Lockdown pictures, 2020


Lockdown can have some  fringe benefits (time) - here are my lockdown pictures, which I hope you enjoy!


I wasn’t planning to make explicitly lockdown-related work: indeed, considering the dark times, most of them seem surprisingly joyous. But then Matisse was an invalid in constant pain when he created his gorgeous late cut-outs, so maybe that can come from adversity. To misquote Leonard Cohen misquoting: despite the grim world outside, “cheerfulness keeps breaking through.”




 Lockdown has been grim and weird, but can have fringe benefits – such as quiet time.


I didn’t have a project to make lockdown-related work, but many of them have unplanned metaphorical links. Funny thing, the human mind. Considering the dark times, many seem surprisingly joyous. To misquote Leonard Cohen misquoting: despite the tough world outside, “cheerfulness keeps breaking through”.

Lockdown Picture 1 was conceived some time ago, but I got the urge to actually make it almost immediately after lockdown began. It is, obviously, about the errant stripe escaping from its orderly universe and going for a very unpredictable wander, revealing a red base underlying the green world.

Lockdown Picture 2 could be seen as a colour doodle, although that would disguise the hours it involved. Cheerfulness definitely broke through here. 

Lockdown Picture 3 again explores the idea of breaking up an orderly world of harmonious colour to reveal something very different. 

Lockdown Picture 4: I saw these cacti overwintering in a local greenhouse maybe 5 years ago, and loved all those outlandish shapes packed together as well as the compositional qualities of the reds and greens and all those different curves. Again, the urge to actually do something about them came on soon after lockdown began and I tackled them in oil. While this was not deliberate, they make a perfect metaphor for lockdown: prickly, scratchy, sometimes furry forms, some beautiful and some decidedly not, huddled together in unnatural conditions for an indeterminate period. 

Lockdown Picture 5 is, unfashionably, about trying to create very simple beauty, ecstatic yet restrained. Cheerfulness forced itself to the fore, again!

Lockdown Picture 6 is another cut-out playing with bands of colour, conceived while working on Picture 3. 

Lockdown Picture 7 takes the wandering colour of Picture 5 to extreme lengths, and was alarmingly pleasurable to make. This may look like where I lost it, but this is a very process-driven piece, needing a lot of planning and care. I fear it looks a bit like a 1970s prog rock album cover. 

Lockdown Picture 8: I began this small oil painting of slanting evening summer light hitting the wall of our local church it a couple of years ago, and it elbowed its way to the front of the queue. Its unusual composition, with very little happening in the middle of the picture, was a big part of the point of it.

Lockdown Picture 9: this drawing is the only one of these pictures which was explicitly “about” lockdown. 

Locddown Picture 10: an oil painting taking no 9 further.



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To full June 2020 Exhibition