The show must go on is a reflection on our renewed commitment to the smallest of personal bubbles and ideally in wide open spaces. Our COVID-19 numbers have been climbing in British Columbia during recent weeks and air quality ranging in the red unhealthy zone has kept many of us not only at home but inside here on the southwest coast of Canada. For the physical gallery, both these factors means limiting “by chance” open opportunity and mostly opening only by appointment again. For the online gallery presentation of our work, this means strengthening our social media presence and inviting you to consider online purchases with the assurance of our 30 day-no-questions-asked full refund return policy, even if you feel you are close enough to do a day trip visit in-person. In person visits can be done of course. We have rescheduled some gallery visits this past week for when the air quality is better. However, online viewing and purchasing IS a viable option that so many of you have taken advantage of this year.
We know you get it and we know you are working as hard as we are to keep our pandemic numbers low and slow. But it isn’t easy at times, is it? We are right there with you! Our group of plein air painters have stopped gathering to paint for now because we were double the size of the recommended same six individuals. Even though we were meeting outside and keeping our distance, we have several high risk individuals in our families and even amongst ourselves. For many of us, this was our main weekly in-person social connection. At the same time, if possible, we want to ensure our children and grandchildren can go to school using the new protocols that have been implemented. We want our small businesses to be able to stay open and not to have to close because someone has been exposed and must quarantine or worse, has contacted the virus. So we have pulled back. We have pivoted to a weekly zoom call that will start in mid October, that is then followed by a shared time dedicated to painting in our individual studios. Then participating artists will share what they accomplished in a private FaceBook group. We don’t know if it will work but we are creative individuals… and the show must go on. We are committed to painting, to staying safe and to taking care of our physical, emotional and financial wellbeing during these difficult times. Everything seems to take much more time and money to accomplish in these revised ways of proceeding. But we are doing it - because the alternative just isn’t worth considering.
So, if you are personally struggling to maintain your emotional optimism, know this is a normal response to an unprecedented situation. Things are simply bloody tough at times. How might we possibly keep going? May we offer a suggestion? If you can, focus on breathing through these moments. Sometimes this is the most proactive response we can manage. With our recent poor air quality, this may be more important than ever. Breathe in and breathe out and repeat. That is all. Focus on only this one task. Breathe. Once you have managed to do this for a while, choose your favourite painting. Sit with it and… breathe in and breathe out and repeat. Let the painting fill you with each in breath and release anything you are holding too tightly with each out breath. Whatever that is. Let it go, even if it has no name. The painting does not require a knowing. Your action of breathing out is enough.
My painting “Hope For A New Day” was actually painted in this very manner of breath work during March of this year, right near the beginning of our pandemic here in British Columbia. If you do not have another painting picked out, try breathing with this painting.