Creative quarantine

37

Dear Artist,

This morning I received a message from a collector friend: “Some people are lucky, like artists (with materials), readers, knitters, gardeners. It’s worrying about the galleries and everyone else. But I’m excited to see the creative output from this period. It would turn some of the devastation from this time into wondrous innovation. We’ll see.” Sequestered in my creation station, I’d just opened my eyes and was thinking of everyone on the planet doing some version of the same. I was quietly redesigning the world.

Italians in self-quarantine this week hold impromptu concerts from their balconies and jam with their neighbours.

Italians in self-quarantine this week held impromptu concerts from their balconies and jammed with their neighbours.

I thought of everyone who had ever wanted to make something, but because of the structure of modern life, had back-burnered their project for other, more external priorities. While our economic pressures haven’t gone away — they’ve merely been knee-capped by being restricted from being addressed — perhaps for a little while, the embers of a cornered creative dream might quietly step into the light. Those rainy day impulses, those last resort, last to be loved, soul polishing creative drives may suddenly emerge as the most nourishing, maybe even the most necessary of activities. Besides, art is fun, it gives a feeling of purpose, it’s engrossing, it’s productive. Ordered to press pause, to shelter in place, what might we be able to catch and how many of us could catch it? Here are a few ideas:

The children of Italy are making posters to hang on their balconies and in their gardens: "Everything will be okay."

The children of Italy are making artwork to hang on their balconies and in their gardens: “Andra Tutto Bene” (“Everything will be okay”)

Can you think of this time as a golden creative opportunity?

Can you remember that thing you had always wanted to make?

Can you balance consuming amusements with the production of something handmade?

Is there a story, craft or aesthetic language you can advance in your own unique and personal way?

Is there a way to safely share your creative output with others?

Can you encourage your friends and loved ones by witnessing and cheering on their creativity, too?

Sincerely,

Sara

PS: “And the people stayed home. And they read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And they listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.” (Kitty O’Meara)

Everything will be okay Surrey, BC, Canada March 17, 2020 Lee Ann Sharp photo

Everything Will Be Okay
Surrey, BC, Canada
March 17, 2020
Lee Ann Sharp photo

Esoterica: Painters and writers, accustomed to going to their rooms, are reporting feelings of minimal turbulence when ordered to shelter in place. Those performing artists and filmmakers who rely on collaborators and audiences to make their work real are inventing creative ways to materialize their gifts. When quarantined Italian tenor Maurizio Marchini sang Puccini’s Nessun Dorma from his Florence balcony last week, he also shared it online and in doing so handed the world a universal, timely and timeless gift. “We are deciding what is “essential” right now, though art and artists are essential to us!” wrote my friend this morning. I replied that I understood completely and felt so grateful for her existence and all she does to complete the circle of creative communication. May we all take this time to make more, to share more and to encourage up-until-now slumbering artists to rise in their rooms. Their rooms have been waiting for this moment to greet them with open arms.

Go to your room.” (Robert Genn)

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Tutto Andra BeneI wish each and every one of you well during this global health crisis and encourage you to flatten the curve by staying at home with your creative materials. I hope our Painter’s Keys community can be a source of friendship and creative inspiration during this time and always.
In friendship, Sara 
None shall sleep!
Even you, oh Princess,
In your cold room,
Watch the stars,
That tremble with love
And with hope.
But my secret is hidden within me,
Andra Tutto BeneMy name no one shall know,
No… no…
On your mouth, I will tell it,
When the light shines.
And my kiss will dissolve the silence that makes you mine!
(No one will know his name and we must, alas, die.)
Vanish, o night!
Set, stars! Set, stars!
At dawn, I will win!
I will win!
I will win!  (Giacomo Puccini, Nessun Dorma)


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37 Comments

  1. “And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.” – Kitty O’Meara

    • Dear Jennifer,
      I wish so much that all your visions will come true!
      I ordered some more painting material today, because I’m afraid this possibility will also close down sooner or later.
      Warm regards from Germany,
      Barbara

    • Susan Viccars on

      And today, I think I will paint a banner for my front porch. I think Kitty O’Meara’s poem says what we are all internalizing. Good to get it out there in ways that allow us to be present while keeping us and others safe. Thanks Sarah!

  2. The poem you quoted is by Kitty O’Meara. Here it is in it’s entirety, it’s not too long… and THANK YOU!
    Peace & Love

    “And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.

    “And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.

    “And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”

    ~Kitty O’Meara

  3. Dear Sara,

    Thank you for continuing the newsletter and being such an important part of our culture as artists. You give us validation, understanding, community, food for thought, and inspiration.

    Hope all is well with you where you are,
    Jennifer

  4. This episode in our lives will change us! I hope we see the light of what is truly important, and thoughts of self will be dominated by thoughts of ALL as ONE HUMAN BODY–MANKIND! Instead of making distinctions among ourselves, we make a universe of oneness,forgiveness and caring.

  5. When I think of examples of art serving humanity The Painter’s Keys is high on the list. Thank you Genn family for your gift to all of us. As an artist I cannot think of a kinder and satisfying gesture than to others than to introduce them to your blog.

