We’re two weeks into lockdown here in the UK. With the COVID-19 pandemic changing life as we know it, you’d have thought that with all this extra time, I would have jumped at the chance to fill my spare time with painting, but it wasn’t so.

The uncertainty of it all had a big impact – supermarket shelves lying bare, empty streets, my day job closing up and me being placed on furlough, not to mention the thoughts of losing loved ones, and the hell that those on the frontline must be going through trying to save those with the virus.

Despite browsing my scenes and attempting to paint, my creative flow just dried up as I found myself overwhelmed with the craziness and uncertainty of it all. I was literally looking through all my scenes I plan to paint and finding no interest in them whatsoever. I resorted to putting some serious hours into the Xbox instead.

Eventually, I sat down in the studio and continued working on a piece I started a few weeks ago. This piece had a rough start. It originally had a different composition which I change because I didn’t feel it lead the eye into the scene enough.

I sketched it out and laid down the first layers of paint after which it hit the ‘ugly stage’. I had to leave it for a while there. The ugly stage is a common phenomenon amongst artists. It’s the point where you wonder “is this terrible, or is this just the ‘ugly stage’ ?”. I just thought it was terrible at the time, so I backed away.

Once a few weeks had passed, I returned to add more detail and refine the colours. I’d suddenly hit the home stretch and finished it in a few hours.

This is actually my first finished woodland painting which is surprising considering how much love I have for wandering forests and woodlands. Expect more forest paintings in the future!