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Creativity During the Pandemic

By Stephanie DeFazio

Being creative, although fun and inspiring, can also be challenging at times. Throw in a pandemic, and the challenge becomes even greater.

In honor of Creative Spirit's latest gallery exhibit, The Purple Show, we reached out to our exhibiting artists to learn more about their art and creativity process during the pandemic.

Lane Billings

As a photographer whose focus is on floral, objects, scenes and architecture, there was little change in my work during the pandemic. Without many people around, I wasn’t forced to crop out anyone from scenes. Though it was eerie the first few days of the lockdown, not seeing a single soul, I eventually grew accustomed to it. And not having to fight through crowds around high traffic sites was wonderful!  

Trio of Flowers by Lane Billings

Poppy Bland

During quarantine I’ve been sketching a lot and it’s really helped me improve and get more creative with my art. I’ve also been painting and exploring mixing mediums, I’ve really been trying to think outside the box with my work. I also had a commission during quarantine with oil paints, which I hadn’t used since quarantine began so it was interesting to revisit them.

Untitled by Poppy Bland

Lisa Boemer

For "Wake up World,” I was doodling with markers on recycled cardboard and paper towards the end of May 2020. My mother passed away a few weeks earlier (most likely from COVID-19) and doodling was the only escape and solace from the pandemic, grieving, and trying to understand that our world had changed forever.  "Creating" was impossible-doodling was possible.

Inner Warmth by Lisa Boemer

Daniel Boyer

On the whole, how I have been able to express my creativity during this pandemic has not been measurably different to how I expressed myself before it (I might note that I am using the media of colored pencils and watercolor pencils more, but I think that might have been something that would have happened anyway). However, more noticeable is how with postponements and cancellations of exhibitions and opportunities, my job has almost completely disappeared. It is disturbing that in some cases, the cancellations have not seemed to be necessary given the situation on the ground at that time and in that place.

57th Street (Tribute to Echo Painting) by Daniel Boyer

Linda Starr Brite

My relationship to creativity during the initial phases of COVID-19 was essentially nonexistent. It wasn't until the Creative Spirit Gallery reinstituted the deadline for our submissions, that I rallied. It was just the motivation I needed. Diving into shaded hues of purple paint, seas of tissue paper, and playful paraphernalia, my Arrival collage emerged. My tranquil and self-satisfied feelings were its gift. Thank you Creative Spirit!

Arrizal by Linda Starr Brite

Michelle Brown

During the pandemic, I have not been into my studio as often as I normally would be. Instead, I looked into ways to be creative at home, where I don’t have as much space. I took an online class on watercolor painting, learned how to dot paint mandalas on rocks and explored working with alcohol ink. Even when I’m not feeling particularly creative, I try to color a page in a coloring book with colored pencils. This is a very stressful time, and I try to escape it by creating art.

Fragility by Michelle Brown

Bobbie Bush

Over the past few years, my work has evolved from photography to painting, and I have developed a mixed-media approach to the commissioned artwork I create for clients, turning photographs into paintings using both electronic brushwork combined with topical oil paints. 

During the COVID-19 lockdown, I began to think creatively about ways I can continue to serve my clients while remaining socially distant.

I realized that I could take an ordinary snapshot and transform it into a painted work of art using my creative process. Up until this point, I had essentially only created mixed media paintings from my own photographs. 

One client sent me a snapshot of his son catching his very first fish during COVID-19, and I was able to create a mixed media painting from the photograph, taking a precious memory to an entirely new level, as a work of art for their wall. The painting tells the story so much better than the original photograph. 

Mixed media art by Bobbie Bush

Jeanne Carey

This isn’t a quarantine, it’s an artist retreat- right? 

As a full time Boston architect who has a range of creative interests outside work, I always have more things I want to do than time to do them. A chance to reclaim three hours of commuting time every day by working from home-wow. On the first day of working from home, I started a daily Instagram project I have faithfully kept throughout the pandemic. I take a morning walk in my neighborhood and photograph what I see. I never run out of ideas because every day I discover something. 

At the start of the pandemic, I had four large canvases I set out to paint. I painted those four and then kept going, and going! I discovered an online abstract painting class through MoMA I loved, then followed that up with an interesting Zoom class with Jenny Nelson. Recently, I’ve started figure drawing on Zoom through the Coastal Art Guild of CT. A few weeks ago, I bought a great book on cold wax and a jar of cold wax medium and have begun a new path of experimentation. It’s been a productive time artistically, and it’s been nearly as productive musically. I’m taking violin and mandolin lessons with Artistworks online, an Americana workshop on Zoom with Passim, and have been amazed by the technology that allows me to jam with others virtually through Jamkazam. 

Follow me @carey.jeanne.

Untitled by Jeanne Carey

Richard Honan

My love of creating art is a year round passion, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, it became even more important. My art provided me with a way to take my mind off of the onslaught of information being released by the news outlets for days, weeks and months on end. The Purple Show gave me an opportunity to focus a single theme and how I would interpret or translate it into one of my wall sculptures. I find myself very fortunate that I have a daily need to create and keep my mind, body and spirit occupied during this traumatic time.

Purple Rain by Richard Honan

Gail Jenner

Looking through my images I found this pre-pandemic photo of Paris in April. Here, people are gathered in a park simply enjoying an average day. I used purple to contrast then and now and wonder how social distancing will globally impact cultural distance. 

Violet by Gail Jenner

June Jordan

I found it a bit difficult to be creative at the beginning of this pandemic. I did kind of have to force myself to "climb out" of my head. It was a very hard time, but I made myself look for the good.

Purple Mountain Majesty by June Jordan

Karen Matthews

Many thanks, Peyton Pugmire, for weathering these unprecedented times and keeping the doors open at Creative Spirit and your joyful Gallery/Center.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, I felt grateful to live on the Seacoast of Cape Ann. The wonders of the island/beach/creatures/brisk air kept me healthy and provided a safe outdoor experience.

My desire to shoot continued thankfully, but to be honest, the hopelessness of the virus/country’s leadership/future made me feel paralyzed to move my art forward. Living alone, usually enjoyable, didn’t help. My work was in five shows that obviously/understandably shut down. 

With true grit/perseverance, ALL of these venues survived/continued to celebrate the Arts! My work is currently in four shows now and my spirit is lifting day by day.

I am proud to live in Massachusetts where Science is believed/followed/respected.

Faeries by Karen Matthews

Come check out The Purple Show, which runs through August 30th at Creative Spirit!

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