100 Days of Shapemaking 2020 – Covid Edition - Lel Newman Artist

100 Days of Shapemaking 2020 – Covid Edition

This year I completed my third 100 day project, creating and posting artwork on Instagram. After skipping it in 2019, I felt a void. The project keeps me making. It allows time to tune out distractions – focus only on space, edges, flat fields, the sense of tension, and dimension. I started April 8, 2020, a day after the official start of the 100 Day Project. Previously, in 2017 & 2018, I completed the project exactly in 100 days. Not this go-round. Pandemic in process, I gave myself a lot of slack. With my day job keeping me busier than ever, fitting in art-making every consecutive day was adding too much pressure. I wanted to be easier on myself. Mental and physical health during this time of the Pandemic is precious and requires effort. Sadly also during this time, my Mother-in-law became ill and passed away. Not to COVID, but cancer. It was shockingly fast, and we miss her very much.

So when it was too much I skipped days and ultimately I finished no. 100 on August 14.

More minimal

Grid of nine abstract bold shapemaking images by Leslie Newman
Shapemaking 2020 No. 83 thru 91 (July 27 – August 5)

The world was/is on edge, agitated, and overwhelming, so I seek simplicity and refuge. When creating the 2020 series, I pared down to essentials, worked with just one color plus black and grays, and limited the shapes. In my toolbox are edges, flat fields, space, and tension. The process is carving and molding shapes and negative space to create something out of nothing. They nudge the brain to see dimension in a flat surface and the eye to explore form and space. Take a breath. Stir something indescribable. Calming or invigorating? Curiously satisfying. 

Community support

When you post your work on Instagram, you get instant gratification. (And that’s not always a bad thing, right? 😉 Art people are kind and generous. Truly, engagement and comments provide energy to keep creating. It feels good to be putting something out there. I know my work’s not for everyone. And it pleases me that I really don’t care about that. I want to satisfy myself and create an expression that is unique to me.

COVID and Black Lives Matter

The intensity of the year can’t go unmentioned (and it’s not over yet.) While the pandemic rages, the horrific deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many other BIPOC at the hands of police push us towards a reckoning. America begins to wake up and starts calling out racial injustice and systemic racism. Many white Americans look in the mirror and join in the mourning and protests. There’s a glimmer of hope that we can pull together, face reality, and make progress. It’s a task that has no end. And after the close election results, it’s clear we indeed have a very long way to go. It’s heartbreaking all around.

So it goes. I’ll keep making art and strive to stay hopeful. Be well

To commemorate this series, I’ve produced three affordable, 13″ x 19″ inch mini-posters. 

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