Week 1: Lockdown for an Artist…

My studio is only a 10-minute drive from my home, but with everything going on at the moment, a week or so ago I made the sensible decision to bring a few materials home with me and create some kind of home studio for the foreseeable.

I’m not a tidy worker by any means, so this has been a challenge! Initially, I decided to work on the desk in the spare room, but after only a day I found working in such a confined space was next to impossible for me. I felt too restricted and the brand new cream carpet seemed like a little bit of a block for me, it was inevitable that if I stayed in there I would end up getting paint on it (not ideal).

So now I have settled on the study. The wooden floor could be wipeable if I were to get paint on it, and the light is much better. I can also work on the standing parquet desk we’ve got in there, or work on the floor. Again, being confined to one end of the room isn’t ideal, and part of me does feel a little trapped. However, at this moment in time, it will have to do!

When painting I go through phases of what I feel like listening to. Sometimes I like to listen to a podcast because it allows me to stop concentrating on what I’m actually painting, especially if I’m not quite sure where a painting is going. On the other hand, I love having my headphones in, turning up a playlist and letting the music lead me. I find if I’m in the mood, upbeat songs really carry me through a painting. If I can get lost in a playlist I find a painting will spill out of me and it is such a magical thing, I can’t even describe it. Depending on the mood I will jump from classic ’80s to Coldplay, to Bears Den to Blossoms, and a little bit of modern pop if the energy levels in the studio need to be pumped up.

I have always found inspiration whilst on my dog walks, but with the lockdown affecting our everyday lives so much at the moment, I am finding my dog walks are lasting for hours & hours (I thought the dog loved this but now I’m not so sure…) My phone is my digital sketchbook, where I crop photos and zoom in on interesting sections of the scene in front of me. In this uncertain time, I have also introduced a rule to myself, that once a week I will walk down to the lake to watch the sunrise. As I cannot go too far for inspiration (ie I cannot drive to my favourite inspiration views in Norfolk) having the lake in our village is perfect, and sunrise (although hard to get up for) is a weekly joy.

I’m finding painting at this time a release. With my studio now being downstairs, I can paint whenever I need to, a little luxury of having a home studio (along with the copious amounts of biscuits and brews!).

Before the lockdown, however, we had to make the difficult decision to postpone our wedding for a year. This was a hard decision to make, but in light of everything going on it was the right decision. During the period of deciding what to do, I couldn’t find comfort in painting. It was something I didn’t want to even look at, I knew my mind wasn’t in the right place.

However, we made the decision and a week later it felt like the right time to paint again. And now I love it. I’m not quite sure what I’m actually painting at the moment. I’m trying to avoid putting any pressure on myself, and just want to play. I think with everything that’s going on globally it’s important to take this time to take a step back, to enjoy painting for the reasons I started painting in the first place. It’s my form of therapy.

I am finding this time of isolation and calm is also a good time to read and research other inspirational artists. I have been reading my usual favourites – Norman Ackroyd’s ‘A Shetland notebook’ & ‘A Hebridean Notebook’, along with spending time on Pinterest & Instagram, gaining inspiration from other artists studios and speaking to other artists across the platform. It helps to know that none of us are alone!

Stay safe & Keep Smiling!

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