Julia Cassels – Artist in Lockdown

I heard from a great friend who is now a well know cartoonist for the national papers. His days start at dawn, with briefs of the latest headlines for him to interpret and encapsulate into marvelous style of understated irony by the print deadline of 2pm that day. “Julia,” he said, “I’ve been working in isolation for the last 30 years!”

Indeed, there are many artists who crave the isolation. To have the space and time to be uninterrupted whilst being creative is a wonderful luxury. It gives us the opportunity to explore, try out new ideas, develop and push our work to new boundaries. It is something that amongst our other commitments of juggling teaching, workshops and family we rarely ever manage to find the time for our “artistic selves”, not to mention the necessity of keeping ourselves financially afloat.

However, all of us have had this period of isolated lockdown thrust upon us, not just here in Hampshire…

Much as I would relish this chance to paint like a mad thing all-day & everyday in the studio right now, we were half-way through rebuilding our house when the lockdown happened. Immediately everything was halted and we were left with a ladder as our stairs were stuck in Poland. So instead of stretching watercolour paper and preparing canvases I’ve been plastering, tiling, and producing drawings for the landscaping. Swapping Sable watercolour and oil hog brushes for 4” decorators brushes and rollers and rags. (Picture here of me painting the fascia board for the porch roof).

My husband who works for the World Wildlife Fund and is often travelling to some far flung corner of the world is grounded here, but taken over the studio for his conference calls while diggers operate outside levelling the ground. My oldest son should be in Myanmar now, backpacking on his Gap year, but found himself trapped in Cambodia and finally made it home via the last flight out of Indonesia. My younger son should be sitting his GCSE’s, instead he has “remote” schooling online and zoom “Classrooms”.

However there is a silver lining:  I am so enjoying having the whole family here … even if  producing endless meals is a challenge!

Certainly interesting times…….

Julia did manage to go to a bluebell wood last weekend. Have you found one yet?