'Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have had to rethink what and how I paint' says Annie Broadley, who before the March 2020 lockdown, was working from her studio in Edinburgh’s Arthur Conan Doyle Centre, where she enjoyed a large, light filled studio with plenty of room for her materials and space to build, stretch and prepare her own large, painting canvasses.
Under the Ice Dome, Glue tempera & oil on canvas, 2015, (94x94cm)
Since the March 2020 lockdown, Annie hasn’t been able to work in her studio and has been working from her remote Borders home. 'I began by using a spare bedroom and have gradually been colonising other parts of the house. It means working on a much smaller scale than I am used to. I have gone from sketching in Antarctica (see Under the Ice Dome, above) to sketching in my garden. It has meant going small – both in subject and in size'.
This has had an impact on her style and has sent her work in a different direction. Plus of course, galleries are not open from which artists, like Annie, can promote and sell their work.
However, from a challenging situation, there have been some positives.
Annie continues, 'When I couldn’t reach my studio, I had to buy my materials online, and I ended up using some that I had never used before'. This has led to her developing new themes and revisiting familiar ones but seeing them with a fresh eye. Out of those experiments, the Roses and Briars paintings emerged. 'In Roses & Briars, the roses appear to be trapped in the middle of tangled vegetation. This seems to me to have parity with the Covid situation where most people are living under severe restrictions'.
Roses & Briars 1, monoprint & mixed media on paper 2020, (46x43cm)
Annie recognises that everyone is working and living with their own challenges and that the Covid virus is impacting upon all ages, with many suffering tragic loss and pain. 'These are difficult and sad times for so many. Covid and this lockdown has made me think deeply about the struggles facing people and this is also coming out in my work now. It started me wondering about how we deal with fear and apprehension in a world where the future seems so uncertain.
'The thrush (below) with its beautiful song represents survival, a home, family around us who care. This is a sketch for my latest painting where the thrush is pre-eminent but which will also include other symbolic images.
'I hope that some of my paintings might, albeit in a small way, bring some pleasure to those who are finding times hard'.
Sketch of a Thrush, ink and acrylic on paper 2021, (16x20cm)
Discover more from Annie on her website, anniebroadley.com