Until this evening I hadn’t painted for two whole weeks. That’s a long time for me. But it’s okay. I’m not bored or blocked or down and blue. In fact, I feel the exact opposite. I’m happy and excited to rekindle some past hobbies and interests. It started with yoga which my sister is into too so we’ve had fun discussing what poses we can and can’t do and then it went to herbal teas and kitchari making and then somehow it made it’s way to Bach Flower Remedies and before I knew it I’d dug out all my old flower essence books and signed up for an online class. I wasn’t really looking for more screen time. After a day of work at the computer I’m happy to switch off but I switch it up with reading actual physical text books. I’m an all or nothing person and before I knew it two weeks have gone by without painting!
It felt so good to pick up a brush tonight. Sometimes all we need is a rest. And who knew studying flower remedies would be my rest from painting flowers.
We are on our third week of quarantining and social distancing here in California. In normal circumstances three weeks at home is a gift for an artist but I’ve spent very little time painting. I can’t help feeling guilty for having the privilege to stay home and paint when so many others are struggling. I’ve heard lots of artist friends say they are unmotivated. But there are also a whole host of very motivated, kind and generous artists out there offering free and discounted classes, sending out daily encouragement and sharing their knowledge. It’s nice to have these posts popping up as a distraction from other news.
Here are a couple of places I’ve been spending my time.
Paul Foxton: Paul has been live streaming every week day from his studio while he paints various spring flowers. There are not many people I can watch paint but Paul’s set up allows you to see his canvas, palette and subject in on one screen. He has a beautiful, calm energy and describes his thought process as he works. He is well worth checking out and you get a British accent too!
Michael Klein: A few months ago I met a beautiful flower artist who told me she had learned most of what she knows from studying the videos of Michael Klein. I find it really difficult to learn from videos. I find myself switching off and wondering what I’ll have for lunch, but during the month of March Michael Klein offered his Flower Painting Insights video for free. I managed to watch it on the last day of the offer. The video is made over three days and shows you his process from start to finish with lots of close ups on the brushwork. Now I completely understand how someone can learn to paint from Michael’s videos – I didn’t think about my lunch once during the 1 hour and 15 minutes. Unfortunately, the free access has expired but even if I’d paid full price I wouldn’t be upset. In fact, the next time I paint with oils I will use the video for my starting point.
We can’t all be on the front lines fighting this virus but we can use our time productively while we practice social distancing.
Stay home, keep healthy and be kind.