'Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life' Pablo Picasso
ARTISTS LIKE EVERYONE ELSE are being affected in different ways by the Coronavirus lockdown. Some are fine, they are being more productive than ever, their creative drive has been given a boost. Freed from deadlines, from teaching commitments from day today time-consuming activities, they have more time to explore new ideas.
Others are finding it very difficult to get motivated. They may have had shows cancelled, commissions postponed, workshops scrapped, research trips abandoned. They are anxious about the future. When will galleries re-open? Will people have any money to spend on art?
There are artists who generally work in solitude but who are now having to share their time and space with partners and children. This can be a blessing or a curse.
A number of artists work in studio complexes which have been closed so they have been forced to work at home, with varying results. We know of one artist who is restricted in the hours she can paint because her studio is in the garden of her father’s home, the loo is in the house, currently strictly out of bounds as he is self isolating, so she can only paint for as long as her bladder allows!
For ourselves, life goes on much the same as ever although I have perhaps been spending too much time online. I caught myself recently about to expand a photograph in a magazine with pinched fingers!
Since we live at the gallery, our daily commute is no different. We are three miles from the nearest village so we are used to being on our own although we are missing our family and friends, artists and visitors. And we miss simple things like having a coffee in the local cafe.
As the crow flies, we are just 8 miles from the coast and on clear days we have tantalising glimpses of the sea as the ferries heading for the Northern Isles appear to float along the horizon. We have been obediently staying at home, unable to visit the cliffs which will now be alive with puffins, kittiwakes, guillemots and razorbills, the crags and grassy banks covered in sea pinks. But perhaps next week we may make a trip as restrictions cautiously begin to ease in Scotland.
We are grateful every day to have a large garden and to have the freedom to walk in the countryside around us where there are new sights every day. We have wonderful neighbours and we have something of a barter system going. We exchange rhubarb for eggs, we later receive rhubarb infused gin in return. I think we are getting the better of the bargain. But we’ll soon be giving them lettuce, tomatoes, new potatoes, peas, carrots… The greenhouse is full and the garden is thriving.
We are also grateful that we can enjoy a gallery full of wonderful art. We cannot share it physically but we are determined to share it as widely as we can, to continue to give artists an opportunity to show their work and to give art lovers an opportunity to appreciate it. Until we can re-open, we are promoting artists as energetically as we can online on our website and through social media.
Our virtual Summer Exhibition will be opening soon. News to follow. If you are not already on our emailing list, please do subscribe. Go to the Newsletter Sign Up. We’ll let you know when exhibitions are coming up or when we receive new work from artists. But we won’t clutter up your inbox. We are very restrained!
We hope you are all staying safe and well and we look forward to the time when we can meet in person again.