It was January 1, 2021 and it was still ‘Lockdown’. It’d been a long time, need I say more?
For those that had spent it tucked up on a far-flung Pacific Island or super-yacht, fine. But here in the UK – one of those hard names for me now, better just say ‘this island just separated from the EU’, I am European! – at the time, lockdown seemed to have no end.
By that stage, we’d been in lockdown, as I recall it for myself, from March 10, 2020. I’d just returned from Warsaw, which was already counting Covid-19 numbers and thinking social-distancing; the POLIN music festival, a popular event at the end of February in great festival halls, this time half empty. Upon my return to the UK, I quickly made my preparations for strict observance of social-distancing, putting up a Bell Tent, building a Compost Toilet, and feeling the artificial distance now made between family and friends. All told, I survived quite well thank you. I live in a beautiful neck of the woods. My youngest moved back in with me and we are good company for each other, but still. That artificial distance – you there, me here, don’t touch, kiss, hug or tickle, let alone shout, sing, cough or sneeze.
Back at the start of Lockdown, there were many things to keep me occupied and sane. But when January 1, 2021 rolled in, I hadn’t done any new work in the studio. The studio had spent a bit of time as the makeshift 2-week isolation quarter for visitors, and later as a tool and wood storage as supplies ran in for projects planned. I hadn’t really been making in my studio for a long time and I was beginning to feel twitchy!
I made myself an artistic challenge: a Lockdown Doodle a Day!
Okay, it worked out more like every 2, 3, 4 days but… I had a gorgeous sketch book made by a friend, with stunning paper, heavy-weight rag, great for rough work, watercolours, perfect hand size, 130 x 160. I had my favourite black pens and I jumped in.
No expectations, no critiques, no theme to follow, just let the marks lead. It became a form of meditation really. It was so relaxing and fun to see the Doodles evolve. A perfect way to re-engage with my artwork, after a fair break from it, and when the rest of the world seemed to be on pause. Looking through my book now, some months later, I’ve had the urge to relook at old favourites in Art and in particular, First Nation and Inuit artists; names like Kenojuak Ashevak, Alex Janvier, and also Paul Klee. Of course, Klee is not an indigenous Canadian artist but, in my eyes, he and in particular Janvier share commonalities.
It’s now August 2021. Lockdown is easing and the Doodle book is full, so here goes, a sequence of some of them. The series includes 3 developed into ‘Postcards from Life’, an on-line auction in aid of St Michael’s Hospice here in Herefordshire this Autumn.
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