INSTRUCTORS’ INSIGHT – Debbie Giese
Art reflects who we are, what we see or hear, what we experience and feel. My art also allows the viewer to peek a little bit into my soul. These four paintings are my most recent works of art and reflect my experience painting during the Pandemic. The COVID-19 virus hitchhiked via planes to the USA and jolted the world with unexpected changes. Everything came to a halting pause except for “the essentials.” Brick and mortar schools and businesses were closed, meetings and events were either canceled or postponed indefinitely. When a “State of Emergency” was declared on March 13 and the stay at home orders were given, I realized I needed to quickly adjust to a new way of thinking and living to get through this pandemic with minimal negative effects. I was determined to keep a positive attitude. One of the strategies was to be safe, productive, and busy. I developed a new stay at home routine that involved praying and meditating, eating healthy food when I could get it, exercising, and painting a lot! I found that I was fortunate to have the opportunity to paint with few distractions. I also managed not to feel isolated from friends and family. Even before the stay at home orders, I have always painted while listening to human conversations either coming from the TV and/or talking to friends and family on the phone and from painting groups. And like so many of us, I learned to use Zoom for meetings. COVID-19 was THE conversation I heard during the whole time that I was painting these four pieces of art. I was not aware that these COVID-19 conversations were influencing my style of painting until after I completed the paintings and lined them up together side-by-side. I was surprised to see that my inward feelings were subtly reflected and etched into the artwork. My first painting was light and airy but as talk of the virus went from days to weeks to months the paintings succeeded to express themselves with darker values and subject matter. But always, in each painting, I had the light shine through. I realized that I was subconsciously painting about the pause in our life, but also of the hope and light that continues to shine through the darkness. We will continue. We will adapt, adjust, and continue to hope.
These four paintings are a series of six works of art that were originally planned to be on exhibition at the South Coast Botanic Gardens in the Administration building during the Spring of 2020. They were/are intended to be uplifting and joy-filled focusing on subjects found at the Botanic Gardens including blooming trees, flowers, tree-lined paths, and sculptures. Two paintings are still in progress as of this writing. The paintings will be hanging at the Administration Building for a time, but due to Coronavirus guidelines, the exhibition is put on pause for public viewing.
The four paintings below were painted using both traditional and water mixable oil paint. I painted using both the palette knife and large brushes. These pieces were painted loosely and often with multiple layers of thick paint. My palette consisted of Titanium White, Cad Yellow Light, Cad Orange, Cad Red Light, Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Rose, French Ultramarine Blue, Viridian, or Phthalo Green, Cerulean, Burnt Umber.
Debbie Giese, Painting Instructor