Postcards from the Pandemic I
Updated: Mar 16, 2021
I don’t know where to even start. We are all in uncharted waters. And by “we all” I literally mean everyone on the planet. This is everyone’s first crack at a pandemic. While the seriousness of COVID-19 is very much real, we aren’t turning into flesh eating zombies. None of us were around in the early 20th century for the flu pandemic that claimed millions and, except for Keith Richards, none of us were around in the mid 1300’s for the Bubonic Plague. This is of historical proportions shutting down the global economy and bringing social interactions between human beings to a screeching halt. Although, I would contest that cell phones had us practicing “social distancing” long before the Coronavirus. The only difference now is that we are forced to interact with each other from a point of separation instead of proximity. It’s the peripherals, we can’t celebrate together or enjoy the simple things like going out to eat or getting a beer from our favorite haunts.
The Scream, 1893
By Edvard Munch
Tempera, oil pastel on cardboard, 16” x 20”
This one’s going to bruise. My whole business model is based on social interaction. Along with every other self-employed small business owner, this is definitely going to bruise. Many may not recover no matter what kind of bullshit economic assistance is offered. And while Roc Paint Sip's business is going to suffer for the foreseeable future, I do believe the day will come again when we’ll paint together. For now, I must figure out how to stay relevant. I want to stay positive through all this, really, I do, but I can sense what’s coming.
Week one, unless you’re in healthcare or in some other essential profession, this seems like a break. Kids definitely don’t get it, and those working from home are starting to feel the strain of constant distractions and limited logistics to do their jobs effectively. This isn’t going away in a week, or two, we are looking at months. Every individual, couple, household and family must try to find a new routine until we’re on the other side of this curve. A large part of establishing that routine is determining how we are going to interact socially, after all, we are a social species.
By Paul Delvaux
Acrylic on paper
As the weeks progress and the statistics spike, how inclined are we stay positive. As much as I want to say we will, I suspect we won’t. There’s already a dissention regarding our nation’s leadership that’ll compound in the weeks to come. People will run out of patience with empty shelves and the utterly stupid shopping habits of numbskulls running out and buying all the canned goods and toilet paper. The vitriol will be played out daily on all the social media platforms. The whole bullshit “We’re in this together” thing will get old quick. That’s not who we are as Americans and I’m ashamed to admit it. Don’t believe me, refer to those empty shelves. There’s nothing uplifting about people making Facebook posts of themselves caterwauling “Lean on Me” in their dining rooms. The most inspiring stories, we’ll never hear about. Healthcare workers working longer shifts without proper equipment, or truckers driving overextended hours to deliver supplies to hospitals and grocery stores. Grocery store employees who are working with little regard to social distancing, those stories will go unsung too. That’s just not as inspiring as a celebrity singing with their dog. So, be patient, be kind and be thankful for the high school kid checking out your groceries. I’m trying to stay positive.
By Rene Magritte
Oil on canvas, 20” x 24”
Let’s switch gears for a moment. Except for us working from home, (with diminished capacity), we are all benefactors of open schedules and more free time. Perhaps a taste of what retirement holds? Now, it’s taken me more than a week since this COVID-19 pandemic fractured everyone’s daily routines and forced us to temporarily restructure our everyday life. So, to that end, I could have written 5 blog post by now but that's not the case. I have spent a good portion of my days in my studio finishing paintings that have been hanging around for months. I’ve started others, as well as, working on cleaning up some frames. As much as I think RPS is dormant, the reality is I must find a way to (at the very least) stay relevant. Maybe I’ll extend the catalog or make improvements to the website. Point being, outside our household chores and remote work obligations, we have a windfall of the most precious commodity, time.
The long-standing universal complaint “there’s just not enough time in the day…”, is temporarily inapplicable. You now have time to toil in a sketchbook, to paint, to plant on the couch and color in one of those fancy coloring books. You could learn a new recipe, write a poem or simply read a book or learn to meditate. I know it sounds corny but once you psychologically get past the muscle memory of a hectic daily routine and reconcile the guilt of not doing something “productive”, you truly have a great opportunity. Not the kind of opportunity that presents itself when you get vacation time off but the kind of opportunity the comes along once in a lifetime thanks to a worldwide pandemic. Our lives and daily routines will be up ended for the next couple of months, not weeks. What’s strange is we don’t have the usual distractions to get in the way either. There are no sports or going out to eat. There’s no going to the movies or art galleries or meeting friends out for drinks. Just you, and the people you’re sheltered in place with, (be it family or whoever), and this incredible windfall of time.
I’ll veer back into my lane and let’s talk painting. As mentioned, I will figure how to do an online class, if for no other reason than to entertain those that are interested in doing a simple painting, maybe for the first time. If this is done with proficiency, it may open up a whole new facet of the business. However, painting and sipping is a phenomenon where folks gather, in close proximity, to share laughs and spend time together. Much closer than 6 feet apart. Anyhow, I will post pictures of paintings I finish as well as projects in progress. I will still welcome your comments and answer questions you have about painting. Now you have plenty of time and no excuses. This is where social media can serve us positively. Not just quipping about politics, or posting pictures of whose hoarding toilet paper, but actually have quality conversations about arts and culture that can take our minds off of the Coronavirus.
Huit jours a Trebaumec
By Georges Hugnet
Yes, we are all in this together, so I don’t need to wish you were here, we’re all in this CDC imposed staycation. I don’t have much to offer other than my time and ability to paint, and I’m willing to share both. Find me on all the social media platforms, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or if you need to talk my number is 585-764-1062. Really, it’s ok, if you’re three fingers into a bottle of Tequila and wonder “What’s so great about Andy Warhol?” or “How do I blend orange and yellow to get that beautiful sunset?”. I’m here and would love to talk. Until then, wash your hands every chance you get, stay six feet apart, and find a way to express yourself.