2 Year Anniversary of Teaching Online - Silver Linings
As Spring returns, it is bringing back a lot of the feelings from the first two lockdowns. Sometimes these past two years seem like they crawled by, and sometimes it feels like 2020 was just yesterday. Like it was "two weeks to flatten the curve" and then a giant blur.
I feel a bit apprehensive about the next few months and about a return to in- person classes, but I am also excited and optimistic. I also feel very grateful about some of the changes and opportunities that did come my way over the last two years. I'm not really returning to the "new normal" as the same person, and I am certainly not the same artist and teacher as I was in March 2020.
Before Covid, I was teaching several days a week with Social Art, Williamsburg Community Center and Homer Watson Gallery. I was building my art business and loving every minute of it. By mid-March, as you all know, everything came to a halt. In the early days of sourdough bread and Tiger King, I felt really isolated in my home. I couldn't wait to get back to "normal" and it was a very dark and scary time. I decided to try going live on Instagram to connect with people and at least feel like I was doing something.
I bought a wobbly mount for my Iphone and set up in the corner of my bedroom. I asked my Instagram followers what I should paint and they voted on this Starry Night Painting. I uploaded the sped-up Version to Youtube (above).
I was super nervous teaching online live that first time. It felt like so much pressure and I was terrified I would make a mistake or say something embarrassing. With a virtual audience, it was hard to pace myself and it was such a change from teaching in person. I felt like I was quite awkward, but I had a great time and seeing students work on social media was such a light in such dark days.
I went live every night for a couple of weeks, and by April, I was able to launch some online courses and continue to make a living and build my art business virtually. I thought it would be only temporary...didn't we all?
Today, two years later, I have upgraded my equipment, and learned so much about teaching. I have taught students from all over Canada and a few from the United States and even the UK. I've had the opportunity to connect with more than a hundred students in the last two years.
Through Instagram, I have met an amazing community of local artists and friends. Kris Baker at Framing and Art held a Silver Linings Art Show that showcased some of the amazing art that came out of the lockdowns and I was honoured to be a part of it. I was on the cover of the Waterloo Region Record talking about online learning during the pandemic and I won The Waterloo Record Reader's Choice Award for Favourite local visual artist. I also started doing nation wide demos for Derwent Canada! It was a huge year for me as an Artist.
So while there were very difficult and dark days, I'm grateful for all the opportunities that came my way and for all the Silver Linings that have happened.
What are your silver linings these past couple of years?