"The more we felt cut off from nature during lockdown, the more we became aware of how much we're in its power.
Art is a great way of looking. It has a role to play in making us see nature in a more loving and more appreciative way. Helping us to understand the natural world and the part we play in it is the first, and perhaps the deepest, role of art.”
Social Creatures – Tiger
Plastic waste, papier mâché, acrylic paint
Standing still at sunrise. Dumfriesshire. 22 January 2021, still image (digital video).
Polar Bears Swimming at Sunset
Acrylic paint on canvas
The Human Destruction of our Natural World
Acrylic paint, bark and plastic on card
Joyce’s Haring Bird
House paint on paper
Housebound Houseplant, Acrylic paint on canvas
“My painting was created at the start of the first lockdown. I was 9 months pregnant, self-isolating, and living in a one-bedroom flat. I was feeling pretty stressed and anxious. I chose to paint a houseplant – my only connection to the outdoors. Creating
something from scratch, working through it, then having a beautiful finished result was symbiotic with my pregnancy. A week later, we welcomed our son Freddie, my greatest creation to date!”
Nurture Nature, Embroidered cushion, Courtesy of the artist
“We need to nurture nature. I love the backside of embroidery. It’s chaos! Everybody sees everybody else’s fronts and everybody else feels like this inside. So what we tend to do is compare our mess on the inside, to everybody’s nurtured, outside appearance. You can no longer see the back of the embroidery. Like all of us, its true nature is hidden.”
Urban Fox, 2021, Courtesy of the artist and Victoria Miro
“I can remember the first time I saw an urban fox. I was so thrilled to see this piece of wildness wandering across the road nonchalantly. I like to go out on my bicycle around the town at night. They pop up all the time and their eyes glow in my lights. I have drawn, collaged and painted my encounters with Mr Fox.”
Tape Loops, Audio recording of walks outdoors, mixed media: hand decorated-cassettes. Courtesy of the artist
“During lockdown I would go on walks and record as many sounds as I could: footsteps, crunchy leaves, birdsong. I edited the sounds to recreate the walk. I made dioramas on the back of tape cassettes. I’d stream it on social media and invite friends to join me on “an audio adventure into the world of tape loops”. It was a way to go on virtual walks with my friends and family when walking together was no longer allowed.”
Tree of Fists, Tapestry, Courtesy of the artist
“I’ve become slightly obsessed with pollarded trees. They seem to express how I feel about the lockdown. There’s something kind of pointlessly angry about them. I think they look like they’ve got little fists on the end and they’re just screaming WHYYYY? so I think they are good subjects for my tapestry. I’m very happy with the finished result. The back is an absolute mess.”
Love and Happiness or Self Portrait with Priscilla the Canary, Digital collage
“Priscilla the canary came into my life just before Coronavirus. Being with Priscilla was escapism from the repetitive reports of doom and gloom from television. Priscilla changed the way I viewed life. She represented freedom, hope, love, imagination and happiness. I created this for a project which explored my life. I simply wanted to express how much I loved Priscilla, how happy she made everything in my life. In May 2021, Priscilla sadly passed away unexpectedly.”
Digital paintings, Courtesy of the artist
“I need help with so many aspects of my life. I love art because I can be totally independent with it. I have an eye-tracker that can tell where on my screen I am looking. My eyes become like my computer mouse. I love to immerse myself in my painting. This picture depicts the dreams and opportunities waiting for me beyond the gates of my disabilities. In my imagination, I can do so much more than my body will allow. Art makes me feel less disabled.”
Portrait of Grayson
Daily Exercise, Acrylic paint on board
“I made this to help me through the time of unparalleled strangeness. I was homeschooling two young children, walking every day for exercise. We didn’t know what was going to happen but nature carried on unaffected by the enormity of our situation. I decided to paint miniatures of our daily exercise. Celebrating the stunning part of the world where I live and marking the passing of time. Recording lockdown kept me creative and gave me a few hours to myself.”
Old McDonald, Coloured pencil on paper, Courtesy of the artist
“My name is Leonie, I made this artwork when I was in lockdown. I really like animals, I like seeing the birds, pigs, sheep, cows and more. When I was in lockdown, making the picture made me so happy because I could not go to the farm to see the animals.”
The Monster Zoo, 2021, Mixed media: waste plastic and wood
“As we went into lockdown, I kept hearing neighbours saying that there was nothing locally for kids to do. Children preferred their screens. Going for a walk was ‘boring’. I was also hearing a lot of talk about families’ mental health suffering. I decided to try to do something about it.
I made a small set of monsters from recycled materials and hid them in some local woods. Then I waited. They soon got discovered and, all of a sudden, kids were dragging their parents off the sofa to go monster hunting!
As social media groups started to buzz, I suggested that kids make their own monsters. My initial six were joined by 95 more. The woods became too crowded and I had to find a new site. A local farm gave us a large space to set up a Monster Zoo. Many adults got involved too. The Zoo had over 360 exhibits and was attracting so many visitors that we put on a tuck shop. All profits were donated to charities.
I chose monsters because no one can ever tell a child that their monster is ‘wrong’. All children can have a go.
I suspect that this will become my new day job!”