Sask. artist creating daily pandemic drawings to capture moment in time and inspire others
Marsha Schuld decided to create something every single day
This is a feature in the Good News Saskatchewan series. You can see all the stories at cbc.ca/lovesk.
A Saskatchewan artist is pushing through the pandemic and hoping to inspire others.
Marsha Schuld has been making art since she could pick up crayons as a toddler. Now, the 54-year-old artist and art teacher describes art as a part of her.
"I need it almost like breathing," Schuld said. "It's a means of expression and a means of communicating. That's the most comfortable way for me."
The multimedia artist was working in her home studio on her farm when the pandemic hit. Schuld said she felt unaffected at first, as an introverted person living on a farm.
"I thought 'Oh this is going to be kind of fun. I get to stay home and make art,'" Schuld said.
"But the constant barrage of information, the reactions of my friends, the inability to see people … started taking over my creativity and I couldn't focus. I couldn't concentrate on a project. I couldn't decide what I wanted to do next and I found it really frustrating."
Schuld decided she had to do something, no matter how small.
"So I did a little drawing that was four inches by four inches and I posted it on my Facebook page to my friend and said 'I've decided I'm going to draw every day," Schuld said. "Of course, I didn't think this would be ongoing for quite as long."
Schuld has now finished her 100th piece of four-by-four artwork and has no intention of stopping.
"It has proven a good outlet for my anxiety, my emotional stress," Schuld said. "And [it's] adding a little bit of joy to other people's lives."
Schuld's works are everything from scribbles and blotches of colour that are physically expressive to a human in blue with a very dark tunnel with a tiny light at the end of it.
"That's how I was feeling that day and I don't feel the need to hide that," she said. "In doing so I opened the door apparently for others to say 'Yeah, hey, I feel that way too.' It's a relief to be able to share that."
Schuld hasn't missed a day yet.
"It's a bit of a challenge to myself," Schuld said. "It's now a habit and the feedback from friends and observers has kept me motivated. They make a huge difference."
Schuld said it's kept her grounded. She's letting ideas flow, she said.
"As the pandemic deepens and lengthens I'm finding it will affect what I ultimately make in my regular practice," she said. "I think we'll see that as a point in history where artists all around start incorporating that into our work and our expression from this point in time."
Building community around pandemic artwork
Each day, Schuld posts her images along with a story about it on her personal Facebook page. She has since set up a public gallery site.
Schuld said people have been inspired to share their own thoughts. The social media reaction also helps with the general insecurity that comes with being an artist, Schuld said.
"Our artwork is a really personal expression of ourselves and to have it criticized and to have it out in the open is to risk having yourself criticized," Schuld said. "When you're praised or it's welcomed then that gives you positive feedback. You're making a difference to somebody. Carry on."
She has encouraged others to take on daily art project.
"It doesn't have to be big, fancy, glamourous, perfect. It just needs to be an expression," Schuld said.
Some days it's easier to create than others, Schuld said. The nice part about her project is that the pictures are not interconnected, so her inspiration can come from anywhere.
"It's quite freeing not to have to have a theme and not to have to follow a trail," she said. "The weather might inspire me. Somebody stopping by and visiting might inspire me. Canada Day, a beautiful small cake I made inspired me. So all over the map."
Schuld said she isn't really sure what she'll do in the future with the project. She said she's keeping the pieces all together and may put them into a book or gallery.
Schuld said other artists out there should just keep creating and pushing yourself.
"Talk to other artists. Talk to your arts community around you and keep doing that."
"You just need to put yourself out there a little ways. Nobody is going to tease you," she said. "And you'd be surprised at how little doodles turn into something meaningful."
People can see Schuld's work at Marsha Schuld: The Pandemic Drawings on Facebook