Frome Artists in 2020
We are unfortunately unable to meet at our usual monthly arts cafe due to what I like to call "this blasted thing"! I thought it would be interesting and hopefully inspiring to find out what some of us have been doing during this time. So please read on.
If you have a story to tell we would all like to see it so please send your submission to me, mailto:[email protected] along with a photo of yourself and photos of some of the things you have been doing. It doesn't have to be arty, lots of us have been walking in the countryside, trying new skills and exploring new things, to keep us all together let me know what you have been doing.
Scroll down the page to read or select the name of the artist you would like to read about. Enjoy!
What’s the point? Lorna Thomas
At the beginning of pandemic restrictions I was very excited about the freedom I would have from the usual restrictions of daily routines. I would have time to draw for half and hour…even an hour! every day. I could return to my pigments and the lengthy discipline of egg tempura. I could…..
Oh. There would be no-one to witness my efforts, no –one to encourage, no-one to guide me.
I found some wonderful online opportunities, zooming to life classes with BBC, portraits with London Drawing along with their delightful Mindful Still Life Mondays. Anything with free entry, I entered, but the subsequent lack of success was too demoralizing for me to persist. The zooming required a discipline of remembering the time of day. I fiddled about with paintings which required attention, I tidied my studio bedroom then untidied it again. I lost heart.
I ask myself ‘what is the point of painting?’ ‘What purpose has creativity in this harsh world, when so many need practical help?’ Banksy has been able to accomplish so much, both creatively and socially, but the great Old Masters-how would they feel if they knew their work was either hung in museums or owned exclusively by the rich? What does art give to the world?
There are no finite answers to these questions, at least, none that I can reach, so I am reduced to the particular world of Lorna Thomas.
This Lorna world should not depend on what others think. It is solely my responsibility to look after this personal world and help it achieve as well as it can. There is no need for the judgment of others for ‘success’ or ‘failure’ –even though I know, deep down, I will always need the validation of selling a painting to justify the hours of struggle to become the best artist I can possibly be.
Three images from early lockdown:
-I began a life drawing course at The Edge, Bath university. The pandemic began to affect our lives in the spring term. We retreated to zoom. I will be over the moon when these classes return; Caraugh Savage is a superb tutor and the studio provision is superb. This gent came from Frome!
-I wanted to enter a portrait competition for the Air gallery. Our neighbour was missing her family…hence ‘Separation’ I’m pleased with the head and hand, but wish I could enlarge the hand as it is not proportionally correct. The work is charcoal with liquin over acrylic. The Liquin sets the charcoal, so I’d have to remedy the arm, somehow.
-Coronavirus spring. Oil. My annual bluebell painting shows (I hope) the trace of hope for a distant brighter future, but the present is in dark shadow.
Lockdown Creative Adventures - Jane Eaton
Classified as one of the ‘vulnerable’ I was isolating whilst under lockdown and all my outside commitments ceased so days were spent very differently. That proverbial list of projects that seem always to have the label of ‘one day I’ll get round to them’ actually began to be a reality – suddenly there seemed to so much TIME!
The old piece of driftwood that had been hanging around for about 10 years of which I had always associated with angel wings was the starting point for the first creative adventure. I decided to make a paper mache figure for the angel that could be somehow be connected to the piece of driftwood. Paper mache was a technique that I had very little knowledge of, but I had the time to experiment and the figure gradually evolved and became part of a mixed media sculpture using found materials which were in my garden. Titled ‘Archangel Ariel’, the sculpture is at present in the Lockdown Exhibition at Trowbridge Town Hall.
Then on May 2nd I was struck down with Takotsubo Syndrome (commonly referred to as Broken Heart Syndrome) and was in hospital for a few days. Returning home I was on strict instructions to rest and rest more, so that my heart could heal. All work in the studio ceased but there was ample opportunity to get creative on my ipad. A series of ‘Social Interaction Lockdown’ digital collages began to evolve and as time went on I became well enough to go to my studio and begin translating some of the digital sketches into original oilpaintings on wood panels. Oil is a medium that I am not familiar with so it has been an adventure in learning ‘how it works’. During the process an unexpected extension from these works has evolved, creating a further series of small paintings that connect to the original concept.
