Making Art in the Time of COVID – Part Two

With the effects of the coronavirus on our world weighing heavy on us, and perhaps having some extra time on our hands due to shutdowns, many of us have looked to making art of some kind to help us de-stress and stay busy while social distancing.

Art serves many mantles. Creating can be therapeutic, it can be a way to pass time, it can be cause for connection through the sharing of work or through working together (from a safe distance). Even as an art school alum, I firmly believe that anyone can be an artist. All that is required is that you participate in the process of making or creating something. If you’re a novice or ingénue to the art-making scene, fear not! A sculptor and teacher once imparted to me the riddle-like expression “If you can’t make it good, make it big. If you can’t make it big, paint it red. If you can’t paint it red, cast it in plaster and make multiples.” Her point being that the important thing is making something. “Good” is a subjective word and it changes with context. My advice for first-time artists would be not to focus on making something “good” or museum-worthy but instead on creating something that you enjoy making.

With the vastness of the internet at our fingertips we are also armed with the ability to study any artistic practice, medium or craft, that we have the means for, at our disposal. These tutorials and digital classes are often produced from incredible, experienced and well-versed masters. So, if you’ve got the itch to try something new or get back to an old hobby, now’s a great time to start. The Lancaster Public Library website is full of free resources to help jump start your creativity. For their digital guide, visit lancasterpubliclibrary.org/remote-resources-and-covid-19.

We’ve asked our readers, career artists and greenhorns alike, to send us photos of the art they have been working on these last several weeks and the responses we have received are incredibly heartening and humbling.

The art that follows is the property of the artist.

Betsy Benner

Note from the artist: This art is Acrylic Pouring Art. With this technique the paint is diluted and then poured onto a canvas and altered by inclining the surface to make the paint flow. This form of art does not attempt to represent reality, but it seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, forms and colors. No two are ever alike and it’s always fun to see how the paint will flow.

To see more of Betsy’s work, visit facebook.com/MountainEweCreations.

Can’t Confine My Mind


Can’t Confine My Mind is an art group where anyone can join and members are encouraged to create and share work created based on a daily theme challenge.

A note from one of the founders: A few friends and myself created a group called Can’t Confine My Mind as a way to distract people (all skill levels) through creative daily challenges. Our main driving force is to keep people creating everyday as we self-isolate. Our daily themes can be interrupted in lots of ways in any medium, but we do require that contributions be created only AFTER we announce the new theme. We challenge members to be resourceful around their homes, yards and neighborhood and to reinforce proper “stay at home” practices, we also stipulate that contributions should be created with people and pets that they live with.

We have had a lot of positive reactions with a common message that the group is a great way to focus the mind on creativity and delivers a much-needed distraction.

Join the group on Facebook to participate at facebook.com/groups/2032861393524484.

Brian Evans

Brian, a member of Can’t Confine My Mind, says “I guess I’m participating in the group to keep my mind active beyond helping the kids with their studies and keeping the household running. It gives me a creative outlet and some time to think something through the creation process which is generally something I need on daily basis.

He also explains that “for photography, I get to focus on multiple aspects of a shot; the idea, the setup, the technical aspects of the photo, and the post processing. From lighting to Photoshop, there’s time to work on it now, so why not? I’m not sure what I do is art, but I do strongly believe in the importance of the role of the arts in our culture.”

Bruce Garrabrandt


Note from the artist: “Social Distancing Exclusions” is my latest colored pencil drawing, featuring my friends Jack and Buddy – who refuse to abide by the six-foot distancing guidelines.

For more of Bruce’s work, visit artbybruce.com/the-art/collection-of-cats.

Lauren Grisafi

Pencil drawing by Lauren Grisafi. 

Chad Harnish

Photo by Chad Harnish, member/cofounder of Can’t Confine My Mind.

For more of Chad’s work, visit instagram.com/chadharnish or chadharnish.blogspot.com.

Hollace Kutay


Note from the artist: During the pandemic I have been working from my home studio, a studio that also houses the space of the Ceramic Art and Culture Institute, a 501c3 which I founded. The hope of the Institute is that once the quarantine is lifted that we will be able to get high school students back on track with the in-class ceramic time they missed. Personally, I have been able to continue my art practice and have been busy creating new and exciting pieces.

For more of Holace’s work, visit www.hollacekutay.com. To learn more about the Ceramic Art and Culture Institute, visit www.ceramicartandcultureinstitute.org.

Sarah Leidich


“A Look into the Apple of my Eye” – Oil paint on canvas

“Blueberries” – Oil paint on Masonite

Gerri McCritty, Pavaa Gallery


  1. Color of My Beats1
  2. Color of My Beats2
  3. The Cleansing
  4. The Table
  5. The Day We Paused

Follow Gerri on Instagram at www.instagram.com/gerrimccrittycreations. For more art from the Pavaa Gallery in Lancaster, visit www.pavaagallery.com or Facebook.com/pavaagallery. Pavaa also has original T-shirt designs available for purchase at www.pavaagallery.com/online-store. 10% of sales will be donated to WGAL’S food drive program.

Lydia Miller

¨Ringo the Rooster¨ – acrylic, gouache, watercolor, white gel pen, chalk pastel

Ben Oaks

Local musician Ben Oaks has been dedicating his time to collaborating digitally with other area musicians to create and mix music. “I started a collaboration album focusing on musicians from Lancaster (but there are a few from Wilmington & Philly). The second completed track [Take Notice] features Jeff Long and both of his brothers!” says Ben. To listen to Take Notice (language warning) on SoundCloud.com.

D.P. Schaeffer

“Hiking” – mixed media

Follow D.P. on Instagram for more of their work.

Ashley Shank

“Nikki” – acrylic on stretched canvas. (Space helmet)

“Sirena” – acrylic on stretched canvas. (Mermaid)

To see more of Ashley’s work, visit www.ashleyshank.art.

Cynthia L. Sperko

Note from the artist: These five images are from a fun, in home food photography self-assignment that I captured during the pandemic. My medium is digital SLR photography.
Thinking outside the box during this crisis had me coming up of different ways to continue to make a living as a pro photographer. Ordering a cupcake kit from Julia Nikolaus Cupcakery CO gave me a chance to hone into my past cake decorating skills from back in my college days. (I interviewed her recently for my Creative Heart Blog.)
I hope that you will enjoy viewing these images and that they will not make you raid the cookie jar.

To see more of Cynthia’s work and for bookings, visit cynthialsperko.com.

Thomas Valentine

Note from the artist: I’m really enjoying seeing work from artists on a regular basis who normally don’t have the time to create as often as they would like to.

For more of Thomas’s work, visit Instagram.com/kingdomofwhat or facebook.com/artbythomasvalentine.

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


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