The COVID stare

I spent most of the lockdown this year drawing faces. (I worked as well, but you know how many hours there were.) I’m pretty pleased with what I learned in the process and I’ll make another post with some of the faces I’m most satisfied with, but in between, these staring faces kept appearing. Pretty much every time I sat down to draw without thinking much, and just started sketching, the faces that emerged had this rather fixed stare – not panicked, not horrified, just stunned into silence.

I guess they sum up my reaction rather well. Surprised. Amazed. Dumbfounded. Disbelieving. And, eventually, patient. Even curious.

Some looked a bit more anxious. I guess that anxiety was a big part of it too. I am (still) a (very large) continent away from my family.

These were all drawn from my imagination, but the same look crept into pictures that were based on other sources too. Somehow, that same sense of surprise and disbelief showed through.

But then, looking back through my sketches, I found that this same look appeared before COVID. These two pictures I drew in February and November last year.

Back in February, the face on the left appeared in response to a surprising, weird and quite hard to believe family situation. I called it Watching because I felt so helpless. All I could do was watch what was unfolding.

Even that was preceded by the face on the right, which I drew back in November last year. Did I somehow know what was coming in 2020?



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