art in the time of social distancing

by brittniinink

In this time of social distancing, I’ve been getting back to art. I adore making art and learning about art. The DIA is currently one of my favourite places in the world (though I have yet to catch van Gogh’s self-portrait – literally every time I go, it’s out on a travelling exhibit, or just missing?) A couple of friends on Facebook have been posting links to online art exhibits and tours of museums. A stand out has been Faces of Frida – up until going through the exhibit, I knew very little about Frida Kahlo and her art. I learned that she spent time in Detroit – right across the river! – and how her life and art shaped each other. Fascinating!

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I’ve also been working through a free online art workshop called Sketchbook Revival – there are two instructional videos every day relating to different art journaling techniques – everything from lettering to binding an old book into a journal. Some of the exercises haven’t been for me, but the ones that draw my attention (pardon the pun) have been really fun.

All that being said, now that I’ve had a week and a bit at home, I’m starting to miss meeting up with people to write or have coffee together. And I’m trying to find a writing project to focus on while the sequel to The Patch Project goes through one last round of edits. Either finishing up a set of short stories I’ve scribbled at for the past couple years, or continuing the space opera I started writing for NaNoWriMo this past fall. Just something to keep me feeling productive and grounded while waiting to see what the next couple of weeks are going to look like.

I think there’s a lot of pressure to be productive during this time. I’m trying to balance it with the acknowledgement that this can also be a time of rest and contemplation. How do I want my life to change once things go back to relative “normal”? What is bringing me clarity and fulfillment during this time? What is important to me? How can I find time to ask these questions when things become busy again?

Also, I’m getting back to reading. Currently I’m reading An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green, and am rereading The Left Hand of Darkness with my sister over video chat. I’m also looking forward to reading The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel, which just came out – we’ll see if the copy I ordered arrives.

What are you reading? What are you getting back to during this time of self-isolation? How are you approaching being productive/ resting?