Updated: Mar 31, 2020
I have to admit that I’m struggling a bit to write this. When I launched this blog, I had drafts and plans to talk about art and travel in a world that no longer truly exists. Right now we are facing a pandemic and one of the biggest crises of our times, and what I wanted to write and share with the world has changed as well. So I am finding this area, where I am still me, expressing the creativity and inspiration I feel I am meant to do, and I am adapting to this reality.
So this is an update on the artist front, how I’m coping with art and creativity, and what I’m doing to stay inspired. This isn’t necessarily an instruction for others to follow, as not all of us can actually maintain quarantine, and not all of us have the support they need right now to cope with this pandemic (financially, emotionally, and otherwise). But it is some insight I hope you’ll enjoy.
Creating that Vision Board
When the pandemic first started getting serious, I had this intuitive notion that I should gather some art supplies and inspiration. I already have a TON of art supplies, but I did pick up just a few items I was out of.
I also spent a significant amount of time finding photos that absolutely inspired me on Pinterest. I know a lot of creative folks use that app, but for me it’s just not enough for it to live on my phone. I then, curated these photos, resized them, printed them, and placed them in my special inspiration book. The book is like if a vision board, scrapbooking, and Pinterest was fused together.
Most of my inspiration comes from the Southwest and California Landscape. Ranging from the Arizona Desert, New Mexico, Anza Borrego, Mojave, California Chaparral, and the Sierras. My goal is to paint expressive landscapes that come from photos that make my heart ting a little. I’m glad I did this before the Stay at Home order, because now due to trail closures, this is my best way to connect with the landscapes I truly love and adore.
Setting the Scene
Years ago I used to apprentice with an upholsterer in his garage. He was close to my barista job, and I would hang out with him, try to learn something new, and just enjoyed the company of someone who wasn’t from my work or home. He often would have me organize and sharpen tools, and once told me the metaphor for sharpening the knife:
The man who tries to cut the meat with a dull blade will spend hours of frustration trying to do the job. The man who sharpens his blade for an hour could slice it minutes with less effort.
And so I’ve learned setting the scene is important just as doing the work. The room gets cleaned, the coffee table organized. All my paints in a row, brushes in a bin, a candle is lit, the music is on. I breathe and get comfortable on a pillow, and start to paint. And there is no real direction because this is just for me. I may have a photo reference, but it is like a recipe I sort of follow and mostly add ingredients based on my heart’s desire. (Less onions more garlic ya dig?)
For many years I've been resentful of Facebook and social media. In my experience, they’ve been a great theft of time and energy, as well as invasive of our personal lives. But the world has changed drastically, and in the absence of being able to actually hug people, social media is the lifeline.
I’ve done live videos of painting, and enjoyed people conversing with me. Many people have messaged me in private that they love just zoning out with me. I’ve had the privilege of attending many Zoom social hangouts and those have also been a life-saver. I’ve enjoyed the sheer volume of other creative people expressing themselves online, and seeing videos of people singing to their neighbors from their balcony.
I think we always imagined an apocalyptic scenario with people absolutely freaking out. And while there has been many shortcomings ( I won’t get into) I think it’s also beautiful, that in this hour of need, creative people like myself, are doing their best to light up the world. We are here to comfort, inspire, and connect.
If you’d like to connect with me, reach me on Facebook to tune into live painting sessions.
Learning Something New
Another way I’ve been staying quaransane is by learning something new. Just before the pandemic, an old guitar I bought for my ex was returned to me (in a beat-up taped state) by a mutual friend. It felt like an act of the Divine to gift me this instrument right at this particular time. Yes, I still play piano, but I’m growing fond of this small guitar, in spite of its tape, stickers, and scratches, and while somehow sounding decent.
I’m also reading A LOT more, almost in a shameful way. As a kid and teen I was such a book nerd, in a way that would sometimes infuriate my family who desired my social skills in public settings. As an adult, I’ve had work, distractions, and less attention span to read as I used too, and I know I’m not alone in this. In the past few weeks I've read about 6 months of material, and that actually excites me.
Accepting the Stillness
I know a lot of us are getting cabin fever, and that’s if your blessed to have a roof over your head, some food in the pantry, and are not required to work right now. So for those who are at home, and anxious, I recommend welcoming this stillness. Yes, there is a lot of uncertainty in the world, but right now, you get to be still. You get to reconnect with yourself, so embrace that. Read a book, learn something new, surround yourself with inspiration, and be thankful you can breathe right now.
About the Blogger: Hi I’m Elura! I’m an avid creator and nature enthusiast in San Diego, and a professional artist.