Before I begin I would like to say that I am writing this piece from my own perspective. We are all witnessing this Pandemic through the prism of our own experience, and there is no “best way” to get through it, other than healthily if that is at all possible. Sadly, for some, this isn’t possible, and many have paid the ultimate price. I would like to take a moment to acknowledge them, and to thank those who take care of us all, from the NHS staff, to shop workers, to bin men and everyone in between, without whom we would be entirely lost.
This particular Corona Virus has been mixed bag for me. Shortly after it was announced I went through a bout of what I assume was seasonal flu which kept me very poorly for about two weeks, but six weeks on I am still feeling the effects. Until an antibody test comes out there is no way of knowing what I had for sure, so like many others I am isolating and have been faced with some hard decisions about what to do for the health and well being of my family. I have a husband who needs shielding and two children who need home schooling and, like many artists, I had a part time job to help keep a wolf from the door.
I made the decision early on that work would have to wait, whatever the consequences. I have to say that I was very lucky to work for a fantastic company with a great team of people, and while they made it clear they would like me to come in, they fully supported my decision to stay off and do what was best for my family. They agreed to hold my job for me until I felt ready to return. How lucky was I?
Thing is, the longer I was off, the more I realised I had been using my little job on the side as a bit of an excuse to get side tracked. Without a routine, I quickly began to realise that my studio had been sitting, not unused, but certainly under used for too long.
As the days went by, I rediscovered my studio and, perhaps because there was no pressure of academia or a show, I made work for fun. I realised that in all the years of pursuing a Degree and then a Masters Degree, I had become embroiled in thought and second guessing. I had forgotten how to play, how to dabble thoughtlessly, unconcerned with end results. In short, I began to fall in love with making again.
Along side this, the children found they were concentrating better. They were less tired. We weren’t dashing about so much. We spent time together as a family and the pressure was sort of let out of the tyres. We began to have discussions over supper about how things were different to normal, and what kind of “normal” we might like to return to. We all agreed that that each of us had changes we wanted to make.
I won’t bore you with all of them but, long story short, I decided to resign from the part time job. I am a bit sad about that as I will miss my colleagues, although I’m sure i’ll still see them from time to time, especially when the pub reopens! But since I made the decision to prioritise my first love, ART, I have had more fun and been more productive than I have been for a while. E-mails have come in with enquiries about my work, I have sold prints, I have made 15 paintings in a month and sold some without advertising.
Like the old saying goes, leap and the net will appear. Well, I held my nose and I jumped…straight back in to the arms of my old friend, Art. And I am falling in love all over again.