Everyone's life has been upended during this seemingly interminable pandemic. Awareness of how continuous stress is affecting us all is not blatantly obvious or necessarily top of mind but flashes of insight are surfacing. I hear whispers from the deepest recesses of my mind and actually listen to my angst rather than pretend that "everything's gonna be alright". Stress is insidiously infiltrating my subconscious. How do I know? Little things.

While I don't feel particularly sad, tears well up at the slightest, remotely wistful, schmaltzy thing I see on television. This is unusual for me. I haven't felt this hypersensitive since menopause.

Good things are mixed in with the bad, which feeds confusion. The pandemic has given me no choice but to become aware of time. I love having fewer commitments and this is a revelation. Maybe I must take stock and determine what I want my life to be like after things return to some semblance of normality (assuming of course that they eventually do). I find myself thinking, reading and creating way more slowly and carefully. The pandemic has affected my motivation, my creative juices have somehow capsized. Maybe the fumes that emanate from the bleach I use to disinfect my food purchases are frying my brain. 

I have neglected this blog. I regularly turn on my iPad and tell myself "nope, I can't possibly create a digital work right now". This is strange because drawing on my iPad is normally a meditative experience.

I seem to be increasingly sleepy. This usually happens to me in November when Québec switches to standard time and days become shorter. During these long periods of darkness I tend to curl up under a warm throw and snooze. Covid merely provides a double whammy excuse to do so.

Talking on the phone is no replacement for face-to-face encounters and neither is a Zoom meeting but I do both anyway. 

Notwithstanding these realities, I still manage to create art.

Many exhibitions and projects were put on hold this year but unexpectedly, good things also happened. I was one fortunate artist! 

1. "L'ENVOLÉE" (The Flight) - MAY 2020

Culture flourishes in Vaudreuil-Dorion. The city invited 10 artists to create birds that were reproduced in multiples and installed in front of various senior's residences and other public locations. The birds were meant to be messengers of joy during lockdown. 

Plumette was my contribution.


In an effort to maintain important links within the artistic community during Covid, the CACVS (Le Conseil des arts et de la culture de Vaudreuil-Soulanges) invited artists via Zoom meetings to discuss how we were all coping. The exchanges eventually led to the creation of a spontaneous travelling outdoor exhibition which was installed consecutively in different municipalities in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges county over a four month period. 

The idea behind the project was to "contaminate" public sites in the region with works of art. Since I had just finished a short stint on a committee that encouraged recycling and re-purposing of art materials, I decided to paint on both sides of a previously painted, unstretched canvas and have it blow in the wind like a banner. Needless to say the poor thing was mercilessly battered by the elements and looked like something I dragged out of Pompeii after four months of exposure but its abuse was a fitting analogy for what we have all been going through during the pandemic. 

This is the front of Renaître (Rebirth) as it was...

...and this is the back:


Guess you could call this my "BIRD PERIOD". I created quite a few avian-inspired works in 2020 which makes perfect sense considering that my "fight-or-flight response" has been turned on during these Covid times.


Restrictions became less stringent over the summer. I contacted Le Chenail Cultural Centre to confirm whether or not I was to have a solo show, which was scheduled for October 2020. The centre, like many organizations and businesses, was in lockdown during the spring. I had no idea whether things would work out...


Many people were afraid to come to the opening (frankly I was too), but all who came donned a mask. I wore both a face shield and mask during the event. Because the weather was fantastic, doors were left open, which made for excellent air circulation. 
The cultural centre is a beautiful, welcoming place and I was overjoyed that my art was displayed there for two months.

 Photo: Lynda Clouette-Mackay


The city of Vaudreuil-Dorion came through with another interesting challenge. Ten artists were invited to transform two giant balls each for an outdoor holiday project. Working on a sphere was new for me. 

I opted to use semi-transparent rice paper. I drew my designs multiple times to create collage material, painted each bear, fish and reindeer in acrylic inks before cutting them out. After playing around with shapes and masking tape to determine placement, I glued the elements and their parts on the sphere. The paper was thin, fragile but flexible as I folded and stretched it over the surface. I applied stained glass paint where I wanted accents of colour and once the elements were dry, I applied paper over the rest of the surface to create a frosted effect.

After a couple of coats of varnish, I put the balls aside for a few days to cure. They were finally ready to be installed. 

While I expected the project to be interesting, lighting effects at night made the viewing experience magical. 

These are my spheres as they appear during the day. 

 And here they are at night! I must admit I look forward to seeing them after a major snowstorm.

The city posted photos of the entire installation on Facebook. 
Other little projects are in the works. I'm a member of l'Association des artistes de LaSalle and they had to postpone two shows this year. The group decided to prepare a mail art exhibit in the interim to celebrate their 40-year anniversary. The tiny works will eventually be shown "somewhere, somehow, in some way". A very cool initiative!

I'm also working on a small collective project with four other artists and another group that I belong to is starting an artist-run and web gallery. 
Organizations that are committed to keeping the arts alive are few and far between but some realize how important it is for communities to have culture in their lives. Thanks to the City of Vaudreuil-Dorion, the CACVS and Le Chenail Cultural Centre for making 2020 a year where art managed to thrive in spite of the pandemic. It has made a big difference to many artists and citizens.

I sincerely hope that my works have provided a counterpoint to the daily deluge of depressing news we have all been exposed to during this very bizarre year. Until this hell freezes over, please stay safe everyone!