We’re in week 5 of quarantine and I have spent more time in my home studio then ever before.  I’ve pulled out art supplies I haven’t used since college (and used them), revamped my Instagram account and actually learned how to use it, taken 8 online art and marketing courses, painted 6 new still lives and, yes, started a ‘new’ blog.  I’m taking advantage of quarantine while I can because who knows what the next few weeks will bring.  

Running my own creative company (with my husband) for the last 7 years has been totally incredible and I love it, but as you can imagine, completely and utterly draining, at times.  Spending so much time creating work for a client is very different from creating for myself.  The two don’t really align.  So my free time is when I sketch and paint the things I love.  That’s why the last few weeks have been a complete gift for the artistic soul.  I normally don’t have a lot of time to paint in my studio – for me!  And now It’s all I have.  

Before quarantine, I’d been eyeing this class on ‘surface design’ with Bonnie Christine. It’s one of those things I’ve always wanted to explore but ‘never had the time’. (I wish that phrase could look like it’s chiseled into a stone block.  Is there a font for that?).  Never had the time.  It’s such a sad statement.   Anyway, I finally decided to grab my credit card and purchase the online course.  Let me tell you…It was money well spent.  I had so much fun and was so excited about creating something new that I kept creating after the 3 days course.  I even took 3 more of her classes – I was having so much fun, and I used those watercolors I pulled out of the closet. ( I had to rehydrate a few to get them going again but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.)  Why did I stash them away in the first place anyway?  I have no idea.  My point…why did I put any of this off to begin with?  I’m so excited about what I’ve been doing the last few weeks.  And you can’t put a price on that.  Which brings me to my next accomplishment…I started an online shop.  

I have so many paintings and now new patterns and, at the moment, no place to show them.  So, my lovely and uber technically talented hubby built this new website and a fantastic online shop to go with it.  I call it Melanie Stimmell Van Latum Fine Art and Embellishments because my new shop not only features my paintings and prints, but also things like greeting cards, pillows, and printable.  How fun is that?!?!  Super fun!  I’m so excited about it…and, that I’ll have at least a little more time to focus on it.  

I think the one thing I’ve learned in all this is that even if I only have a few spare minutes, I can create something that I love.  And when life gives you lemons in the form of a Pandemic, don’t just make lemonade, make as many spectacular lemony treats as you can.