These have been quickly executed, usually at the end of the day by utilizing my test palette paper and leftover paint. I find them free and exciting. I often take photographs of my work and then incorporate and manipulate using an art app on my ipad. These digital dabbles will be extended and become a new body of work titled ‘Palette Paintings’. Lockdown has certainly thrown some unexpected outcomes my way.
Another opportunity arrived via Instagram when I was invited to create an image for The Laughing Boy Project. This really captured my imagination and I went on to create an image using their prescribed template, but in my style. This was a lot of fun and many other laughing boys evolved – I almost hijacked the project! They were all created digitally but can always be translated into real paintings. You can see lots of laughing boys if you go to thelaughingboyproject on Instagram.
Find out more about this project. https://www.hersleycasero.com/ha-the-laughing-boy-project
Hersley and I are now friends and we’re hoping to meet up later this year. He was travelling over from the Phillipines where he lives and works but unfortunately all cancelled because of covid restrictions on travel.
There has always been plenty to occupy me during lockdown and I have felt very lucky to live near open countryside and have a garden. I have been uplifted by my walks out with my dog Binka in the countryside. Zoom has become part of my life and I have enjoyed family meet ups and chats on the Takotsubo Support Group. Messenger is also a great way of keeping in touch too. All my activities have provided and contributed to my fitness and wellbeing. I don’t know whether my heart has healed yet and still waiting for an appointment for follow up echocardiogram, so remain on my ‘tube of smarties’ until I am able to have the next consultation and my condition can be reviewed.
Meanwhile, we must all try to keep calm and carry on creating. Best wishes to all
Chairman of Frome Arts Society and one of the first people to exhibit in Black Swan Arts when it first opened.
I've been fortunate to have had three commissions for paintings, and I've shown them here. A lady who lives in Gentle Street asked me to paint a picture of it,and her friend asked me to do a painting of her house and garden. An old neighbour and school friend,who I've known since we were seven years old asked me to do the picture of the guitarist, from a computer image.He came over to my flat to collect it and as we hadn't seen each other for a mere 46 years I was wondering if we ought to wear name tags! Fortunately,we didn't need them,and it was nice to see him again after so long,and reminisce about the good old days!
I've had a couple of Zoom meetings with my daughter and her family,which was nice, and also a couple of Zoom meetings with our Frome Art Society committee,to try and get a few things organised within the Covid restrictions,i.e. online workshops,demos,talks,and even the possibility of a restricted outdoor painting day. Watch the FAS space!
Finally,we had a volunteers meeting at the Black Swan ,and we are hoping to be able to open the gallery for a few days per week. Visitors would need to book in advance. The Young Open exhibition is there at the moment,having been put on hold when lockdown started. It will be good for visitors to finally see this exhibition,and of course the artists and there families.
So that's my little blog!
I have always enjoyed painting and drawing and am self-taught. My influence and interest in design and colour was by and large through Scandinavian Designers and my links with Germany. I did however, study Art as my main subject whilst training to be a Primary teacher and in those early days, worked in Gouache doing Botanical studies.
As I experimented more, I worked in Acrylics, painted a large number of Murals, (one of which spans the length of a garden wall in Devon), and, introduced texture to my Watercolour paintings. Working with colour as richly as possible is something I particularly like doing and I hope this reflects in my work.
So, at the beginning of Lockdown, I had such enthusiasm and, from mid March proceeded to paint and complete work almost on a daily basis. Regular walks were inspiring for me with plenty of trees coming into leaf and lots of wild flowers to enjoy. The Bluebells took centre stage at that time and much of my work was accompanied with Poetry. During this time, I also continued with a series of Acrylic pieces for Frome Community Hospital.
I’m not sure I want to Shield again though!
I’d never entered a national competition before but tried the King Lear Prizes, The National Creative Arts Competition for older people stuck at home because of Coronavirus (20,000 entries for 4 categories) and this was my reward:
Highly Commended Entries, Art