WEDU Arts Plus

S9 E21 | CLIP

921: Sketch-A-Day

Bradenton resident Lisa DiFranza creates daily sketches as a way to get through the pandemic and share art with the community.

AIRED: November 05, 2020 | 0:06:21

Hello, I'm Dalia Colon

and this is WEDU Arts Plus.

When Lisa DiFranza got laid off

from her job due to COVID-19

the very next day she broke open

in a set of gouache paints

she'd had sitting around the house.

Now more than 200 sketches later,

the Bradenton resident is using her daily art practice

to help heal our community.

(bright upbeat music)

- My name is Lisa DiFranza,

and I'm here today to talk with you

about the Sketch-a-Day project

that kind of emerged organically

out of this COVID-19 world health crisis.

(gentle music)

So when I got laid off from my job,

I started sketching and I didn't know it,

but it was going to be the beginning

of sketching every day

and posting it online.

(gentle music)

I come from a family of visual artists,

even though my sort of career and work life

has always been in the performing arts as a director

or as an educator.

But I think sketching came organically

because it's a way to process and share with the community,

the online community,

the experience of living on earth now.

(gentle music)

I started posting on Facebook and Instagram,

I added Twitter.

The response has been really interesting

and people were writing saying,

"This is part of the way I'm processing through COVID,"

or, "Could I get a copy of this?"

So I began to work with Artsource Studio in Sarasota

to make fine art limited edition prints of the sketches.

So when that started to happen,

I launched a website where you can see the sketches

and the odyssey of COVID through my eyes anyway.

(gentle music)

- So at this point I have purchased two of Lisa sketches,

Splashy Sunset Over Route 41 Motel

and Hopeful Moon Over Bradenton.

And what I found with her sketches,

I was watching her posts these everyday on social media,

and they were so timely.

We are all experiencing this array

of emotions every single day

and Lisa was capturing those emotions every single day.

And so there were some of those that she captured an emotion

that I really related to.

And so those were the two I selected.

One of them, is a moon and it's beautiful,

but it's hopeful.

And she has that piece of it

and, it's over the water.

And the other one though is an old motel on Route 41

and there was something really poetic about that as well.

And that, that wasn't that stereotypical beautiful scenery,

but she made it feel really beautiful.

And so I truly appreciate her ability

to capture all of these emotions

that we've been feeling during this time.

And I think even though she was doing it daily in the end,

when you look back on it and as a collective,

it truly encapsulates all of the things

that we've been feeling.

- As far as processing COVID goes,

I think tempest-tost is an image of the Statue of Liberty

that really to me, sort of emerged

from my confusion about the American experiment.

I've done a couple of theater images.

I miss theater.

I recently did a remembering curtain call image

that just came out of missing that feeling

of being in a live theater

for a live performance

and the energy and excitement of that.

And of course, I worked in theater

so much that it's so close to me

and I feel for all the workers in theater

who really have no work.

Also there's some of the sunrises and sunsets

that are close to me

because they're right from our neighborhood,

our doors and our dock and the river

and the river has just been so much

a part of this time for me.

And I have never had the time to see and think in this way.

(gentle music)

I think sketching marks the day,

whereas everything else is blurry,

but sketching every day I wake up and I do this

and it marks a new day (chuckles).

(gentle music)

The other thing I think that's therapeutic

is being able through social media,

which is weird because I'm not a big social media person,

but being able to share with other people

and get a response.

So I feel like that helps to process communally

even when we can't.

(gentle music)

- Well, I think what Lisa has been able to remind us all of

is that art has the ability to speak when our words don't.

And so whether it is relating to something that she created

or creating something on your own,

it really is therapeutic in so many ways.

And when we're alone, as we have been so much recently,

that connection through art is even more vital

than it ever was before.

(bright upbeat music)

- I think there is nothing more gratifying

than making something from nothing.

And my advice would be just do it

don't judge what comes out.

One thing that I've really gotten

out of the sketch of day thing

is sometimes I don't love the sketch

and it's really been very, very wonderful

to not get too hung up about it

because I know next day's a new day.

I know I can start again.

Another blank piece of paper, just produce it, share it,

produce it, share it.

(gentle music)

- Lisa DiFranza sketches are on display

at Art Ovation Hotel in Sarasota

through January 18th.

The exhibition is called "Timelapse 2020".

To see more visit