April 20, 2020 (during COVID-19 pandemic)
The format of small still life is different for me, a challenge I took up during this time of change in my schedule and a new perspective.
When the pandemic took hold in my local community in mid-March, I thought I'd switch gears and focus on a smaller scale project. I didn't know if I'd be able to continue to get to the studio regularly (I do, but less often), if I or someone in my household might get sick (we haven't), or if my spring gallery show would get cancelled (it did).
This practice of focusing on one small piece at a time has been helpful to me when everything looked suddenly uncertain. An interesting thing that happened along the way was that as I painted these tiny pieces of broken shells in the confined dimensions of small canvases, I thought about how we too are confined in small places. Yet there is beauty, almost a meditative and abstracted beauty, in each small world of each broken piece of shell.
Days have turned to weeks. Our family is now on week 6 of the stay-at-home advisory. I am able to continue to go to my two studios on reduced hours. When I do go to either studio, which are both my own private rented spaces, I keep up the practice of mask-wearing, disinfecting, and social distancing, though I usually do not run into anyone else when I venture out.
As many of you know, in addition to making art my livelihood, I am a mother of two big kids who are doing school at home now, and I'm also the wife of a busy school administrator. Making sure to be a presence and a support to the kids in their schooling at home has been important at this time. It's also a time to get lots of the projects on the back end of studio practice done too. Life seems strangely busy for us, even when it's so eerily quiet on the streets, but we are managing well, and continue to stay safe and positive.
These quahog pieces have been an interesting exercise during this time. I liked doing them; they are very different from the large, multilayered paintings I have been busy with. If you are interested in purchasing these pieces, please go to my gallery shop page under "purchase" here.
I hope you are able to stay safe, positive, and healthy during this time!
PS. Quahog (pronounced KOE-hog) shells are clam shells with various markings of purple in different shades on the inside. On the outside, these clam shells are gray, plain and really nondescript. First Nation Wampanoags have always prized the purple color of the inner shells. These are called "wampum" and were used in trading as currency, often crafted into pieces of gorgeous jewelry, and are still made today by artisans.
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