Sunday, 29 March 2020

The Pattern of my Days

I hope you are all staying safe, well and busy. Our days have taken on a new slower rhythm as we try to keep some structure in our lives whilst observing the lock down. Stewart still has work delivering groceries so is now deemed a "key worker" and much of his other work has always been done on line so not much has changed to his daily routine. Of course, it is a worry that he is going out to work and potentially at risk of being exposed to the virus but we are being as careful as we can under the circumstances. For me, suddenly being without any work and not knowing when it will resume has meant creating a new pattern to my days. I continue to get up at much the same time as usual and take the dog for a long walk. I come home and we then have breakfast together. The heat then gets put on in my studio and I might catch up with emails or maybe watch an art video or two in the house while it warms up. The day is spent in my studio, with breaks to make lunch, make a daily phone call to my Mum and calling or sending a message to other friends and family. More than ever it seems important that we all stay connected.

Studio activity varies depending on what I feel like doing, although I've not felt very much like making big paintings this week. The windows in our village are being filled with rainbows, an idea so that children could play a game of "Rainbow I-spy" whilst out walking, although I suspect a lot of adults are playing too... I know I am and feel disproportionally excited when I spot a new one! So I started the week by painting a rainbow for our hall window. I then decided it would be fun to have a more permanent rainbow to hang up and so made another from mosaic. Are there rainbows in windows where you live?

Although I haven't felt much like making large paintings I want to make some sort of art every day and sketchbooks seem an ideal way of doing this. I have been taking part in Karen Abend's Sketchbook Revival this week (still not too late to join in) which has prompted me into making an art journal. I've started these before but I've never progressed much beyond the first couple of pages. I thought it would be a good way to document our days at home during the pandemic though and with not a lot else to do I might stick with it this time. These are just some random pages from this week.

Important to remember to keep smiling I think...

It is hard to believe we have only been in lock down since last Monday evening... it feels like so much longer. I guess that's because so much has changed in such a short space of time.

Laugh whenever you can... it's the best tonic to keep your spirits up!

We have been lucky that the weather has been so good the past week and on my morning walk one day I was struck by the fact that there were so many birds singing. Nature carries on regardless and it's a joy to see so many signs of spring.

A reminder to myself to make art every day...

... and to keep in touch with our family and friends. We have a family WhatsApp group and there were all sorts of puzzles being sent yesterday between our adult children. It's hard not being able to spend time with them though especially our new grandson who is already a month old.

As well as daily sketchbook work I have also been making some short videos with a view to eventually teaching online. If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you may have seen some of these already but this week I uploaded my first ever YouTube video which you can find here:

I made it specifically for one of my classes that was due to meet last Saturday as this was one of the things we were going to be doing, and I know some of the class aren't on Facebook etc. It's ridiculous that I have happily been teaching classes to adults  face to face for twenty years but it felt so exposing and I felt so self conscious talking to camera. But I have gradually got braver and my next plan is for a step by step collection of short clips showing the progress of a painting... as a response to a request in a comment from Stitchinscience on my last post. Anything else you would like to see me teach? 

In the evenings I occasionally pick up my knitting but I have also been working on a rag rug for our hallway which I finished on Thursday... I can see a lot of projects getting finished in the coming weeks. I had no sooner put it on the floor to see what it looked like when Hector came over, gave it a sniff, circled a few times and then plonked himself down with total ownership. He approved of the rug that I obviously made for him!

But this is where it really belongs... in our hall where Hector doesn't go!

Last night we had a very special evening... we cracked open a bottle of wine... okay that's not that special and seems to be a regular occurrence ... we then had take away fish and chips delivered on our doorstep by our village pub. This was followed by a delicious homemade crumble and ice cream (even if I do say so myself) made with a gift of allotment rhubarb from one of our neighbours (also left on the doorstep). We then spent the evening on a zoom call with several neighbouring families taking part in a village quiz. It was a lovely evening, just as good as going out and makes us realise how lucky we are to be part of such a wonderful community.

So that's the pattern of my days, which of course may well change as the weeks go by. It's not always upbeat and happy and I have my moments of anxiety worrying about all the people getting sick and whether my family will be safe etc. just like everyone else, but I try to remind myself  that I can't control what's happening in the world, I can only control how I feel and act and it helps by limiting my exposure to the news (which I've realised actually makes me feel physically unwell with a racing heart and pressure in my chest). I feel it's good to know the facts but I don't need all the "what if" horror stories and factually incorrect rumours that are abounding.

How are your days and evenings? I really do hope you are all staying safe, well and busy xx


  1. a nice post to read thank you. Irene N Ireland

  2. What I can't deal with is the fake news - setting out to alarm people even more. The real news I get from the Guardian, in small slices.

  3. Totally agree re the news, I too have cut down my viewing, obviously we need to know whats going on but it really is too much at times.
    My little granddaughter made a rainbow for their window, not seeing our two little girls is the hardest part for us.

  4. Such a lovely post thank you. I haven't noticed many rainbows in my village but I don't walk right through it when I go for a walk, just past a few houses. We set back quite a way from the road so it would have to be a big rainbow in our window to be seen from the road! That could be an interesting project! I love that your village has arranged a quiz online that is such a great idea.

    I absolutely love your sketch book. I was thinking the other day that it would be good to record this time we find ourselves in some way, I haven't worked out how yet.....

    1. Thank you! I’m trying to look for the positives but some days it is hard. It helps being part of a lovely community though.

  5. Your art work is pretty and I like the messages, The Birds are still singing, Laugh often, etc. Be well.

  6. I love your scrapbook and your beautiful mosaic heart. Our little granddaughter painted a rainbow and then posted it to us. It's now in the little window next to our front door.
    Well done on the You Tube video. Though these are very difficult times, I think we might all find new talents or avenues of doing things when this all passes x

    1. Thank you Annie. That’s lovely to have a rainbow in your window made by your granddaughter. Stay safe x


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