Hazmat Suits for the Flight Home

Where were you when the pandemic hit? My wife Mary and I were in Quito, Ecuador. The country went into an immediate lockdown and the airport was closed. It wasn't until four months later that we were able to fly back to Florida. Not knowing how bad things were, we actually wore hazmat suits on our flight back.
Upon our return, we moved into a condo that we purchased online while in Quito. We then went into lockdown again. Before the vaccines were distributed, we did not venture out much and avoided almost everyone.
I needed to do something productive while I was stuck in the house or I might have lost my mind. This led me back to abstract painting after a 30 year hiatus. I bought materials online, set up a small studio to work in, and dove in head first. It was such an amazing outlet for me, and a productive one at that.
Before I knew it, I had created too many paintings to keep in the condo and realized that I would need to sell some of my work or buy a bigger place to live in!
After being vaccinated, I joined a few art centers and began participating in shows to get some local exposure.  I then learned about a company called Art Store Fronts that helps artists set up their own website and trains them how to market their work. This turned out to be a great fit for me, and before long I had a lot of my work online and available for sale.
Once online, I was contacted by galleries in the UK and in Milan with interest in exhibiting my work. I figured I would give it a try and, to my amazement, I got a lot of great feedback and won a couple of awards for my work.
Subsequently, I turned my focus into getting my work into galleries and found my way into a few local ones and one in California as well.
If it had not been for the pandemic, I am not sure that I would have done any of this. Mary and I were scheduled to travel for another year from Ecuador and I would have been off doing that. Who knows where that would have led me longer term.
While COVID could have killed me, it actually drove me to reinvent myself instead at my age. I would have never predicted that something positive would have come out of such a horrific pandemic.
So, if you like my artwork, in a roundabout way, you have COVID to thank for it!