Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great Pandemic?


Study in oils (orange & blue) by Karen Akhtar
It is wonderful to see how we make sense of our lock-downs. If you are one of the lucky ones to have spent a day in cyberspace with Clare and her hordes (see what I did there?) then you will have found a way of staying locked in to your own artistic discipline. Ms. Haward (pronounced Horde) is keeping her students momentum going as can be seen by this painting above by Karen Akhtar made during the bonus session that Clare often gives at the end of her terms.

We’re now officially in the Easter holidays although there really is no way of telling. It is our intention to do more online work, including tutored groups, life drawing and painting sessions. We are awaiting the delivery of hardware which makes good quality streaming possible, but as everyone and their Auntie wants to do video conferencing the wait is longer than we’d like.  We will let you know when we can.

Daddy, what did YOU do in the Great Pandemic?

When, in years to come, we look back on this period our memories may well be mixed. For some of us it will be dreadfully sad. For others there will be a sense of pride at selfless efforts made in the service of others. For those of us who serve by staying indoors, how would WE like to account for ourselves to that pictured child, how did WE spend the pandemic?

For my own part I’d like to say that I refined my painting, rebuilt my website, started my first book, caught up on ten years of neglected housework, built a studio in my garden, exercised strenuously every day, gave up alcohol and renewed my love of meditation.

I would, of course, be lying. Les Grands Projets are becoming, in political parlance, an aspiration rather than a goal or commitment, the absence of a firm deadline is softening the resolve.

What I am noticing however is that there is a tremendous sense of stillness at times, where the silent canvas upon which life’s story is painted twinkles through. And that is a gift, not of doing but of being. We have all become hermits, unwilling perhaps, but should we be surprised that the revelations sought by these solitary mystics are glimpsed by us too?

So when my children ask me what I did in the Great Pandemic, I will stare into the mid-distance like the fellow above and say it was not so much about what I did but who I was. With any luck, they’ll think I’m very clever and stop asking awkward questions.

Now, where’s the bottle opener?