Lou Ann Bowersox took advantage of less than ideal circumstances during the pandemic and turned them into an opportunity to feel close to her family, even when they couldn’t be physically together.
“My husband had a major back operation, three different procedures in one week. The recovery was quite intense. Right after the surgery, COVID hit, ”she said. “Everyone was in confinement and I realized after several months that I was in a frustrated and negative place. “
What started as a coping mechanism during lockdown has led to a unique way to connect with grandchildren, both near and far.
“One night in particular I was frustrated with the world, not angry but frustrated. I wanted to capture what I was feeling – almost a challenge for myself to do a quick self-portrait, ”Bowersox said. “I went to the art room, didn’t put on makeup, took three very raw selfies, and chose almost the worst.”
Bowersox worked on the painting of his self-portrait over the following days, releasing his emotions onto the canvas.
“It’s not a feel-good piece,” Bowersox said. “But I love the emotions he captures.”
After finishing the painting, an idea occurred to him.
“It came to my mind. I realized I couldn’t see my grandchildren, I couldn’t cuddle them, I couldn’t spend time with them – but painting, I can do it, ”she said. “I thought if I could paint each one of them and next summer we could be together and I could give it to them. I was really excited about it.
The assignment to create portraits of the 16 grandchildren gave Bowersox a new direction, and while the process would take time, she found it to be worth it.
“The hunt was on. I wanted to find the best image for each grandchild on which to base the portrait, ”said Bowersox. “It gave me a much happier focus, knocking them out one at a time. I did an average of one per month, but I was done in two weeks.
With grandchildren in England and New York, it wouldn’t be easy to get everyone together at the same time, so Bowersox has a party planned for all the local grandchildren so she can surprise them with the special gift. .
“I found a night where everyone could be together, I made a big lasagna dinner and got everyone out of the room afterwards,” she said. “When I let them in, I just watched them as they ended up on the walls.”
Bowersox was able to take pictures of each grandchild holding their portrait and enjoyed their every reaction.
Some were surprised, having never seen a painting of themselves before, some immediately loved it, and one of them took his painting home to his home in Evansville.
After not being able to celebrate Christmas or reunite her family, Bowersox said she finally emerged from what she calls “COVID-funk.”
“I tried to use this to bring the family around me,” Bowersox said. “No matter what happens, you cannot be separated from your family. You can find love and connection one way or another.