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Lizzy Greene: "How quarantine helped me rediscover my passion for art"

The COVID-19 pandemic seemingly came out of the blue. Something completely unpredictable threw the whole world for a loop, and now I can't even imagine being in a crowd or not wearing a mask ever again. Interestingly, quarantine was a paradise to some—and a bore, or even worse, to so many others. Some people immersed themselves into passion projects and virtual work, while others struggled with being removed from their family, friends and even themselves.

As much as we all hate to admit it, people like to stay busy. When we commit to routine and a fast-paced lifestyle, we feel successful for working hard. But when that's put on pause indefinitely, how do we stay fulfilled? As an actor, my business (like all others) was hit hard. Work slowed and production companies rushed to find solutions to keep their projects up and running.

While everything was going on, I quarantined in my hometown in Texas, far outside of Hollywood. Since I've worked from the age of 10, coming back home is always like stepping into a different life. It's calm, peaceful, free of work stress, costume fittings and early call times. But this time was different. Quarantine added new stresses and the constant feeling of "What's next?" After a few weeks of planning and mapping out the future, I realized that it doesn't happen too often that I am able to take a break this long. While it's wise to be conscious of what's to come, it's also crucial to let yourself breathe and find your own method of being present. For me, it's always been art.

I've been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. Granted, those early works weren't too great, but I still found love in the way that there were no real rules around what was or wasn't art. My mom always jokes that anytime there's a blank sheet of paper in front of me, I just *have* to doodle on it. I used to spend all my childhood allowance on art supplies and colorful paints, and when I ran out of paper, I'd just start painting my walls. All the way into my preteen years, I drew profusely, watching videos and buying books on how to become the best I possibly could. But when I found my way into the acting industry—which meant workdays that could go from nine to seventeen hours—drawing and painting became things I sadly didn't have much time for anymore.

Last year, I finally found that love again. My Vancouver apartment had come with an art desk and a view—and a little paint shop downstairs. From there, I relearned the ease I'd had for painting years ago, and I was back to leaving the house with a sketchbook in my bag. But quarantine is what really began this new era of art for me. I was so back in it that I totally reorganized my bedroom to accommodate an art table and boxes of paint. I can't tell you how many times my mom has warned me not to spill paint on the carpet (and I surprisingly haven't yet)! When I wasn't working or in school, I was drawing, even as the clock ticked past midnight into the early morning hours. Drawing just makes me happy. It forces me to slow down and focus on the little things. It keeps me observant and detail-oriented—which makes me think and act more purposefully and creatively, skills I definitely need as an actor. While improvement can be slow, it's so rewarding to see tangible proof of what I can do.  

Once my show A Million Little Things was officially picked up, I packed everything up and jumped back into those long days, early call times, endless routines. But, this time, I'm not going to let work get so stressful that I forget to live in the moment. I ended up buying a tablet just for digital art so I can draw during lunch breaks and between scenes. Acting is where my heart lies for now—but art will forever be my passion. 


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Lizzy Greene plays Sophie Dixon on the TV series A Million Little Things. You can catch the premiere of Season 3 on Nov. 19 on ABC.

Image Credit: Karolina Turek

by Lizzy Greene | 11/18/2020