Studio Life During Covid-19

This week has been intense and uncertain for a lot of people. We are all watching the news on a daily basis, and surfing social media for the interaction that we are prohibited from getting in person.

In the studio, in addition to the new Covid-19 drawings I am sharing with you in this post, I had a contract cancellation as their offices are shut down for Covid-19.

Kathleen & Quinnton, 16 x 20 Acrylic on Canvas

I finished Kathleen and Quinton’s wedding painting, and edited and uploaded the final video in the series, which will go live on Youtube this Friday (watch for it).

I am still planning on doing a sketchbook tour video this week which I should upload to Youtube for next Friday. This almost couldn’t happen as I dropped off the sketchbook to be scanned (more about that later) and picked up the next day. That evening all non-essential business were ordered closed and I thought the book would be unavailable until restrictions were lifted. However curb-side pick up was still available the next day, so I will still be able to make that video for you after all.

This does put me a bit behind on the schedule for the next Planning an Art Show video, however this crisis has changed many plans. Or delayed them in this case, so keep an eye out for it on my channel, it is still in the works. Make sure you are subscribed so you don’t miss it when it does come out.

Three more people joined the Sunflower Project, and will be receiving a painting of a sunflower seed from my halloween series in the mail (so long as the postal service is still delivering). A nice surprise for them, art direct to home, when we can’t go out to get our art-fix! On a serious note though, I believe that the hoarding we saw in grocery stores this past month has shown how relevant the mission of the Sunflower Project is in working to encourage a society where we all have confidence that we will have enough of what we need.

I was turned down for inclusion in this years Western Art Gallery at the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. Oh well, you win some you lose some. However it is not certain that the Calgary Stampede will go ahead this year as planned amid the Covid-19 crisis. For the sake of all those it employs, and all those artists who were accepted this year, I hope it does.

Speaking of not going ahead, it was difficult to motivate myself to carry on applying for projects and shows, not knowing if the effort to write the applications were futile given the potential for the events to be cancelled anyway.

So more about why I got my sketchbook scanned: The response to the Covid-19 drawings has been overwhelming for me. I have had a number of requests for reproductions, so in this time of limited access to services I find myself looking into what I can do to get reproductions of the drawings into peoples hands, and how to share them with more people. I will keep you updated on what I am able to make available as I know more.

In the mean time, keep watching my channels on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linked In and Youtube for the drawings as I upload them. CBC Calgary has shared them on their feed:

Take care of your selves (and your community) and we will talk to you again next week.

The Timely Sketchbook

I have always loved the beautiful sketchbooks of other artists, but they have never been a regular thing for me. Mine are usually decades old and half full of loose composition ideas, shopping lists, reading notes, budgets, business ideas and the odd nice drawing of a landscape or portrait. But a proper visual diary of my thoughts, observations and inspirations? Nope, I’ve never had much luck with those. Maybe it is because my thought process is long, but I usually respond to circumstance through my paintings, rather than in bound books of daily sketches.

Covid-19 Sketchbook Drawing 1,
Ink on paper,
Debbie.lee Miszaniec

However there is something about the need to respond quickly to the realities of the Covid-19 crisis, that has me revisiting the sketchbook as a way to document and think through both the monumental shift in our daily lives, and the weaknesses in our social and economic systems that this crisis has exposed.

Covid-19 Sketchbook Drawing 2,
Ink on paper,
Debbie.lee Miszaniec

To create a painting in response to each question this crisis has raised would leave me behind the curve as each new thought, experience and piece of information displaces the last. A sketchbook seems much more responsive to the circumstance.

Covid-19 Sketchbook Drawing 3,
Ink on paper,
Debbie.lee Miszaniec

Considering a journal as opposed to a sketchbook; in this case, I prefer the ambivalence of images to the specificity of words. If I were arguing a position I would write an essay, or perhaps a manifesto. Words can be interpreted or misinterpreted, but it is difficult to hold two, or more, positions at the same time. I enjoy the plurality of the image, where I can simultaneously hold multiple and conflicting positions, turning them over in my head as I create and contemplate the visual analogies I am making.

Covid-19 Sketchbook Drawing 4,
Ink on paper,
Debbie.lee Miszaniec

Covid-19 has had an effect on my art practice in showing me the value of the sketchbook. I may decide to use a sketchbook format more often in the future when I want to digest a complex and quickly developing situation in a timely manner.

Covid-19 Sketchbook Drawing 5,
Ink on paper,
Debbie.lee Miszaniec

For now I will continue to document my thoughts in my Covid-19 Sketchbook. When this one is full I will do a sketchbook tour video (my very first, as you can guess based on my history with sketchbooks) and upload it to Youtube. Make sure to subscribe to my channel to catch that upload.