COVID Creativity: Painting by Janice Marie Penn

Sugar Apple Serenity. Acrylic on Canvas. Janice Marie Penn. May 2020.

“The COVID-19 pandemic abruptly brought the fast-paced environment as we knew it to a hard stop. It allowed me to reignite my appreciation for nature and its offerings. It has also forced me to seek refuge in Psalm 46:10, where He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’

As the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, I remained still. The stillness I sought was not to encourage nothingness, but to reconnect spiritually and reexamine myself. From this stillness my piece entitled “Sugar Apple Serenity” was produced.

The ocean has a very calming effective on the mind, and for me it promotes creativity. I planned my mental escape from my porch as the beaches remained closed. With some paints, a canvas and a few brush strokes I eased my anxiety surrounding the pandemic.

Nestled in a sugar apple tree, a Bananaquit bird is challenged by the outer skin of the fruit.  Despite the toughness of the fruit the bird is not discouraged. The bird continues to chip away until there is a breakthrough. The goal is to get to the layers that truly matter.

This is also the posture that we as individuals should take. We should not give up during this time of COVID-19; there will be challenges but we must get to the root of the matter in order to overcome this period of uncertainty.”

– Janice Marie Penn

Janice Marie Penn is a visual artist on the island of St. Thomas. Her work includes acrylic on canvas, tote bags, pyrography and other pieces inspired by our Caribbean way of life.