Francesca Droll

Whistling Grasses, 2019
Pastel on Paper and Archival Board
14.50 x 30 in
The scene was inspired by a trip to the east side of Glacier National Park during the summer of 2019. My art partner and I were plein air painting in the park, and we left in the evening just as a storm was blowing over the mountains. The dramatic sky and colorful grasses attracted my attention, and we pulled over so that I could take some photos. As I stepped out of the car, I was almost blown over by strong wind gusts. I regained my balance, quickly took a few shots, and hopped back in the car just as heavy raindrops started to splashdown. The storm chased us all the way to the cabin where we were staying for the night.

Although this painting was not inspired by being quarantined during the pandemic, it represents my anxiety levels during this chaotic time when questions were not answered, and one worried how our society was going to weather this particularly frightening storm. The pandemic was bearing down on us this past spring just as these storm clouds were sprinting across the sky toward us that day in the park. The sunset in the distance represents our hopes and dreams as they are being overtaken by the pandemic's dark clouds. The swaying grasses in the foreground correspond to our oscillating emotions as they have been blown to and fro in the conflicting reports coming from our leaders.

The storm still has not cleared, and we continue to wait for the time when we can enjoy life without fear of contracting COVID-19. At some point, the sun will burn through the dark clouds of the pandemic, and we will be free to pursue our hopes and dreams once again.