Student artists finding new inspirations during quarantine

Flashback to March 13, 2020, when it was announced that the next few weeks of learning would occur online amid the coronavirus pandemic. As the rain drizzled down from the mysteriously gray sky, students left their final classes unbeknownst to how long this unprecedented break would really last. Seven months later, students have yet to return to on-campus learning. Students who had grown comfortable with the seemingly never endless, hectic nature of the typical school week have been gifted with what had become an abstract concept: free time. Student artists now have an opportunity to dedicate time towards their passion, which can entail starting a new painting, finishing the final chapters of their story, or snapping photos of the outside world. In a time with such chaos and uncertainty, artists have found their art to be an essential outlet of expression.

One of many gifted CHS artists, sophomore Jamison Glaspy, deepened her arbor for painting in middle school, but struggled to find time for it once her bustling high school schedule began. With her commitment as an ASB officer and cheerleader, her passion had to be sidelined. As quarantine began, Glaspy’s relaxed schedule allowed her to begin new acrylic and watercolor painting pieces, along with exploring other mediums such as recycled magazine collages. For Glaspy, painting serves as an outlet to eliminate stress and boredom, which became common occurrences during this past year.

“[Painting] takes the stress away,” Glaspy said. “It really makes me happy, and it’s just so therapeutic.”

To Glaspy, the world is a pool of inspiration waiting to be discovered. Oftentimes, she will find new art ideas from exploring nature, or vibrant cities nearby like Los Angeles. During the early stages of quarantine, Glaspy repressed boredom by not only painting, but also reading. She enjoys envisioning the vivid scenery within the stories, and then transferring the imaginative world onto a blank canvas. In the future, Glaspy hopes to further her passion by attending a college with a graphic design program.

Unlike Glaspy, senior Annie Ngiam prefers to showcase her artistic expertise through original stories and poetry. For Ngiam, nothing surpasses the fulfilling feeling of writing. The exhilaration of crafting a unique world and characters, along with the satisfaction of sharing it with admiring readers is simply unbeatable. This feeling has motivated Ngiam to continue to work on her over 80,000-word original story, “Drifting With You”, which she began writing in middle school. Over quarantine, Ngiam was able to continue her story while exploring other creative outlets. Though she dabbled with it in the past, Ngiam now has enough time to fully immerse herself in the art of poetry.

“With quarantine and being out of school, I realized I’m not alone with my own thoughts often,” Ngiam said. “That’s where I got into poetry. It allowed me to contain all those crazy thoughts.”

In between writing and tediously editing her story, Ngiam enjoys exercising, studying American Sign Language, and reading. Next year, Ngiam hopes to attend college and study creative writing and American Sign Language. Once she finalizes her current project, she plans to experiment with screenwriting.

Throughout the past few years, another CHS artist, sophomore Jessica Reagan, has become captivated by the art of photography. Reagan had always found great pleasure in taking pictures, and chose to join the El Roble yearbook staff to dedicate her passion to a collaborative project. That allowed her to further enhance her photography skills, while also building new friendships and learning how to design yearbook pages. Following middle school, she joined the CHS yearbook staff, where she has become a layout editor. Reagan feels drawn to photography because of its enticing purpose.

“It captures a moment and can tell a story,” Reagan said. “It’s cool you can look back and reflect on the time it was taken.”

Reagan enjoys taking pictures of the beauty of nature, and oftentimes finds new photo subjects in her backyard, such as flowers or a blackberry bush. She is particularly enthused by taking pictures of friends and family members, as it provides a convenient way to preserve her favorite memories. Over quarantine, Reagan took advantage of her free schedule by dedicating time towards taking and editing pictures to use on her Pinterest boards. Additionally, she posted her favorite shots onto her photography Instagram account, which is, as her bio reads, “just a photo dump of my life”.

Junior Emily Aldana was introduced to art early in her childhood, as she inherited her grandmother’s passion for it. Aldana believes her love for drawing and watercolor continues to flourish because of the satisfaction of watching a new piece progressively come to life. Though the completion of artwork is always rewarding, on occasion, the creative process can be frustrating and draining.

“Sometimes it can be more stressful than stress-relieving,” Aldana said. “It can be hard to get the proportions right, and be hard to tell what is off without altering the part that is okay.”

Luckily, Aldana feels the enjoyment and comfort of drawing typically outweigh the negatives. She especially finds joy in drawing or watercolor painting her favorite cartoon characters from iconic animated Disney movies. Recently, she participated in a Drawlloween, a Halloween themed art challenge. Quarantine allowed her to forward her watercolor technique, while beginning to add other enhancements like shading into her pieces. In the future, she hopes to continue dedicating time towards drawing, eventually tackling realism artwork.

Though the featured artists explore varying forms of art expression, they all share a mutual passion for their specific craft. Student artists have found art to serve as much more than a cure for boredom, as it has become the core of their livelihood. In a world surrounded by so much uncertainty, utilizing their artistic abilities over quarantine has proven to be essential for maintaining a positive mindset.