30 March, 2020.

Be sure to take a break.

29 March, 2020.

Just a suggestion, of course, but just remember how easy it is to get sucked in to the never ending world of emails and video conferences and Skype and Zoom and whatever else is out there keeping us infinitely connected to each other. Take care of yourself right now. We are in the process of reinventing the world, and even though things will eventually go back to normal… well, things are never really going back to normal, regardless of how quickly or slowly the stay at home orders come to a close. We reinvented school in under a week. That’s to fast to presume everything got figured out, so it’s important to build in time to make things work for each of us. Keep a schedule. Get out of bed, “go to work,” and – importantly! – come home at the end of the day.

Be well, folks!

TGIF!


28 March, 2020.

Oh man, this has been the weirdest week ever. I’ve never been so happy to see a week come to an end as I am today… WOOHOOOOO! Thank god it’s Friday!

…um… what?

Today is Saturday? I missed Friday entirely?

Holy lost time, Batman. Losing track of the days while working and teaching from home has been an ongoing thing for me. What day is it? About ninety percent of the time I just really don’t know. I have to think about it – and it’s only going to go downhill from here.

I’ve kept the creative juices somewhat intact by scribbling out these goofy frames every day for the little comic I’m calling Sweatpants Nation. The weather is taking a turn toward the better, and as our “new normal” begins to set in I may head for the hills, far from others, for a little plein air therapy. If I’m going to be lost in time, I might as well take a brush with me.

That damn cat!

27 March, 2020.

Sweatpants Nation is my pandemic journal, and it seems to have captured the imagination of a whole lot of people I am connected with through social media. It’s kind of taken on a life of its own, and so far this little idea of mine to document the absurdities of life seems to yield surreal moments of levity every day.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go make sure the cat isn’t unraveling our priceless toilet paper again.

Ew!

26 March, 2020.

Being stuck at home means I’m finding myself catching up on tasks I would normally avoid like… well, maybe “like the plague” would seem too much like a pun in poor taste, so let’s just say that these are jobs I tend to conveniently overlook on a day-to-day basis.

Things like cleaning out the fridge.

But hey! The interior of the fridge sparkles now… just stay away from the trash can.

Little distractions

25 March, 2020.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m actually a pretty darned good cook.

But being homebound for the duration means I’ve found myself staring longingly out the window from time to time.

…which, as it turns out, is not a good thing to do while working in the kitchen.

Lock-in-place advice: Maintain your focus!

Counting on the cat

24 March, 2020.

I leave the house to visit the grocery store during “senior hours” early every couple of mornings. First off, I can’t believe I’m doing “senior” anything, but secondly it’s amazing the run on silly items like toilet paper and bread that’s taking place. Shelves are bare. No sugar, no flour, no peanut butter. The senior hours have been set up for people like me who are potentially more susceptible: 60 and over, with underlying health conditions. Even though I’m very physically fit, I am diabetic. So I rush in and I rush out, and get back home to avoid exposure.

I’m being nice to the cat in case we have to rely on her for sustenance at some point!

I'm less alone now than ever.

23 March, 2020.

Now that the initial shock of things has worn off a little, I feel like it might have been quieter before the pandemic. I am diligently practicing “social distancing,” but issuing forth from my iPhone, iPad, and laptop are constant notifications of messages, emails, social media posts, and so on. And starting today, I begin to teach my students and direct my staff from home so the chirps, chimes, buzzes, and tones are only going to increase!

Sketching Challenge

22 March, 2020.

I issued a sketching challenge today to our enormous local group of urban sketchers: Pick up a pen and sketchbook, meander to the closest mirror, and make a self-portrait… no pencils or erasers allowed, just use your pen to celebrate imperfection!

Decked out in my standard pandemic garb of sweatpants and sweatshirt, I stood in front of a closet door mirror sketching myself. Fresh out of bed, my hair was standing on end on one side of my head, and plastered flat against my skull on the other side.

_____________
Uni-Ball Vision Pen in Canson 180 sketchbook.

Smile.

20 March, 2020.

The Just Sketching blog has gone radio silent for the past few days. We are going through a fundamental and, I believe, revolutionary change: The world as we know it will be much different from this point forward, and frankly I’ve found it very difficult to make observational drawings of a world I don’t yet know or understand. I haven’t wanted to make urban sketches or paint en plein air. Instead, I’ve been journaling as an expression of our resiliency. My mantra all week long has been “We got this!”

The past three years have been needlessly filled with hatred, and right now the future feels bleak to many people. It’s become ridiculously easy to focus on the darkness, which is why I’ve elected to cast my lens upon the absurdity of my current situation: homebound, an art teacher without a classroom. In no way do I mean to marginalize what we’re experiencing, but I do want to laugh and smile and chuckle at a world where I’m teaching art online. Where I wander around in sweatpants and a bathrobe all day long. And where I’m re-learning what it means to be alive.

Which is how I came to start this series of cartoon comments on the forced social distancing of my life, Sweatpants Nation: My Pandemic Journal. I invite you to smile along with me.