Monday, May 18, 2020

The Joys of Being Outdoors

About 5 of the outdoor painters from Leesburg area gathered at Venetian Gardens last Thursday (the 14th of May) for some sketching and painting.  The gardens are just about 4 miles north of Hawthorne Park.

Although I have painted here fairly often I never really knew much about it's history.  

In the late 1930's the gardens got it's start as a Federal Emergency Relief Administration project. It was designed to create work to feed Leesburg in the midst of the Great Depression.  Locals were able to plant gardens there to actually produce food for their families.  The gardens have had many many changes and improvements as the years went along.  There was a pool for locals to swim for many years, a baseball diamond, boat docks, islands and bridges (many of those remain). Although the pool is gone.  

In the past two years a large new "community" building (called "The Venetian Center" has been built there and was just dedicated last November.  That is what you see above.  This is a nice new venue to be rented out for weddings and other events.  

According to what I read, another building is set to built here at the park nearby which will be a restaurant.  Covid 19 may slow those plans down now, I all restaurants are in jeopardy and having difficulties.  And the economic downturn will no doubt impact these plans too.  

We could not do our usual lunch out afterwards due to "social distancing" right now.  But some gals brought picnic lunches. It was in the upper 80s and very breezy that day.  Quite pleasant.  And it is always uplifting to be outdoors sketching!  We are "hoping" weather will let us try a painting time in downtown Leesburg next Thursday!  So far weather looks good. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Pandemic Days and Trying to find Reality

"The Art Library and Back Corner of my Studio" wc and ink on Arches hot press paper 9 x 12

"Front Corner of Studio" wc, Tombow pens, Faber Castell pens, Arches hot press 4 x 8

The pandemic carries days and months flow together now.  Every sort of emotion is on display.. in our own towns, across our nation, in other our own homes...on the television, on social media.  They range from anger, to disbelief, from creativity to dismay, from despair to resignation, from fear to a kind of holy stillness.   

Garrison Keillor writes...

Old man in a black winter coat looking out on the rooftops of New York, and a slim blond with violin scars on her jaw, and we talk about the boxes of useless unused stuff in closets that should be dealt with, and it brings to mind a fit of shelf-clearing years ago, an old unread book I opened and found, pressed between the leaves, a piece of yellowed handstitching: “Elizabeth Crandall is my name And America is my nation. Providence is my home And Christ is my salvation When I am dead and in my grave and all my bones are rotten, if this you see, remember me, when I am quite forgotten. 1845.” A fellow writer, long gone, and the thought isn’t original but the stitching is perfect. The perfection is stunning.

Sometimes as I sketch around my home and yard...I wonder if this will be seen in some generation far far away in the future...papers yellow around the edges.  I am tempted to write in small small print..."when you see this, remember me. 2020". 

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Mother's Day During Pandemic

ink, crayon, oil pastel, wc pencil

Pandemic Mother's Day.  I sure hope I am NOT saying that NEXT May.  I know you all feel the same!  It's not knowing how long, that begins to get under your skin after awhile.  

I must say that it was wonderful to Zoom my 3 children and their families and my granddaughter and her children too today.  A nice family virtual gathering and the children had beautiful flowers delivered yesterday.  So nice.  I feel very loved and cared about.  

You get excited to have a haircut too.  A friend here in the park was willing to do it and none of us have been out of the park.  We felt it was okay to do this.  THAT was great. (ink and watercolor pencil). 

There have been virtual art gatherings during the week.  That was nice and two virtual church services today...both up north and here in Leesburg.  Spiritual encouragement...kindness, prayer, and music.  They all help.  

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Journaling in Pandemic Days

One of the websites my daughter, Julie, sent me had a ton of ideas about how to "journal" your way through the pandemic...or at least commenting now and then in writing about how things are going for you...what do you see...what do you you are coping or not.  I thought this had merit.  So I started with my 6 Pandemic Zendalas and put them into my journal.  

Then I designed some spaces around them conducive to more patterns and some space for writing.  It felt good to release my thoughts about what was going on around me.  I remember thinking about someone recently interviewed talking about some of the positives that could come from in the matter of being more comfortable with yourself, in sensing what is important in life, in sharing more with people you haven't seen in a long time, in more heightened sense of wonder at the natural world...etc.  I began jotting some of my thoughts and where we are statistically at this point.  How my thinking has changed over the last months.   

But then too, the interviewed person added, you must realize that is a "privileged" view of the pandemic.  If you are not ill, if you are not afraid (for yourself or loved ones), if you are sheltering inside in comfort with enough food, etc.  That is the privileged way to see one's way through a shelter in place issue.  There are so many that will not have that view for obvious reasons.  They are doctors and nurses on the front line,  homeless, sick, economically shattered, unemployed, losing a business they loved, hopeless, angry, trying to cope with young children, caring for people with disabilities, living in a nursing home, or having mental or marital problems that make them unsafe.  

So it is that we must expanded our thoughts to encompass the world view of this as well as our own personal view.  For me to worry if I have a mask and whether or not we'll run out of fresh bananas and have enough hand sanitizer and jig saw puzzles is one thing. But there is a whole other side to this that one cannot put aside.  For me to grumble about whether I should clean a closet or bake brownies or sit on the patio to sketch is a very privileged view of what is going on here.  

I am not living the life I thought I'd be living.  No one is.  But I am so grateful to be where I am and that my children and grandchildren and great children are able to be safe.  I pray all my blogging friends are safe also and that you are able to stay well and keep sheltering until we know things have started to turn around.  It's way too soon to go out shopping at the mall. We need to remember that boredom is not a reason to bring danger to all the people out there.  Stay home.  Listen to qualified medical folks for their opinion when it's time to go out more.