Shall I go? No, I don´t think so…I´m vaccinated now, so I suppose I could …
Yes! I will go..! .No..perhaps not… I don´t know what to do!
As the country slowly begins to wake up, and we have government permission to socialise and hug each other, I´m wondering whether it´s safe to venture beyond my online bubble, now so comfortable and familiar. Should I cancel the stands I´ve booked at summer events and stick to presenting my paintings online, chatting to people on Zoom and Facetime? Or should I go and do what I used to do without a second thought before the world changed?
I wonder if I´m just avoiding contact as I dither about whether to go to a show or cancel. Does it matter? We´re not going back to how things were. .Rather we´re moving forward into a new way of living and working, and most of all, interacting with each other. A little poppy painting sold on-line today. Perhaps this is a sign.
What was once a natural, simple pleasure, something I planned for and looked forward to, now seems like quite an ordeal. I´ve been meeting my friends and family again recently and visiting my gorgeous puppy. But it´s not quite the same as the Ellingham, or the Royal Bath and West Show which was attended last year by 135,000 people. That´s scary!
Although I wear my mask in public, I admit to being oblivious to people around me most of the time, focused on my own agenda.It´s not until I bump into someone or go out of the in door that I realise things aren´t as they were. There is a whole new etiquette around social interaction now.
At the summer art and craft shows, I love meeting people who are interested in painting, curious about my techniques, or who stop to chat about a landscape. And people watching.. many won´t make eye contact as I sit at my stand, for fear I´ll make them buy something, perhaps. Painting is a solitary business and I enjoy the company of other artists too. Then there´s the immensely satisfying moment and the sense of achievement at the end of the show when all the planning, preparation and setting up has been worth every second.
But today I´m much happier by the sea, or at home with my heavenly views across the fields and I really have got used to my own company, friends, and family on speed dial. Like most people, it´s a long time since I travelled anywhere, and I must admit that as I look at my life today, there´s been a 100% change in the way I communicate, socially and professionally. I´m comfortable with a lifestyle I once thought I´d never get used to.
The decisions I make in my restricted world are about colours, and how big the figures should be on the commission I´m working on at the moment. I want to ensure that Hengistbury Head is the focal point, not the dog, so where do I position him?