March 30, 2020

Day 12 of self-isolation

Oh, where DOES the time go?  It really HAS been 10 days since my last blog!  Things in Delaware are moving erratically.  Some of the grocery stores are opening at 6 ayem for elderly (that's us'uns, over 60) to shop, along with the at-risk population.
The governor has issued another update to his Emergency Declaration.  Any visitors traveling into the state MUST self-quarantine for 14 days.  the only ifs, ands or buts are for medical care for self, or to care for family.  if you're traveling through, just keep going.  If you're an Essential Business, it's ok to come and go.  There is a large at-risk population here in Delaware, and it is mostly centered in the high-growth areas along the coasts -- the beaches, to be exact.  And that is where everyone went 9 days ago when the temps hit 70+  --   to the beach.
So, to my friends who have second homes here, and to visitors, We love you. We really do.  But PLEASE STAY HOME!  Our hospitals, our infrastructure, our toilet paper and hand sanitizer supplies, they are all stretched right now.  Even our hospitals and essential medical providers do not have enough PPE's to maintain sanitary and healthy medical environments.  Please shelter in place.
Read; write (keep a journal of this very real world-wide pandemic for yourself, and for the begets; go for walks; grab a video-conference app (there are plenty out there) and SEE the faces of your family and friends.  Paint.  Listen to Music. Take a Course on-line!  YOU CAN DO THIS!!
COVID19 is changing our lives; how we individually come out of this is our personal responsibility. 
I refuse to call this virus anything other than Covid19; we cannot stoop so low as to blame this on any one person, race, country, or thing.  Our scientists have posited what could happen should a global epidemic strike.  Our government knew in January this was coming.  We are left holding the bag, waiting for something new to happen, when we can do something.  Our love and compassion will shine through; our teachers, our health-care professionals, our neighbors, we all are stepping in and stepping up.  We will come out of this better and smarter and wiser.

March 20, 2020

The Epidemic, Spring, and Me

Today is the first full day of spring, and it's already 72 degrees on my apartment porch.  The pear trees, daffs, flowering cherries, maples and and a number of other pollen-laden plants are having at it.  Allergies abound, and an epidemic is in full swing.

I'm not going to talk about the panic buying at the stores, or the hordes of people coming to the beaches in this encouraged self-isolation.  There are enough hand-wringers out there.  What is amazing and so damned encouraging to me is that in light of the fact that the federal government has known about the impending epidemic for two months now, and subsequently failed to notify even the state or local governments, the Helpers arrived.

Teachers, at a moment's notice, figured out how to stream classes and rewrite their class syllabuses to accommodate distance teaching. Local governments, state, county, and city, have taken action across the country to take care of their citizens.  Restaurants and school districts are enacting free lunch schedules for kids, whether at-risk, or not.  Individuals are reaching out, contacting those who are alone, scared, at-risk. And their care is still evolving.

We've lived in a society of Instant Gratification for several decades, and it has been encouraged by the internet.  We have instant access to our friends, to news, to gossip, to information.  Our circles of friends has become world-wide, and we communicate on a regular basis.

I found a letter recently, written by a great-grand-uncle to his sister, in the late 1870's.  he gave her sad news, of the death of his wife.  The letter took weeks to arrive.  The sister could not go to the funeral, grieve with the family, talk to her brother.  It was all done silently, remotely, and weeks later.  Today, we know instantly of every happening locally and at a distance -- no waiting weeks for newspapers or letters to arrive, or news to filter from foreign correspondents to their editors, to the publications, to us.  The good news is that we know--quickly..The bad news is that we know--quickly.  what matters is how we deal with it.  Attitude is everything. 

My two greatest incentives to do anything are anticipation of reward and fear of punishment: gold stars or switches.  I have enough - toilet paper, hand sanitizer, soap, food, although I'm not hoarding.  I know this will pass.  I know that our society has been through worse.  I know how quickly fear can spread on the wings of rumor.

Breathe, my friends, breathe.  we will get through this.  We will be changed.  We will know our own strengths and weaknesses better.  we will cement friendships, and lose friends.  We will rediscover our core values of compassion, patience, care, love, and community.   We are better than our base instincts to hoard and isolate, for we are stronger together.  And, there are always helpers.  Look for them.  Support them.  Become one.  Be safe.  And wash your hands like you mean it.

March 10, 2020

I continue to be amazed at what happens with the time!!  All of a sudden, it's March, and it's been a month since I last updated this blog.  Golly, I am a wee bit embarrassed!
Two major things are happening:  The Big Draw Festival DE, and a sketching workshop I took over the weekend.  (We'll just save the other things for later!!)
 Last October the Mispillion Art League conducted a Big Draw Festival for the first time.  Although the Festival itself originated in England 20 years ago, we decided in a "Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland Let's have a show" moment, to conduct one ourselves.  And since it was a BIG Draw, we decided to do it for the entire month, rather than just a single event.  And, since we had never conducted an event like this before, we had to start from scratch and invent the wheel!  We carried out 25 free Saturday events for children and families, and an additional 25 or so classes and workshops at reduced fees.  In total, we had over 1800 participants (those we could count, since most of our events were outside and traffic was very free-flowing.)  we painted in the street with our feet, built a HUGE sandcastle out of 8 tons of sand, had arts activities at 4 other arts organizations in town (music, dance, theater, museum), painted with coffee, and painted a mandala on our entryway into the Art League.
The theme has changed this year, to one of The Big Green Draw - A Climate of Change.  And, we're doing it again!!  We've changed our focus to include art with recycled materials and encompassing a larger geographic range in the city. And we've started planning, with weekly meetings and on-going assignments.  And, I'm the co-chair.
Second, the workshop.  I just finished a two-day sketching workshop with Pat Southern-Pearce, a Bolton, England (it's near Manchester) artist who has the most amazing sketchbooks and art!  (look for her work on her Facebook page.)
I started painting 20 years ago, after a lifetime of being admonished "don't think about art, because you'll never be able to make a living at it."  So, I came late into the entire field.  My first instructor was a classic watercolorist (don't use black and save the whites of the paper for the whites in the painting).  And she used ONLY watercolor, no other media.  I moved to acrylics and collage, where there was more freedom of media, but it still seemed to me that anything using watercolors should still be purely watercolor.  Well, Pat changed that!  We sketched on beige, grey, and black (yes, black!) papers, used markers, pencils, acrylics, inks, chalks, watercolor pencils, and glue sticks to create deeply personal stories of our days.  What a concept!  Finally, permission to use anything I wanted, without reservation!  I'm still recovering.  and I just may never recover!  (At least, I hope!)