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  • April Gavin

This Time Around the Sun

Exactly one year ago today, I last rode BART home from San Francisco. Normally the afternoon commute is noisy and bustling. I hate riding BART at that time of day. On March 10, 2020 though, folks were quiet and trying not to touch anything. It was a five car train and packed. No one knew then what we were heading toward. The following Monday, the nine Bay Area counties were under shelter in place orders - a full week before the rest of California. The following months I remember panic, worry, and deep anxiety. These days I wait patiently for my age group to be called for vaccination.


The worst part personally for me this past 365 days is missing my friends. I remember the last time I saw each of you in person. I remember the last time I enjoyed art in an art museum. I remember the last time I made art in community in Alice's drawing class. That's the other thing I really miss - drawing and making things with others.


This post I have some ideas that I will share and some finished work at the end. First though, I have been keeping a watercolor journal of my walks with Scout. I started in mid-February and do this daily - mostly in the morning and occasionally in the afternoon. Sometimes, it's a rush to complete so I can be at my desk to work and other times I can relax. It's calming and focusing though regardless of how much time I have.



My handwriting lacks something to be desired, but this is more about fostering memory through image and color.


Here is this morning's walk and the things that happened and people we met along the way.



In the last few years I have been reading books on accounting history. I picked up the book Accounting for Slavery recently and was fascinated by how plantation owners on both cotton and sugar plantations kept their books. The book also makes a link between those practices and modern workplace practices. As I was reading, I began sketching and asking questions. How does one render a black person in a drawing without using black/brown tones? How does one show fear or anxiety in an enslaved person's face? What was the cost of an enslaved person's labor? Is that labor still relevant today?


Also, what was the cost of the plantation overseer's labor? Are we still paying that out today? I read, though I am still researching, that white-supremacy is detrimental to white people. What is the cost - not only in dollars, but emotionally and spiritually?


I'm unsure how these sketches will come together and what the final art will look like, but this is how I start.


I did complete three small works recently. They are monotypes with some dry pigment to show the surrounding landscape. These are time of day pieces for Scout's favorite dog park - Cesar Chavez.



Morning at Cesar Chavez


Afternoon at Cesar Chavez



Evening at Cesar Chavez


Some of you might say that it's hard to notice a difference in the landscape, but such is weather in the Bay Area.


Back soon with more ...


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