Interview: Making art in the time of Coronavirus
What’s it like to be an artist during the Pandemic?
Well the biggest difference so far is that I decided not to participate in any PleinAir events this Summer. It’s too bad, really. Dexter hosts a very nice event in August which I’ve enjoyed being a part of. It’s scaled back this year, and out of an abundance of caution, I opted out. I had a subject and location selected for my painting — a lovely old house near downtown Dexter that has intrigued me for a long time. Deciding not to participate this year was hard. I’ll miss the camaraderie of the other artists and seeing my hometown through their eyes.
How have you responded to the Pandemic?
I got to a point where I wanted to do something worthwhile during all this. I’m a retired graphic designer and I love designing posters. I created a 50-year commemorative poster for a historic local event and sold a number of them with the proceeds going to St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. That was gratifying.
What are you doing differently?
Rather than painting my selected painting subject for the PleinAir event, I decided to do it in my studio. As the painting was underway, I was able to return to the spot to check and quickly sketch details and lighting that my reference photos missed. It wasn’t quite the same as being on location, but it worked. The finished painting is titled “Good Morning Dexter” (Oil on canvas. 18” x 24”). I sold a giclée print of this after posting it to my site, and it led to a commissioned work which I’m working on now.
What else has changed?
In a way, the adjustment to staying close to home during this pandemic has not been terribly challenging. When I’m painting in the studio I almost become a hermit anyway. My wife and daughter are reliably constructive critics and they keep me honest. With all this time at home, I’ve found opportunities to revisit previous paintings and I’ve attempted ‘makeovers’ with a mixed level of success. (See attached “First Light” and “Eddy 1 & 2”).
I must admit that I’m enjoying the sanctuary that my studio offers. It’s good for my soul to get away from the daily stream of breaking news. But, I miss going to exhibits, talking in person with other artists, comparing notes, etc. That was my reason for joining AAWA earlier this year. When this is over, I don’t think I’ll take that for granted.