I've settled on a theme for documenting the virus. I'm going to make a series of portrait sketches each of which is an impressionist work copied with the video-conference face of people I've interacted with. I aim to play on perceptions viewers of a video conference hold of the unshown surroundings on the other side. I also want to communicate the fantasies that climb out of boredom.
My attempt to show the virus as gross, intimidating texture was interesting to me. I like the result, but it doesn't reflect what this pandemic has been like in my life since the first few days when I made that piece. What started as great fear about the great monster virus has transitioned to the malaise at the boredom of pseudo-isolation. That boredom is certainly less fearful, but no less dark. Boredom is because of the isolation of avoiding a virus suffocating my family to death. But boredom is also less scary. When we are bored we either focus our minds or they wander to more emotionally safe places. That to me has been the sketches of the impressionist movement. Whimsical sketches of happy times with dark undertones. Lautrec sketches a fat man in a suit topped by a silly fez, but the man is pouting and alone. Van Gogh paints beautiful bright sunflowers, but they're all dead; he actually paints wilted leaves and dry seed heads. This combination of ultramodern video conference people surrounded by fantasies seems like an apt description of my life during the pandemic. However privileged that is, it is true.
This series is a return to some other recent portraits I have done. I'll continue in the use of mark-making but use it as a means of shading instead of texturizing. I'm looking forward to seeing 6 or 10 of these sketches that speak to my time in social distancing.