Painting the day away a relaxing pandemic hobby

Painting can be very relaxing and more people are picking up paintbrushes this year for that reason.

JoAnne Simon is one of those people.

“I would make dinner first thing in the morning just so I could make sure I could paint all day,” she says.

Painting is something that Simon never though she would be interested in, but once the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she had more free time on her hands to test out a new hobby.

“It was a really great emotional release for me,” says Simon. “I had time to sit in my own space long enough to actually see what I even wanted to do. I know it’s been hard on people, and I have huge compassion, but it was actually really good for me to actually have a chance to catch up a little bit and find out what I like doing.”

Like most people who picked up a new hobbies during the pandemic, Simon says her newly discovered talent is something that she will do for years to come.

“I don’t plan on ever stopping. Absolutely. It’s a great venue for me to express my emotions in what I think is a really healthy and creative way. I love it.”

Sales of paint supplies have been steadily increasing, so it is no surprise that at Wallack’s Art Supplies, Amanda Gorman says it’s the busiest they’ve been in a while.

“It just, like, took off,” says Gorman. “Everyone was stuck inside, looking for a new hobby, and painting and drawing and print-making became it. So, we saw a fairly big spike in sales.”

Painting is much more than just putting colour to canvas. There's a reason so many are choosing to pick up a brush for the first time right now.

“It is so therapeutic,” says Gorman. “You’re stuck inside your house; you don’t have the same access to friends and family that you would normally have. So, this became a really great outlet for people.”

Using painting as an outlet is exactly what Simon did.

“My brother passed in 2018 and he was a musician and I adore him,” says Simon. “And so the guitar, if you notice, has no strings. So that one I call 'Unfinished Song.' (The paintings) mean a lot to me. There is a story behind them.”

The stringless guitar JoAnne Simon painted for her late brother.

“I would strongly suggest that if you have this time, use it to figure out what you like,” says Simon. “And you don’t necessarily have to know, you just do it and it might surprise you because it sure surprised me.”