Lock down work in (slow) process

November 2020

2020 has been a very unusual time, for all of us.

I live in a remote rural village at the tip of a peninsula, and somehow, during the first lockdown it seems that the virus didn’t find its way to us. Our lifestyle didn’t really change between March and June, apart from everything being even quieter, rabbits having longer life and crows less food…

From the first day of lockdown, Nature seemd happy and free, and even the usual wild Irish weather decided to allow the sun to shine every single day…

Enjoying the present moment became so easy all of a sudden, and I was grateful to have made the choice, 15 years ago, to move to West Cork in this pristine hidden corner of our Planet!

I embraced gardening and long walks with my husband, and we spent most of the days outside.

Time stopped and, probably for the first time in my life, I was given the unexpected present to slow down, cherish life , not to worry about making money and deadlines, all of that without any trace of guilt !

Making a living off art is always challenging, and after years of struggeling to survive, magically the simple pulsion of creating found its way above the stress of “making something that will sell”: one day, after weeks of enjoyable gardening and walking, I came back to my drawing table and started a watercolour, “just for me”… And that was a wonderful, light and full of freedom feeling.

The subject was from a photo I took 2 years before, of a detail that had at the time amused me in the kitchen of Tommy, my husband’s uncle, old bachelor farmer, exceptional character and neighbour of ours.

Tommy had sadly died since, in May 2019, and his house remains to this day still pretty much as he left it.

Driven by an unexpected motivation and some other mixed feelings, I visited the house and travelled back in time… I took lots of photos of other details that caught my eye and sensibility… Without any expectation or purpose other than my inner little voice, I painted more watercolours of Tommy’s house details and objects, stil witnesses of Tommy’s unique personality.

I returned many times to the house since…

Not long after, I moved to oil painting, on boards and canvasses that had been waiting for years in some forgotten corners of my studio… For these, lockdown meant, at last, coming out to life!…

I painted very slowly, and time expended with that feeling of creating, not producing. Up until then I always envied the artists who work quickly and create a stunning piece with just a few strokes of paint. I had the sticky feeling I should be more intuitive in my creations and spend less time into details. But in these times I allowed myself to dive into details no matter what… May be it is my true intuitive nature after all…

It surprises me that, in a time where I enjoyed so much beeing outside and in the now, my painting took me to such an inclose, intimate and “in the past” area… Perhaps it was a subconscient effect of the lockdown.

I felt many times that Tommy’s solitude was a kind of lockdown all together.

I still have no idea where this painting adventure is taking me, but between the fabulous automnal lights of West Cork and my thirst to paint, I have the feeling I found a healthy balance…

The future is always mysterious.

Nadette Charlet
Nadette@nacharlet.com