Rachel, my wife, is a social worker at Aultman Hospital’s cancer center here in Canton, Ohio. She was recently exposed to two people who have the Corona Virus at work, so she was mandated to self-quarantine for 14 days in our bedroom. She toughed it out, and thankfully did not show any symptoms. Now, I’m just hoping and praying for the folks who are sick with this thing… it’s a scary time.

This whole thing gives me even more respect for her, and how she goes about her job. Rather than being upset at having to be on the front lines during a global pandemic, she couldn’t wait to get back to helping patients. I’m glad she never came down with any symptoms, and I’m hoping she keeps staying safe as she returned to work this week.

To all those working and braving exposure right now, thank you. I am especially grateful for the people at Taco Bell, and McDonalds, gas stations, Burger King, CVS, and grocery stores. These days those jobs don’t even pay a living wage, and yet they are still going in every day. They are literally putting their lives on the line, and still working two jobs just to pay rent.

I genuinely wonder what future historians will say about us. We have forgotten an enormous percentage of the citizenry, allowing the working poor to struggle above a threadbare social safety net, while corporations are literally buying our government, and the wealthy hoard their riches like Smaug. We tell homosexuals and transvestites that they don’t deserve the same rights as heterosexuals. We watch calmly as Americans rally around a mysoginistic xenophobic homophobic bigoted thin-skinned President whose entire life has been fueled by privilege. I’m sick to death of the terrible inequality of this time. I have no idea what we can do to fix things, but I know we deserve every ounce of criticism our children will give.

Oh – also, I painted this:

I haven’t painted plein air in a while, and I was very eager to get outside after being inside for two weeks. It was freezing cold, and really windy, but otherwise a gorgeous day. After a while, my fingers started to go numb, so I packed it up and went home.

There is a lot of room for improvement here, but given the conditions, I’m actually relatively proud of this. I need to try it again here at home, but I’m really glad I sketched this out onsite, because it helped to solidify the memory of this scene. There’s absolutely no way I would have painted anything like this from the photos I took.

I’m constantly amazed at how terribly a photo captures the gestalt of a scene. The composition I painted might not be a true to scale representation of the scene, but it is a lot more accurate to me in its punch. The swirling biting wind is in the painting, and the undulating hills. Sure, I can improve my drawing skills, and I should know better than to keep mucking about with the shadowed side of the barn (which died completely after my eleventh attempt to “get it right.”) The ground in the foreground is surprisingly my favorite part, and it is the part I tried the least to perfect… why does that surprise me any more? I should know by now that my best paintings are the ones where I fiddle the least.

Tomorrow, I think I’ll try this one again.