Since I began my COVID-19 degrees of separation: an iPad painting a day for joy project, fifteen days have passed and I’ve made fifteen paintings (and drawings), as fearlessly as I can.

I make them at night. Whatever the day has thrown at me out of the external swirl of grim news, instructions, rules and practicalities, I sit in my bed with iPad and Apple pencil in hand. I shut my eyes, breathe consciously for a moment to centre myself, and then ask the Universe to reveal whatever needs to be processed in me and sent out as my gift to the world.

I’m not afraid of the blank page or the sleep that sometimes threatens to steal me away before the creation is done. If I do fall asleep, I can finish in the morning. If nothing comes immediately, I begin by choosing a colour I feel drawn to and the medium I’d like to try… oil paint, watercolour, pencil, pastel. It doesn’t matter what I start with. Once I begin, I know something will emerge.

The words I write on the painting itself arrive while I’m making the piece — usually, like a musical note singing in my head. Then, I share each piece and its fuller written story two days after I’ve made it; there are about eighteen hours between my making the artwork and writing about it, and this gives time for me to sense what I want to say. At the same time, I’m learning not only how to paint on an iPad, but also how the regular practice affects me.

I’ve noticed that the marvellous thing about daily expressionism is that you move on fast. You want to start from a different point each night, so you don’t dwell on or get lost in any state for long. A thought, feeling or emotion may be present for a few days, but you observe it transforming with each image you make. You’re processing, adapting, accepting, grieving, fighting, rebelling, understanding, changing, surviving, growing, and moving on all the time.

We are now facing the dissolution of our old ways of life, and life situations. None of us know what the outcomes will be nor when our futures will become clear. Our familiar life structures are falling away, or dissolving or shifting. We are standing, many of us feeling vulnerable or at least a little afraid, on the threshold of a newness we can’t yet grasp. We can’t imagine the endpoint, so we can’t plan for it. We can’t control it either. How our lives will be in six months, a year, or even if we will be alive at all by then, we do not know. And at the moment, so early on, we might struggle to embrace the ‘in between’ realities.

I have days when I’m more conscious of what’s slipped away from me or what I’ve been separated from, and other days when I’m focused on the practical acts needed now to help myself and the people I care about. Then there are the days when I feel the shift in collective consciousness can only be for the good (no matter how my own life turns out), and then I am strong.

The daily paintings and drawings of this project reveal all of this from the point of view of one human being. From a point called ‘A’ (15th March 2020) when I had to choose where to physically be for the duration, to a point called ‘B’ (a date, as yet unknown) —  a time when it may be possible for me to start to bring together the separated aspects with the fresh ones to create something that can work for me in the new world.

Surely now, we are all united in this previously unimaginable experience, but, of course, with different specific individual circumstances. My wish is that my art can cut through the differences and resonate with whoever needs it. Words don’t help everyone, I know, so I’m sharing this project in a few ways:

  1. For people who do like images and words, on Instagram @salchemy11. I include the stories there with the paintings. Perhaps getting a little more insight into my inner world (the only one that I now have any control over at all) might help you make even better friends with yours. Instagram is the place I feel is most right for this daily project, in this moment.
  2. For people who just want to see the images, in an album on my Art by Sally Townsend Blake Facebook page.
  3. For people who prefer occasional updates, on my blog here. I’ll post from time to time with the latest set of images and some overall thoughts, like I’m doing in this post.
  4. I might add some other places, but for now, this is a balance I can manage.

I will finish with some words I wrote to my own Facebook friends about the project, as I think they are probably what I need to say here too…

It will make me happy if you accompany me on this journey into the unknown by looking at, liking and commenting on the paintings, if that feels right for you. If you want to share any of them with anyone who might resonate, that’s OK too of course.

I feel that open-hearted creative work is more important than ever in this time, to shine light into the apparent darkness of overwhelming world events and put as much compassion and love as possible into the collective energy.

If the language of this project or any of the paintings seem strange, it’s because I need to speak from my Soul, without censoring. It’s time to share our gifts exactly as they are without fear. Then I believe they will resonate with whoever needs or wants them, for the greater good.

I am filled with the sensation that the time is now for all creatives, sensitives and intuitives. Actually, I think, for all of us.

Every night (since day three when the title of the project came to me like a clear call from nowhere), I ask my guides and every being that loves me to channel through me into the painting what I need to process and share. Then I trust that what comes will help me and maybe other individuals, as well as the collective. May it be so!

Take care everyone, wherever you are. Know that you are not alone, because when I make my paintings for this project, I am thinking of you all.

#thejoyexperiments #salchemy #C19_degreesofseparation

The practicalities. The paintings will be made on an Apple iPad Air (3rd generation) with an Apple Pencil (1st generation). I’m now using the pro Art Set app.

I’ll be super-happy if you share my creations. Please use short quotes from the piece if you like, but always always link back to this page.

For any other use, please ask me first.

See the journey of my paintings and drawings over the years here:

p.s. follow me on Instagram? I post a little, more often, there…

Share art, share <3.
© Sally Townsend Blake 2020