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  • Writer's picturePatrice Drago

Looking for Tomorrow

These 8″ x 8″ birch panel paintings, “Looks Like Tomorrow” and “Road Trip”, were painted in January, before I ever thought I would be looking forward so intensely to both.   I usually reserve the gray/yellow palette for my paintings of urban environments.  Hmmm… where was this coming from?  It wasn’t as though we had a gray winter.  (Did we even have winter?!  What season is this??  Is this still 2020?!  What’s my name??)

These prophetic depictions are a running theme for me.. Sometimes, instead of creating paintings that express what’s going on in my world today, I need to interpret them to see what’s happening tomorrow…

I’m going to get serious for a moment.  I did an abstract painting two years ago titled Crossing the Bridge, (Chesapeake Bay Bridge implied).  It looks very much like a chaotic experience.  I chose the name because there were elements of a bridge in the composition, even though I have never had a problem with crossing bridges, and not one other painting in the entire series had a title quite so realistic.

I created that painting the middle of June 2018.  Ten days before the shooting at the Capital. Two days after the horrific event, I had to cross the Bay Bridge to deliver that series of paintings to a gallery in Delaware.  For the first time in my life I had a severe panic attack while on the bridge, where I couldn’t tell you which direction was up or down, and I’m not being overly dramatic when I say it truly is a miracle that I am here to talk about it.  I still have anxiety (not panic) crossing the bridge but I’ve worked on developing coping tools and the best is talking on the phone (hands-free of course) the entire length of the bridge.

Crossing the Bridge, acrylic, mixed media by Patrice Drago

Crossing the Bridge, (Chesapeake Bay Bridge), acrylic, mixed media, by Patrice Drago

So these hints at what is to come in my paintings are interesting, and my first thought is to maybe start paying attention. But then, they are just hints after all, what would I have gleaned from this set of paintings, or the Bay Bridge painting?  More importantly, what could I have done about any of it?  Not much. Actually, having an elicit glimpse into the future isn’t that rewarding.  I love planning and looking ahead – but I’ll wait til things unfold to gain the knowledge of them.

If I am to glean anything, I guess it is all very positive, because most of my paintings evoke a sense of joy – at least for me – and that makes me happy.  If they are prophetic, I have nothing to worry about.  If not prophetic but simply joyful, then I have nothing to worry about either, because life is best when we choose joy.  Sounds sappy, but it’s one of the only things I know for sure to be true.

Okay – so right now, after two months at home, choosing joy can be difficult. Or at least hard to sustain.  I won’t complain because I know so many people have it much tougher than I do, and I’m grateful that my biggest concerns are

  1. flashbacks to Max Headroom where I fear waking up inside my computer screen as a permanent resident of Zoom.

  2. the overly intimate relationship I have developed with my refrigerator

  3. that the highlight of my week is a trip to the awesomely friendly Trader Joe’s

  4. talking and laughing out loud by myself can no longer be excused as a conversation with my dog, who is no longer with me.  (No wonder I would find her in obscure corners of the house.)

  5. that I struggle to remember what day it is…   Even though I’m working, I feel like I should be making XX’s on a calendar that has no end date circled..

Like everyone else, I’m SO ready for life to return to some sort of normal.  Zoom Happy Hours are great, but I miss my friends and family!!  Plus – who are all these people that are being more creative?!  I thought I would have more time… I’ve had less.. maybe I’m losing my ability to tell time as well as days.  Actually, being at home has the extra pressure of getting caught up on all those projects that have been relegated to that list of things that will get done when I “have the time”.  That list always whispers when I’m home all day for more than a day (which in normal times doesn’t happen often).  Well – still no time, but the whispers turned into shouts and they refuse to be ignored.  Ugh.

It’s tough on all of us.  People out of work are desperate, and people personally affected by COVID-19 are devastated.  So it is no wonder that the first mention of any lifting of any restrictions has sent people out into the streets without masks and not being safe.  I desperately hope we don’t have a resurgence, but I’m skeptical.

There is no perfect.  We can all only do our part.  We all miss human contact.  It’s just not that hard to wear a mask and to practice physical distancing in consideration of friends and strangers.  If you can afford it, order food delivery and take out to help these businesses that are starting to safely reopen in a very limited way.

If you want to argue with me, just stay safe for now so we have an opportunity to hash it out on the other side of this thing!!

Wishing every one well 🙂

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