by Art Cocoon Featured Artist Paul Harman
Everyone is confronted with challenges in their lifetime, whether it’s moving to a new town or state, losing a loved one, losing a job, going through a divorce, getting over a serious illness or serving overseas in the military. Those are just a few of the challenges that test our mettle and cause us to make life changes. Today the great test for all of us is dealing with changes the Pandemic has caused. Lost jobs, layoffs, illnesses and uncertainties are just some of the changes that this Covid19 virus has caused in our country.
How we deal with the situation is what is important. Tantrums, hiding away and binge-watching TV are not the answer. Now is the time to use that gift of time wisely. Absolutely spend more time with your children or spouse. If you don’t have a spouse, then your best friend. What can you do that you have always wanted to do but never had the time? Begin writing that book, taking up your art, sculpture, or throwing pottery once again. A carpentry project you never had time for? How about learning to cook some of those recipes you’ve always wanted to try.
Some of you may need to create a way to bring income back into your home. That once secure job is no longer a guarantee due to cutbacks and a slow business climate. This may be the time to try something you always wanted to do. It’s called reinventing one’s self, and many people are finding ways to do that. Keep thinking positively and start slowly. Develop a step by step plan and everything you need to do to make it work.
I always wanted to be an artist and was discouraged by my father from doing what I loved. I kept at it over the years painting in the evenings or on weekends, even when I was a deputy sheriff. I even found opportunities to use my art skills in my job. I came up with slogans and designed recruitment ads when I was working recruitment. Some of them made it onto Billboards, others were developed into magazine ads with the help of a friend in advertising. I also worked with the Society of Illustrators to create a Documentary Art Program that captured every facet of daily law enforcement work in paintings.
When I retired the second time from my job with the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission with the State of California, my wife encouraged me to get back into my art and gave me a gift of lessons with a well-known pastel artist. I did some consulting and worked on contract with U.C. Davis PD for 14 months and then decided I had worked long enough and had saved enough money to build my studio.
I have been painting landscapes, seascapes, and wildlife for the past twelve years. My painting “Far from the Maddening Crowd”, shown with this post, was painted during the stay at home order. I am locally known and on the open studio tours, my work is shown in a local gallery. No one would have believed that the kid who wanted to be an artist in high school would persevere and eventually live that dream. What is your dream? This may be the time to pursue it.