The Covid challenges

During this strange spring of 2020 much of the world has been absorbed with the impact of a tiny virus. The lives of millions of people have been affected. Listening to the media it would have been easy to become very pessimistic and worried.

I am in general an optimist. Having been self employed for the majority of my life, overcoming obstacles is a creative part of life. As the saying goes if life gives you lemons, make – in my case preserved lemons, lemon drizzle cake, and lemonade! Literally lemons arrived from Spain via crowd farming, along with avocados, oranges, apricots and olive oil. Spring lock down became a time of preparing home made food, gardening and painting daily, along with peaceful daily walks.

I am one of the lucky people not having to work as a key worker, and it was a privilege to paint 6 portraits for the NHS workers via the portraitsfornhsheroes hashtag on instagram.

So suddenly there were no distractions; the phone didn’t ring; emails dwindled; there was no where to go; no lessons to teach; no expectations and no excuses! Time to really paint in earnest. The weather was glorious and so was the new garden – inspiration aplenty. For several years I had wanted to paint the garden as it progressed through the year, now was my chance. The fleeting nature of the seasons made capturing the moment a top priority. Sketching, photography, plein aire painting, longer studio sessions and the project began to build. Work was rejected, paintings were painted over, and some pieces have made it onto the website.

From a gloomy start of realising that all my exhibiting for the year had been cancelled, and teaching wasn’t going to happen either, a really creative space opened up. There was only one other occasion in my life, of a 2 month adventure in Australia that held such a creativity and sense of adventure and freedom as this time now.

New work has been posted up here, more is in the studio in the process of creation, and when the world becomes a place once again where we can gather in safety, I will look forward to exhibiting what I have to show from my Lockdown studio.

COLOUR VERSUS NEUTRALITY

I have been thinking about and observing colour a lot recently. Whilst walking in the Forest yesterday I was aware of how we can look at a scene and perceive bright colour, but when we examine it more closely we become aware that actually there is very little colour.

So as we observed a large area of dying bracken in a lit clearing what we saw first were the autumnal yellows, and we thought it was more colourful than it actually was.. Most of the bracken was a very uninspiring brown colour and there were only a few touches of brighter colour, and even this on examination was not that vivid. What made the yellows appear vivid was the dullness, or neutrality of the tan brown, and the dark greens of the surrounding holly trees and deep shadow areas.

My tendency can be to go straight to colour, and I need to be brought back to using neutrals to show off a few colour patches that make a painting sing. So that’s my challenge of the month now – observe the neutrals, observe how colour really works around me, and find the balance!Posted in Colour