Here I am writing this post at the end of April, when I should be spending most of my time outdoors, creating or seeking inspiration. Walking, taking pictures but now, like everyone else, I’m confined to quarters.
As the pandemic started I was staying put, waiting for things to unfold, I posted less on my social media especially on stories. I started getting more and more private messages asking how I’m doing which was touching and heartfelt.
Well at first I didn’t know how I was doing, everything was so strange and I guess it took me some time to digest the situation. Not that I was unique or on my own in this.
Now a month into lockdown I am beginning to understand how I feel.
Flipping the game!
If there’s one thing we creatives are good at, its adapting. It’s flipping the game and reinventing ourselves. And in strange times it’s a handy tool to have. So a month in and I’m watching different artists giving online classes, outdoor painters painting inside, some are taking part in virtual exhibitions and some doing their first online sale! All adapting. With less enthusiasm i was also watching social media exploding with all sorts of messages and fake news. Before the lockdown I had already started limiting my time on social media but now I started totally blocking it out.
I am Kate Kos Studio
At the begining of the lockdown I was resigned to spending my time at home, where I don’t have a creative corner or studio anymore, while my beloved studio in town, lies still full of empty canvases, paper, brushes and the ghosts of paintings yet to be. I imagined it every morning filling with the light of earlier and earlier dawns , yawning and stretching like a beloved pet waiting to be let out but all there is is silence. A silence waiting to be disturbed by the quiet sound of painting. So like a line I heard in a film once, adapt or fail. I picked up a piece of paper and a pen and started sketching. While making marks my worried thoughts faded away and my mind cleared of all the clutter and there was only me and sketching. I finished and like a veil been dropped I could see clearly. I am the studio and where I go my art goes, yes my studio is great and i Iove it but it doesn’t create. I create. And it is with my hands and brain and eyes – and it’s in how I make them work together.
I am Kate Kos Studio!
So unlike other shops and businesses I am the lucky one. I can paint and I can teach others how to paint. So I started by reaching out to my students and offering free online challenges. Many jumped aboard looking for discraction from the ‘new reality’ and a month later we still are going strong.
I picked up my tablet and haven’t put it down since (not literally of course!). Most of you probably don’t know that I do digital illustrations in addition to my painting, so it was a natural transition for me to start sketching digitally. But still having the need for the real thing I moved my oudoor painting set into my living room – having tried every room in the house looking for the best light!
So now I’m filling my days by creating small painting challenges for my students, sketching on my tablet, and slowly going through my commissions to see what I can do. I even offered to create one for free to one of my followers on Facebook which proved to be very popular and a bit of fun to boot. I also joined #portraitsforhseheroes – an initiative by Bernadette Doolan to get portrait artists painting free portraits for HSE workers. At the beginning of lockdown I joined a group of artists displaying art online . A great way of sharing our paintings with art lovers everywhere and it keeps us connected.
All these things bring a sense of normality and makes me feel like I’m helping. Like I’m needed. Like I can make a difference by adding beauty to the world. Like an artist.
People are sick. People are dying. People have lost their loved ones. People are risking their lives to protect us. I am staying home, safe and grateful.
P.S. Something I found online: Most useless buy of 2019 : 2020 planner
watercolor 29 x 21cm