Monday, March 23, 2020

Life in the 21st Century

Late last night we got another e-mail from the Studio.  More of those same restrictive rules, plus something else- more limits on building access.  Some of it I had already heard. One new thing was that they may have to end some activity, anything considered non-essential was being banned in many places.

Woke to a depressing kind of day.   Not much light leaking around the shades, sounds of raindrops hitting the windows- a good day to just stay in bed.  But I had things to do.   The usual morning routine, then in the car for errands. To the bank, where all business must be conducted through the drive-through because they are afraid to let people in the lobby, got some money and answers to some questions.  Filled up my gas tank, then up to the Studio.  Over the weekend I had brought home my new proofs, my watercolors, so I had things to keep me busy for a little while, in case I couldn't go back to work in the usual place.  Could use some more wood, though, because eventually I would have a new print to do. And maybe more answers.  So I got another hunk of wood, the right size for a new supermarket print, brought that out to the car (bagged up against the rain), then went inside to learn more from the office.

The good news was that for me things might not be as changed.  When I was briefly in my Studio it was very much a mess- Molly was working on some big project recently, so that was nothing new.  But what I learned today was that what we do in our little basement space is consider printing, which qualifies us as an essential business, almost the same as manufacturing.  No classes running, no groups meeting, but we could both continue to do our thing for now.  That is a relief.  I was still planning to head home for a while and would work from there, but I was more relaxed knowing that I could go back to the Studio when I was ready to.

One more stop on the way home, the supermarket, to pick up a few grocery items and do some research.  The crazy behavior seen in supermarkets lately, panic buying caused by reactions to the current pandemic thing, seems like it has to be turned into a print. Had similar ideas following Hurricane Sandy, but the idea never quite gelled.  Have a lot more ideas now, think I know how to pull it off, but that will wait until I finish my current piece.

Back home, dealt with some school stuff first.  We got put on a remote teaching system for the rest of the semester, which turns out to be much more work than just going to the campus to teach in person. But the bank shows that we are still getting paid, so I'll keep doing it.  Not having access to the art building or my students in person has meant making a lot of changes to my semester.  Could be worse- a lot of what goes on in that building seems impossible to do at home or to teach over the internet, while much of what my class does can be- just need to figure out the rest.  My college classes almost always include some kind of print project, since it is what I know best.  In a drawing class usually a monotype, in 2D it might be a relief print, and in the Intro class I have these days, usually a collograph. A simple process, we are doing a variety involving relief and plates made from cardboard and cast off objects (so free stuff), I have all the needed tools and inks, and it fits into new school requirements for mixed media and texture stuff.  And the students seem to like it- learning a process they can do and make use of things around them. The problem is that it won't work in this new online system.  I can give them the assignment, describe it over the internet, show them photos of many previous student examples, but most of the needed tools and materials are in my car and they won't have access to them.  To do that multi part print project under current circumstances would require them having to buy a lot of tools and materials not on their semester list, which I wouldn't want to do, I don't know if it's even possible to find much of them around here these days, and most students won't spend the money anyway.  Laying in bed this morning, I thought of something I can have them do, using materials they already have plus found objects, and will satisfy the same requirements. But that's a problem for next week.  Today I had to put together information related to pastels, since the current project uses them and I won't be there in person to explain or advise on this. The blog system I am using for teaching is quite suitable for this- put information in a place where the students can find it.

Never got back to my current print, one of which I have taped to a drawing board, ready to attempt come color experiments.  Have all that stuff at home now, so maybe I'll get something done tomorrow.


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