Sunday, 3 May 2020

lockdown life

Springtime in suburbia..... I once made a book about it.

Endless days of sunshine in April.

Unusual. Enjoyable. Surreal.

For last time we had weather like this in April I was studyimg at Central St Martins for a PG cert in photography.

This time I am locked down. Day after day. Week after week.

My other half (OH) and I confined to quarters, together in a way that we have not been together for many years.

Normally OH is travelling for work, and I am travelling for photography or to visit family in Canada, or both.

I am not going to go into details of the pandemic..... you know about that.

I am going to share some good things that have come out of this time instead.

Firstly, we have gone mad in the garden. Ripping up lawn to plant vegetables.

Digging for sanity.

The kitchen floor a mass of dodgy looking seedlings.

Secondly, OH has tidied 20 years worth of papers from his study.

You have no idea how happy that makes me.

OH has also become bread maker and soup maker extraordinaire. When I enquired of his plans for today he advised that he was going to be 'very busy'. He has bread and soup to make, and dinner to cook.

I will have to amuse myself writing, and watching my seedlings grow.

messages in the woods

The house is a lot cleaner than it ever has been.  The only items in my once busy diary are a daily instruction for which room to clean today ( somehow I can only make myself do housework if it is in my diary).

Later today my phone will beep to remind me to put the garden waste bin out for collection. Who would have dreamed that we could all be so excited by a waste and recycling collection. Some of our neighbours have had boxes out for days......

Secrets of a lockdown life revealed.....


There are no secrets when the recycling doesn't get collected.

And duck for a dog?

Then there is the simple pleasure of  'drying socks on the garden table'..... so much time saved by just throwing them all down in the sunshine.

It would be fair to say that we have had our moments.....

but we have overcome these with vigorous amounts of walking and cycling. OH disappears off on his bicycle while I walk to the woods, or dance in my front room gymnasium.

Youtube exercise videos have kept me sane. My favourite is a short burst of total exhaustion with Train like a ballerina.

Here is my gymn.

But what of creativity I hear you ask.

It has been a time of feeling unsettled and that has impacted on my making.

So I have been incredibly grateful to join a zoom painting class with Nick Archer of @artclassesinrye

I find it a welcome distraction and a way to connect with friends at Rye Creative Centre.

I have never painted with acrylics, and it is a love / hate relationship, but I have so enjoyed learning about colour, how to mix colours, and the discipline of not being satisfied with a colour that isn't right.

I started painting a piece of white paper on a white background.

It turns out to be all about greys and shadows, and I got so frustrated with it in the end that I painted it all over in black with a view to starting again.

I have rediscovered how much I hate getting charcoal all over everything, and how it is hard to know when 'enough is enough'. 

Next week we are looking at mark making. A chance to go a bit wild....

After watching the Royal Academy film "Painting the modern garden; Monet to Matisse" I am raring to go.

This documentary is an absolute delight, and I now see the pond in my local woods as akin to Monet's waterlily garden; a bit of an obsession. Monet became obsessed with the reflections in the water, just as I do.

pavement selfie

Every day I walk, and mostly I go to the woods.

There have been some lovely surprises...

another good thing that has come from this time.

When the sun shines, the spring leaves are vibrant and fresh.

the stream

But to capture the wild garlic requires softer light.

wild garlic, hawkwood

And the highlight of this week has been the rain; so welcome after all those endless dry sunny days. 

The woodland refreshed, and watery ripples on the pond.

rain drops on the pond

pond reflections


 So we have settled into a fairly content routine.

And I am beginning to be able to get back my creative mojo.

Here is one from the pond, inspired by Monet.

Rain dance 7 © Caroline Fraser 2020

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