The pandemic has impacted us all in America and not in ways any of us had anticipated. We have been forced to change our lives so completely as to make them almost unrecognizable. How many times have you watched a movie, seen the people hug each other without masks and without a care and been startled at the scene? Doing something like that now seems shocking. We are all suffering in this unnaturally pandemic influenced environment.
This painting was started prior to the pandemic and is meant to be a sister painting to “Chaos Cosmos”. “Chaos Cosmos” used a Swiss newspaper as the format and highlights Carl Jung, who was an influence on both the medical and the art worlds. As a registered nurse, I decided to portray people that have been influential in both worlds. “The Most Beautiful People” also features a Swiss medical professional, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. She’s the founder of the modern hospice movement. Little did I realize when I began the painting that over 150,000 Americans would die due to coronavirus and Ms. Kubler-Ross’s work to improve the lives of the dying would be more than likely sidelined due to the infectious nature of the disease. She promoted the quest for a peaceful death, one surrounded by loved ones and outside of the medicalized treatment world of ventilators, monitors, and invasive treatments. With Covid, people are dying alone on ventilators – experiencing probably the worst imaginable final days.
Within the painting is a quote of hers that I find inspiring. “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
As an artist, and having known many other artists, the life of an artist is often one of struggle, of defeat, of rejection and of loss. Artists find their way out of the depths to create again and again. Being a creative soul is fundamental to being who I am, whether it’s with art, with writing or with any other practice. I also agree with Ms. Kubler-Ross, beauty is evident in those that have lived a life of challenges and were resilient, creative, maintained their dignity and held true to their values. They may not be the people we see in movies, but they are those ones I respect the most.