What a very strange time this is for the whole world - my thoughts go round and around it, to the places and people who are badly affected and suffering from Covid-19, to the places, including this country and continent where the full effects are still to be felt and dealt with - we really are all in it together. Our government, thankfully has taken early (crossing fingers) and decisive action to restrict the spread of the virus, with more to come. So we, like you more than likely, are staying at home as much as possible and finding ways to cope and keep in touch. I read a nicer way to think of this new situation, as 'Physical distancing, Social interaction', which is my experience of the online art and sketching groups and support systems that have sprung up to encourage each other. The Urban Sketchers with their #uskathome #outthewindow #SketchwithHongKong and other hashtags - prompting my sketch from the sitting room - my under-used car and the pavement ash tree and its autumn leaves which overhangs our wall.
My local Whatsapp friends studio group is posting a challenge a week - last week was self portraits (it's hard to find a willing model when you're isolating!) I find doing them initially excruciating but of course you get caught up in the process and forget your appalled self-criticisms, and capturing the folds and wrinkles becomes an objective exercise. I think I've actually made myself look younger in this one, and more highly coloured, I'm pretty pale IRL!
After that intense effort I made a series of blind contour drawings, with water-soluble wax crayons - not looking at the paper until finished (well, a peep or two to find my place) and added a bit more colour and a watery brush afterwards. They're all a bit frightening, but it's fascinating to notice resemblances to family members here and there, and for some reason I find them more interesting than my conventional attempt. Bottom right reminds me of the work of Del Kathryn Barton..?
This week's challenge is 'Elevating a humble object' if you feel like joining in, let me know in the comments or tag your work with #artinthetimeofcoronavirus on Instagram.
Please take care of yourselves and others - stay at home and stay safe.