Today I've renamed the blog - "Lockdown Blog" as I realise that I am feeling locked down. I know it's not good to dwell on such feelings and love to say things like "count your blessings", "aren't we lucky to live by the sea", "isn't it great that we managed to get a new dog before the third lockdown" and I do think all of these things but 'free birds' don't like feeling as if they don't have a choice.
The painting today is "Two boots", chosen for two reasons, firstly you'll notice that she's wearing odd boots - apt for how I feel. The second reason, for which I'm very grateful is it's part of a three man exhibition at the Wykeham Gallery which starts this week. I'm delighted to have been asked to participate in this show and although it's mainly online, apart from if you are able to see the window of the Gallery in Stockbridge, it's keeping things going and giving a purpose. This is wonderful, Gerald who owns and runs the Gallery is so good at this. He contacted me six years ago to ask me to exhibit at his Gallery. I was delighted, especially as he'd seen my work at the Hackwood Art Festival a few years before and made a note of it for the future. This reminded me that you never know what might come from things, even when there seems to be little going on at the time. This is never the case - so I ought to listen to this story and although I feel hemmed in, inevitably there will subtle things going on in the background and in the mean time I need to count my blessings.
Wishing you all a happy day.
Yesterday was the day that's known as greyest day of the year. By the afternoon I was feeling very drab & dull and felt reassured that it was unlikely that I would be the only person experiencing this. When we went walking I noticed so many greys in the landscape - that was a real treat as there is fantastic variety in the sky, sea and distant landscape. These colours have appeared in all their subtlety, in my latest paintings, l absorb it all as I walk outside and also when stare out of the studio window.
The painting shown today has taken many weeks to complete. It has gone through many stages of darkness where it was overpowered by heavy colours. Every time I looked at it I felt irritated, especially as I seemed unable to convey the message I had in my heart. Then I became extremely impatient and so the endless circle of disappointment continued. I had a lot of admin to do last week (not my favourite job) and there wasn't enough time to be calm in the studio. Feeling rushed brings out the worst in me.
The little dog Edie continues to lighten up the time, even when she nips a hole in a cashmere jumper or plods the entire contents of her water bowl all around the kitchen. The cat is generally very patient with her but already knows how to wind her up when she feels like a bit of sport. Edie is here in this painting showing us the joy.
I have decided not to call the blog Lockdown 3, Isolation Artist, Lockdown 2021 or any other such depressing titles. I have been thinking about starting the blog again for the past week and couldn't focus my thoughts until today. A message I sent my friend this morning said that already every day had merged into one, just like a large grey fog. Then I realised that this was reflected in my paintings and I have been finding it extremely difficult to give the work any structure. As soon as the penny dropped I could begin to remedy it. There was the same problem with the blog, as I found my mind jumping from one thing to another and unable to decide what to write about.
As I was painting this morning I was listening to a Band called Clean Cut Kid and their upbeat song Vitamin C -
"The sun don't rise like it's supposed to ....
I'm going to be your vitamin C, build you up like you used to be..."
So today's title is Vitamin C because I had to decide on something and it seemed very apt as I listened to the lyrics. This is how it feels at the moment -
"the sun don't rise like it's supposed to" and most of us are unsettled once again. For some it's a lot worse than others and listened to several depressed and disillusioned NHS workers on radio 4 this morning which brings the sorry side of the story well and truly home.
However, I remember writing the blog last summer and receiving many messages from people thanking me and saying they looked forward to reading it each day. So there won't be many too many sorry stories as the purpose of this is to tell some inspiring or funny stories. A lot has happened in my life since I last wrote here and much of it has been very painful and difficult but things don't stay like that forever. I have found myself having to constantly readapt and when the lockdown was announced I thought, "Ah yes, lets get a routine Julie, that's just what you need..."
Well things aren't that simple and it's quite cruel to inflict a rigid routine on someone like me so instead I've written out a list of things I could do during my day, which includes:
yoga, walk or gardening (exercise)
painting or blog (mainly enjoyable work)
writing magazine articles (grounding)
cooking (depends on the mood)
reading (I have so many books - mainly about art)
keeping in touch with friends (I'm feeling sad not to be seeing them)
clearing out (I have too much stuff and love clearing out)
looking at clothes on the internet or in magazines (I love clothes)
cleaning, washing and admin (unbelievably mind blowing, boring and generally thankless activities)
playing around with our new puppy Edie (more about Edie another day)
having a fire (I absolutely love fires)
If I achieve anything that's good, the other day I achieved nothing much apart from wandering around in yoga trousers pretending that I might do yoga at some point in the day (that wasn't a great day...)