Making Art in the Time of COVID – Part One

The pandemic is not far from anyone’s minds lately. Shutdowns, social distancing and quarantines have affected us all in countless and varying ways for the last several weeks, and will no doubt have a rippling effect through the coming months and years. Picking up a brush, pencil, camera or pen in times of struggle is both a time-honored artistic tradition as well as a newfound outlet for many folks. Career artists, hobbyists and novices alike have come together digitally in this time of distancing to share their work with their communities, making the world look a bit brighter, and keeping us connected through trying times.

Here’s a look at what some of our local community of artists in Lancaster have been working on. The amazing artists that follow are of varying backgrounds, experiences and mediums and have been hard at work through this pandemic era. They have been kind enough to share their creations with us. You are encouraged to share, support or purchase their work wherever possible and support your local art community.

These submissions have come through the SOCA Art Facebook group which is run by Station One Center for the Arts (SOCA). For more information about SOCA, please visit Stationonecfa.com or Facebook.

Rachel Adshead

Rachel Adshead, Arcylic on canvas.

Jason Allen Berlet

Jason Allen Berlet, T-Shirt Design.

“I have been making t-shirts to help raise money for local bar tenders and wait staff during the shutdown. This is the most recent,” says Jason. You can purchase his designs and support a great cause at float.spiritsale.com.

Sadie Bartch

Sadie Bartch, digital drawing.

David Berk

Dave Berk, photography.

See more of Dave’s work at Facebook.com/stuffdavesaw  and Instagram.com/dave_berk.

Stew Bradley

1. “Pee-wee Herman” – acrylic on canvas
2. “Lamphouse” – acrylic on canvas
3. “Wet Stones” – digitally filtered photography  

Stew is a local working artist and PCA&D alum. You can purchase his work on Redbubble.com. Stew has also been using his “quarantine time” to start making video tutorials for painting as part of the Lancaster Public Library’s online program. You can watch his first tutorial video demonstrating painting the “Lamphouse” on Youtube.com.

Stephen Gambone


For more of Stephen’s work, visit:

Instagram: @Stephen_Gambone_artist
Facebook: @FusionArtOriginals

Rod Graybill

Rod, who normally would be hard at work at The Ant Farm doing tattoos, has been spending his time since quarantine started doing commissioned family and pet portraits. To see more of Rod’s work or book a commission, visit his Instagram or Facebook.

James Hecker

Paintings by James Hecker

Note from the Artist: Sunflowers and trees are both signature styles for me, but especially meaningful during this pandemic – trees represent strength and being grounded/rooted in the face of whatever comes (one of the reasons I include the roots in my trees), and sunflowers…well, most people realize they always face the sun. What is less known is that on cloudy days, they turn to face one another! A reminder that we’re in this together!

Karen Hollman

“I’ve recently joined a few Facebook groups that encourage/inspire me to push myself creatively through my photography,” says Karen.

Michelle Johnsen

In addition to Michelle’s creative photography, she has also been working on her online photojournalism gallery which is an ongoing documentation of Lancaster during this time. View her photojournalism photography here.

Lucas Keener

“A Good Day” by Lucas Keener

John Lasonio

John Lasonio, pencil drawing.

Leslie Ann Photography

Leslie Ann snapped these shots while out on her daily walks during the pandemic. “Walking really helps with motivation and overall happiness during this time,” she notes. Follow Leslie Ann Photography on Instagram and Facebook for more of her work.

Rhiannon Desiree Mencarini

“Languishing” by Rhiannon Desiree Mencarini

A note from the artist:


A lot of us are feeling a little of each of the following:
lan·​guish | \ ˈlaŋ-gwish \
languished; languishing; languishes
Definition of languish
intransitive verb
1a : to be or become feeble, weak, or enervated
Plants languish in the drought.
b : to be or live in a state of depression or decreasing vitality
languished in prison for ten years
2a : to become dispirited
b : to suffer neglect
the bill languished in the Senate for eight months
3 : to assume an expression of grief or emotion appealing for sympathy
languished at him through screwed-up eyes
— Edith Wharton

It’s okay to feel some very big things right now.
Feel them.
But try to find an anchor, an outlet, any little bit of inspiration to help keep your head above water.

