Tell us about yourself what you're currently working on.
Having spent over three decades as an illustrator, designer and art director at a publishing company, design studios and advertising agencies, it is wonderful (though not necessarily profitable) to be more or less retired. I’m able to paint every day; hopefully with an occasional freelance graphic design assignment; people or pet portrait commission and sometimes the sale of a painting.
Am now working on a 2’x3’ oil on wood titled "2020" or "Masked" (keep changing my mind as it’s not quite completed yet). There are two other “Isolation” pieces I've already completed: "Nostalgia" also 2’x3’ oil on wood, and a 20”x20” oil dimensional box titled "Clenched and Cinched."
Has your work shifted in response to the pandemic? How?
The pandemic has unfortunately changed everything with no real end in sight. Emotionally am in anxiety free-fall for some part of each day. Art is the truest blessing. Blue and yellow make green regardless of what the politics do or say. Correct anatomy is constant. Classical techniques remain intact. The change is about the concept and metaphors used to hint at or explain them. Other than that, I remain true to what I’ve embraced and studied for years.
In your opinion, what is the role that the creative process can play in helping us confront our "new" reality?
Creative people are so very fortunate to have art in whatever medium it takes in their lives. Years ago, someone I knew advised: “If you want to be an artist, then be one heart and soul. Take whatever knocks come your way as you’ll never be happy doing anything else”. Have tried hard to follow that even in very lean times. Though painting isn’t a team sport, sorely miss the energy and camaraderie of other artists in my class, openings and art exhibits.
Who could have ever predicted that these events would transpire? It’s now even more important to try to enjoy even the smallest things each day and the people we care about. My personal battle is to not wish the selfish idiots ill.
Barbara VanRossum lives in Westminster, MD.