Months of anxiety, uncertainty and unrest over Covid-19 and racial injustice, allied with ever-present concerns about the environment, are making their mark on Martha’s Vineyard artists and the work they have been creating.

“We absorb things and it comes out in our work without us always thinking about it,” Chilmark painter Wendy Weldon said this week.

At first, Ms. Weldon said, she didn’t realize what was happening to her painting style as the coronavirus pandemic reached the Northeast earlier this year. Known for her energetic, vividly-colored abstracts, she found herself working in gentler tones of green, tan and bright blue.

“My palette totally changed,” she said. “Everything has been muted down. It’s a lot different for me . . . I had to buy a new container of white.”

White paint, applied with a wide brush, is how Ms. Weldon brings a sense of ease to her work, which ordinarily pulses with energy.

Painter Wendy Weldon saw her work shift from vividly-colored abstracts to more muted colors. — Jeanna Shepard

“I think it’s an effort to calm down and stay sane,” she said. “The painting has been very therapeutic.”

In another unexpected shift, Ms. Weldon has begun titling her works, sometimes even before they’re finished.

“For hundreds of paintings I’ve painted, I never titled until I have a show,” she said. “If there’s one thing a gallery hates, it’s Untitled 1, Untitled 2, Untitled 3.”

Now, she says, titles like Are You Home and Staying Sane simply arrive in her mind as she works.

“I titled it in the middle of painting it,” she said of Arctic Thaw, a recent work on display at the Knowhere Gallery in Oak Bluffs.

“I just realized that I was thinking about the thaw and how ice is turning to water,” Ms. Weldon said. “I’m not a news junkie . . . but of course it seeps into my life.”

Seasonal Vineyard Haven resident Martha Mae Jones is another abstract artist who sets her mind free as she works.

“I don’t like my work to come from a preconceived place,” said Ms. Jones, who creates her canvases by applying a multitude of fabrics.

“I don’t have the coronavirus on my mind more than anyone else, but I think in the process of working my mind is fluid and things come in,” she said. “I let my mind rove where it wants to go.”

Images of houses have been emerging in her work since even before the pandemic and social upheaval, Ms. Jones continued.

“My series this summer is called Pathways Home,” she said. “We’re all trying to feel at home — in ourselves, in our homes, in our families, in our communities. It is a kind of homecoming for a lot of us.”

Pathways Home will be exhibited beginning August 17 in the lobby gallery at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center in Vineyard Haven, sponsored by Featherstone Center for the Arts.

Vineyard Haven artist Jackie Baer experienced Covid-19 firsthand early in the pandemic, while she was off-Island after undergoing hip surgery.

Infected with the coronavirus just as she was almost ready to come home, Ms. Baer instead spent six weeks at a nursing home in Wellesley Hills, the Elizabeth Seton Residence. At the request of her daughter, the staff supplied Ms. Baer with art supplies as she recuperated.

Vineyard Haven artist Jackie Baer is best known for her bling-encrusted manikin sculptures. — Jeanna Shepard

“That’s what keeps me going. I love to do it,” said the 87-year-old artist, who is best known for her bling-encrusted manikin sculptures and for being the matriarch of an artistic clan that included her late husband Gene and continues with her daughter Gretchen and sons Chris and Jon.

Though store manikins, buttons, beads and costume jewelry were in short supply at Elizabeth Seton, Ms. Baer had unlimited drawing supplies and turned out enough new pieces to cover an entire window-wall at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.

Titled Pendemic, the exhibition itself is a window into Ms. Baer’s experience at Elizabeth Seton, from portraits of attendant nuns to views of the cherry tree outside her room.

Ms. Baer returned home in mid-May and soon resumed work on a new set of manikins. Earlier sculptures, in both child and adult sizes, have been glittering from behind more windows at the museum, which is preparing to shift from outside-only to limited indoor activity this month.

Poet Justen Ahren and his family had a brush with the pandemic earlier this year, as they wound up a six-month stay in France just when the virus was exploding in Italy and making its way north.

“We were on the last train out of the country, doors literally closing behind us,” said Mr. Ahren, now home in West Tisbury.

Translating the experience into poetry, Mr. Ahren said, he found himself writing in a different way than before.

“The tense has changed,” he said. “My work has traditionally been drawn from memory, from the past.”

Now, Mr. Ahren said, he is writing in the present tense about current events — first the coronavirus and now the social justice movement as well.

“I’m always looking at the present moment and writing from that position.”

Longtime Vineyard Haven printmaker Fae Kontje-Gibbs has also been exploring the written word, using the pandemic shutdown as an opportunity to move deeper into essay writing. In May, she won an essay contest sponsored by One Book One Town Sharon Reads Together, a Massachusetts nonprofit.

Ms. Kontje-Gibbs said she is also responding to the present turmoil in a more tactile fashion, designing quilts and aprons.

“What I have wanted to do for a while, and have taken this opportunity to really dive into, is to print and paint on fabrics and to stitch them together into usable objects that will festoon peoples lives with practical art that lifts their spirits,” she said.

Althea Freeman-Miller created coronavirus and Black Lives Matter artwork. — Jeanna Shepard

Practical concerns also drive printmaker Althea Freeman-Miller, of Althea Designs in Vineyard Haven. Earlier this year she created a Black Lives Matter woodcut specifically for a rally at Five Corners.

“I just felt like I needed to do something,” said Ms. Freeman-Miller, who spent hours designing and carving the block for the print.

“I finished it right in time, printed one and just brought it down to Five Corners,” she said. “It felt so local, right here in front of my studio.”

Using water-based ink for faster drying, Ms. Freeman-Miller printed off several more copies of the print for free before deciding to hold off on larger-scale production.

“I just found myself being asked to print Black Lives Matter T-shirts for people,” she said. “Maybe the time would be better spent promoting Black artists’ artwork . . . I’m still trying to figure out how to feel right about this.”

Ms. Freeman-Miller also created a design for the All Island Business Task Force, which used a detail—two hands cradling a heart-emblazoned Martha’s Vineyard — in its widely-circulated coronavirus awareness poster.

Black Lives Matter galvanized Oak Bluffs painter Richard Limber, after an initial period of aimlessness during the pandemic.

“During the lockdown period, I wasn’t doing any artwork because I couldn’t think of anything appropriate to do,” said Mr. Limber, a figurative artist who often works from models or news photographs. “I did this really crazy garden instead.”

After the death of George Floyd in May, Mr. Limber incorporated the victim’s face in a banner inspired by news images of the protested Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Va., taken by night with light projections layered atop graffiti.

“To me, that was infinitely inspiring to see how art can represent what’s going on at the moment,” he said. “I don’t think my work matches that, but that’s where I’m coming from.”