A decent amount of work, both finished and unfinished, started to stack up in my studio. New empty canvases hung out waiting for their moment to shine. Tubes of unopened paint and a new shipment of pandemic expensive lumber arrived to flesh out my personal supply chain. I was encouraged by the small but enthusiastic students that continued classes with me with some online classes. All seemed good, as long as my thoughts didn’t turn outside too often.
Police riots, Capitol riots, sociopathic, tone deaf responses to the pandemic kept polluting my thoughts. My sketchbook was filling quickly with sketches to bring my thoughts to a head. I always tell my students drawing and painting is just visual communication. Sketching an idea over and over makes that communication concise, which is essential to getting your point across.
My sketching was turning in a different direction. Fantastical worlds filled with rays of sun, traditional mannerist/baroque figures, natural settings, and nods to mythology. I can attribute a lot of this to the almost daily thoughts I carried in my head from my trip to Europe, just before the world lit on fire in December, 2019. I kept retracing my steps through the four days I spent at the Louvre, the decorative stronghold Stockholm’s National Museum was, the baroque and outlandish ecstasy of the Polish art I witnessed in Warsaw’s National Museum.
I started pulling out some paintings I started months earlier that were closer to my earlier sketches. They were of a soft mythological/historical basis. They had their own stories embedded in them, allegories to everything going on today, but dressed up for a different era.
With the return to some of my older works, I started to envision having two different shows. The concept gestated quickly. One would be the political show, cheekily called ‘Greatest Hits: 2020-2021’, the other, of a more fantastic, visually appealing manner called ‘The B Sides’. I’ve long though of my bodies of work in terms of old school albums. Thinking of putting together two shows feels like a double album to me.
My work zoomed through spring pretty well, but started to slow down as I was now fully vaccinated and planning my first trip to see my family in a year. The previous summer I found a super cheap car rental and plowed through the 1200 miles to see my family, but flying seemed like such a faraway luxury I still was a bit anxious about things. Everything went great and it was a good reprieve to see my family again.
After a couple of weeks I returned to Kansas City and contemplated my next moves. I’m feeling a bit worn out painting and creating new work in my studio. With visits from family and friends coming up next month, my attentions started to switch to entertaining during a pandemic.
Here’s Dear Prudence from Siouxsie and the Banshees