WITH KATHLEEN DUNPHY
Where are you painting from and what have you been doing to keep busy?
I'm fortunate to live in a beautiful and sparsely populated part of California, so social distancing has been relatively easy to do. I spent most of the lockdown time painting in oil in my studio and going out on our property to sketch our goats and chickens. As restrictions started to be eased, I ventured out a little further from home to plein air paint in our area. I found it hard to concentrate on most major works, but the small studies have been a great way to get my mind off current events and still feel productive.
How did you find inspiration from your surroundings for it?
They say every painting is a self-portrait, and I think that is particularly true for me with "Scram!". I'm usually drawn to dramatic sunlight and rich color in my subject matter, but I was fascinated by these geese that I saw sparring at a local lake. I didn't realize until well into the painting that this tableau represented the way I felt about the pandemic: as the virus spread, it seemed as though all the color had been leached from the world and we were all teaming up to fight the enemy. These Canada geese hissing and flapping and chasing the badness away summed up how I felt about our universal struggle against the virus.
What is one positive that has come from this experience for you?
The best thing to come of this whole experience has been the uninterrupted time I've had with my husband. He has a busy job that normally keeps him at the office for long hours, but he spent most of April and May working from home. Even with all the uncertainty of the pandemic looming over us, those days together have been a gift. I'll always treasure the time we spent working in the garden, tending to our animals, or just sitting outside at the end of the day and talking about what an unprecedented time we're living through.
With so many shows, travel, and teaching cancelled or postponed, I have to admit that I was a little unmoored as the pandemic started. At first, I had a hard time even putting brush to canvas and couldn't face going into the studio. But once I allowed myself to just paint whenever, however, and whatever I felt like painting, instead of thinking about whether I was being productive, I reconnected with the joy of losing myself in painting. Sometimes when the art world gets going too fast and deadlines loom, it's easy to lose track of why I do this in the first place. The pandemic gave me the silver lining of remembering just how much I love making art purely for the sake of creating.
What is one of your favorite pieces in the collection from a fellow artist?
Marc Dalessio "Yellow Lupin in a Cork Oak Forest" - I love the light and the beautifully painted gray-green trees painted against the vibrant field of flowers.
Learn more about Kathleen's artwork and story here.