While being cooped up inside due to COVID-19 is far from ideal, some artists are using this time as a chance to work on their art.
This includes 100 Mile House area artist Bobbie Crane, an acrylic artist who specializes in wildlife and an active member in the Federation of Canadian Artists. Crane has been practising art for around the last 30 to 35 years full time, including organizing and teaching art workshops and classes throughout the Cariboo, which she enjoys a lot. Obviously, these classes have had to be put on hold due to social distancing but she has students in 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and Lac la Hache.
Crane has been interested in art all her life but only really got into it at 35, as her parents didn’t feel it was an avenue to explore as far as a career went. After working in private nursing for a few years, she decided to pursue art fulltime when her job became redundant and never looked back, founding her own artist studio where she sells brushes and paints.
One thing Crane has always enjoyed about making art, which has been official during this pandemic, is the isolation that comes with focusing on it. Outside of her art classes, distancing herself from society is something she does anyway, as do most of her personal artist friends.
“When we’re creating art we spend a lot of time alone in front of the easel or in whatever workspace with whatever subject matter we’re working on,” Crane said.
Wildlife, be they birds or mammals, is where Crane’s passion lies and to recreate them on the canvas she does a lot of research into their habitat, their characteristics and anatomy before she gets started. Realism is important to her and something she tries to imprint on her students when she’s teaching classes.
Currently, Crane is painting every day and just recently finished a painting of a pair of mute swans and has begun work on a saw-whet owl, as of this interview. She enjoys working on a few paintings at a time so, if she gets stuck or frustrated with one piece, she can move on to another one and not interrupt her artistic flow. Crane will also take on commissions such as pet portraitures which she’s also currently working on.
Her overall approach to social isolation otherwise, right now, is to focus on reflection and contemplation on where her artwork goes from here. Crane is looking into how best to sell and promote her artwork by becoming more involved with organizations and looking to online resources. She currently posts her art to her Facebook page Bobbie Crane Art and Friends of Bobbie Crane Art while her website is bobbiecraneart.ca.
While Crane herself may be fine financially, she knows that many of her fellow artists will be struggling in the weeks or maybe even months to come due to the economic slowdown. Despite this, she encourages the community to continue to invest in the arts and find local artists who need support.
“If there’s anything that’s going to make you smile, it’ll be purchasing artwork that is going to live in your home,” Crane said. “It will definitely help the artist, you know the saying starving artist? Well, this is a very starving time for them.”
Art, to her, is our future as one day we’ll be able to look back at these pieces and marvel at how someone made them themselves. She encourages people who are shut in right now to try their hand at art be it painting, knitting or making crafts as it’s good therapy for everyone.