Pandemic Painting Post
How I managed to keep my sanity, and some of my jobs, in 2020.
When things started shutting down, I had several projects in the works, but the one scheduled for the week of March 16th ended up being my last for a while.
Obviously I’m not an essential business. But I work alone, and for most of my jobs, I can be isolated in the space I am painting. So I thought the lockdown would be short-lived for me. However, things pretty much shut down all around. Larger projects were canceled, and many of my clients didn’t want people in their homes. After 10 weeks of nothing, the few jobs I had were ones I had already been working on with clients. Two who were moving, (the moves were still happening on schedule), and one expecting a baby, (which was also going to happen on schedule), and also a project on canvases, which I could do from home and safely deliver. In between, I was mostly able to fight for and collect some independent contractor’s pandemic unemployment relief.
Otherwise, here’s what got me through:
Expressive Arts Burlington open studio
My childhood ballet buddy and friend Topaz owns and operates an awesome Expressive Arts Studio in Vermont. I went to virtual open studio every week and had a guaranteed 2-hour creative session every Thursday! I made some fun projects and experimented in ways I wouldn’t if I were busy with jobs. I still pop in from time to time! http://expressiveartsburlington.com/
Painting projects at home
My favorite home project was the fake fireplace I painted on canvas to cover our firebox opening. Otherwise, I painted my front porch flower pots, my front porch benches, the basement foundation walls, refinished some lamps. Nothing terribly creative, but it kept me painting. Painters gotta paint!
A few projects for friends
Things I could do from home and either deliver safely in person or by mail. I painted a few small, informational signs, and a pair of converse hi-tops.
On a whim, I entered a canvas painting I did for my home into a virtual gallery show, and it was accepted! That inspired me to paint another canvas specifically to enter into another exhibit which was also accepted! That exhibit was virtual as well as in-person, my first experience as a gallery artist! (and maybe a new regular part of my work?) https://www.monmoutharts.org/sanctuary
Even if I didn’t have anything going on, I would post some previously unshared projects on IG and FB, just to keep my presence out there.
Eventually in the late fall, some small projects started creeping back into my schedule, and some clients started discussing bigger projects for 2021.
Some perspective– After the terrorist attacks in 2001, I thought for sure my business was going to end. People were sad, scared, serious, and (I thought) not interested in “frivolous luxuries” like decorative painting projects. The opposite turned out to be true, and the years after that ended up being some of my best. People were nesting and wanted comfort and beauty in their surroundings.
This is how I started to feel about the time of COVID. People have been spending so much more time at home, and that will likely continue. People who have been safely working, studying or teaching from home, staring at the same home surroundings all year, will be ready for changes! When this pandemic blows over, I’m looking forward to getting back to a busy schedule. I can see it starting to happen, even as Covid data is not cooperating as a factor yet. Vaccines are here. I’m optimistic. C’mon, aren’t you ready for something new and exciting to look at in your place?
Here are just a few of my Covid-era projects: