It is August and while COVID 19 has not gone away, the number of cases are staying stable and there is some hopeful return to some form of normalcy. Art can play a major therapeutic role during these times. Harvard Health Medical School in their article state “The beneficial effects of creating aren’t dependent on a person’s skill or talents. “It’s the process, not the product,” says Megan Carleton, an art therapist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).” They talk about how the process of creating art help people with depression, anxiety, or cancer. And doing so has been linked to improved memory, reasoning, and resilience in healthy older people. (Reference: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mental-health/the-healing-power-of-art)
Melody Roth provided me with a picture of her recent painting called “The Blues”. She said “This painting was created to bring me happiness. The Blues represent the lakes and sky and the dreaming mandala keeps me going on our future plans when we can travel safely again.” Certainly would make me happy.
While I have performed no official studies, I do know for myself that art provides me with focus and a means to redirect my thoughts when difficult times occur. It allows me to be fully absorbed in the process and vision, to take me to somewhere where I remember and feel and my senses become entrenched in the moment. And it’s where I can see, how nothing can become something.
Even prior to Covid19, my life had hit some turmoils and I had mixed times of not being about to create, to fully being absorbed in the process. During Covid, my home wasn’t just where I was deemed to go, but where I needed to be, and I fully appreciated the serenity it provided me. Day by day, doing what needs to be done, the next right thing. It’s strange how despite there having been so much distress in my life this year, that I could feel calm and restored with the routines of home. The regular and repetitive cleaning felt empowering. The morning walks at different locations around the lake, strengthened me and fed my soul. The tending of gardens helped nurture life around me. Each task was simple and enabled me time to grieve and time to absorb the essence of life and my environment.
I hope everyone is using what techniques they have in their toolboxes to keep active, keep your mind strong, and stay resilient to the need for social distancing right now. Part of what helps is staying connected and sharing whatever way you can. This blog serves to share the stories behind some of the means and works that artists often use to help in this quest.
Melody Roth, the programs coordinator for the Blind Bay Painters group,
tried to figure out ways for the artists to continue learning during this time when they were no longer able to meet. She recently sent the painters a few YouTube videos that shared how to paint animals in bright colours. Using online sources to help teach new techniques of any craft is a wonderful way to keep your mind focused on positive with the added bonus of learning! She herself used the videos to help her create these beautiful paintings! You can view one of the videos at https://youtu.be/PXQWZwo24nw
Patricia Smith just recently joined the Blind Bay Painters group just prior to the self isolation occurred, so she is anxiously waiting to be able to meet with the group to paint with them again soon! She is just finishing up courses at Thompson River University for the semester. This is a piece of art she just completed for her Drawings & Painting class that was done during the lock down. She’s loving seeing what everyone else is doing during this time!
Vi Isaac indicated “Looking for a project that would help brighten my spirits during this troubling time, I chose to paint a scene similar to a calendar
page from a previous year. I had it taped to the freezer in my studio for many months, and every time I looked at it, I thought, “I want to paint that”. This pandemic provided the motivation to finally do it. “Sunrise” is a 16″ square oil on canvas that now adds a splash of color to my Livingroom.
She’s also added a little fun spring art to some T-Shirts:
Judy McKenzie, has been busy working on completing yet another painting! She says – “Here is my newest painting. It’s done in acrylics, 24 x 18, unframed, available for sale -$950. It’s called “The Colours of Nature”
We will continue to post Art that is being created in the Shuswap while everyone is self isolating and social distancing. If you are interested in sharing your art, email us at email@example.com.
The arts have always been a great means to bring people together. It provides opportunities to focus if that is the objective, or to communicate ones feelings. Whether it be through music, or dance; drawing or painting, in difficult times, it is there to support us, remind us of the beauty in world, and enable us to express ourselves in creative ways. Art is like an old friend you can tell anything to.
