WITH ALEXIS LAVINE
Where are you painting from and what have you been doing to keep busy?
I am painting from my home studio in Greensboro, North Carolina. Prior to the pandemic I was teaching three classes per week in my studio, with about half a dozen trips out of town every year to teach watercolor workshops. Needless to say, my classes ground to a halt by mid-March and all workshops were canceled. Then I discovered Zoom! By early May I restarted my weekly classes online, and in July I added a fourth weekly class, because they had become so popular! I actually love teaching online and find that the Zoom platform works extremely well, with my style of teaching. And as for painting…well, that never stops! Plus, I’ve been spending more time than ever before, marketing my work. With so many galleries and exhibitions closed, it has become extra necessary to market and promote my work, myself. I was thrilled to discover Gallery CERO and its online collections, which are open and vibrant and welcoming to artists and collectors alike!
How did you find inspiration from your surroundings for it?
My painting “Twenty Seconds” was created in April, when we were in the early stages of the pandemic, sequestered at home, everything closed in our community, and with very little understanding of the virus and the disease. It was quite terrifying and confusing. I got the idea to make this painting one day while washing my hands. I looked down at my hands…really looked at them…studied their movement, their shapes, the texture and feel of the soap…and I decided to try and express this moment, this very ordinary moment, in a highly extraordinary time. Making this painting was almost therapeutic for me. It kind of calmed me down and centered me. A few weeks after I finished it, I was similarly moved to start painting people wearing face masks, while I was out walking in the park, wearing my mask. I ended up making about ten paintings of people wearing their face masks. It was very challenging to describe their expressions and their personalities, with only part of their faces exposed.
What is one positive that has come from this experience for you?
I am very pleased to say that “Twenty Seconds” has been accepted into five juried exhibitions, and it has won awards in three of them, including the Gold Medal in the Mid Atlantic Watercolor Exhibition sponsored by the Baltimore Watercolor Society, (seven states plus the District of Columbia). When I made the painting, I was not thinking about it as an exhibition piece. But when I finished it, I realized that it was extremely timely and poignant, and should probably be exhibited. Many people have told me that it has ”spoken” to them in a highly personal and emotional way. As a painter who believes strongly in artistic communication, that pleases me greatly!
What is one of your favorite pieces in the collection from a fellow artist?