COVID-19 is not stopping artists from sharing their work and joy with the community, including those like Kathy Crawshay.
Crawshay is a retired teacher who taught for 30 years in the Cariboo and before that sometime in the Yukon. She’s lived in the 100 Mile Area for the last 44 years, on Horse Lake, and upon her retirement, she began painting again.
She’s done a little bit of everything but primarily, at the moment, Crawshay focuses on using watercolours to create works that include everything from ladies drinking wine in hot tubs to children hiking in the mountains.
“I’ve done art my whole life. My mother was a potter and my grandmother was quite artsy so my whole life has been art, but when I was teaching I didn’t have a lot of time to do art, so when I retired I was able to get into my art,” Crawshay said. “I paint because it brings me joy and it’s very relaxing and meditative to paint.”
Her love of everything the Cariboo has to offer is reflected in her art, she laughed, which should be obvious the moment you take a look at one of her paintings. Crawshay loves downhill skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, kayaking and the outdoors, which are all especially poignant and impactful considering our society’s current situation.
Every few years, Crawshay said she likes to do a donation event where she’ll sell her art and give the proceeds to a worthy cause. This year she’d considered doing a show for the Showcase Gallery, but when the pandemic began shutting things down she decided instead to start painting a card every day to post online and then send it in the mail to one of her followers on Facebook via the Kathy Crawshay Art page.
“For about 14 days I’ve sent out free art, little paintings, to cheer people up,” Crawshay said.
As there are around 100 people in the draw for one of her paintings, she finds it’s giving her the incentive to paint every day, something that she loves to do anyway. From what she’s heard those who receive the card in the mail get a lot of joy out of it as well, which makes it a win-win in her books. She frequently gets messages from those who visit the page telling her it brings them joy and thank her for making them.
When she posts her art on Facebook, she always tries to accompany it with a calming quote to provide people with a joyful meditative moment. Lately, her paintings have been a mix of outdoor scenes and moments inspired by the coronavirus, such as painting lawn chairs six-feet apart. One of her recent works was one of a child and their mother, arms around each other, gazing out across a lake which was particularly touching for Crawshay personally.
Overall, she thinks it’s very valuable for people to create something in their spare time be it painting art, sewing clothes or masks, baking treats and whatever else makes you happy. Sharing it with your community is all the better in her eyes.
“Even though it is so very important right now to be physically distancing; it is equally important that we figure out a way so that we are not socially distancing at this time,” Crawshay said. “That’s probably the biggest reason I’m painting and sharing my art right now. We all need to reach out to friends and family and neighbours, especially those who are self-isolating on their own.”