Art & Quarantine

In a recent email I was sharing my thoughts on how this year has gone from my standpoint as an artist and decided it also might make a good blog post. I want to preface my thoughts by saying that I am blessed! I am healthy, my family is healthy, we are not in a food or financial crisis and realize that this pandemic has had devastating consequences for many families and countries. My situation is probably one of the easiest to be in – just stay home and keep to myself! But I know even those of us that are only required to do that, it has been a major shift in our daily life.

When it finally happened – the last of all the events on my schedule was cancelled and all the galleries were closed I felt more than a little lost. First, to be completely honest, I mourned a bit. An empty calendar looming is hard to reconcile at first. I was heading into what had appeared to be a great year – I had big art events scheduled, new and old, had joined a new gallery, with a paid residency to look forward to and within a couple of weeks it had all disappeared and was replaced by a heavy layer of fear hanging in the air. I didn’t know what to do, so I shut down and did absolutely nothing! After a week or so of sitting on the couch wallowing in a bit of self pity, I finally returned to the studio and began completing the work in progress that was for upcoming shows. It seemed like a waste of time, there was no reason to push myself to complete the art now. It was slow going, with low enthusiasm but, looking back, I’m glad I continued. Eventually there will be shows again and I’ll be ready! After that I took care of some “business” things that I don’t always enjoy but had plenty of time to get off of my to-do list. Redesigned business cards, overhaul the website, cancel upcoming classes, post on my blog, re-write my artist statement and updating my resume were among the mundane chores that I finished.

Throughout this time Spring was finally beginning to show its face, hiding here and there among the dead winter leaves and bare trees. I walk daily, often multiple time, outdoors in the woods and around the fields – observing the changes, taking photographs and just absorbing the peaceful calm of nature. It’s probably been the most grounding experience during all of this. Although I am one to enjoy the coming of spring and signs of new life (I admit I am a wildflower geek!) this year it seemed to hold an even greater promise. When I was feeling that I was just trapped in time there was evidence that life would go on, and actively looking for it was both a good distraction and a great joy.

After a few weeks I returned to the empty calendar and looked at it again, with fresh eyes. It didn’t seem as empty now, it was full of possibilities. All those “one of these days” things we all talk about? Well, now was the time. I sorted through half-finished projects and completed or discarded them so they no longer took up space in my studio or my mind. I cleaned and organized the studio (not that you could tell it now!). I carved many new stamps and used them on scrap papers, then painted more scrap papers with vibrant colors – all added to my stash of papers I can choose from when I decide to collage next. When all else fails, on particularly rough days, I continue to do small slices of creative work in my art journals. I began an online class that I had purchased last year and, most likely, wouldn’t have ever slowed down long enough to sit and learn. That led to inspiration of more new creativity. and I just signed up for another class!

The days have begun to finally flow in a slow, comfortable rhythm that includes outdoor time, reading, learning, working in the studio and “daily life” activities. I am also taking better care of myself – exercise, full nights of sleep, cooking delicious meals, soaking in the tub and just being more aware of what my body wants and needs. In the meantime the calendar will begin to fill. A few events have set re-scheduled dates. I’ve discovered some virtual opportunities to participate in. I’ve been blessed with grants from the Indiana Arts Council and a couple of small commissioned projects so I can pay the bills and keep myself supplied in paints and materials. For now, I’m going to take advantage of this slow time.

How have you dealt with the last few months? Are you feeling confident of the future or cautious? I think I waiver between the two, especially if I am exposed to the media for any length of time! Then I need to retreat – into a book, into the studio, into some music or into the woods. I hope you have found your retreats and are able to use them when needed – love & blessing to you!

