Documenting a Town on Pause

“As a full-time stay-at-home artist, I haven’t had to adjust my daily habits as dramatically as many others have due to shelter-in-place orders,” Herb Willey. “It so happened, though, that the threat of the virus came just as I was recovering from major dental surgery and moving to a new residence. For four weeks, I went from painting almost daily to not at all.

“Don’t Mess With Mother Nature” (watercolor, 11 x 14 in.)
Credit Hurricane Katrina for the destroyed pier, and Covid-19 for the empty beach chairs.

“Anxiety over Covid-19 weighed heavily on me through this period. I found it difficult to concentrate, let alone be creative. But as time moved on, and with no end to the crises in sight, I began to realize that I would need to adjust and develop a new attitude.

“Riding Out the Quarantine” (watercolor, 5 x 7 in.)
I spotted this family taking advantage of the spring weather and the absence of anyone impeding their way to get out for a bike ride.

“In the past few weeks, my desire to create has overcome my worry about what surprises each day might bring. Still, I find I can often focus on my creative pursuits for only short bursts of time. Working on small studies that document the Bay St Louis, Mississippi, area where I live perfectly suits my mood. These paintings will be part of a new show, “The Quarantine Series,” scheduled for October at Gallery 220 in Bay St Louis.”

“Where the People Were” (watercolor, 5 x 7 in.)
Footprints still litter the empty beach in Waveland a few days after it was closed.

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Kelly Kane
PleinAir Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly Editor-in-Chief With more than 20 years experience in art publishing, Kelly Kane has served previously as Editor-in-Chief of Watercolor Artist magazine and Content Director for The Artist’s Magazine, Drawing, Acrylic Artist, and Pastel Journal. She has interviewed many of the preeminent artists of our time and written numerous articles about painting, drawing, art education and art history. She is now the Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine and the American Watercolor Weekly newsletter. Click here to send her an email.


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