Art during lockdown in East Devon: creativity helps people through the coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 April 2020

Nature's Colour Palette by Sue Williams.   Picture: Sue Williams

Nature's Colour Palette by Sue Williams. Picture: Sue Williams

Sue Williams

‘Lockdown art’ is being produced in East Devon as artists use their creative work to help them through the Covid-19 crisis.

Natural Colour by Sue Williams.  Picture; Sue WilliamsNatural Colour by Sue Williams. Picture; Sue Williams

Members of the Otter Vale Art Society (OVAS) have told the Herald how their painting habits have changed during the coronavirus pandemic.

Sue Williams said: “After the announcement of lockdown, my heart sank. I’d been working hard getting my art ready for various shows and exhibitions I had entered for spring and early summer. Now all were to be cancelled.

“It wasn’t long however, before I began to see the benefits. My tiny studio was emptied out onto the garden in the sunshine. Old paintbrushes, dried up paints and discarded paintings were thrown away. After a day, the studio was clean and tidy.”

She then discovered an art group holding live streaming sessions online, and said she quickly became ‘hooked’.

White Peonies by Sue Williams.   Picture:  Sue WilliamsWhite Peonies by Sue Williams. Picture: Sue Williams

“My art skills are challenged to the maximum and I am enjoying experimenting with all aspects of the subject. I look forward to the sessions and never stop learning. The days fly by - no time to be bored or down. I now have discovered there are hundreds of art tuition sites on the internet at numerous skill levels.”

Jacqueline Ward is currently self-isolating, but is able to paint in her garden.

She said: “My project is to paint the flowers in season and make a calendar of the year, perhaps thinking it could be a subject for a Christmas card.

“Today though, I have painted the neighbours’ washing combined with my Bramley apple tree which the bees are enjoying.”

Painting by Fiona Gale   Picture:   Fiona GalePainting by Fiona Gale Picture: Fiona Gale

Fiona Gale said she had had been looking forward to going on beach and cliff walks with her husband this spring, and art is helping her cope with the frustration of those walks being on hold.

She said: “It has been good to use art to bring structure to my week, by setting a target of doing a painting a week and then sharing with family and friends.

“I have tended to paint places that we love - beaches , seascapes , cliffs etc, because for two to three days, as I am painting , I almost feel that I am there.

“It offers escapism and distraction in this weird world that we now live in.”

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