Because of COVID 19, artists have had to find ways to adjust to the way we exhibit, teach, and even reconnect with the creative process.

It’s been a challenge, to say the least.

For me, after a few weeks of disbelief and confusion about what was happening in the world, I was able to tap into the opportunity to try new things, explore medias in new ways, and embrace painting without any distractions. There was no where else to be and absolutely no time limitations.

I also decided to add an online shop to my website since my summer exhibition season is cancelled. Unless a patron has seen my work in person, shopping for art online can be overwhelming, so I decided to feature mostly smaller works priced competitively, with all packaging, shipping, and taxes included. I have had success on Etsy in the past, maintained a small works shop, but now want to manage my online presence in one place.

https://robinsamiljan.com/shop/

Something new… I have been pulling out older watercolors and adding newer layers of color using soft pastels. The watercolor is treated like an underpainting, and adding new dimension with color/value has allowed the painting to find new life.

Vermont Wildflowers
soft pastel & watercolor on paper
22” x 30”
Vermont Wildflowers, watercolor on paper

There is a stack of watercolor paintings waiting for their turn at a facelift using pastels!

I have also been viewing lots of online videos, watching other artists demonstrate pastel techniques, and I am trying to embrace the opportunity to learn and grow as an artist and educator.

Below, “Japanese Garden”, a meditative pathway. I tried to create the feeling of entering into another time and place… an escape. The Chicago Botanic Garden maintains their grounds with impeccably manicured shrubs, flowers, and trees; the discipline and work required to do this always amazes me and I miss visiting, but painting is the next best thing to being there.

Japanese Garden
soft pastel on UArt paper
24” x 18”

The other way I’ve been spending my “stay at home” time has been to develop an online art class. I’ve been hosting brief zoom meetings, casually meeting with a small group of student friends. We share a piece of art each week and check in with each other. It’s fun, easy, and social.

The next step will be this weekend when I host a “practice” demo and teaching session with my three adult children on Zoom. I will then decide if I am going to officially offer an online class at the local art centers.

No one can predict how long social distancing, wearing face masks, or this new normal will last. I miss being in a teaching environment, working with students, sharing the creative process, and want to find ways to adjust.

If things go well, I will be announcing a weekly online class, offered early summer through one of the art centers where I have been teaching. I will have to wait and see how my practice session goes this Saturday, fingers crossed the technology doesn’t mess things up!

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