Painting is another way of keeping a diary.

— Pablo Picasso

I dashed off Social Distancing last March, the morning I realized Covid-19 was not just some flu, but “really real.”

Since that morning ten months ago, 389,000 Americans have died of the virus, including a close family member; many because they couldn’t—or wouldn’t—social distance. Many more Americans will surely follow.

Social Distancing proves Picasso was right about painting’s resemblance to journaling. When I look back on the piece, I remember clearly where, when, and why I painted it.

Which brings me to my topic: remembrance

Remembrance isn’t for everyone.

It’s inconvenient and makes most people discomfited.

But remembrance is monolithic, inescapable, irrefutable. “Memory believes before knowing remembers,” as Faulkner, America’s bard of things past, said.

A painting like Social Distance, I realize, may cause viewers to distance themselves—from me.

So be it.

I don’t paint for them. I paint in the hope to attract and delight viewers who dwell in the past, as much as the present.

ABOVE: Social Distancing. Oil on canvas. 16 x 12 inches. I’m pleased Social Distancing hangs in The Still Life, 2021’s inaugural exhibition of the Newark Arts Alliance.