Home Arts and Entertainment Artists in isolation: Watercolors on the quad

Artists in isolation: Watercolors on the quad

Courtesy of Pixabay

This past week I refreshed my inbox to find one of the most exciting emails a St. Olaf student can receive. The subject line read: “You have a package!” As I headed over to the Post Office, I was shocked to receive yet another email with the subject line, “You have some packages!” Now this was really curious, because I only remembered ordering one item. I approached the Post Office window with excitement. The student worker handed me three small parcels, each wrapped in different packaging. I opened the first to find the gouache paints that I was expecting, a birthday gift for a friend. The next two contained the exact same paint set! I checked my bank account and found they had only charged me for one, but sent me three! 

Over the summer one of my friends Maddy Bayzaee ’23 and I would FaceTime once a week for about two hours to watercolor and catch up. It was so wonderful to have something to look forward to. During one of these FaceTime dates she mentioned a paint I’d never heard of called gouache and expressed interest in trying it. When her birthday rolled around I knew exactly what to get. If she liked them, then I was going to get a set for myself, but the happy postal snafu beat me to it.

I just about skipped back to my dorm that afternoon, elated that I’d had such good luck. I soon carved out time in my schedule to do some painting. I sat outside my Ytterboe pod on a blanket in the shade and tried out the new paints. Generally, I use watercolor, but the gouache turned out to be very similar. It was fun to get to try a new type of paint without any expectations on myself to get it right. Afterwards I felt the most relaxed I’d been in a good while. Watercoloring has been a way for me to release stress throughout the pandemic. It is one of the few spaces where I let myself truly try different things, without expecting the outcome to be good.

It has also become one of my favorite ways to give gifts. I love watercoloring images that I know are special to my loved ones. I’ll ask people to send me their favorite photos and then I’ll do my best to recreate it. Having a creative outlet has allowed me to relax into the importance of making something. I still struggle with making time for art in my life. I am someone who would rather wait until all the work is done to have fun, but I am learning the necessity of stopping to make spaces of rest for myself. I’ve found that if I wait until the work is done then I never get to paint because the work really is never done in college. I hope everyone is able to make time to make art because we are living in unprecedented times, and the ability to find spaces of rest within that is absolutely necessary. 

 

miller56@stolaf.edu