Our Daily Breather: Maintaining Sanity During A Pandemic In Our Daily Breather, we ask writers and artists to recommend ways to find calm in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Singer and songwriter Liza Anne recommends trying your hand at drawing.
NPR logo Our Daily Breather: Liza Anne On Learning To Draw During A Pandemic

Our Daily Breather: Liza Anne On Learning To Draw During A Pandemic

Liza Anne Brett Warren/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Brett Warren/Courtesy of the artist

Liza Anne

Brett Warren/Courtesy of the artist

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Liza Anne

Where: Nashville, Tenn.

Recommendation: Trying your hand at drawing


Self portrait by Liza Anne. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

Each day drips like molasses, slow and drawn out. Each limitless with possible past times, coated in the grief felt 'round the world. When felt in tandem, even the most bleak of unknowns can hold a comfort. I wake up, a full and empty day strung out before me. I make coffee, I fry eggs — daily dispelling my past life argument that "I cannot cook." Every day is a reckoning with the excuses that relieved me before — it wasn't ever that I "could not" — whether making time to cook, finishing a book, learning a language, practicing guitar — I just didn't know how to carve a window of calm steadiness in the rush of modernity. Life, as we knew it, was just an interrupter of the slow, the steady. The paced rhythm of making meals, writing poetry, learning something new, drawing ... all of this seemed to demand so much of me that now, I have to give.

Drawing by Liza Anne. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Courtesy of the artist

I had never drawn before this. I've always been quickly pulled out of any moment before gaining the appreciation yielded from the patient catalog of someone or something's details in a drawing. Drawing is among many things that take focused time to collect the details of the beheld — details that I so easily skip over when moving paced with life as we lived it. But now, there is a new pace with room enough for things to take time.

Liza Anne's recommendation

Liza Anne recommends learning to draw. Here's her advice for getting started:

My aunt is an artist and an art teacher. She's been doing these videos on her Instagram, giving parents a resource to entertain their kids via painting and art lessons. I've been watching and she inspired me to start making something everyday. I think it's best to start small with a few easy supplies: a set of beginning water colors; a few packs of watercolor paper; empty postcards; some fine tip pens and pencils; and the relief from any stupid pressure I'd put on myself for anything to have to be any specific way. No care for perfection or performance. Just small vignettes of my feelings and day through lines and color. Some days I just write a word or two in exaggerated bubbled letters — something about it feels elementary and connected to a pure part of myself: all feeling, all emotion, all just there even in the smallest blip of color.

I like to imagine us all having a quiet, solitude of communion with this new pace — our own secret conversation where we leave with our own way of "being with ourselves" in this time. All of those ways are okay. This collective slow down, this deep breath we're all taking — although full of weight, grief and a myriad of unknowns and other feelings — has left room for a communal healing. A healing of the miniature plagues of modernity on our ability to slow down. A healing of our planet as the air holds less pollution and her people are more connected.

I wonder what I will take forward from this time where I learned how to look at the details of something long enough to portray what I saw in a small sketch. I wonder how much more patience I will be able to hold for others when I listen to them, the same patience that finds a way to portray the detail of where their eyes and nose meet or the curve of their bottom lip.


Liza Anne is singer and songwriter. Her album, Fine But Dying, came out in 2018. She's since released singles "Devotion," "Desire" and "Bad Vacation."

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