Your randomly creative friend,

Lynne

Playing in the garden

"spring garden" acrylic on canvas, 12x36", $295 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

Continuing with the acrylic on canvas paintings that I made a few weeks ago, today I am showing the progression of another new piece titled “Spring Garden” (above). This was another piece that started with bright stripes of bold, spring colors all drippy and messy as I spread the paint on outdoors.

work in progress, image #1 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

work in progress, image #2 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

work in progress, image #3 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

I really enjoyed working with these bright spring-like colors, especially after the long cold winter. They just felt lively and fresh!

work in progress, image #4 - detail (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

work in progress, image #5 - detail (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

work in progress, image #6 (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

The new ferns sprouting in the garden inspired me to paint the curved, organic details on the surface – followed by some white, followed by more black and then it suddenly seemed too dark and bold for a “garden” piece of art. I toned it down with more white paint followed by a floral stamp, again in white.

detail of "spring garden" (c) 2010, Lynne Medsker

Aaah! That’s more like it! I really like the bright colors peeking out here & there, just like they do in really life. ¬†I hope you are enjoying the milder temperatures and bursts of color that come with spring…don’t forget to take a moment to soak it all in and smile. ūüôā

Lynne

Thinkin’ Spring!

(c) Lynne Medsker

Okay, today’s post doesn’t have any kind of tutorial or photo tips, it’s just a selection of spring flower images that I’m drawn to right now. ¬†We’re having another winter storm move through today and I’m way past being done with this kind of weather! ¬†I’m ready for spring. ¬†I can look at these and remember taking them at some local state parks and in my own backyard.

(c) Lynne Medsker

(c) Lynne Medsker

(c) Lynne Medsker

Some of them I lay down on the chilly spring earth to get close enough to capture their tiny details.  At least one of them I got more than just a photo, I got nice big patches of itchy poison ivy on my arms as well!  Some were taken when I was out enjoying nature with friends and family and others I was blissfully alone and in tune with my surroundings, seeing and appreciating the tiny details of my journey.

(c) Lynne Medsker

(c) Lynne Medsker

(c) Lynne Medsker

Although I know they don’t hold the memories for you that they do for me perhaps, in a small way, they will still give you something to look forward to while we wait out yet another spell of winter weather. I’m ready for some warmer weather, sunshine and no snow, how about you?

Thinkin’ Spring!

Lynne

I’m back…

did you miss me?¬† ūüôā

¬†I had a fabulous time during my retreat at the Mary Anderson Center, it was more than I dared to hope for!¬† I enjoyed some good company, some solitude, lots of time to make lots of art, time to rest & reflect – the best of everything.¬† As far my vow to find out how to post images, alas, that part of the plan failed.¬† The wireless internet was down in the house so, other than a quick trip to a local coffee shop to check my e-mail, I didn’t have access to the web.¬† That was probably a blessing, I didn’t waste time surfing when I could have been creating.¬† One project I had thought I would begin is internet based so that is on hold again, I’ve always got more ideas than time to do them though – nothing new in that!¬† I have continued to make art each day since I’ve returned, sometimes just for a few minutes, sometimes longer, it’s something I want to keep as a daily activity instead of holding out for large gaps of time & energy.¬† Those wonderful gaps¬†never seem to show up and then I am frustrated by all the pent up creativity!¬†

I have been teaching a mixed media class on Tuesday afternoons, two weeks into it, two weeks left to go.¬† It’s been a nice change of pace to work with a group and share a few things with others.¬† My second session of pottery/clay classes started this week so that is awesome too.¬† I am excited about my first creation and hope to finish at least one more during each of the next three weeks (it’s a four week class).¬† I’d be thrilled to have four pieces similar to the first one at the end of class.¬† It is all hand-built work, very full of texture and dimension and I’ve left it open to where I can add metal/wire to the pieces once they are glazed and fired.¬† I am designing them to hang on the walls, they are beautiful in my imagination (I’ve been thinking of them for weeks), now to get them out of my head and into reality!¬†

¬†I realize after looking something up on my website that I need to do some updates, it’s been about 6 weeks since the last ones, my calendar section is out of date!¬† Seems like I just did¬†updates but time passes so quickly.¬†Enjoy the hints of spring that art beginning to peek through, it’s lovely to see some small splashed of color after the drab winter!