The New York times wrote an article 7 Questions 75 Artists and 1 Very Bad Year. In the article, they asked 7 questions to various types of artists to discover what they experienced, during the pandemic. Some of the answers were revealing, some funny and some were profound. The following are the questions, plus my given answers. Answering these questions gives you a view of your “creative mind during quarantine”.
What one thing did you make this year?
From November 2019 to the end of March 2020 I had completed 120 abstract paintings. March 9th, was the beginning of shelter in place. We were in complete lockdown. I had completely switched to doing figurative work. The piece that I created is called “Grief” (shown above). I am the model. My painting oddly shows myself in a dress and heels, which soon became obsolete atire for one in isolation. I am seated in my “Sacred Place”, where I pray and meditate daily. My body looks weary and burdened; feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. Not only was I feeling the loss of not seeing my family, but also feeling the collective loss. There was a sense of dispair, but at the same time a halo of light surrounding me, showing hope. No matter what, there must always be hope.
What art have you turned to in this time?
I don’t know if you can call it art, but I delved into puzzles. Because of my visual memory, it was easy to put together 1000 piece puzzles. I probably completed five of them and numerous smaller ones. It helped me keep my mind off the monotonous days of isolation and occupy my son with Down Syndrome. I would start them and he would finish them. We looked forward to this togetherness.
Did you have any particularly bad ideas?
Yes, it was sort of a good idea and bad idea. I got rid of all my furniture in my living room. The only thing that was in the living room for four months, until my new furniture arrived, was a chair and a rowing machine. Good idea, I didn’t have to worry about company, bad idea, I had no place to sit.
What’s a moment from this year you’ll always remember?
It’s funny, trying to find toilet paper. I found some online. It was a scam. It took me over three months to receive. It came from China. The size of the toilet paper was as described 40 rolls, but they forgot to mention the rolls were only 2” wide and 1” thick.
Did you find a friendship that sustained you artistically?
My husband always supports my art. He respects when I feel a need to create and when I don’t. He worked during home and helped with the grocery shopping. We became very close, although I didn’t believe we could be much closer, being married for over 43 years. We never tire of each other. We were so grateful that we had such a close relationship, during this lonely time. We found we are definitely stronger together.
If you’d known that you’d be isolated for so long, what would you have done differently?
This is easy. I would have created more and also journaled daily, about my experiences and feelings. It was very difficult to create art, during this time. When you are in survival mode, creating seems to stop. Even though it could have been very healing, I was too focused on my basic needs.
What do you want to achieve before things return to normal?
I want to complete my Twelve of Twelve series, in which I enlarge 12 abstract studies to a 36″ x 36″ format. I will be creating them on arches oil paper with cold wax medium and then adhering them to a cradled wooden panel. There’s a good chance I have a show lined up, as soon as we are open to larger groups.
The pandemic has taught me a lot. I will always remember that, “now is all there is” and what sustains me is my family and creativity. It is important to make both a priority. I would love to hear your thoughts to these questions. I’m sure I will find them very interesting.