My husband David and I are both self-employed. I’m an artist; primarily a printmaker and painter. All of my art shows have been canceled – along with summer plans for a printmaking residency. The Center for Contemporary Printmaking in Norwalk, where I regularly worked using the printing presses and darkroom, has also closed. After working with the kids schooling during the day, I’m now trying to maintain a home-studio practice in the late afternoons and evenings. David is an economist and has been working the last several months on launching his own company – the future of which is now quite uncertain. So, we will both be looking at how to pivot our work and hopefully find a way forward.
As an artist, I am used to working alone and having stretches of quiet time to think and create. Having three kids at home 24/7 who are distance-learning through school, means very little time for my work. Even when I manage time in the studio, it is hard to quiet the mind and escape anxiety about what the future looks like in a post-pandemic world. I know that my artwork will change – but in what way remains unclear. I mean, all artwork is influenced by time, place, and events of the day. I will just keep showing up in the studio, doing the work, and trusting the process.
We are spending loads of time with the kids (Xavier, 14, 8th grade; Nathaniel, 12, 6th grade; Maeve, 8, 3rd grade). In addition to their schoolwork, we’ve worked on family art projects (right now we are painting rocks to hide around town), lots of games (favorites seem to be Apples to Apples, Kids Against Humanity, Exploding Kittens, and my oldest has created a new Dungeons and Dragons campaign for us to do as a family – I am now a Sorcerer named Hazel Mylove). The kids are all trying something new, but each week this seems to change. This week our youngest is learning to code via Khan Academy, our 6th grader is learning to cook with online Gordon Ramsey videos through Masterclass, and our 8th grader is fiddling around with music on a keyboard. I’m also spending an inordinate amount of time in the backyard with my daughter’s flock of chickens. It’s easy to escape the daily stream of bad news while watching chickens be chickens.
Westport has been incredibly quick-acting and responsive to this crisis. I am immensely grateful for the daily town communications via emails and texts. Truly admirable as well are the school district’s administrators and teachers who have been trying to provide our kids with a sense of community and stability in learning during enormous upheaval.
I fervently hope that we, as a collective humanity, start to truly view ourselves as part of an intricately entwined global community. This virus has infected nearly every country in the world within the span of a single season, regardless of borders. Countries are needing to partner with one another, share information and data freely in order to learn how best to prevent and treat infections. In our country we have been so divided, and remain divided across different states and across our physical borders. After this plays out, and the tragedy and loss of life is largely in the past, I hope that there is a renewed sense that we have all been in this together. We are sending healthy thoughts to friends who are sick, and strong encouragement to those who are in the hospitals fighting on the front lines. Be well, be strong, all.
I fervently hope that we, as a collective humanity, start to truly view ourselves as part of an intricately entwined global community.