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Decisions decisions

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?

Perhaps I should follow Sunny´s example as he takes his first faltering steps towards a new experience, a delicious bowl of milk. It was so funny watching him with his brothers and sisters. One sister teetered off in the opposite direction and was gently guided back before she wandered off again. They´re being weaned and they haven´t a clue what to do.

Neither have I. It´s the clamouring for clarity amid uncertainty that causes the stress..

I relax as it dawns on me that the lockdown has shown me that not knowing what to do in the future is just fine.

In fact, it helps me to better enjoy what I´m doing now.

Marja Brown

Landscape Artist

Original paintings and prints available on my website, commissions accepted with joy.

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