The Beginning
Aqua oil
20 x 16 inches

I finished this painting today. It’s officially my COVID-19 painting because I spent the entire time working on it while home sick with COVID-19. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still impacting my life today, 3+ weeks after I first started experiencing symptoms, and I’m afraid I might end up as one of those young people who take months to fully recover. I hope not. I am doing my best to remain positive and trust my body will be able to heal itself. Currently, I’m in what feels like an endless quarantine due to a shortness of breath that likes to crop up anytime I try to do something outside of home, like run an errand, take a walk, or go to work. I also can’t smell anything, which is… weird. I’ll be cooking some sweet potatoes or chicken and simply be in awe that I cannot smell any hint of them cooking. Or I’ll be cleaning out my kitty’s litter box, utterly unfazed. Like literally just… nothing. I smell nothing.

COVID-19 is a strange one.

Thankfully, I can still paint and, while moving around sometimes comes with physical consequences, it certainly doesn’t mean I need to banish myself to a life of no movement. I still go on short walks and what not, but I now also take some time afterwards to get my breath and energy back. And given my overall health before I contracted COVID-19, the chances are in my favor that I will be back to my normal self at one point or another.

The other thing hanging in the air is fear I may have infected any of those I had been in contact with the few days I was asymptomatic. If any of these people get sick, especially severely sick, I don’t even know how I am going to deal with the guilt that will come from that. I don’t even want to think about it.

Truly hoping for the best.

My mandated quarantine ends today, which means I will soon no longer get to see this cutie 24-7:

Makes me a little sad, if I’m being honest. I’ve bonded a lot with this guy and I’m worried he’s gonna get stressed out when I go back to work. He might. But maybe, hopefully, it’ll just be me who misses him.

Here’s a progress shot of my current painting, which I’ve been spending my time in quarantine working on. It’s of another deer because, for whatever reason, deer are the only subjects I feel like depicting right now. I think a part of me feels comforted by deer. To me, they signal self-care and gentleness, two things I’ve tried hard to focus on these recent months.

Hopefully this painting works out! Right now, I’m still figuring out what parts I want to add detail to and what parts I want to keep spare. I’m also still figuring out the value scheme. All I know is the deer needs to be brighter, like much brighter, along with the butterflies.

Marcel has been keeping me company as I paint. This is him when I start painting (usually):



And this is him after a couple hours of painting (haha):

Hello.

A lot has happened since I last updated, so much so I feel incapable of expressing myself in paragraphs, so I am going to make a list instead.

1.) I finished that painting I started.

I am selling it for $100 if anyone is interested. I can ship. It’s 16 x 12 inches, unframed.

Update: painting has sold

2.) I got a kitten and named him Marcel.

2.) There is now a virtual walkthrough of the two solo shows I currently have up at the Phipps Center for the Arts. Check it out (along with other artists’ work) at the link below…

https://thephipps.org/event/galleries-september-11-2020/

3.) I’m in quarantine… again. A family member of mine I’ve been in close contact with recently tested positive for COVID-19 and so now I am laying low for at least a week, possibly longer. Crossing my fingers Marcel and I do not get sick, or only mildly sick!

I think that’s about it for the last month. I’m about to start a new painting today. And yesterday, I found this fantastic song by Roisin Murphy I’d like to share. Take a listen!

See ya.

Just want to share a couple progress shots of pieces I’ve been working on.  I’ve been feeling all the warm inspired fuzzies that come with making art as of late.  Painting, particularly, has given me these fuzzies.  I forgot how much I love to paint.

deer-painting-progress

I’m still trying to find my way through this painting.  I haven’t painted in 8 years, so I’m kinda rusty, but I’m getting better each time I work on this.

family-drawing-progress

This graphite drawing I’ve had in progress for ages.  I’m just beginning to reach the tail end of it.  I think I should have it done by the end of the year as long as I keep devoting little bouts of time to it each week.