I receive a newsletter from the BC Guide to Arts and Culture, where they wrote some words I found inspiring. I’ve posted them below. https://www.art-bc.com
“The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging society in new and revealing ways. Never before have we been so connected and interdependent, and yet so separated at the same time. Despite this challenge to humanity, the Arts can play a crucial role in helping us understand and persevere through these trying times.
Throughout time, art has always played an interesting role to interpret history and navigate rough waters. Whether in subversion, the abstract or idealization, our craft offers new insight. Not only can the Arts provide a tableau with which to make sense of troubling times but crucially, art can also help us imagine a new, healthier world. Here, our community can be an island oasis from uncertainty, to provide refuge for each other in this time of need.
As communities continue social distancing, our digital world provides wonderful ways to stay connected, communicative and creative. Now, perhaps more than ever, the Arts are truly crucial in helping us sail these uncharted waters while also remaining whole; of caring for and supporting each other in these strange days, even virtually.
Adversity has always been fertile ground for the Arts. When times seem dark, let us be the light in which these seeds can flourish.”
So in the spirit of creating and sharing, helping and observing, and being the light – here is the first collection of art that was completed over this tumultuous time; during our time of isolation but also togetherness.
Joey Nash – “I have just finished “House Sparrow” and made a bit of Self-Discovery in the process. I have been “rootless” most of my adult life so, “Home” has become very important to me. Our home, here in Chase, is our paradise which we share with a lot of birds. Most of those are a colony of House Sparrows who live here year round, rearing ever more babies & chirping their heads off as they bicker with neighbours, bathe in the pond and flit from vine to tree to birdhouses.
The day we moved here, my partner came from the last day of his last job, with a little tree that he had rescued from the camp, where he had been staying. It truly was a rescue, as the camp was about to expand. Anyway, we gave the little tree pride of place, in the centre of our front yard and called the little tree Kimberley.
I tell you all this because, when I photographed the candles for the pine boughs in this Driftwood Painting, I realized how important Kimberley was to my definition of “Home”. Every Spring we watch and celebrate, as her new candles signal how vigorous her growth will be, this year.
For me, this painting means that things will be fine, the Seasons will unfold, baby birds will continue to hatch and Kimberley will continue to thrive in her dog bone shaped garden.
Judy Mackenzie paints with the Blind Bay Painters and has her own studio in Chase, B.C. She began working on this piece, “Along the Creek”, during our last paint day before the regular Tuesday paint day came to a pause amidst the COVID-19 Virus pandemic and recently completed it. Bringing your mind to a peaceful place is a great thing amidst the chaotic daily news. Judy says “My brother-in-law took the photo down in Sardis, and sent it to me. He does a lot of walking along this path at the side of the creek. I liked the dark green water and foliage, with the punch of the bright aspens in the center.”
Jackie Wambolt also paints with the Blind Bay Painters. Her and her daughter have been spending some time painting together during this time. They are working on techniques together and spending time learning. Jackie says, “The inspiration for these paintings are from some of my daughter’s photos. At the same time, she is teaching me how to operate my new tablet which is quite foreign to me! We are taking picture around the area, so I will have some future references, from my home area.”
Karen Trach, is a local artist (Blind Bay) that uses colour pencils to portray pets.
She does commission work and her work is quickly getting noticed by many of the pet owners in the community, who are signing up to get their pet portrait!
Karen’s drawings often bring inspiration for others. People ask for the sake of memories and some just love to have their pets close by for comfort, and artwork enables all those things to happen.
Diana Waller, a past long time resident of Blind Bay still stays connected to her friends and old neighbourhood through electronic means. Facebook, email, live videoing, are all ways to share and connect with people you love. We are often taking the time now that we are home to do that. Diana sent in a few of the many project pieces she has been working on from her now residence in Calgary. We miss seeing all her creative ideas and her openness on teaching whatever she learns. Here is a collection of some of her mosaic tile and other glass recent works.
Keep creating, everyone! And share your work. We will be publishing an blog regularly during the COVID19 times to help give us all some inspiration. If you live in the Shuswap area and want to show your 2D artworks on this page, just send your work into firstname.lastname@example.org.