As traffic and activity increase, I am beginning to appreciate how much I have enjoyed the quiet and the change of pace that the lock-down brought. It was lovely to go out on foot or on my bike early in the morning and not be assailed by constant traffic noise. It gave me time to think, to appreciate more my surroundings, to enjoy the cleaner air, notice colours, textures and light, and to encounter an astonishing amount of wildlife.

Last Friday afternoon, for the first time in ages, I heard car horns blaring in anger and, to be honest, my heart sank a little. Suburban frustration has returned. I looked out of the front window this afternoon and saw a traffic tail-back. And I’m coming to the realisation that the brief glimpse I had of an alternative way of existence has ended. Of course I understand that, for many, the lock-down has brought misery, loneliness, grief, and death. However, for me, it brought fewer demands on my time, a period of creativity, a chance to think. And, to be honest, I’m not at all happy that it’s coming to an end.

I have a curious relationship with routine and change. At certain times, I love routine and I can get frustrated and angry if something happens that interferes with it. On the other hand, I can get bored with predictability, and I can be impulsive in seeking change, taking risks and shaking things up a bit. Although the changes brought about by the pandemic were imposed on us all, they opened a window to a different way of being and now that the restrictions are being eased, I feel a little off balance.

During the week, I tinkered. I did some things with wood that didn’t really work out. I drew things that weren’t great. I played around with cyanotypes. I tried out a different way of constructing a mandala. I helped Christine with her reconstruction of a work of art, and I worked on a few new ideas.

So, here are some of the things I did.

I don’t seem to have got the mix of chemicals right for my cyanotypes. This almost worked and it looks kind of spooky, which is interesting, but it took a lot longer to expose than it should have …

This did work. I usually draw mandalas freehand but, on Instagram, I came across a pyrographer who demonstrated a simple, elegant mandala constructed with a pair of compasses and a ruler. I had a go …

Then, there was this. Christine’s reconstruction of The Lute Player by Orazio Gentileschi. 90% Christ ine’s work. I just played around with the colours and background.

Then I had a go at self-portraits, spurred on by Max Beckmann

I played around with leaf skeletons, ink and paint …

And I experimented with ink on a clay disk that I made a long time ago …

And that was kind of it for the week, apart from a little strumming on the ukulele and guitar. Not at the same time though.

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