At the end of March 2020, the pandemic hit a level of severity that caused me to leave my painting gig, and leave Vancouver: I fled the city and went to my parents place in the Cowichan Valley, my childhood home. Everyone was being told to stay home to save lives; it was the first major lockdown in BC and I knew I would be better off there, plus I was so lucky just to have that place to escape the city to. I thought I would be there for a few weeks, but it turned into 5 months. During those months I went through a lot personally, as all of my work evaporated and I tried to adjust to the changes. I'm so grateful for the CERB. I did a good deal of work on my parents' property: gardening, landscaping, cleaning out the old barn, using the hayloft as an art studio, sanding and repainting the enormous lattice garden fence. I'm so glad I did, because the next year in 2021 they sold the property and moved house!
Beyond keeping myself busy and active during the worst of the pandemic, I also engaged in some explorations in my personal art which was very rewarding in itself. I participated in a free "taster" online course from UK artist Louise Fletcher called Find Your Joy - all about discovering one's own style in abstract painting. It was fantastic to play with art for art's sake or simply as personal expression. I also created a few new pieces in my "Nothing Is Original" series, where I mash up old and out of copyright prints, then create a collaged canvas to transfer the graphic onto.
Custom Street Number Sign with Solar Lighting
A gift to my parents, before they moved :(
I did 2 big fence painting projects that summer, one at my cousin's house and the other for my mom's enormous garden. Using a nice little airless sprayer and the same solid color wood stain, I thought about what it would like to be a professional commercial painter. Could I start a painting business in the Cowichan Valley?
Landscaping as Therapy
Digging out this derelict bit of garden, redoing the ground cover and replacing the stones along the path turned out to be a good distraction tool and physical activity for several weeks.
Amira Emma Routledge,