I watched the cherry blossom bloom and fall. Then came the May blossom, until it too faded. Dandelion petals shrivelled and became clocks. The grass, uncut, flowered into lilac ripples. Clumps of cow parsley unfurled and frothed. It has rained only once in weeks of hot, dry days. Plants yellow and crisp. Leaves are seared from the trees. Nature shows that time is passing, but there is little else to mark the passage of the season. A sprained knee has kept me close to home and each day feels much the same. Days blend into weeks. The solstice is only a month away. I’ve found I haven’t much to say.
I have moved from words to vision. From letter to line. I painted the songbirds that were my jewels of hope among the thorns of winter. I drew life models along with thousands of other people through the BBC and had my sketch of a woman with a cello mentioned on the programme! I imagined a version of ‘home’ in response to a theme on Grayson Perry’s Art Club. I painted a portrait of Rankin with scores of others through Sky TV. Now, I am painting illustrations for poems. I have had nothing to say in words, but my creativity has flowed out in pencil and paint.
When I draw I try not to pursue perfection. Too often when I want something to be good, it strips away the enjoyment, or stops me from doing it at all. But there has been no higher purpose to my painting. There has been just me, sat at the table with a drawing board, overlooking the yard, following lines and colours. It doesn’t matter if they’re good pictures. They weren’t made to hang on a wall. Nor do they have any great meaning. They are just shapes on paper or canvas that record, if anything, a slice of contentment in my day.
There is a movement towards recovery. Lockdown is shifting. We are allowed to go outside all we wish now. There are dates for the re-opening of schools, shops and, eventually, libraries. There are more cars on the road. The grass has been mown in the park. But mostly, movement is elsewhere. It is not here, at my dining table, where I work and I paint. It isn’t out there, where the washing sways in the sun and the plants could do with some water. The children’s playground is still padlocked and tangled with weeds. There are still queues to get in the supermarkets. I’m not ready yet to leave this bubble. I’ll stay here for as long as I can, in this place where creativity can flourish at its own pace.