Painting in the Pandemic


Kind of Blue
© 2020, Molly Larson Cook
Acrylic on Canvas, 30″ x 24″


When I lived in New York a few decades back and took acting classes and thought I might one day get back on a stage, I developed my “Who woulda thought” school of thinking.

I was a small town girl from Idaho suddenly breezing down 5th Avenue or hailing a cab on Madison Avenue.  At such moments, I’d stop and smile to myself and ask silently, “Who woulda thought?”  This became an even more powerful phrase when I began going to auditions.  I mean, really.  Who woulda thought I’d one day be standing at an audition table, headshot in hand – who woulda thought I’d even have a headshot? – waiting to test my mettle in a tough audition.

These later days, our mettle is being tested in ways we never expected.  Who woulda thought we’d be in the midst of a killer pandemic just trying to hold onto our hats in the hurricane that’s blowing?

I want to say that art will get us through.  I want to say it, but with the news worse every day, I’m no longer sure of my previously facile answer.

Still, I do know that art will get us some distance.  Working at art, looking at art, buying art, selling art, but mostly working at art.  It’s the feel of the brush or the palette knife or any other tool one chooses that will get us through.  It’s the colors – out of the tube or the ones we mix – that will get us through.  It’s the north light that will get us through.  It’s the paint-spattered easel that will get us through, the equally spattered apron, the empty coffee cups, the almost finished and the just started work on the wall that will get us through.

Today, the building where my studio lives closed down, locked up for the duration.  I still have my key and can get in, up the elevator and down the hall to my studio door.  Inside is the peace I seek.  But the building on lock-down has no services, no cleaning staff, no life, so the decision to continue working there is up in the air.  I don’t want the decision to be up in the air.  I want to know that I’m hardy enough to go to the studio tomorrow and work on the three paintings in progress from today.

I want to know that while art may not prevail, it has a damned good chance of bringing some kind of light to this newly darkened world.  And I’d like to know that Miles Davis might be playing on some distant cloud while my favorite artists decorate the scene.



2 thoughts on “Painting in the Pandemic

  1. Thank you, Thom! Music, art, poetry, and kindness will keep us going. If this is a test, we can’t afford a failing grade…
    Keep the Jukebox hoppin!

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