Artist’s sketches draw pandemic’s people together

by Gayle Wilson

  • <p>CONTRIBUTED PHOTO</p><p><strong>Chronicles of coronavirus</strong> Artist Sharon Fox Cranston is drawing together a community in isolation, literally. Story page 9.</p>
  • <p>CONTRIBUTED PHOTO</p><p>Lunenburg landscape artist Sharon Fox Cranston has turned her hand to sketching during the pandemic.</p>

While COVID-19 renders people isolated in their homes, a Lunenburg artist has begun drawing the community together -literally, and one-by-one.

It started at the end of March when Sharon Fox Cranston snapped a photo of her husband, Guy, as he created one of his folk art birds. She then made a sketch of the photograph, posted it on social media, and invited others in the local community to send photos of how they are spending their time amid the pandemic.

A nurse from Bridgewater promptly sent in hers. Cranston sketched it and it too went onto Facebook.

"I think the fact that the second one was a nurse, it just got so many hits, so many likes, it just sort of got the ball rolling. And from that point people just started sending in their photographs," Cranston told LighthouseNOW.

Within 12 days, she had received about 60 photographs from throughout Lunenburg County. "It's growing beyond my expectations," says Cranston.

The project has been a boon to her own creativity as well, she says. "I lost my creative mojo for painting landscapes. ... I thought I needed to do something just to keep going."

She didn't imagine her COVID project would catch on to the degree that it has, or that she would find it so enjoyable. "I love it," says the artist.

Not only is it giving her structure to her days, she's getting a lot of positive feedback from the local community. "So many people have told me, 'I really look forward to seeing these every day.' And other people saying 'thank you so much for doing this as a community thing.' And, because of that, I have the motivation to keep going," says Cranston.

The photos that she's received have ranged from the comical -one dog owner sent in one of himself curled up in his dog's bed - to the poignant.

One lady sent a waist-up "selfie" photo of herself. "I generally want people head to toe, you know, doing something," explains Cranston.

"She's sitting in the car. She's all bundled up, and has a face mask on, and she says, 'This is me on my way to dialysis.' And I'm like, 'Wow. That's so sad.'"

Dr. Sarah Cosh of Liverpool's Queen General Hospital's photo was submitted by her mother. (Sketch as since on the cover.)

Cranston is doing the sketches free of charge. She plans to compile them into a commemorative book that will be sold in the art gallery she and Guy own on Lincoln Street in Lunenburg. She'll also make prints of the sketches to sell.

Cranston says she'll continue with the daily sketches until they're able to re-open the gallery along with other businesses in the town that have shut as a result of the pandemic.

She's hoping to have an opening night where all of the sketches will be on display and the books available for sale.

"And invite everyone that I have done, plus anyone else who wants to come, to a big party," says Cranston.

Now that should really draw the community together.

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