    Sincerely,
    Dennis

  6. Thanks so much Sara; wow, we need you now more than ever to keep your Dad’s great newsletter alive, in your own wonderful way. (Gosh, when has your family art-letter work ever been more relevant or necessary?)
    Thanks R Genn! Thanks S Genn! xo from Nova Scotia

  7. Thank you Jennifer & Rebecca for giving us the entire Kitty O’Meara quote…it’s so important to credit other artist for their creative work. I’ve been feeling this creative quarantine this week as a good thing, too. I’m not diverted by going out to meet friends for lunch or running countless errands. I am content to go to my (home) studio & see what’s next. Thank you, Sara, for this thoughtful post!

  8. Thank you Sara! Just this morning, I published my A Brush With Life newsletter issue on “Gratitude and Art”. In it and on my website under the tab “Beauty of Oils Art Class….” there is reference to my Independent Study Skill Building online oil painting class. I have opened up 200 free seats to support those that now have the time to learn to paint or learn a new media. This is my way of supporting those social distancing, self-isolating and sheltering at home. This is a small thing in the face of the circumstances but it has been well received and there is still some room for those interested.

    Now, I can again return to my own home studio and paint and paint some more. We are so far both well on our little island on the southwest coast of Canada but are keeping our distance in order to stay that way. Be safe everyone!

    • Thank-you Terrill. While in self-isolation, I have joined your offer of a free seat to your online oil painting class. Please let me know if you have more than 200 peeps wanting to join, as I will give up my place. This is a lovely thing that you are doing.

      From the heart,

      Verna

  9. Dear Sara,
    What a powerful message of hope and encouragement. Perfect timing! I was feeling a little lost this morning.
    I echo others with great appreciation for keeping the letters going.

    Thank you Sara and I know your dad is here too :)

    Sending bright thoughts, good health and amazing art to all,
    Shellee

  10. Jonathan Wiltshire on

    “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
    JRR Tolkien – The Fellowship of the Ring

  11. Thank you and yes, I find deep solace in my art space. It’s the only place where my worry washes off. I did two wee mixed media paintings called Separation 1 & 2….they had to come out. Now I am doing a series of funny little coocoolovebirds, feel the need to try to do something lighthearted during isolation. My partner is working on puzzles and making sourdough bread, now that’s an artform! Take good care and thank you for your newsletter. AXO

  12. Thank you again for your newsletter Sara! I’m working my way through my art supplies and following my friends online.Tackling a large canvas now as our lives skid into a new direction.
    Alison

  13. Thank you Sara. I inwardly hoped for things to slow down in my life, but not like this. Many exhibits cancelled and postponed. Solitude nourishes me and feeds my creativity. So as challenging as this circumstance is and as concerned as I am for my mother who depends on my care, for the first time in a long while I have time to paint and time to be nourished by the creative power.

  14. Joseph Soulagnet on

    Dear Sara,
    Sitting this am, crying in my coffee after reading the beautiful words by Kitty O’Meara. Thanks to you and your dear departed father! Peace, love and strength to my art community… keep on creating and be well!

  15. We can trust in God, but it’s nice to feel the love through the support of this Painter’s Keys community. Thank you Sara, and all.
    Let me share a little chuckle. I was writing a note saying, be sure to take good care during these precarious times, then I looked up “precarious” to assure its usage. I had a laugh when I found this: “he made a precarious living as a painter”.

  16. Yes. Trust in God, in your better angels, and yourself. Waking up to a marbled sky, to Marchini’s spontaneous Nessun Dorma (thank you so much for including that!) hot coffee and my desk close at hand, it really doesn’t get better than that. We all have work to do and if you can read this, you are blessed. The rest will eventually pass.

  17. Armando Ruiz on

    God’s middle name is Creator and he has placed his spirit in us; some can sing, some can dance and some can paint. Reflect your spirit in your own personal way. It is like no other.

  18. Thanks so much for this post. Loved the images. Best of all I loved the Nesse Dorma aria – my favorite aria . I am uplifted and ready t go back to work on my current piece.

  19. Sharon Rennie on

    Thank you everyone for being so inspiring. After procrastinating for so long I have finally started a daily painting challenge. It is very exciting!

    • Patricia Fritz on

      During last days our art store was open, people were coming in to buy all manner of art supplies, (paint, crayons, coloring books, easels, watercolors, sketch books. paper, collage materials, you get the idea) Some said they had never painted before but they were finally going to do art. Many parents came in buying materials for their children and themselves. I hope everyone gets a chance to create art and realize their potential and experience the joy creating art brings to a person.
      Thank you for continuing the news letter.

  20. Sara, did Irene Vella write the poem translated by Kitty Meara? Be that as it may, thank you for sharing the poem!!! Your Dad’s book is my north star. Each page filled with underlining! For the beauty of his writing, depth of his thinking, and the sisterhood and brotherhood of artists he created. You too are equally appreciated and commended! You now lead our community of sisters and brothers with your compassion and wisdom.
    May we all rise to the challenge when good is not good enough. Onward to our ennobling rooms. Love to all “when you give love you give it secondhand; you get to feel it first” Peter McWilliams

  21. Thank you so much Sara! Your letter moved me today for it sums up all the struggle and turmoil of feelings we Italians are going through. But also the lot of love and creativity we’re putting into reacting to this devastating crisis. Music and art are part of our DNA, are our best arms, whether we use it across balconies or trying hard to stay focused in the studio. It’s sweet of you to highlight it. Wish you and this wonderful community to stay safe, positive and creative!

  22. Thank you Sara—I read every letter but never reply but will today. Doing some painting today is keeping this “Senior citizen” from being isolated.

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http://painterskeys.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/purple-series1-2285-1-wpcf_300x295.jpgPurple series #1
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