From Isolation to Creation:
Artists Respond to a Changing World
Time during lockdown was a surreal experience for me. For many these times were immensely difficult, while for others it was a time for making the most of the lack of routine and stress caused by early mornings and time run by the clock. Those in the NHS and keyworkers worked through it all and saw up close the effects of the pandemic and the tragic loss of life.
As lockdown began to be lifted, slowly, we began venturing out and areas of natural beauty were filled with people in an almost desperate attempt to get out of their homes, especially of those in the cities, and feel nature around them. Beaches were packed (according to the media, but that’s another story) and places not far from Hereford, such as the Brecon Beacons, were brimming with people and parked cars filled the roadside. I became desperate myself to get to the seaside, somewhere I love to visit, but didn’t fancy the crowds! Ending up at a campsite I found the freedom I craved at a beach not far from the site and thus my featured painting ‘Seascape’ evolved. For me, it conjures up a feeling of space and freedom that many had missed during lockdown.
In my painting ‘Loss’ I tried to convey a sense of losing someone close to you. The idea for the painting came from a very well-known song called Danny Boy (or Londonderry Air). The words from the second verse were particularly poignant to me and this was where the idea for this painting came from. It is actually based on the Spanish Flu in the year 1918, at the time when the First World War came to an end. If you can imagine the soldier at the grave who has returned from war only to find his loved one has died of the Flu and how he was not able to be there with them when they passed away; a similar situation when I think of the people who died of Coronavirus unable to be surrounded or visited by those that loved them due to how contagious this disease is. In the painting the grave is in the last rays of sunlight as the sun sets and Autumn is setting in.
My painting titled Eruption is based on the thunderstorms that came through Herefordshire during a couple of evenings at the beginning of August. These were fascinating to watch, especially as much of the lightning was within the clouds. The colour too was very unusual. I called it Eruption as this was how I imagined many people must have felt, trapped in their homes during lockdown, desperate to get out.
Throughout lockdown I’ve been lucky enough to be able to continue teaching piano to beginners online, though at a reduced scale to what it was before. The world of Zoom has now become an integral part of my teaching, and music itself has helped me through the ups and downs of life during lockdown (that and Prosecco). Music has always been a huge part of my life and in the future I plan to create more art that has been influenced by it. The background to this text is part of a piece I have been playing through lockdown from Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata. It’s a very dramatic piece of music, much like the whole Covid Pandemic.
The words from the second verse of Danny Boy are:
“And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
and I am dead, as dead I well may be;
you’ll come and find the place where I am lying
and kneel and say an ‘Ave’ there for me.
And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me,
and all my dreams will warmer, sweeter be,
for you will bend and tell me that you love me
and I shall sleep in peace until you come to me.”
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