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  • Writer's pictureMelissa Gee

2020 - The Year that Barely Got Started

I’d had such high hopes for 2020. Having decided in September 2019 that I would launch my professional art career, the first lockdown in March 2020 was like a punch in the gut for my hopes and dreams.

At first, I’d thought (as possibly many of us did) that this lockdown would be a short, temporary lapse, but as the weeks went on and turned to months, it became clear that this was going to be a much longer ride than we’d all hoped. My time for painting was cut drastically as my two youngest children were now being home schooled and family commitments were eating heartily into my much loved studio time.

Still, I did manage to get some work in and my painting entitled ’Confined’ gained 7th place in the Light Space Time Gallery’s ‘Created in Isolation’ worldwide art competition. The painting depicts my seven year old son gazing longingly out of a window, football tucked under his arm, wondering when he would be allowed out to play with his friends again. This painting reflects how we were all feeling at that time - we all wanted to get out and spend time with our friends and loved ones again.

My next painting, ‘Prowl’ gained a Special Merit award in the same gallery’s ‘Animals’ painting competition and really spurred me on to keep painting. Even though there were no outdoor events going on, there was a whole virtual world at my fingertips.

In the meantime, summer was approaching and I had put my name down to be a part of a local artists’ festival in my neighbouring city of Lichfield. This was to be the first time I had done a live workshop demonstration and I was incredibly excited/nervous to be included in the event amongst some very well known and loved artists. Unfortunately, this was inevitably cancelled, as were all of the summer outdoor fairs and festivals which I could have been a part of as a way of getting my brand known locally.

And so, the year whizzed by in a blur. Come September, my boys were allowed back to school for the autumn term, during which time I painted as much as I could, honing my technique and developing my style. I discovered how to use colour more vividly (which it turns out I knew the theory already, just hadn’t figured out how to put it into practice!) and fell in love with my palette knife as a way of creating more texture and a sense of the abstract to my work. I began to explore using other materials in my work such as gold leaf, in an effort to push my boundaries and step outside of the box.

And so, in retrospect, although 2020 was in one way for me the year that never really got going, it was also the year in which I grew as an artist. It allowed me the time for introspection and experimentation so that I could take my art to the next level. They say every cloud has a silver lining. I think my clouds may be painted with a palette knife and lined with silver leaf.

How has the lockdown affected your art? Have you had more or less time to be creative? Has it stifled your creativity or given you wings to fly? As the cold January lingers on, I feel optimistic. Spring is coming - there are already primroses and snowdrops to be found and, who knows, perhaps 2021 will turn out to be the best year yet. I hope you stay safe and be creative.


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