Original Painting: Hello Kitty Confronts the Virus: A Work in Progress.

Since March of 2019 I have not been alone, in spite of being an orphaned, childless, widow. In fact, since Covid-19 reared its deadly head, I’ve been in the company of millions of people whose lives have been changed in a range of ways by a world-wide pandemic.

To survive this time with no clear ending, I declared two goals. One, I was not going to get Covid. Two, I was not going to get depressed.

In the first three months of the pandemic, I went out only three times, masked and gloved to the grocery store. I cancelled planned trips to my wilderness log cabin, 200 miles away. If I got into an accident or injured working in the woods, I would be a drain on limited first responders and hospital resources. As a group fitness instructor both of the gyms I worked at closed. My teaching art to special needs children was also put on hold, along with my Therapy Dog work at local medical facilities and volunteering at a shelter for at risk youth. I stayed isolated in my house by the river.

During this time, I recalled how I managed to live alone and isolated in the log cabin I built at age 18. Part of my survival was to follow a disciplined routine to maintain a healthy mental and physical hygiene. Wake at the same time every day, change into clean clothes, eat at the same time. Even though I didn’t feel like it, I made myself work, in the woods, on a writing or art project. No slacking.

Throughout the Covid shut down I maintained this discipline. With both of my gyms closed I continued a morning exercise regime, using Clorox Bleach jugs and my two terrier dogs Henry and Zachary as weights. Note to self: Never bench press a 16-pound dog after it has eaten breakfast. After a post work-out shower I dressed casually but smartly, as if going to a meeting or to gather with friends at a restaurant.

In the late afternoon I changed into painting clothes to work in the studio, but was not inspired. Why should I paint? All the galleries exhibiting my work were either closed or went out of business and I could not let anyone into my studio. “Hello Kitty Confronts the Virus: A Work in Progress” was a piece I tinkered on for months as a way to confront my own fears about the virus.

Netflix and books filled long evenings. Dining in alone was depressing and in order to not fall to goal number Two I devised an eating game. At Big Five sporting goods store I purchased a golf putting strip. The game was, 1. Prepare a nice balanced plate of food; 2. Set it on the table near the putting strip: 3. Practice putting; every ball sunk earned me a bite of food. Sometimes it was five minutes between bites.

Around this time I had this thought….Sell my house with rooms I never used and build a smaller home with a bigger commercial studio. But during a pandemic! There were so many what ifs……