bright with plans of parties and BBQs. The world is split between those who believe Covid-19 is just another flu go out and catch it and get it over with, with little regard to others. And those who know the science that it causes inflammtion in the blood vessels of the lungs and much more and is very different and much more damaging than influenza. I watched neighbors throw Memorial Day Parties (against all directives). The county I live in, in NY, #PutnamCounty had zero new cases day after day before Memorial Day. But after the parties we have had ten new cases every day. I will muse about the future between the sea and the sky.
Owl Go Shopping Now
One thing that has changed has been how we go out and what people hoarded. It turned out what we most feared was not having toiliet paper. Now I can’t find paper napkins, I assume the factories are now making masks. It is making me wonder how much I really need. Why not just use the cloth napkins and wash them, that I usually save for company.
Owl go shopping now speaks to me about how we have to mask up and worry when we go out, but also on assessing needs. It seems I can get away with not having as much convenient disposible items. And that stuff made in China.. Oh no! #JustSayNo to #MadeinChina. Not only because of Covid-19 but also because of their poor human rights record.
Milan Memories 2020
“Milan Memories” I started painting this when most of the outbreak was in Milan. About a decade ago I visited cousins there, and remember a warm night, a restaurant by a canal, people dining, walking, talking socializing. This is my wish for a return to that normal.
Sadly, as sometimes happens with media, the internet ate my blog. I’ve restored most of the posts but I think I will be turning some of the older posts off. It will take a little time to restore the images as well. The blog is not dead, just undergoing a little rehablilation.
In case you missed some of my latest paintings:
The Wessex Wyvern
The Tonttu: A Finnish Elfe
Between the Sea and the Sky
Garden Catalog Promises
A Day at the Beach: Exploring Painting with Cold Wax
When I paint birds and owls, I look at how they interact with other animals and other birds. And then I think of how humans interact. Often we have modified our means of communication and travel so we communicate far beyond the local territory that constrains a bird.
Some of my paintings are meant to open the door to discussion, such as Hash-tag Hoot where the father owl is tweeting #Hoot on his cell phone. Or Odd Birds in the Family Tree, where in the same painting are found American Owls and owls found on far flung continents.
Here I have collected a few of them. Enjoy!
I admit, a few bears, and foxes and other critters snuck into the gallery as well.
My Cold Toes
Foxy Gets Married in the Enchanted Forest
The Trickster (aka Foxy) in Love.
In Your Dreams
(Painting not availble, donated for fund raising to the Ridgefield Guild of Artists)