Bellantonio painting during Art Battles San Francisco in SoMa, San Francisco

By Danielle Bellantonio

When San Francisco announced the shelter in place law in effect about two months ago, I decided to come home to Cape Cod to be closer to my family. I feel fortunate to be able to work remotely from the other coast during this time, knowing that many essential workers do not have that option. 

However, remote work does have its challenges: staring at a computer screen and dialing into Zoom meetings for over nine hours a day; WiFi bandwidth strained across multiple devices; The subway commute that has been replaced with a 10 second walk downstairs. I find myself struggling to unplug as my work and living space blur together.

At seven pm, I pick up my brush and think of a subject to paint — something, anything, other than work. Lately it has been scenes from Cape Cod: a shiny mackerel with a rainbow of scales, a smooth oyster shell, or a pack of birds traveling together down the beach. 

I blend cerulean blue paint with titanium white and the two create a creamy sky blue hue. As paint streaks across the canvas, my mind strays from the endless pit of emails sitting in my inbox, and into a “flow” state where it feels like I’m not actually thinking at all. I breathe deeply, breaking the silence in the air; I realize it’s the first time I’ve been truly alone all day.

I try to build in time to paint after a stressful day at work or on weekend mornings with coffee by my side. For me, balance comes from taking quarantine day by day. I will go 5 days without picking up a brush, but when inspiration hits it can be hard to peel myself away from the canvas. I hope others can find an activity that provides the same escape.

Check out my artwork on Instagram @dbell_art 

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