At the beginning of the pandemic, local artist Paula Womack picked up a paintbrush and set an intention to use her time in quarantine to expand her artistic horizons. From March until May, Paula painted a series of portraits that she’d later dub the 100 Faces of COVID.
Inspired by a challenge by artist Donna Downey, Paula’s 100 Faces of COVID reflect the faces of Paula’s friends, loved ones and people she’s imagined. All 100 canvases are now on display at Twigg & Co.
The first 30 portraits were done by following a tutorial by Donna Downey using the alla-prima colorist method that requires no plan, grid or initial sketch. It’s just paint on canvas. No canvas was scrapped. Paula painted anywhere from one to three faces each day, and displayed them all, regardless of the outcome. These, too, you can find at Twigg & Co.
“I think it’s important to see what the world around us does to our art and our psyche,” Paula said.
One of her faces titled “Bad Day” features a face partially smudged.
“I also tried to paint people I felt were impacted the most by the pandemic,” Paula said. “There’s one called ‘the graduate,’ that’s inspired by my neighbor who wasn’t able to participate in a graduation ceremony. I also painted Chuck Norris because, well, he’s the best.”
The portraits in her Twigg & Co. exhibit are arranged in the order in which Paula painted them. She hopes that people will see the progression of the art, and identify with one of the faces in some way. The first of the 100 portraits is simply titled “Fear.”
Paula’s 100 Faces of COVID will be on display at Twigg & Co. until Aug. 9, even if they’ve already sold. Paintings are $20 each.
“I encourage people to be vulnerable and put themselves out there,” Paula said. “To really look at the portraits and find something that relates to them.”