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  • Writer's pictureJerry Ann Fenter

Art in the Time of Pandemic

Forgive me Gabriel Garcia Marquez for using your most famous book title (Love in the Time of Cholera) as an inspiration to share with the readers of my blog. Here and perhaps everywhere else in the world at this very moment people of all kinds are trying to slow down and stop the pandemic. When will it all be over? Will is spread to my family and friends? What are the symptoms? Everyone seems to have at least one close friend or more that has either survived the virus or was lost to this strange disease. We wonder what masks are safe for us to wear? Should we wear one each time we go outside? Does wearing a mask keep us from getting the virus or just protect others from getting our bad germs? We listen to the news and then we feel sad and unable to be creative. As an artist I'm feeling depressed and have been trying to keep myself positive in this crazy time of sadness. I distract myself with TV shows...mindless ones, scary ones and lots of humorous ones. I actually forgot about the "spread" as I spent two happy hours of watching old episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 this last weekend.

Artists need to get out to get inspired. I know there are artists that can produce work without distractions, but I need to be around people, situations, activity, humor, and happiness to keep me inspired. But sometimes confusion and sadness will also inspire me. I talk to my friends and it's hard to stay positive. I try find small things to wake me up and see the positive. Over my back fence I've been watching five sweet kids going crazy jumping on their new trampoline. They laugh and sing and scream and fall down always getting up for more. They are easily inspired to try lots of new tricks with no fear. They make my day.

Usually being around people and watching them, sometimes spying on them and listening carefully to them becomes my inspiration. Many titles of my paintings are from a sentence or two I write down after overhearing amazing conversations...especially in restaurants, sometimes while shopping, at sports events, at weddings and when traveling to a new or an old familiar place. More inspiration comes to me through meeting and listening to other people and their personal stories. I love writing them I remember their experience that meant so much to them. This is how my paintings are made.

Traveling always inspires me to paint. The sites, the people, the landscape, the mountains and the kindness of the people I'm around always inspires my painting. With the Corona Virus we can't travel. We might be infected or infect someone else. Artists need crazy fun adventures to spark the best paintings, create the most wonderful sculptures, and write the most interesting books or create and sew then newest clothes that we want to wear.

So...I'm trying to find my inspiration from things that make me happy even in these dark times. Halloween is almost here. We will be careful a nd masked to hand out the treats. The kids will be told to social distance...a new and now almost familiar word for them.

My birthday is also in October. We will dress up and eat cake that will have a Halloween theme. I've never had a cake that didn't have witches, dragons, pumpkins, bats, spiders and other things that go bump in the night! Times will get better.

I want to thank the people who have bought pieces from me in the past few months. They make me so happy (and I know the paintings make them happy). Now I'm having to find a new type of inspiration for the time being. My beautiful yard, my new couch, a trip to Fred Meyer (masked of course), my tiny studio and take out pizza from Papa Murphy's will keep me going for awhile. My friends on line and on the phone will keep me updated on the things happening in their life, their plans, favorite things, the best books, lots of gossip and their favorite TV shows. By the way...I suggest trying to find a silly movie called The Crawling Eye on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Watch it...It will inspire you to laugh and be amazed. It's an inspiration and a perfect movie for Halloween!!!

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