Studio Views – David A. Norris – Print Maker & Drawing

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June 19th, 2020

My Studio During the Pandemic

Like a lot of people, I experienced a stunningly quick slide into “lockdown” and working from home as best I could. My studio is a room in our house. Although the art materials and books share space with a shelf of cookbooks and some gardening supplies, the studio is perfectly suited to me.

When first finding myself confined to the house, I got little artwork done at all. I’m a freelance writer, and so I still have some work to do at home.  From the earliest days of living in lockdown, it has been important to keep in touch with my family and a large network of friends. So, when I left my writing projects a lot of my studio time went into writing letters and making postcards, not to mention phone calls, texts, and e-mails.

Several days went into reorganizing my studio and surveying the paper and supplies that were on hand. I found lots of lost or forgotten watercolor and drawing paper, ink, and art implements. There was even a pocket notebook that I’d lost in 2015! It had fallen down into a cardboard carton where I drop in scraps of mat board.

I’m lucky in that being at home to make artwork suits me. While I like making drawings or watercolors in a likely outdoor spot, and miss the freedom of travel, I usually work from photographs in my studio anyway. Always, I have far more photos earmarked for art projects than I can get to. The first new pieces I finished were projects I already had in some stage of progress. Then, I started pieces from other photos or sketches that I’ve had in mind for a long time. Sometimes it takes several years to figure out to start a particular picture, or get around some problem in the composition, or some technical aspect of the work.

Concentrating on the pictures I’ve long planned to do gives me a sense of control, as well as continuity with my former “normal life” and the brighter future we’ll have as we emerge from this pandemic.

Just the same, I have started a new series of works based on sights seen during my morning and afternoon walks around my neighborhood. There are stately pine or oak trees silhouetted against the rising sun. Bluebirds perch on fences or telephone wires gilded with the golden light of dawn. The rabbit who lives in our yard nibbles on the cool dew-moistened grass. If William Blake could see the world in a grain of sand, I certainly can see the world in the space of several city blocks.