Michael Torlen

Unlike many diseases for which science and technology have created treatments, therapeutics, and cures, COVID-19 remains an outlier. Life in our modern world feels Neo-Medieval—fragile, dangerous, and uncertain. In our pandemic era, reframing the Memento Mori theme seems appropriate.

Michael Torlen, <i>IMRT (from Memento Mori)</i>

Michael Torlen, IMRT (from Memento Mori), acrylic and flashe on panel, 24 x 36 in. (photo: Jay York).

 Michael Torlen, <i>Story Lesson: Sex and Death (from Memento Mori)</i>

Michael Torlen, Story Lesson: Sex and Death (from Memento Mori), acrylic and flashe on panel, 45 x 38 in. (photo: Jay York).

Michael Torlen, <i>The Sword of Damocles (from Memento Mori)</i>

Michael Torlen, The Sword of Damocles (from Memento Mori), acrylic and flashe on panel, 45 x 38 in. (photo: Jay York).










Bonnie Spiegel

When this pandemic entered our lives in early March, I was asked by a friend if my work has been changed by the circumstances of self-isolation. It was too early to tell then. But now, three months later, I know it has. My life has been altered and so has my attention to what I do as an artist, which is more interesting to me when I think of how other difficult times have affected other artists … or not. Those Impressionists, for instance, with their scenes of a gay French life and lovely landscapes never hinted at the terrible times they lived through—the endless European wars, the starvation and political upheavals, or the siege of Paris. I wonder if we artists will be collectively more truthful, or will we, too, paper over the difficulties we’re now facing? I’d like to say I was one of those who bravely addressed my terror head on. But I can’t. I’ve found the consistently bad news more than I want to deal with. I’m looking for things that delight me now more than ever. I’m not wanting to relive all the pain I see around me in my work. For sanity’s sake, with my work, I’m looking for solace and escape.

Bonnie Spiegel, Hidden Garden, Inside Fessenden Park

Bonnie Spiegel, Hidden Garden, Inside Fessenden Park, oil on canvas, 38 x 38 in.

Bonnie Spiegel, <i>Begonias on the Porch</i>

Bonnie Spiegel, Begonias on the Porch, oil on canvas, 16 x 20 in.

Bonnie Spiegel, <i>Maria’s Flowers</i>

Bonnie Spiegel, Maria’s Flowers, oil on canvas, 11 x 14 in.

Bonnie Spiegel, <i>Tulips on Noah’s Porch</i>

Bonnie Spiegel, Tulips on Noah’s Porch, oil on canvas, 24 x 30 in.


Liz Brown

When the stay-at-home order happened, I was in the middle of a semester-long studio art class at the University of Southern Maine entitled The Printed Book, a combination of book arts and printmaking taught by Rebecca Goodale. In addition to the physical (my dining room was now a print studio outfitted with whatever I had available) and emotional (when would I see my classmates again?) accommodations, was the issue of learning. We were just about to start the collagraph unit when we transitioned to Zoom. Rebecca did a fabulous job, but needless to say, it’s not the same as being in the room with a teacher and classmates. I had been wanting to try collagraph for a while, so it was even more disappointing, for I found this to be a difficult process, especially with all the adjustments that were going on in all areas of my life. So I am especially proud of the result. I think the imagery really conveys a lot of the new reality we were being hit with, and the colors express my emotions. This piece will always bring me back to that pivotal moment in history.

Liz Brown, <i>COVID 2020-Virus, Masks, Isolation</i>

Liz Brown, COVID 2020-Virus, Masks, Isolation, relief printing ink collagraph star book on paper, 7 ½ x 6 in. (closed) and 16 x ½ in. (open), March 2020.

Liz Brown, <i>COVID 2020-Virus, Masks, Isolation</i>

Liz Brown, COVID 2020-Virus, Masks, Isolation, relief printing ink collagraph star book on paper, 7 ½ x 6 in. (closed) and 16 x ½ in. (open), March 2020.


William Hessian and Sarah Gormandy

This is the first in a series of gold foil art cards being created to raise money for front line support organizations and also to give out as thank-yous to front line workers in our community. Those who are putting their lives in danger to meet the needs of others are true heroes. 

William Hessian and Sarah Gormady, <i>Front Line Hero</i>

William Hessian (watercolor) and Sarah Gormady (graphic design), Front Line Hero, 3 ½ x 2 ½ in. art card.


Renate Klein

The image reflects the response of water and pigment to the joint forces of gravity and airflow over time. Complex patterns emerge and shift, with and without our doing. We play our part and adapt our attitude to circumstances beyond us.

Renate Klein, <i>Over Time</i>

Renate Klein, Over Time, watercolor on yupo, 12 x 12 in., May 2020.


Lois Anne


march 26 2020


spring is here in the north 

early morning choirs

call the dawn


it was a warm winter

now grass and flowers

sprout a month early


chemo steals my hair

the pandemic keeps 

me close to home


in this time of disease

uncertainty and fear

some predict doom


the birds continue to sing


Lois Anne

Lois Anne, <i>Chemo Brain Fog Jumble</i>

Lois Anne, Chemo Brain Fog Jumble, graphite, colored pencil, china marker on grid paper, 5 x 5 in., 2000 (photo: Lois Anne).


Chemo Brain Fog I

I’m living in la-la land and embrace it in the moment, for what else can I do? It’s hard to describe this state. There are so many aspects to it—at least for me—memory, perception, attention, sensory input, spatial relationships, time awareness, [in]ability to put 2 + 2 together—all of which is in itself okay because I know it’s not me. I know what’s causing it. However, like fog in the outside world, it’s unpredictable, swirls around, ebbs and flows, thicker and thinner, and it comes and goes in varying speeds and intensities. Sometimes it’s like being high but without having drunk or smoked anything. I get impatient/annoyed at moments when I need to be rational and logical but cannot follow a train of thought from one station to the next. I know it will pass. It ebbs and flows and puts me totally in touch with my vulnerability. I’m getting used to doing things when I can; and when my brain is foggy, it’s a good time to draw, knit, wash dishes, cook, being sure to set the stove timer for every step that involves heat, or go for a walk on our dirt road, but only if someone is with me. I’ve been told it can take up to two years for the fog to diminish as much as it’s going to—this is what scares me.


Lois Anne, <i>Chemo Brain Fog Day 47</i>

Lois Anne, Chemo Brain Fog Day 47, graphite, china marker, colored pencil on brown paper, 5 x 5 in., 2000 (photo: Lois Anne).