Isolation Painting

I’ve just counted up and found that we’ve been self isolating for an incredible 38 days so far. I haven’t even set foot off our property in all that time – fortunately we have a garden which is a life saver. I don’t want to understate the desperate circumstances many people find themselves in and I have sympathy for everyone without any outside space, especially since our weather has been so glorious recently. I do hope that you are well and keeping safe! Despite the restrictions, and of course thanks to technology, Laura and I have been able to carry on working but I’ve found I do have extra time to try and finish up some projects that have been abandoned for far too long. You know how it is, you start with good intentions and then other stuff gets in the way! Now seems the perfect time to find something positive when the news is so dire all around the world.

I can barely remember when I started this double portrait it was such a long time ago. It’s the biggest painting I’ve ever worked on and that in itself is daunting. Like most people I find excuses not to tackle any challenge that’s too scary – this is one such. It’s always easier to find some more mindless activity isn’t it? I’m working in the conservatory because the canvas and the easel are too big for my workroom. It’s really hot today and the paint is drying almost as soon as it hits the canvas.

I’m laying down blocks of the main colours first and will let that dry before adding more detail and modelling. I’ve cropped this image because the background is really wishy washy and blank right now. My intention is to introduce several objects of personal significance. The painting is inspired by the Arnolfini Portrait by Van Eyck – the original features lots of symbolic items. My painting will not copy what he included but will reflect the same spirit. The mirror had to be there as I have quite a collection of convex mirrors! And of course there had to be at least one guitar – I’m pretty sure there might be more or maybe a ukulele or a banjo or two! Van Eyck had a little pet dog at the feet of his mistress but we’ve never owned dogs so I may substitute one of our cats. He also had a bowl of exotic oranges to show how wealthy his characters were in 15th century Brugge. I might be able to run to a bowl of fruit if we can ever get an online grocery delivery!

I find it’s always useful to photograph work in progress because a photograph shows up all the mistakes you don’t notice when you are focussing on just a part of a painting. Just look at the proportions of that figure on the right. I know I’m almost as wide as I am high but I need to lengthen those legs right away! Good job acrylic paint is opaque!

I really hope that you are all well, keeping safe and able to make creative use of your isolation time at home. It’s important for your mental health to be occupied and all the better if, like me, you can face a challenge that’s been too scary up till now!

Thanks for reading today and I’ll be back with more of our news soon. Meanwhile, if you haven’t visited already, please take a look in the Creative Kids section of our website to see how Laura and Amelie are enjoying a  really fun activity making Faces during home schooling. I think even grown ups will love it!


Bye for now – Linda x