Celebrating Community Creativity: Paintings

Sam Schwartz ’21

Elyse Kim '21 and Abby Thomas '23

Over the last few weeks, the coronavirus has separated our community, pushing us into relative isolation. Social distancing can be boring and tedious, so it is important to find ways to occupy your mind and practice creativity. For several community members, painting is a source of peace and innovation. Through painting, artists can use pigment to capture thoughts and emotions. Paintings are often a reminder to slow down and appreciate the beauty in minute details. 

To celebrate our community’s creativity, The Sentinel has collected students’ paintings and compiled their answers into a Q&A to give further insight into their art. 


How and why did you start painting?

Patrick Gunn ‘26: When I was in 1st and 2nd grade, I enjoyed visiting a gallery in my town where they had work of an artist I thought was really good. Meeting this artist helped me be more willing to try new subjects to paint because at the time I was just trying to copy works of famous people like Van Gogh. I started trying a bunch of different things to see what I liked the most, and found that I was pretty decent at landscapes. I also would take art classes at Silvermine Art School, and the teacher would let me go into an adult class to see more people’s work, and I got to know the artist who was teaching them. By seeing the adult students’ work, they gave me different ideas for things to try.

Moli Ma ‘21: Because my mom told me to, but then it became fun!

Sam Schwartz ‘21: Art is an extremely valued thing in my household because all of my siblings and my mom are artists in their own right. Consequently, I have been doing varying art projects since I was [a] kid, but I didn’t really see art as a serious thing until I got into high school. I started to learn how to actually paint in Mr. Lynch’s class and, as the years have gone by, I have had more freedom to do what I want to do. This has made painting increasingly more enjoyable, especially as I have gotten better.


What do you like about painting?

Patrick Gunn ‘26: One of the things that I like about painting is not having any rules; you can make things in your imagination come to life and give people a different perspective on things. I also like that everyone can still have different goals; like for me, it is to paint hyper-realistically, while for others it could goals around painting abstracts to impressionistic works.

Moli Ma ‘21: Everything!!!!!!!!!! 

Sam Schwartz ‘21: I love the feeling of just being completely involved in whatever I am painting. I get really invested [in] the process of painting and, when I am passionate about what I am creating, it becomes hard for me to stop.


How do you decide what to paint?

Patrick Gunn ‘26: I decide what I am going to paint from a few things: I get some from my mind, pictures that I find interesting with a nice composition, and I get some from commissions that other people want me to paint.

Moli Ma ‘21: It’s kind of an intuitive thing where I look at something and think it might be fun to paint. There’s not a lot of conscious decision-making unless I’m trying to be serious about it, which is rare.

Sam Schwartz ‘21: I normally decide what to paint after either seeing something online that sparked my creativity or seeing something in my everyday life. On rare occasions, I randomly just wake up and have a desire to paint.


What do you want people to feel/think when they look at your paintings?

Patrick Gunn ‘26: I want to make the viewer feel as if they could walk right into the painting as if they were in the scene. I want this so they can really live the picture out to its full potential.

Moli Ma ‘21: Oh god, that’s a big question! Hopefully that it looks nice? It varies from piece to piece, but I generally lack intention in my art… which is probably bad…

Sam Schwartz ‘21:  I want people to feel inspired to start their own paintings.


Do you try to convey a certain message through your paintings? If so, what is that message?

Patrick Gunn ‘26: The message from my art that I try to show would be that your form of art or paintings can be very different from others, and there is no right way to make art.

Moli Ma ‘21: Not collectively, I don’t think. It depends on the particular painting. 

Sam Schwartz ‘21: Most of my paintings do not have a deeper, insightful message– mainly because I don’t feel like they need to have one. To me, I find that art is more enjoyable and, debatably, more meaningful when you care about expressing an experience rather than a direct message. I want whoever sees my work to feel the process of painting that I went through, as it is, in my opinion, the most difficult but memorable part. Therefore, if anything, the message I want to convey with my art is honestly not really a message you can walk away with, but an experience you become immersed in and hopefully would want to go through on your own.