Creativity in a crisis

I logged in today with the aim of doing a blog update and realised that I haven’t posted since early April. I feel like I have been in a sort of stasis for the last few months and I know I’m not alone in that.

When lockdown happened back in March, I had a very busy year planned, workshops and exhibitions, open studios and several local events. But none of them happened. However, I had poured so much creative energy into the preparation, painting, planning, website design, working with my friend Aileen on leaflets and diaries, sourcing materials and promoting it all. Then when all at once everything stopped, dead, with such little warning, all of our plans stopped too.

At the beginning I really did try to carry on as normal. I did a couple of paintings, regularly updated my social media, read blogs, did short courses and tried to sketch every day, but then I just…didn’t do anything art wise, for weeks and weeks

I am really lucky, I know that. I have a slightly shabby, quirky but comfortable roof over my head and, although my income took a considerable hit, I’ve been okay. I have a garden, I live in a beautiful place and the weather has been mostly pretty good. I am not a key worker. I haven’t had to juggle work and family, my children are all grown up. I have a fantastic local shop, (a big shout out to Emma, Hector and their wonderful staff) which has delivered our food and a great community which has watched out for us all

snapshots of the garden

Maybe that’s why I felt I had no reason to complain, no right to feel down or sad, when so many people are so much worse off than me. Yet there have been times when I have cried, been listless and felt as if I had no energy at all and certainly none for art.

I don’t think I was blocked. That’s happened to me before and this, this ennoi, feels nothing like that experience. Instead it has been like a time out of time. I’m sure that a lot of people who are much better writers than me will describe their experiences far more eloquently than I have here, but I wanted to share my thoughts and feelings, now that I’ve realised how long it’s been since I posted last.

Many of us have found our world changed beyond all recognition whilst some have experienced minimal changes, each one of us unique and yet so similar in many ways. Things we took for granted disappeared, almost over night and maybe, just maybe, nothing will be the same as it was. I make no value judgements about that, because no-one yet knows what those differences will be. Some people will undoubtably suffer, the world economy has taken a huge hit, but maybe some good will come of this, I do hope so. How this will affect artists we have yet to find out. In time perhaps we will find that fewer people will buy art, but maybe we will need art and beauty and kindness more than ever.

I have spent a lot of time over the last few months in my garden, as can be seen by my photos on social media and here on my website. Many of us might have been in stasis, Nature was not. I think that much of my creativity has been focussed in my garden. In growing and tending young plants, sowing seed, watering and weeding. Being in a garden can be so meditative. I know that at times I have just popped out for an hour to find that I have somehow lost several hours just being outside. I have had to focus inwards more than I have done for a long while. I think that this close focus is beginning to emerge in my art.

Recently I’ve been back in the studio again and drawing and sketching outside too (see the sketches below). Looking more closely at how things grow, at the way they change and develop and trying to capture the intricacy of petal and leaf structure, colour and stem.

Things might be beginning to open up again now too. I do have some possible things coming up soon, so maybe more about that in the next wee while, but I’m trying to take things more carefully, to not do too much and find myself overwhelmed. Stopping the world for a while has left a lot of arty things unresolved for me personally and I don’t know where I am going with this yet. It’s a work in progress.

As I’ve had a little more time on my hands, I’ve also decided (at long last) to set up an email list as I’ve had a few people ask. So if you’re interested in getting more frequent updates from me and the occasional wee treat or special offer then you can contact me here

This post has been far more wordy than anything I would normally write, but I might even manage another post in a day or two. Meanwhile, be safe, look after yourselves and I do hope that my art helps to make your day a little brighter.

4 thoughts on “Creativity in a crisis

    1. Hee! Thank you, Jean. I’m so glad you still love the Five Sisters. I had totally forgotten about the pot, It’s good to hear you still enjoy having. Thanks too for your feedback on the sketches, iI really appreciate knowing that they give pleasure xx

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    1. Thanks Suzanne. The random crying sounds familiar too. I think one of the hardest things was the loss of autonomy. Knowing that I couldn’t go to my mum’s if she was having problems and were unable to bring Max or Immy home was hard. I’ve been enjoying your compostitions and your gardening pics x

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