The therapeutic quality of art-making

When my office first announced that we would be transitioning to working from home, I imagined there would be so much extra time for things; I’d have time to write more here, time to make more art and perhaps complete a few projects that have been on hold. But it hasn’t really felt like that, despite that so many things that used to take up my time are off the menu for awhile.

Initially I found I could’t focus on being creative at all; I was overwhelmed and a bit frozen by the new reality. The only time I didn’t feel this way was when I was working; interacting over Slack and via audio meetings, etc, with my designers and co-workers.

Having work to do was and is really helpful; the opportunity to feel productive and useful, even in small way, is so good for one’s mental health, and I feel very fortunate to be able to continue working.

Finally this past week something shifted, though, and I started what has turned into a little series of portraits of people in masks. Above is the first one I did, and when I began drawing her, I hadn’t any plan to put a mask on her, but that’s where it went, and I’ve done one each day this week. Below are a few others. I’ve been posting them to instagram, if you want to see all of them.

I’ve owned my iPad for over a year, and I never really used it much other than to do tonal studies while planning my etching plates. And now this isolation has found me using it more than anything else! I’d imagined myself doing messy watercolors, and elaborate ink drawings, but here we are. It’s a different world. and unpredictable.

It’s been a strange way of life to get used to, but it’s beginning to feel less so. It’s amazing how quickly humans can adapt when necessary. I have some other art-related news which I’ll share in another post soon. I’m really going to try to get back to my once-a-week minimum of posting here, now that I’m feeling less frozen.

Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think of these portraits in the comments!

5 thoughts on “The therapeutic quality of art-making”

  1. You describe so well what I’ve been feeling…mentally and emotionally stuck except when there is work to do, a task to be performed, that doesn’t depend on me to originate it. I’m glad you have been able to shift into a new gear. I love your idea about people and masks!

    Grace and peace to you…

  2. There is something very ethereal about how you’ve done the masks, they don’t really cover as much as mask! Behind our masks we’re still here. I’m still reminding myself that smiles are not enough of a greeting when passing someone, my mask does cover me.

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