John V. Salvino

John is a Lancaster-based artist and model maker. These are a few pieces he made during quarantine during his livestream model making demonstrations. “Under normal circumstances I work at a fine art bronze foundry and do model-making and other art pursuits to supplement, but during lock-down I’ve been doing weekly model-making demos through Farbo Co (our local game shop) and taking freelance illustration work” John says. For commissions and to see more of John’s work, visit johnvsalvino.com.

Tom Santosusso

Note from the artist: As a painter, I am largely self-taught and follow an intuitive path when I paint.  Although I have a general idea of what a piece will be when I start, I am often surprised at the direction it takes.  I view the painting process as a dialogue between the artist and the work in progress.  Occasionally, something totally different emerges.  I view this as a spiritual experience, the operation of the subconscious informed by the action of the Holy Spirit who wills to bring truth and beauty into the world.  That is not to say that no preparation or effort is involved — quite the contrary.  I am a student of art theory and art history and fully appreciate the craftsmanship involved.  But for me the essence of painting is not the technique but the willingness of the artist to let the piece emerge as it will.  Most recently I have been following the teaching of Robert Burridge, an artist who believes that every good painting starts with an abstract background no matter what the actual subject.  That approach allows the mind and hand to break free from the tyranny of the logical mind, to “loosen up” as he puts it, and to let painting almost paint itself. Doing this, I am often amazed by what results.

Antoinette Sapone-McMillan

Note from the artist:

1. The first piece is 10×20 Acrylic on canvas, titled “Wild Daisies of Inishbofin.” I spent two weeks in Ireland last summer, a lot of my current pieces are inspired from the trip. I also did two series on paper based on my interpretation of the stones that appear all along the shore of Inishbofin Island, Ireland. Those can be found on my Facebook and Instagram pages.

2. The second photo is 5×7 Acrylic on canvas, untitled.

3. Third photo is a series of paintings 8×8 Acrylic on canvas. These are inspired by the patterns on vintage Irish dancing dresses.

4. The fourth photo is a 9×12 Drip Painting done with repurposed house paint. No brushes were used for this painting.
The fifth photo is of repurposed tiles that I’ve hand painted and made into coasters and magnets.

I mostly specialize in abstract art. I use repurposed materials whenever possible. All of my work is for sale.

Facebook: Facebook.com/AESMArtWork
Instagram: Instagram.com/a_sapone_mcmillan


Tonzola Art & Design

Tonzola Art & Design, acrylic on canvas

Tonzola Art & Design, acrylic on canvas

Follow Tonzola on Facebook and Instagram for more of their work.

Megan Whitney

“Praying in a Graveyard” by Megan Whitney. Digital Photo.

“Pandemic Panic” by Megan Whitney. Ink and graphite.

Note from the artist: My name is Megan Whitney and I teach 5th and 6th grade art. For the past several years I have spent most of my time guiding my students through the process of creating. When the pandemic hit I was suddenly aware of how little time I had given myself to make anything on my own. Drawing and photography very quickly became a coping mechanism for me. I transferred all of my fear and anxiety into my pen, pencil and camera. Allowing my emotions to guide my creation process gave them a place to go instead of them staying cooped up in isolation with me. Looking at my work I know it reads as dark and hopeless but at this point in time, who isn’t?

Jared Wolf

Jared Wolf, pen and digital coloring.

Paris Wyatt Llanso

1. “Tecolate Ranunculus” – 5 x 7 x 1 1/2, oil on canvas commission
2. “Crabapple Tree” – 11 x 14 x 1 1/2, oil on canvas
3. “Yellow Tulips” – 2 x 2, oil on canvas
4. “Angels – 2 x 2, oil on canvas (“because we need all the help we can get!”)

“I’m a Lancaster Artist working in oils (sculpting with paint). These are a few things I’ve been working on while shut off to the world,” says Paris.

Stay tuned for the second installment of the Art in the Time of Covid19 series.

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