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 took a moment, last year in May of 2020, to share a view of their studio with us. We asked to take another moment and update us on how the past year as been for them.
Below are the artist’s updated responses. Stay tuned as we will be adding another artist next week!
And make sure to click on the image to download a .pdf version or to view the graphics larger.
David A. Norris – Print Maker & Drawing (July 2021)
Joanne Geisel – Painter (June 2021)
Joanne Geisel’s Studio View – June 2021 (Click here to read Joanne’s comments)
Kirah Van Sickle – Painter (June 2021)
Kirah Van Sickle’s Studio View – June 2021 (Click here to read Kirah’s comments)
Helen Lewis – Encaustic Painter (June 2021)
Helen Lewis’ Studio View – June 2021 (Click here to read Helen’s comments)
Barbara Snyder – Photographer & Artist (June 2021)
Barbara Snyder’s Studio View – – June 2021 (Click here to read Barbara’s comments)
Joan McLoughlin – Painter (June 2021)
Joan McLoughlin’s Studio View – June 2021 (Click here to read Joan’s comments)
Jeri Greenberg – Pastels (May 2021)
Jeri Greenberg’s Studio View – May 2021 (Click here to read Jeri’s comments)
Elizabeth Darrow – Painter & Collage (May 2021)
Elizabeth Darrow’s Studio View – May 2021 (Click here to read Elizabeth’s comments)
May 2020 Versions
Angela Rowe – Painter (May 27, 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.
Debra Bucci – Painter (June 5, 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.
Brian Evans & Dianne Evans – Ceramicists (June 12, 2020)
COVID –19: Challenges and Successes in the Studio
When discussing our artwork, we normally address this topic as independent artists. Since we are spending much more time in the studio together, due to the quarantine, we thought that combining our experiences was a better approach in this case. The biggest benefit of working together is sharing ideas and asking one another for constructive input. One immediate realization is that we need a much larger studio. Adjusting to two people in a 400 square foot workspace has been a challenge. Thankfully our dog “Wagner” doesn’t take up much space. Wagner is enjoying spending every waking hour with us.
COVID-19 has also affected our work habits and creativity. We both have had more time to experiment with new ideas and to see those ideas evolve and come to fruition. In exploring new ideas, we have had successes, but we have also had some ideas that didn’t work out the way we anticipated. That is a part of the creative process. The unsuccessful projects can be positive by taking aspects that you like and allowing them to evolve in a new direction. Without the added pressure, we are able to explore all avenues of creativity.
Due to the quarantine, we have had to make adjustments to our daily lives. We have had show cancellations, galleries have closed, and Brian’s classes at Orange Street Pottery have been postponed. Dianne has been working from home for UNCW as well as working in the studio evenings and on weekends. It has been somewhat of a luxury to have the time to be more creative without having to worry as much about deadlines. We are building up inventory in anticipation of things opening back up in the summer or the fall. We are adjusting well, but we are looking forward to new opportunities.
Gale Smith – Painter & Metal Artist (June 15, 2020)
“The Great Pause”
The first week of March was the last normal workweek for most parts of the country and little did I know that on March 27, 2020, life would take a Great Pause. The Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic made sure of that.
Our Governor issued a “Stay at Home” order to begin and then implemented the social distancing guidelines. For many artists, “stay at home” and the 6- foot social distancing guidelines aren’t far from our norm. We are a solitary people anyway, paint by ourselves, so we’re not really meeting a lot of people in our studios. PleinAir painting with my artist friends is no longer taking place so most of my time is spent working in my studio. This “pause” has given me the needed creative space to branch outside of my comfort zone and try ways to take my artwork to new levels. I’m using this time to create and engineer free standing Copper Sculptures and to find ways to add more movement into my Woven Copper Designs.
My day begins with finding inspiration from walks in our vegetable and flower gardens, to see new beauty blooming, fresh colors appearing and experience sweet springtime scents. This inspiration takes me into my studio with a certain calm which I am incorporating into my new works. .
As with most others, during this unsettling time, we make a grocery list, grab our masks and gloves and go to the store one day a week early in the morning. Is this going to be the new typical day people ask? It’s hard to image how a day will be after the pandemic is over.
Sheltering in place has become a time to rethink and reimagine, to be receptive to the concerns of others, to develop and seek comfort within. I am grateful for this pause to create, but I am very much looking forward to reconnecting with my family, friends and my creative community in person again.
Bradley Carter – Painter (June 22, 2020)
I have struggled and contemplated over writing this. I have lost count on how many versions I have written, but tomorrow will always be the same if we don’t change today.
Covid-19 has pulled the emergency brake on the year of 2020, and as the smell of rubber and smoke start to clear we are trying to find out what life is going to be like going forward and how soon we can be “normal”. So far, our best hope feels like leaving it in neutral and coasting forward until we understand more. But regardless of how fast or slow we move it will continue to be a difficult time for all of us this year. We need to stay united, support each other and our community as we overcome this unprecedented challenge that affects us all.
