“I have had all these items for years and never painted them but being shut up in the house by the lockdown offered oceans of time in which to paint subjects for which I had never had the time or space in a normal busy life.”Sue Lees
Sue’s Lockdown Project
‘I am presenting two paintings, Vintage Treasures 1, and Magnus. The Vintage Treasures painting is one of several I did of some of my collection of inherited and acquired antique china and pretty things. I have had all these items for years and never painted them but being shut up in the house by the lockdown offered oceans of time in which to paint subjects for which I had never had the time or space in a normal busy life. Sitting at the easel focussing on these familiar objects and trying to make them sing was also a welcome relief from the multitudinous worries I had about members of my family, and general sadness about loss of physical contact with family and friends.
Magnus is our cat, and because cats are difficult to draw and paint, at least I find them so, over the years I have done only a handful of sketches of our series of beloved cats. Again, the lockdown offered a good moment to immortalised our beautiful Magnus.’
How has lockdown made you feel? Has it impacted your mental health and wellbeing?
‘Dreadful. However, my mental health and wellbeing has held up. At particularly dreary moments I have made myself a cup of cheering lemon balm tea.’
Has your creative project helped you to improve your mental health and wellbeing, both in general and during the pandemic? If so, how?
‘I paint regularly anyway. However, I think that any creative activity would make anyone’s mental health and wellbeing better. It is deeply empowering, and is in total contrast to consuming activities such as shopping which use up hard earned resources as well as offering no sense of achievement, and also is an antidote to a dreary job.’
In what ways has the Covid-19 lockdown influenced your creativity or changed how you use art?
‘It has stopped my plein air painting (apart from in my garden). It has offered the time to go back to previous work and take up neglected projects. That has been quite interesting, and I am glad to have done it, but the drifting on from day to day which is how I have dealt with the shutdown of my external life is not something I want to continue for much longer. The Highgate Watercolour Group (and one or two other art groups I am connected with) have provided a helpful framework by asking for a weekly painting usually to a particular theme, and assorted electronic media have helped us to keep in touch. That has all been good.’
Text and images © Sue Lees