Summer 2020 began abruptly on March 12th, 2020. The week prior to Spring Break, we were sent home from UNF due to the Coronavirus. Little did we know that we would not return to school until August. Before being sent home, my installation art class, Enlivened Spaces, installed the project that they had been working on all semester, the brightly colored umbrellas that were designed to lift you into a happier realm, space and time. My students had created this work, without knowing how beautiful it would be in a dark moment.
As a professor, my immediate attention shifted towards altering my classes and putting my classes online. For me, it was both good and bad. I knew very well how to put together an online class. I had already been teaching an online class called “The Business of Art” for several years. This class covers grant writing, how to start an LLC, how to create contracts, how to approach galleries, etc. The content was designed for online learning. Now, I was being asked to transition my studio classes to online. In my mind, this was not ideal, but everyone and everything was shifting, in an effort to care for the community and keep everyone safe.
Once I had gotten my classes in order, I set some intentions. I realized quite quickly that the virus wouldn’t be leaving soon, so I set some goals for myself for Summer 2020: Exercise Daily, Practice Spanish and German Daily, Prep for Fall Classes, and Make Art! Lance and I took daily walks on the beach (until the beaches were closed). Then we took walks around our neighborhood. The “Wash Your Hands” image is one of our neighbors’ fences, that she updates regularly (I love her, by the way and I don’t even know her).
As a way, to keep my hand busy, I started painting with watercolors again. I haven’t painted since I was in college and I’d missed it. It also was quite meditative, which was helpful in these stressful times.
I made masks for safety. I probably made around 50 total and gave them to friends and family. I swam laps because a pandemic is a good motivator to stay in good physical shape. Live healthy in an effort to be ready to fight off the virus…
I started playing with Alcohol Inks and making some beautiful abstract designs. This is another very meditative process. To me, this helped to relax my mind. I started turning them into greeting cards and sending them out.
I created this “Wings of the Phoenix” Sculpture for my hometown, Shelbyville, KY. This was an exciting moment in my sculpture career, getting to make a piece for my hometown, on the street where I grew up! The small one in the garden is the maquette, which I gave to my parents. My dad made a really beautiful wood pedestal for it and placed it in my mom’s rose garden. Special thanks to Main Made for the fabrication work on the 2nd large scale copy of this sculpture!
I have also been working on modeling this eagle in plasticine over a steel armature (made of steel rod and chicken wire). Once I am finished modeling it, I will then make a rubber mold with a plaster mother mold. Next I will pour several in wax and then I’ll use ceramic shell to create a mold that can hold the heat of bronze. The final piece will be in bronze.
And I’ve been making these miniatures, on the topic of the pandemic. On the left you see: Social Distance Cafe. On the right, you see MAGA: The Bar [Just drink the Koolaid].
And finally, I’ve also been working on a project called ArtWork(ers) United, a project focused on Art and Activism. Visit ArtWork(ers) United for more details.