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Artist ID: 2281

It’s amazing how much a deadly pandemic can inspire a budding artist. In 2020, our lives were quickly turned upside down leading to dramatic changes developed to promote our survival.

With lots of stay at home/lockdown time and nothing to lose, it was the perfect time for me to jump into art headfirst. Without formal training, there were no rules to follow or rules to break. For me, it was the beginning of a joyful exploration of colors, shapes, media, techniques, and tools. I was eager to accomplish two stretch goals: to creatively memorialize these changes to our lives brought on by Covid, and to engage my adult daughter, Erin, who is cognitively challenged, by incorporating her own art.

Using discarded canvases, I enjoyed experimenting with painting and repainting vibrant colors in layers with brushes, palette and putty knives and scrapers until the layout of the subject matter emerged. For each painting, I provided space for Erin to draw figures (which we call “little people”), letters for the words which captured the Corona concepts and space to sign her name. Most recently, we completed our 17th painting in our “Corona Collection”.

Creating these paintings together with Erin has been a bright light for us during this very challenging period. Our “Corona Collection” speaks directly to our health, our lives, and our souls upended by the Covid pandemic.

I have included two paintings from our Corona Collection - “Deadly Pandemic” and “Deadly Delta Blues” - based on the delta variant of Covid which hit our New Orleans - Mississippi Delta region hard.

“Red Clay Cottonfield Sunset” is my interpretation of some Alabama cottonfields.

Artist’s Bio

John Wales traded his stethoscope and skills in the healing arts for canvas and paint in the visual arts. Dr. John recently retired from a fulfilling career in Emergency Medicine providing life saving healthcare on the front lines of a busy public New Orleans area hospital. His daughter, Erin, who is a happy 29 year old young lady with a cognitive disability, loved to draw people and letters. Neither of them had any formal art training.

When they first started painting together, Dr. John wanted to celebrate Erin’s life and highlighted many of her activities including swimming, bowling and horse therapy. They repurposed used canvases left over from his wife’s special needs summer camp. The dramatic impact of the Covid pandemic and its effects on everyone’s lives provided the inspiration and focal point of their paintings. Dr. John painted brightly colored backgrounds for Covid life changing subject matter. He gave Erin space on each canvas where she painted her “little people” and appropriate words for each painting. By the end of 2021, they had completed 17 acrylic paintings they call their “Corona Collection”.

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