Sometimes, a break from painting is as good as the feel of painting itself, and a break was much needed this summer.

Picking up a brush after a much needed break feels good. Sometimes life gets in the way of things. Health problems, other life pressures and not to mention a global pandemic of Covid that had quickly reached our local area. Everything just shut down.

Normally painting is a zen like process for me, but the worries of life infiltrated that process and I struggled to concentrate. So, I decided to take a break from creating new work in the studio and instead, focussed on our home and garden throughout the summer and autumn, all the while letting my shop tick over. For me it was the right thing to do.

We decorated, fixed things, planted bushes and perennials, grew vegetables, and spent time on gentle walks through the local park with our dog. I’m lucky we have each other.

The pandemic has affected us all in many different ways, but in one respect, it has made me more grateful than ever that I have a warm home, a lovely, albeit, small garden, and a loving husband to share my lockdown days with.

Living in Caerphilly Borough, Wales has meant that we were in a lockdown for most of the time. Although the lockdown has now ended, we are still restricted to what we can do, but at least we are no longer caged at home. England though, is now in lockdown, so still out of bounds for us, which means my family is still out of bounds. It’s painful not being able to see family or friends, but at least I take comfort in knowing that they are all physically well. My heart goes out to those less fortunate.

I’m not currently working on a large project for exhibitions, so taking a break was a little easier for me. Sometimes I can feel in a bit of a rut, and a break can help to clear my mind ready to refocus on what I really want to do. The break though has not meant I’ve stopped completely. I have taken up a brush to paint miniature hearts as and when I felt the need. I have also carried on collecting inspiring ideas to develop further down the line.

Whenever I come back from a break, whether a break in a series of work, or just a break to research a subject a bit more, I always seem to come back to flowers. I love the colours and shapes. I see flowers as nature’s gift to us all, and right now for me, it is the gift of corn flowers. They were tucked away in the corner of our garden last year, and I captured them in sketch for a possible future painting. The sketch is now being realised in this little oil painting. The basic idea is down, so the rest is about developing it further and bringing it to life.

I like the idea that the corn flower is a symbol of hope and resilience.

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