Keeping Creative in Tough Times

Hi there

I don't need to tell you how tough it has been, and still is, in The Lockdown. This coronavirus pandemic has everyone on edge and everyone feeling uncertain about the future. My household is fairly calm but there is an underlying anxiety - like a rain cloud...

As an artist I work from home and mostly alone too, so from that aspect it's not that unusual for me to be at home a lot. But I usually get out to teach classes and workshops regularly, as well as work with other artists. I am really missing the contact of other people through these activities. Sadly one of my artist pals caught the disease and died from Covid19 just a few weeks ago. We used to paint together once a week and have done for many years. Apart from the grief I feel at losing a special friend, there will be a huge hole in my routine in life after lockdown.


Also, like all other artists and makers, all the summer exhibitions and shows have been cancelled. Some have been postponed, and some cancelled altogether. This of course leaves a huge gap for the summer where nothing is happening and no income. I am fortunate that I have a husband who is still working (from home) so we are not in dire straits. However, the motivation to keep making art has seriously dipped for me. Usually at this time I would be planning and painting towards certain events.


So I have had to sit down and think long and hard about how I can adjust to these new climes. It goes without saying that this new way of life may well be with us for some time to come, and we must adapt to survive. I'll share how I did this in the hope that it will inspire others.



I asked myself a set of three important questions and wrote down the answers.

Q1. What do I enjoy about my work?

Q2. How do I usually carry this work out?

Q3. How can I do this in Lockdown?


Here are the answers I wrote to those questions:

1. I love painting and crafting and writing. I love to do this in a way that inspires others. I also really enjoy planning and executing projects.


2. I usually do this by planning a series of paintings for a particular exhibition and getting them ready to send or deliver them in time. I also teach regular lessons and workshops in art and crafts. I write through blogs and books.


3. I need to carry on with the things I love doing, stay visible online through social media and my website, and think of ways to inspire others, and to earn money if I can.


By working through these questions I got inspired and threw myself into some research and activity and I managed to achieve the following:


- Take part in an online exhibition from 20th April (and ongoing) with The Blue Tree Gallery, York in their NHS Charity Appeal.

- Sit and make concertina artist books from scratch and start to fill them with themed line and wash illustrations that are related to my latest theme of artworks featuring wildlife. I made these with the intention of offering them as affordable collectables.



- Plans for a series of 60-90 sec videos featuring problem solving and inspirational art tips and techniques to share on social media over the coming weeks.

- Continue my acrylic painting series of 'The Heartbeats Underground' and it's spin offs.


- Promotion of seasonal paintings each week on social media using the tag #throwbackthursday

- And most of all I have committed to approaching each work day as if I was going somewhere (i.e. don't wear pyjamas!) and to do something positive and productive. If my motivation is really lacking, then to focus on household activities like washing, tidying up and baking. (My husband loves these rock cakes from the Cranks recipe book).

Of course I have up and down days because I am not only grieving for a normal life, but also for my artist pal. I will miss her, but I know she would want me to get on with life and keep doing stuff that I love.


Stay safe my friends, and if you can, keep creative. x





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