037 / Pandemic Artwork Stories
037 / pandemic artwork stories
WITH BONNIE ZAHN GRIFFITH
Where are you painting from and what have you been doing to keep busy?
I’m a plein air painter and am used to traveling to a lot of events, plus teaching workshops. With the onset of the pandemic, my world came to a halt. Events I usually attend were cancelled, while others met the challenge with doing virtual/online events. Workshops cancelled. I decided to make changes. I have always had a “can-do” attitude and I decided early on after the onset of the pandemic to figure out how to best make good use of my time , both for productivity and to ward off some anxiety that I was feeling. To say that I wasn’t scared and sometimes anxious would be false. Absolutely I was and still am scared of this pandemic and what it means globally. I feared (and still do) for the front-line workers, the families whose jobs have ceased, children who yearn for social interaction and in-person school, etc. My husband is immunosuppressed and that adds to my anxiety in these times. I feel fortunate that we can easily spend time together, isolated from crowds by getting out and finding a place to paint or just an outing for shooting some photos for reference of future paintings.
For me and most artists, we tend to work alone in our studios or out in the field, so that process hasn’t changed much. But that social interaction with peers and cancellations of events has dramatically changed. Rethinking all social interactions from shopping for groceries to hanging an art show has needed to be rethought.
I have always tried to maintain a reasonable work schedule with my art business and during the pandemic felt this to be even more important. Because so many changes have taken place—plein air events, exhibits, workshops cancelled—more online/virtual events have turned into opportunities for artists. It has required a shift in my marketing and a little more “thinking outside the box.” Fortunately many of the plein air events I usually participate in changed their format to virtual which allowed me to paint in my area and submit work online. It keeps a focus on getting out and painting with a purpose. I am also using this time to work on my inventory and doing it with a purpose; defining bodies of work for future exhibits and working on my personal skill building in the studio. Living in an area that gives me easy access to rural areas rich in color and terrain. I can get out and find isolated places to paint and explore areas that are new as well as revisiting favorite plein air painting spots.
And I bake banana bread!
How did you find inspiration from your surroundings for it?
I have some favorite locations near where I live that I like to go to paint. I can go to some of these spots; like the one where I painted “Harmony” and paint it again and again. The light changes, seasons change, a new angle of the view all lend to a freshness in the painting. There is that comfort in returning to a familiar spot to paint – especially if it is one where you have had some success painting in the past. This spot along the Boise River is just that! It isn’t a “busy” location, so there is that peaceful aspect and it’s easily accessible, plus it has elements that I love – water, trees and brush. My kind of landscape!
What is one positive that has come from this experience for you?
The focus on my work – I am not traveling far; I am at home with my family and painting a lot.
What is one of your favorite pieces in the collection from a fellow artist?
Learn more about Bonnie's artwork and story here.