The Union: #13 Shirley Arceo

Abstract Ocean

Since we had to postpone our first art show—The Union—we’ve decided to turn this into an opportunity to digitally showcase all the artists who’d submitted to the show.

Shirley Arceo

This pandemic seems to have turned the world upside down. Some people have lost their income, others have lost someone close, and some businesses are approaching the threshold of bankruptcy. And then there are those dying to get a haircut. Stay-at-home orders has sent me home to work remotely, which is in the house where I grew up. I currently live with my mom and two brothers, which is temporary until I buy another place. Just a few years ago, we weren’t so merry-go-roundy. But that’s changed and I enjoy them–the interdependence, sibling banter, and ability to reconnect in a meaningful way. Maybe it took a crisis to recognize what’s truly important—people and relationships. There are tense moments, as with all family dynamics, but it’s much easier to release negative emotions and paint than it would be for me to leave the house. Ha!

Painting keeps me centered. Just a few months ago, I was doing a few pet portraits and memorials, which was meaningful for me and the recipient. The blue Pit Bull and Lab mix painting is of a beloved dog who my close friend lost recently. I surprised him with this, which I took from a photo on his social media. 


I’m thankful. I keep a regular work schedule, walk Gio on breaks (my Cockapoo muse) and experience wondrous nuggets of discovery. Did you know that Long Beach still has its fair share of sparrows and other sing-songy birds? The other day while walking, I *FLINCHED* when I saw something in my peripheral vision. It was a butterfly. Sad, huh? It took a pandemic to push me into the present moment and take a deep breath. These discoveries, along with the flora, have been low-tech captured with my high-tech phone. When I show my brother, he always says, ‘Have you been trespassing again?” Dumbass. Also recently created this, which is a SHORT clip from doing everyday things. 


Before the pandemic, I’ve been transitioning from a series of life-changing events and haven’t been socially active so staying home didn’t adversely have an impact. Ironically, I’m thriving now. I’m connecting with online art submissions through prompts, submitting work to virtual art shows, and painting subjects or in styles I’ve never considered. Recently painted my rendition of the book cover Ishmael, name for a wise gorilla for #thequarantineartclub on Instagram. I enjoyed this! It was fun, less cerebral, and felt good. A recent painting I did was another feel-good session. I just blended blues with abandon and it evolved into a tranquil, abstract ocean. 


My painting started as a social Paint Night two years ago with friends. Now I paint sans booze and a teacher. As a late-budding artist, I enjoy pushing myself to try new things while finding my voice. I believe my style is emerging, but I’m in no rush to define it. The process in itself is a little titillating.  

You can follow my little creative journey here on Instagram @swrrrls

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.