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Covid-19 Studio Views

It is fascinating to get a sneak peak into the lives and work spaces of other people, especially artists!

We get to see a rare view of the artist at work, see their tools strewn about (or not) and gain some insight to their unique creative processes.  Many of our artists are taking a moment of time to share a view of their studio with us.  What makes this more special is that we not only get to see what their studios look like (whether they are at their usual art studio or a temporary studio cobbled together on their kitchen table), we get to hear about how they are being affected during the Covid-19 times.  Hear about how isolation may be affecting their studio time and their honest reaction to the time and space adjustments.

Thank you to each of the artists who has taken time to respond, and we hope that it is an inspiring read.

We are adding to this site in the next several weeks, so please keep returning to view more.

And make sure to click on the images to see a larger view of each artist’s studio view!

 



 

 

Joanne Geisel – Painter (May 25, 2020)

Joanne’s Studio View – May 2020

When we first started to social distance, I thought that my life’s changes were minor. The biggest part of my day continued to be focused on painting but without concerns about teaching and delivering paintings to shows and galleries.  Now after weeks into it, I realize my life has changed quite a bit. The subject of my paintings has quite organically taken the theme of one of my favorite places to paint and I find that I have escaped to Bald Head Island!  From my photos I am revisiting the expansive skies, the outstanding view from Captain Charlie’s Station and the glorious beaches.

I find that now I have time to watch other painters do demonstrations on the computer and to experiment with techniques and colors.  I am visiting with old friends and family more often through video chatting and phone calls.

Although at times I am eager for the isolation to end, I consider myself too fortunate to complain.  My husband of 45 years and I laugh throughout the day. I have wonderful neighbors with whom I occasionally chat.  I can take walks, bike, weed in our flower beds and there is plenty of time to explore new dinner dishes knowing I will find a continuous array of food from our supermarkets.

I am keenly aware that life is not like this everywhere and that many people are very fearful.  Although I feel I am living in a bubble, I am following the news and the virus information closely and am very attentive to how our world’s story and the local narrative are unfolding.


 

Angela Rowe – Painter (May 27, 2020)

Angela’s Studio View – May 2020

Tuesday, March 17, we flew out of the San Francisco airport. We had been in California visiting our children and grandchildren for two weeks, watching as the streets grew emptier, the grocery lines longer and I had been constantly worrying we would not be able to get home. So grateful when we landed in Wilmington. We got our dog from the vet and hunkered down to self monitor and stay at home for two weeks. We joined the NPR wine club and learned a lot about online ordering.

Enormous gratitude for my friends.  One of them delivered supplies and equipment I needed to work from ACME and returned a few days later with a huge bag of fresh mustard greens. Two other friends brought my ceramics tools and partially finished work from Cape Fear Community College when the campus closed. I waved from the window. We ended the two weeks at home – with no symptoms – right as the NC stay at home order went into effect.

Try as I did, I just could not get work going – feeling scattered and distracted. And I could not take the constant news on the radio. I tried painting on the porch, working at a table by the window. Then another good friend and studio mate gave me a lifeline: painting to audio books from the library. Magic. I have been all over the world thanks to my headphones and the New Hanover County Library. And now I am back social distancing in my studio at ACME – even more appreciating the light, my good easel and having all of my stuff at hand.

Against all of these changes, I do not know if this is the most beautiful spring ever – or if I was just finally forced to stop and look. We sit on our back porch and marvel at the incredible spring weather, watch the hawks hunting, and look for the bats that come out each night.


 

Kirah Van Sickle – Painter (May 29, 2020)

Kirah’s Studio View – May 2020

“Art in the Time of Corona”

As an instructor and adventure traveler who designs artist getaways/workshops…the seismic shift that is Covid-19 brought me out of the clouds and back to earth rather quickly. As well as back into my studio. My home studio is small but gets lots of light. It has become my haven, a cove in which I have settled into a daily routine of art-making. This was not the case before. Outdoors, the various air bnb’s that make up my temporary homes away from home and all the classrooms I teach were my primary studio spaces. I had learned to be efficiently mobile with my art supplies.

What I am enjoying in this time of quiet and stay-at-home, is a reconnection to what I love about a disruption…it feeds our creativity and sends us into imaginative problem-solving mode. There is much entropy in my studio these days, a sea of plastic storage bins scattered about, tubes of paint, brushes, craft papers, paper towels and lots of paint drips on the floor. The ever-present tripod and video setup greets me each morning as I transition my space into a virtual classroom and multimedia production studio. Multiple canvases in progress leaning against the wall waiting their turn for time on the easel. I love that I have that easel time, and my favorite tools at my fingertips. Now if I can just get it better organized! My studio always feels like the laboratory of a mad scientist. I didn’t always give myself the daily permission to focus on my art-making, there was always another work distraction. A wearer of many hats. Amazing how we artists tend to get into a rhythm of neglecting our own process while encouraging and sustaining others. I am finding a balance and staking a claim.

I’ve always been aware that artists and creatives thrive on disruption, perhaps why I enjoy the challenge of travel, plein air painting, mixed media experimentation. We have to adjust and think on our feet. It provides new perspective, new colors, new layers on our world and history and space. As an anatomist of the world, I am embracing the unknown, making new art, and…staying home.

