2020 started strong and seemed rather promising, I had made lots of plans, had considered participating in some art shows, and in February I went on a wonderfully relaxing holiday with a friend to the Canary Islands; the, made a few more plans. On the way back from my holiday, though, things started looking a bit more tense, people were trying to socially distance, but it isn't that easy to do in an airport, or even on an airplane. Getting back, more uncertainty as the British government kept bumbling and fumbling about trying to keep the economy going rather than keeping its citizens safe until it was too late. Overcrowded hospitals meant an imminent lockdown. It also meant kids switching to online learning.... and parents having to help them out and become teachers... I enjoyed it to some extent, but it did mean art making had to take a secondary place.
I started working on paper studies instead as they were smaller, quicker. I started spending more time reading, researching. Through these studies, I started to focus on techniques, variations in tones, colours, trying to limit my palette and experiment with impasto. All the while, teaching my kid English, Geography, and helping her out where the teachers decided that the more homework, the better. Until my kid was studying from 8:30am to 08:30pm one day and I put a stop to the absurdity of the situation. I informed the school about the workload and stresses they were putting on the kids. Thankfully, they realised their mistake and things gradually improved. An improvement on that front meant I was also able to work on my own things too.
Working on my own things did become disheartening when the economies started to lag, people were put on furlow, others lost their jobs from one day to the next, sources of income started to dry up. I mean, who doesn't remember this meme?
Also, being in Britain meant another imminent disaster... Brexit, a.k.a., Brexshit. Some papers have already painted some very bleak scenarios and the economist in me just wants to go to No 10 and slap some sense into them, as do many many other economists. But corruption and favouritism and under the table deals run rife in this and many governments, so us, the little people are left to fend for ourselves. On the other hand, we do get a lot of creative material, post-apocalyptic fiction, movies, etc etc. That is, if those business are still functioning after this Covid-19 Pandemic. Small businesses went bankrupt, but Jeff Bezos and Amazon are doing fine and disaster scenarios make the rich richer as they take every possible advantage.
On to other things... So 2020 so plans go down the drain and one of the places to seek solace was the internet. After watching Portrait of a Lady on Fire and making fan art, I found a beautiful fandom on Instagram. I don't do fandoms, I enjoy stuff and let it go, but 2020 was already such a weird year, why not? I joined a group and made some amazing friends! So 2020 was a great year for virtual friendship, women lifting each other up, keeping each other company, exchanging ideas, talking about feminism... In short, I found a group of like minded people! One of the things that also happened was the amount of recommended reading I received from some of these wonderful human beings and now my to read pile of book is almost as tall as me - thankfully, I am not that tall.
As 2020 carried on being a hot mess, stuck indoors, again after a short spell in the wild and managing to meet few friends, I decided to attempt writing one more time. Initially, I was going to write about my process, my paintings, etc, but I was finding it far more interesting to write about artists I liked. Then it became more of a feminist crusade where I started researching about women artists and found out about why they weren't often seen in museums, how galleries underrepresented women, and so on and so forth. I was rather shocked that even in 2020, women were still looked upon with less seriousness, more a hobbyists... When I went to visit family and friends in Brasil back in 2019, someone from my mother's generation did refer to me as privileged and what a wonderful hobby I had. By then, I had already sold about 8 paintings. Not much, but for the amount of time I had been doing this in earnest - almost 5 years, not too bad. Still, not enough to cover the cost of materials.
Towards the end of 2020, I started getting fed-up with the capitalistic enterprise of art. Quite disgusted, actually, and the more I read about the art world and its elitism, the worse it feels. Yet, I absolutely love making art, it's relaxing, and doesn't trigger my rheumatoid arthritis - which is triggered by stress, repetitive motions such as typing, or attempting to play musical instruments. The only place I still play music though, is in my dreams - where I play the piano and the guitar exceedingly well and still make my own compositions. I also still compose music in my head and shut out the world around me, it is quite an ethereal experience.
I didn't make any resolutions for 2021, and to be honest, I never do resolutions. Throughout the year I set myself a small goal, sometimes a wild daydream, and work towards it. So I wish you, dear reader, a perfectly splendid 2021, and may all your hopes and dreams come true in the best way possible.
I now leave you to enjoy this Norman Rockwell painting, and although I know he isn't a female painter, he absolutely captures and young woman's power and satisfaction at, who knows, defeating the patriarchy? Standing up to bullies? Create your on empowering narrative and enjoy that huge smile!