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Watching Flowers Die: Painting a Still Life During the Coronavirus Epidemic

1. Monday 9 am -12 pm cats... sleep, can’t paint with cats... they live a life of attention scarcity and a paint laden pallet is the perfect horizontal raised surface upon which to light.

2. 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm road trip to the pharmacy and convenience store for tea stores. Then the cottage for lamps, foot powder, a magnifying glass, and to collect the post. Can’t see to paint ants without the magnifying glass.

3. 3:30 pm - 7:30 pm zoom class, Landscape, Studio and Figure with Walter Bartman. Flowers don’t last forever, so I figured I could paint flowers during studio. I stopped painting on my last assignment Friday night (the three separate marble graces combined and in flesh tone) and worked on the new assignment Sunday: an egg, but also in human flesh tone and a lemon, except the universe gave me oranges. I turned in my homework and during class we are assigned to sketch the model... no flowers there... and a lecture on composition. No painting during lecture, or homework critique... Zoom classes are a little different than 3 hours of studio.

4. Last Saturday, I/we had collected flowers or maybe Sunday... Iris we had from the last two trips to the cottage plus today's fresh blooms. Today, I forgot to get the tube of burnt sienna. Peonies from the backyard and, Rhododendron and Azalea from the front. I set them up and started sketching... the Iris were in various stages, the others fresh, some Iris buds still. I had already watched a vase of Lilies, Daisies and Carnations keel over and the last of the Dogwoods and some Azalea . I did throw some paint at the Lilies.

5. 5:30 or 6:30 pm the scarcity cats appear... easel closes on my pallet (removing paint from cat paws at the oil stage is okay, removing the oil with soap and water is eviscerating).

6. 7:30 - 8:30 pm dinner... dried salted codfish and kale stew with baby red potatoes and malted vinegar. This time, though, with Portuguese corn bread (broa), a first, and 10 year old port. Now I understand what my father meant by the port being to dip the bread in. I also now understand carving off a chunk of bread with a knife (that stuff is tough). 60 years, these are firsts, although, I have seen the latter in movies.

7. 9:00 pm phone call to my son.

8. 9:30 pm I open the laptop and watch the assignment YouTube video on the color red... I write the instructor, what about the shadows for red? Can you help a colorblind artist out?

9. 10:30 pm, watching flowers die..

The Red Vase 16x20 Oil on canvas (2020)

. The life and death of a still life... is there a metaphor in there? I am not the first artist to experience this, only I expect the others who warn of this condition were painting that whole time, maybe not... maybe they could paint faster than I.

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