Creative lockdown

We have all had such different experiences during lockdown. It would be interesting to compare how this has affected our creativity. I don’t know about you, but initially it seemed to suppress my freedom of expression and motivation and I had a real ‘block’. All that extra time and freedom to concentrate on painting and I couldn’t produce anything! Almost in desperation I joined a free online course suggested in Update – Louise Fletcher, ‘Find your Joy’ – and the very simple exercises she suggested bounced me right back to the way I love to work. (More about this course in the next issue of Update.)

I would say my way of working is based on feelings, memories and emotions conjured up by my experiences and surroundings. If you’ve seen my paintings you will know that more often than not they are heavily influenced by my garden or by our wonderful Norfolk coastline. I focus on the process. This can lead me towards unexpected results, which I don’t always expect to like!

So, even more than usual I have found myself considering and doing all of the following:

Using all those materials I’ve been storing away since I did this or that course a few years ago. Don’t hoard it, but be generous and expansive and splash it about!

Limiting the palette (which I always tend to do), but using colours I wouldn’t normally choose. Again, often left over from sets of paint given as a gift or as part of a course. I’m sure we’ve all got lots of unused colours.

I’ve run out of canvases, so have been using anything to hand – old bits of board in the shed, printer paper etc. It’s been good to work on a different scale and not worrying about what it all costs is very liberating. I’ve rediscovered old half empty sketchbooks and enjoyed filling the pages with experiments and notes, using different tools and media.

As I used to say to students when I was teaching, ‘you can’t get it wrong’, even if you don’t always like the results. Be prepared to fail, as this means you are taking risks and are more likely to be open to new ideas. But most of all enjoy yourself!

Lesley Williams