A lot of time has passed, and I apologize for that.  The stress of the pandemic truly got to me.  And I mean truly.  Last Sunday, I spent the afternoon in a hospital bed while hooked up to an IV, all thanks to a 2 month OCD relapse that led to extreme food restriction and, with that, a nearly 20 pound weight loss.  Thankfully, after getting a bunch of lab tests, I know my body is okay despite the stress I put it through, but psychologically I am a bit taken aback.

Pandemics are no joke.

Around the end of July, I realized I had a problem and sought some help, which resulted in my beginning to eat the many foods I had restricted and become afraid of.  With each pound I’ve gained back, so have I gained back another layer of mental clarity.  And with that, a desire to make art again.  Aka, I’m finally back to updating this blog!

So here is some recent work I’ve done…

These are a few older graphite drawings that I went back into and digitally colored.  They are going to be a part of a solo show I am having this September.

deer-painting-progress

And this is a progress shot of an aqua oil painting I started this week, just for fun.


I hope anyone who reads this is doing okay.  I am shocked at the level of stress this pandemic has created for each and every person in this country, in this world even.  And my heart goes out to everyone as they navigate the multitudes of change and loss they are facing.

Haven’t updated recently.  The graphite drawing I’d had in progress turned out to be a bust…  I finished it, but I didn’t feel happy with it, so I put it in storage.  I will post two little MOMENTS from it I feel okay with, however, like this really tall dog and this royal-like girl:

I also want to share an update on the last colored pencil drawing I finished, “Kitty Space Party.” A good friend of mine purchased it and was kind enough to share with me a photograph she took of it hanging in her home:

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It makes me happy to know it’s in such a good home.

I don’t have much of anything else to share.  My original goal for quarantine was to create at least two new drawings a month, but May appears to disagree with that goal.  The warmth of spring has caused my concentration to vanish.  I have been spending more time outside and daydreaming about possible future art projects.  I’m currently in sketching mode, and I am hoping this will lead to some new work soon.

See ya for now.

steph-kunze-kitty-space-party
Kitty Space Party, 9.5 x 11.25 in

In an attempt to bring some cheer to my current isolation I made a drawing of a little cat enjoying some time alone in her quarantine bubble.  This is my second drawing done in colored pencils, and I can tell I have learned a lot since doing the first drawing.  While sketching out this piece took 6 days, creating it only took 5 days.  Using the colored pencils felt much more intuitive this time around.

Here’s a close up of the little cat, just ’cause she was the whole reason why I wanted to create this piece:

kittyspaceparty-closeup
I found out last Friday that it’s unlikely I’ll return to either my jobs until mid to late July, and, honestly, it left me shook.  For a while, I allowed myself to believe this period of quarantining was simply me taking a break from life.  But now I realize this isn’t the case.  As much as I don’t want to accept it sometimes, my life isn’t on pause.  It’s literally just changed.

Last week, I made a list of goals to work towards, just to keep myself from becoming catatonic.  And also, to hopefully help build myself a new normal.  One of those goals is to create 2-3 drawings each month.  This April I was able to get 3 – hopefully this May I am able to do the same.  =)  But hey if not, that’s fine too.

steph-kunze-deer-ghost-deer
Deer and Ghost Deer, 10.5 x 7.5 inches

All done with this graphite drawing.  I was hoping to get it done while Minnesota was having its snowstorm (last Sunday), but, unsurprisingly, quarantine had other ideas for me.  I wound up spending the majority of the storm holed up in my room feeling bummed.  About exactly what, I can’t even say.  I think I just miss my community.  I think I just miss being able to laugh, joke.   I know I can do that on my own, like I’ve gotten myself to laugh on a number of occasions, sure.  But I’d really like to share a laugh with a friend or two.  Or a meal.  Or a beer.  Or a movie.  Or anything, anything.  And because I felt bummed, I had to take a break from drawing for a few days.

I discovered earlier this week my furlough from one of my jobs has been extended until late July.  So this drawing will not be my last of the quarantine.  Most likely, instead, it will be my second of many –  I will not be working much, if at all, for at least three and a half more months.

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