Updated: Dec 10, 2020
2020, what a year. I think everyone will agree this year has been different. I am one of the lucky ones. As an artist who is self-employed with my studio in my home, I was already in my “bubble” most of the time, well before 2020 rolled around.
I was lucky enough to visit Hawaii with my family before the March lockdown happened, so our annual vacation had not been lost to the crazy year. I also was able to be with my family in a small town, which vastly reduced the concern (I don’t think we had our first case in the county until June or July). The summers are absolutely beautiful and the outdoor space is vast, so learning and gathering could still happen at a safe distance.
Anyone who knows me, knows I have tons of “stuff”, so even in the event of an apocalypse, I’ll have the ability to art, craft, and scrapbook until the absolute end! I’m already a stockpiler, so I had a case of toilet paper and paper towels in my “paper goods closet” and never had to worry about running out. Meanwhile, my pantry is always overflowing and cupboards packed to the brim. My family also has a greenhouse, so the request to shelter in place simply emphasized the question of should we get chickens.
As an artist, I know great artwork comes from adversity. From the beginning of all this crazy, I have been saying, “I can’t wait to see the artwork that emerges from this!” I also love the idea of people being able to stay home and having the time to learn new things. Watching people’s creative journeys through social media was inspiring for me. In the onset of the lockdowns, I learned how to make bagels, and I must say they are divine. As insensitive as it may be, the joke was, “It should be called Covid-19 pounds”.
I am also lucky enough to be in good health and in the low-risk group, so I was able to help neighbors by getting groceries and I do love helping. Servants heart over here, can I get a witness!? I was in a community of people who became “closer” through this, not by distance, but by understanding the importance of helping where you can, and everyone slowed down a bit and remembered the basic needs of survival and had time to think about others.
Because I don’t have children of my own, I can only imagine the “extra” this year has added to parents’ plates. Shoutout to all of you, I hope you have found some sense of love and patience from this time with your littles and were able to embrace the experience. I was close to my nephew during this time and since my mom and sister were still working, I was on baby duty and really loved the extra attention I was able to give him.
I had a personal art project that was a daily painting practice starting November 14, 2019 and went until November 14, 2020 that kept me on somewhat of a schedule. I created a book of Daily Doodles where I asked random questions and then Google searched the answers. I blogged about each one and painted the subject of the question. You can see more about this on my art channel on YouTube here. This project was another reason I was inspired during this year. I have never been one to hold to a daily practice. If I’m being honest, the first day I decided I was going to paint, but didn’t have the energy to brush my teeth was November 23, 2019... literally 10 days in I gave up on brushing my teeth every day, but managed to hold strong to my commitment to my art.
Contrary to social distancing, some wonderful people happened into my life, which was unexpected, but isn’t that how things work? Many of my gigs were cancelled due to the fact groups of people were not getting together to have an event I would have filmed, so I looked for work elsewhere, which opened up a few new doors, one of which was paragliding! What a great group of people and plenty of fresh air. Life Artist (and paraglider), Whitney Freya was definitely a gem I found during this time. She wrote this beautiful article Three Reasons You Can Feel Encouraged Right Now that I hope you’ll read. I am also taking a TARA Painting Meditation class of hers at the moment that has been wonderful in terms of being present and being a positive energy, which is especially needed in times like these. My sister started a non-profit called L.O.V.E.S. Outdoor Education with two other wonderful ladies, Morgan and Jackie. Their idea is to focus on sustainable living, and outdoor education, but will also offer online activities! I feel lucky to be a part of their journey and I know OCN will be partnering with L.O.V.E.S. since we share the same ideas and love to be creative and outdoorsy.
All this positivity... are you rolling your eyes at me yet? I'm not saying my year went as planned by any means. This is the year I had to figure out how to show my Nana I loved her, without visiting one week every month. This is the year people’s dream weddings were cancelled, friends passed away and were not able to be celebrated in the usual ways, this was the year you couldn’t hug people (which was especially tough for me), and this was the year my best friend moved from down the street to halfway across the country... and without the party of the decade to send the family off.
The Daily Doodle book was LITERALLY the only goal I accomplished on the vision board I made for this year. Ashley and I were trying to jumpstart a new decade, she got me on the goal train and it was glorious! Then 2020 rolled around and as I’m sure was the case with many, priorities shifted. But you know what? Not reaching my goals this year means there’s room for improvement in this upcoming year, which is great! I have a new drive to get my card-making and crafting tutorials online, and an even bigger reason to send snail mail.
There can’t be highs without lows, it’s always darkest before the dawn, and from the wisdom of Paulo Coelho, “An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.”
With all the love and light,