Currently I am painting a triptych on yoga mats titled
'Holding Onto the Light' for 'Illuminate an art exhibition organised by Air
Arts at Royal Derby Hospital. I am painting positive imagery which helped me
through lock down sampled from my sketchbook filled during this period. I am
enjoying the challenge of painting on the yoga mat surface which has the
texture of a sweetcorn. Black yoga mats were selected as I wished to play
with light & dark to convey the emotional turmoil of the start of Covid 19
pandemic. I chose to paint on yoga mats instead of my usual canvases
because daily yoga sessions helped to keep me strong during this period. Unusually
I mainly turned to drawing, unable to focus on creating large paintings as like
everyone I was filled with fears for my family, friends & the communities I
The spring seemed so intense this year perhaps this was because we were forced to be still & had more time to enjoy it. I was delighted to see people enjoying the beauty of the season on their daily walks or spending time to love their gardens but my thoughts kept going to those who were not so fortunate to have access to the outdoors & who were shielding.
Using my sketches
& photos I initially made collages on mini yoga mats, mock ups of the planned
triptych before starting to paint the mats. The central panel is a pond in our
garden, the most peaceful place where we can sit quietly, feel at one with
nature & enjoy the present moment. It is a special place where lotus
flowers grow, koi swim, dragonflies are abundant & moorhens have joined us for
the first time this year to rear their chicks. This panel is painted of the
view from my studio window with special treasures which give me joy on my window
sill; a bowl of stones, an orchid and a butterfly gifted by Emrys a Creative
Living student who sadly passed away last year.
The NHS logo takes pride of place at the top of the third panel, we were all filled with love & gratitude for the people who care for us, it was heart warming to see NHS symbols posted on homes & buildings. It was moving to be part of the weekly clap for carers during a break from my Ignite UK Chorus rehearsal on Zoom (alone on my doorstep startling the rabbits, birds & squirrels!) The large Rainbow frames other imagery of this time, it became the symbol of hope connecting everyone. From the rainbow falls 22,000 tears one for every life lost up the the 27th Apri, l the day I filled the page of my sketchbook with tears; It’s shocking to think how many more lives have been lost since then. Behind the rainbow blooms the lilac which was glorious this year, it’s scent intense & heady. Whilst painting the rainbow I turned to painter Joseph Wright & his’ Landscape with a Rainbow’. He is a renowned Derby artist born in 1734 famed as a “painter of light”. I was interested to learn his techniques explored the chiaroscuro effect used by painting masters which emphasises the contrast of light & dark, something I am exploring in this work albeit on a rather different surface!
Whilst painting this I was reading a book about Dame Laura Knight by Barbara Morden, Laura was a widely know artist from Nottingham whom I believe was a friend of my grandmother Violet, also an artist & trained at Nottingham school of art; I was moved by a quote from Laura in the book which gave me hope:
‘A rainbow shone into our backyard yesterday….I am truly thankful that I have known joy & despair. Without darkness how can we appreciate the light?’
At the centre of the third panel sits a heron upon the bridge. He was found submerged in the pond, dull, grey & neglected so I amused myself one afternoon & painted him with flamingo hues & a golden beak! I’ve painted food drop offs to my Mum which were intensely emotional & the day I filmed her singing happy birthday to my Dad. I’ve included video calls to him, the only way to stay connected & my heart still aches as we still have not been allowed to see him 6 months on! I have also included imagery from the outside including the ‘Hope is Strong’ window created by Caroline after my first online FB Live painting workshops for Artcore. The postman & the rhododendrons are painted at the bottom right & the huge peonys bottom left.I have now commenced the first panel which I will share soon.