Walking around Woodford (and Kent) provided Woodford Arts Group member Darren Evans – who goes by the name The Suburban Artist – with the inspiration he needed to break his lockdown artist’s block
Lockdown was hard, for so many of us. I was fortunate in that my family and I stayed healthy – but there were still challenges I had not anticipated.
For an artist, lockdown ought to offer so many possibilities: endless time, stretching ahead, ready to be filled with creative endeavour. But the reality was very different. Although I love painting and have often longed for more time to focus on my work, during lockdown I found it much harder than usual to concentrate. Somehow, the seclusion and the low-level anxiety we were all feeling seemed to drain my inspiration.
It was walking that saved me. Long walks, every day around Woodford, alone or with the family.
I became much more aware of the subtle changes that took place in the natural environment as the glorious spring turned into summer, and watched the colours, tones and light shift and change with the seasons. I appreciated the frothy cow parsley on and around Woodford Green and the yellow-eyed daisies turning their faces up to the sun.
More recently, on holiday in Kent, I watched the blazing sun scorch the wheat to deep gold against a clear blue sky. Inspiration returned, and at last, I became really productive, painting with renewed energy.
This crisis has impacted our country in so many negative ways, but it has given us the opportunity to reconnect with the British countryside and all its rich beauty. We may not be able to travel abroad, but there is truly nothing more glorious than the English hedgerow, with its abundance of glossy blackberries and scarlet rosehips. I hope my paintings during lockdown have captured a little of that positive spirit.