Pandemic Art Challenges



Pandemic Scrapbook

by Sandra Oliver

Painting "Something from Your Garden" by Dee Dee Ruth
Challenge #1 by Dee Dee Ruth

It has been over a year since the pandemic began, and most of us have spent our days in our homes with little face-to-face contact with our friends. I have been fortunate to be part of a group of seven artists and friends, all of whom have studied watercolor under Anna Kay Singley and who got together frequently to paint. At the time, all were CCAL members and included Maureen Carter, Linda Claytor, Cathy Dubiel, Miriam Liner, Dee Dee Ruth, Anna Kay, and me. Anna Kay knows us well and wanted us to continue to paint but was worried that we wouldn’t. She sensed that we are a competitive group and that we would respond to a challenge, therefore requiring us to paint something, anything! So, she presented us with the challenge – do a weekly painting on a subject that she proposed and that she would also paint.

Painting by Linda Claytor
Challenge #2 by Linda Claytor

The challenge the first week of March was simple, paint a flower from our yard. As the weeks went on, the challenges became more difficult and creative. Sometimes she gave us parameters such as the size of paper, the medium, or the color(s) we should use. Sometimes we had to do research on a specific artist and present a painting in that artist’s style. Each week, we would text a photo of our completed painting to the entire group. Sometimes we asked for a critique or advice on what should be done to make a particular painting better. Some challenges were fun; some were interesting; some were difficult. Regardless of the topic, we continued to paint weekly through October.

Painting by Sandra Oliver
Challenge #3 by Sandra Oliver

As our portfolio of paintings grew, I decided that I would prepare a notebook, The Pandemic Scrapbook, for each member of the group to document our work. During the months that followed, we were able to get together twice on Dee Dee’s large patio wearing our masks and practicing social distancing. The first time, we showed off the paintings we had completed up to that point. The second time, I gave everyone their Pandemic Scrapbook, and we exchanged our artist’s trading cards.

Most challenges were one week long, except the artist’s trading cards as we each had to paint seven cards. We painted anything and everything...

Painting by Miriam Liner
Challenge #10 by Miriam Liner
  • flowers and vegetables

  • inside our home and outside our home

  • light and shadows and reflections

  • landscapes and seascapes

  • texture

  • one dominant color

  • limited palette

  • CBS Sunday Morning suns

  • people and structures

  • interpretation of a particular painting

  • a cookbook cover or divider sheet along with the recipe

  • seven artist’s trading cards

  • something we were comfortable painting and something we were uncomfortable painting

  • study and painting in the style of Helen Frankenthaler