For many people, the months of stay-at-home orders and partial lockdowns were an opportunity. Some learned to bake or play an instrument. Others caught up on reading lists, podcasts and Netflix shows.
Artist Gay Lynn Saunders took the chance to create paintings that explored her feelings about current events as they unfolded. Her goal? To spend quarantine focused on personal and artistic growth.
To that end, Saunders spent many hours studying the art and craft of watercolors, creating images of angels and scenes to touch the viewers’ hearts and, hopefully, open and uplift those same hearts to healing.
Until the end of February, Saunders’ work will be exhibited as “Creating Hope & Healing: A Showing of Visual & Wearable Art” at the Lodi Community Art Center, 110 W. Pine St., Lodi.
Saunders is an established local artist, and has been a part of the Lodi area’s art scene since 2001.
For many years, wire jewelry was her main focus, and she has created thousands of pieces of jewelry incorporating gemstones and crystals. There will be a showing of her collection along with the paintings.
“It has been a way for me to get the healing properties of crystals out to the public,” Saunders said. “I have had many customers also tell me that just having a piece of my jewelry helped them to feel beautiful or more confident and happy in life.”
Her jewelry pieces are all unique, made primarily with sterling silver wire and quality stones acquired from around the world.
Saunders was drawn to the symbol of angels as a means of uplifting the viewer. Angels are universally recognized as spirits of benevolence, compassion and love, she said. These are the very emotions that she wants the viewer to feel when they see her watercolors.
“The long months of the pandemic have been so stressful for everyone. I feel it is important to help build resistance to illness, both physical and mental, to keep oneself in a state of elevated emotion,” she said. “The
same feelings are also evoked when being or viewing nature or elements of nature. So for me, this body of work has been a journey of healing that I wish to share.”
During this phase of the pandemic, the Lodi Community Art Center has been open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. most Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Social distancing is observed; only six customers at a time are allowed in, and masks are required.
Despite the obstacles — and thanks to the hard work of many volunteers — the Lodi Community Art Center has been able to maintain its presence in Downtown Lodi. The LCAC has served the community for more than 50 years with classes, youth projects and art shows.
A virtual tour of Saunders' work and the gallery will be available at www.lodiartcenter.org.