020 / Pandemic Artwork Stories


020 / pandemic artwork stories


Where are you painting from and what have you been doing to keep busy?

I have a home studio on 12 acres of property fronting a river that provides amazing inspiration. I have to admit that in the early days of the “great pause” it was hard for me to get motivated. At first I was working on pen and ink drawings and using oil pastels on board to try to create some expression of how I felt about what was happening around us. Like many people, I have very vivid dreams since our world changed. Many of the dreams are family members who have passed and I believe that I find solace in recreating those dreams. I’m a figurative artist and I use my huge supply of personal photos and vintage photos that I have collected over the years as inspiration for my narratives. After a particularly strange dream about my Cajun grandmother, I pulled out an old photo of her taken in her garden many years ago. I usually distort my figures as part of the narrative and oddly enough, her face kept morphing and distorting during the dream and her hair turned into trees. She could grow anything and was very connected to her environment. The next day, I couldn’t wait to get in my studio, back to my oils and recreate that dream. I sincerely believe that photos help us connect with our past but also resonate with the present. They remind us of who we are or who we aspire to be.

How did you find inspiration from your surroundings for it?

The environment I live in has a huge impact on my work. I’m very concerned about the disregard our current administration has for environmental protections as well as working with the rest of the world on climate change. Living in a rural area has made me keenly aware of the changes our planet is going through. We have seen a huge reduction in insect populations and songbirds on our property alone. I can only imagine this impact worldwide. Add to that the disregard for our health at a time when we should be leading the world in COVID-19 research and vaccination development; embracing white supremacy and promoting hate; and the horrible treatment of minorities and illegal aliens. The list goes on and is a source of embarrassment for me as an American.  I chose that particular pose because it represents vulnerability and illustrates a posture of shame for the actions of this country and many of our people.  

What is one positive that has come from this experience for you?

Appreciating and being satisfied with what I have. We’re very lucky to have enough space around us to protect ourselves, but it’s also made me keenly aware of what others are going through. I think that my future narratives will be more connected to social issues.  

What is one of your favorite pieces in the collection from a fellow artist?

The exceptional portraiture of Mary Jane Volkman, “The Pout of a Hundred Possible Meanings”.  Her work captures in great detail the emotion of her subjects and their surroundings. I also love her write up referencing “the reorienting of our lives,” becoming more attentive to one another and our children. In this way, maybe we can become more engaged in the legacy we leave them.

Learn more about Annette's artwork and story