 


Elizabeth Darrow  – Painter & Collage (June 1, 2020)

Elizabeth’s Studio View- May 2020

When the news of the corona virus hit, I started watching TV news for the first time.  I was mesmerized.  Then I joined Facebook.  Facebook, that I had always eschewed, suddenly presented itself as a good idea: a way to stay in touch with friends and family now that everything was altered.  So between the vortex of TV News (several stations, and several narratives) and the rabbit hole of Facebook (endlessly addictive), I lost my motivation to go out to the studio and face my inability to focus on painting.

But one project did call to me… just a bit……..an idea that has popped into and out of my head a few times over the years:  I have accumulated so many used paint brushes –hundreds and hundreds of them. .  They’re no good for painting anymore, but I’ve never thrown them out, even when I stopped using them.  I’ve often thought they could be used someday, in some way, artistically, sculpturally, and so, this project began when I realized this was a different time now.  Sort of an interlude where we were all assessing things…What’s what? Where is this going?  What’s to come?

In my kitchen cabinet I have a large container of wheat flour that I never use.  I Googled “wheat paste”. I learned what to do. Rip up some newspapers.  Mix up the flour and water on the stove.

“I can give this brush a face”, I thought…so I began paper-macheing faces on my old paint brushes. Personifying them. One at a time…making new friends, out of old friends,  during the time of quarantine.

I’m waiting for the pegboard to arrive, so I can affix them to their place.  “Thank You For Your Service” will be the title.

This project has loosened me up to get back to painting….to turn off The News…to experiment again with paint on canvas…to play in present time….to see what unfolds, day after day.


Helen Lewis Encaustic Painter (June 3, 2020)

Helen’s Studio View – May 2020

Some thoughts from Helen Lewis during this time of COVID 19 quarantine…

Like everyone, my husband and I have experienced some challenges during these weeks and months of quarantine due to the COVID 19 virus. Our two small family owned businesses have both been closed and employees laid off until just last week. We have now reopened with restrictions and more safety measures in place, but have had minimal customers and so our concerns continue about how well our businesses will be able to bounce back. However, we hope for the best and march on.

One of the most difficult aspects of this season for us has been the social distancing from our two young grandsons and their parents. We know that soon we will feel safer about spending time with them again and we look forward to that day.

A positive for me through all of this situation has been my art practice. It has been gratifying to watch two of my galleries — with Art in Bloom Gallery being one — pivot and quickly implement creative ways to virtually/online reach both collectors and art lovers who simply want to continue to view art during these days. In the face of such dark and unsettling times, it is heartening that many still believe that beauty matters and therefore, take steps to pursue it.For me personally, I am glad that my studio is at home and I have been able to put in long hours there doing what I love. Art for me is a place to find peace and once again find my center when life has thrown us all a bit off kilter. It serves as a place of spiritual connection for me that has proven to be a true lifeline during this time. I’m very grateful for my art. I’m grateful for my galleries and for each person who cares about art and beauty.

I’d like to close with this admonition from contemporary writer, Shauna Niequist:  “Please keep demonstrating the courage that it takes to swim upstream in a world that prefers putting away for retirement to putting pen to paper, that chooses practicality over poetry, that values you more for going to the gym than going to the deepest places in your soul. Please keep making your art for people like me, people who need the magic and imagination and honesty of great art to make the day-to-day world a little more bearable.”

 

 


Debra Bucci – Painter (June 5, 2020)

Debra’s Studio View – May 2020

How have I been impacted by Covid-19?
The news is overwhelming…heartbreaking…so much that it has magnified my focus to paint “uplifting” art.

What is on the easel?
Since the only place we can go is to the garden centers, that has become my inspiration. I am painting flower gardens….really big flower gardens!  The kind you use as an escape.

Am I worried?
I am but I try to focus on the positive. I have always used my art as a distraction from the overwhelming. If I focus on the art in progress, I can temporarily block out the stress. My hope is to create enough work to raffle some off for charity.

How is the social distancing going?
My husband is not traveling and having him home is a blast, although, I am grateful that he can still golf:). I miss dinners out with friends and family, Fourth Fridays at the Art Gallery and going to the gym. As a full time artist, I am used to the long hours of isolation. After years in Corporate America, I appreciate the quiet, uninterrupted time to focus.

Any final thoughts?
My appreciation level for “special moments” is off the charts!  Wilmington seems to be in a bubble, thank goodness and I feel blessed that friends and family are safe and healthy. Like everyone else, I am constantly thinking of ways to help like getting take out food to support the local restaurants. My next step is to help with food distribution.

 


Click here to read encore’s
“HOME WORK: Art in Bloom’s ‘COVID-19 Studio Views’ provide a window in the the creative process”
by Jeff Oloizia

 


Return for More Studio Views!

Joan McLoughlin – Painter (June 8, 2020)

Jeri Greenberg – Pastels (June 10, 2020)

Brian Evans & Dianne Evans – Ceramicists (June 12, 2020)

Gale Smith – Painter & Metal Artist (June 15, 2020)

Barbara Snyder – Photographer & Artist (June 17, 2020)

David A. Norris – Print Maker & Drawing (June 19, 2020)

Liz Hosier – Painter (June 22, 2020)