As a full-time artist, it has been a difficult couple of months for me to stay focused, passionate, and be inspired to create something that I hope is honest and beautiful. You would think, it would be open season on creating with no reasons to leave the studio. For me it has been difficult between the unknown of the disease and craziness of Covid-19, to the financial impacts for not just my profession but our shared community. It makes you continue to pump the brakes. Also, the personal aspect of mental fatigue and health have been a big stumbling block for me as I pride myself on passion and emotion playing a big part in my Abstract Expressionism; creating paintings fueled by my emotion, inspiration, and feelings. But it’s a double-edged sword. One could say that the same emotions can fight you every day and hold you at bay from doing what you love. But I’m starting to see moments again, inspiration in the world, and a purpose to create. I hope others are also.
The break in painting has allowed me a fresh perspective to my approach and the meaning behind what I create. I am starting to get the “kid on Christmas feeling” about what is coming, and I can’t wait to see how it all translates to the canvas. I am trying to integrate different styles and mediums, allowing current series to evolve, and finding the passion to push paintings in new directions. Sometimes, it is the vulnerability to our surroundings that allows us new perspectives and the chance to grow. Much Love and cover your walls in Moments and Dreams!
Liz Hosier – Painter (June 24, 2020)
As weeks have turned into months and drawn all of us into the new COVID-19 “normal”, I find myself thinking back to the beginning of the “stay at home” order and the concerns expressed for our safety that seemed to increase almost daily. Things changed so dramatically and abruptly; it was disturbing. But just as quickly, the feelings of panic and frustration that all of us felt initially slowly morphed into a quieter, less frantic, and more reflective life in the Hosier household.
My husband, Paul and I are avid travelers, but serious yard work and home “fixit” projects—all long overdue—replaced our immediate travel plans once the epidemic began to spread. We both enjoy cooking, but in recent years we had subsisted on simple, quick meals, dining in restaurants, or eating whatever we could find in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer. Now, a major part of our new “normal” revolves around meal planning, grocery shopping (our big outings) and cooking, grilling, and baking. Once again, we enthusiastically experiment with new recipes, new foods, and new cooking techniques.
Although we miss the company of our friends and family, we have learned how to join them virtually or from a safe social distance (no hugs and kisses!); Zoom and Facetime are now as familiar as Facebook, instant messaging and email. I engage in church activities and services through Zoom and YouTube. Today, my life is less complicated and less hurried. I have accepted this situation and use my new-found time for reflection on my life; I seek out and appreciate many little pleasures I once spurned.
I feel fortunate to be an artist and, upon reflection, especially during this time. I hear others talking about feeling isolated and of their frustration with staying home, but these are not my thoughts. As artists, we sometimes crave isolation and relish time away from people and everyday events to focus on and nurture our artistic soul. COVID-19 has imposed on me an isolation that I personally cherish. My life, at least temporarily, is decluttered; I have more time to nurture my creative spirit. With every cancelled show or reception (and I do miss them terribly), I seize the opportunity to experiment with a new technique or medium and personal time when I am not focused of creating a particular piece or body of work. Currently I am exploring papier mâché incorporating it with encaustics. I take time to read art books and articles; watch videos exploring art techniques new to me; and review the artwork of others online. It has been a good time for my art!
I have played “musical studio spaces” during the past several months. When ACME Art Studios closed their doors temporarily and I could not go to my studio, I had to create a new one in my home. I took over part of the garage (husband says a “large part). Once I set up for work, I thoroughly enjoyed painting during many spring days with the garage doors thrown open allowing a gentle, refreshing wind on my face and my art work or experiencing a rumbling thunderstorm snug in a warm protected spot. I realize that I may never have this opportunity again. Right now, I am spending time in my other studio in Weaverville (near Asheville) where I grew up. Because I can’t have every art supply in each studio, I try to focus on a particular medium in each studio. One of the many joys in Weaverville is that a great art supply store is just a few miles away. They know me by name there!
As the pandemic continues, I occasionally find that I am fatigued by the separation from family and friends. I long to hug my children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and friends. I dream about the trip to Italy we were planning to take this summer. I miss being at ACME Art Studios with all its artistic vibes and miss the other artists with studios there. I miss Fourth Fridays and the crowds of art lovers who wander through Wilmington’s downtown galleries. I miss the students in my art classes at Cameron Art Museum. But, most importantly, I remember how very blessed I am. All it takes to pull me out of the doldrums is to step into my studio and rummage around my art “stuff.” This simple act transforms me. I know this “stay at home” situation will not last forever. But for now, I plan to enjoy today for all it brings to me.