Wow. How are you holding up?
It has been a very confusing, depressing and exhausting time during these last four months as I am sure it has been for you and your loved ones too. It seems like bad and disappointing news keeps flowing. I am hopeful for a light at the end of the tunnel soon and sometimes feel like I may see glimpses of one. Through all of this, I'm deeply thankful to have been home with my three guys (and two cats and fish), that we all have stayed healthy and that my husband continued working .
For me, it was difficult during the first couple months to work on any art. I felt like my creativity had been sucked out of me and replaced with anxiety and uncertainty about what was happening in our world between Covid-19 and politics. I felt/feel embarrassed and furious about how humans can treat one another. I have been hoping and praying for long deserved fairness and decency in the US, and in the rest of our world. This year so far has been so much worse for many of you than me, but like my fellow artists and creative friends, I lost all of my commissions, all of my fine art shows, gallery exhibits from March on were canceled and even some friendships were sadly "kabashed". I was navigating online school with our boys and working around my husband who on some days worked from home and was on conference calls in our kitchen all day while the boys were on their school calls at the same time. My business didn't bring in any income which pays for some of our family necessities. We have an "at risk" member in our household and I myself easily get sick with walking pneumonia almost every year which has made me a bit nervous. I have had anxiety and suffered from depression all of my life so all of these things mentioned and more were heightened in my heart and in my mind. It wasn't until the end of May that I really started to try and work again on my own art. (I will share new artwork and ideas that I have been playing around with in my next post!)
Like Lisa Congdon, one of my current favorite artists/activist's, has stated "Being creative in times of stress is like running in hot, humid weather. It's possible. It just takes more effort."
Even through all of this uncertainty and negativity, I most definitely have had a lot of positive experiences too which I am grateful for and have learned from. Quarantine put us on a "forced time out." In February I remember looking at my calendar/planner and had every single weekend and most days booked through until the end of summer. It all got canceled over a two week span. I have been able to spend a lot of quality time with my goofballs here at home. We have celebrated quarantine birthdays, made homemade pasta from scratch, have made key lime pie and lemon blueberry cake, made homemade bread, spent time on the beach shell and shark teeth hunting, have gone on hikes, played games, have done lots of swimming (and "slides" down our new gigantic blowup slide), have worked out or have ridden bikes almost every day together, have worked on and cleaned out our house, have facetimed our out-of-state family more often, have created obstacle courses in our yard, gotten more organized, have had great talks and debates and have read good books. My husband and I were able to have a couple perfect date nights where we just sat out in the back of his pickup truck alone, talked and drank homemade margaritas in mason jars. The four of us have laughed so hard until I almost peed myself. I don't think that our two teen and preteen boys have argued that much at all during this weird time. They have actually grown up more and have become closer. But, I will say that they have been extremely goofy! Like when you are overtired and just laugh and/or cry at the same time, for no reason at all, type of goofy. I have loved that. Most of the time anyway. The boys have made up new characters that they like to pretend to be. They now speak to me in British or Mark Twain accents. For all of these things and so much more, I am grateful. Family is everything, whether biological or members that you have chosen to be family. If you have them and their support, you can get through pretty much anything.
I thought it would be nice to share a bit of my experience with you so far. Let me know how you are doing. I would love to hear from you! I know there is lots of good and bad in everyone's lives right now. It doesn't matter. Sometimes it helps just to get it out. Share some fun things you have done! What projects have you been working on?
Hang in there and stay healthy my friends. And please, where a mask.
Think out of the box.
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Amber M. Moran
Amber is a marine and wildlife artist 'thinking out of the box'. She combines watercolor and ink creating a unique "window" and colorful take on the coastal lifestyle. See Amber's bio here.
Watercolor & Ink Artist
'thinking outside the box'
I have always felt extremely passionate about color and detail. I gain inspiration every day from sights and sounds, including our Florida beaches, canals and nearby fishing villages. My goal is to draw you as the viewer, into my art. I want to help the viewer focus in on a particular section of my artwork while seeing the whole picture. I achieve this by creating a focus that casts a “window” of color on a section of the painting with watercolor paints. I then extend my work out onto the mat with black watercolor paint and ink. I like to think of this as “thinking outside the box”.