Helen Clarke has been very productive during lockdown – here is her isolartion story.

Somehow having an empty diary has felt very refreshing. I have painted most days and started illustrating a collection of my poems. It also gave me the chance to re-organise my materials and go through old paintings – cropping some to give them a fresh look, cutting others into small paintings for greetings cards or collage pieces.

Despite having lived here for 28 years, I have discovered walks I had not explored before and the blessing of sunny weather, gave me the opportunity to discover beautiful local walks along lanes and across the fields around the Wilbrahams. The wild flowers and insect life I noticed in the hedgerows, inspired me to try to capture them in watercolour and I have appreciated even more during this difficult time, how lucky I am to live in the countryside.

Bluebell Wood by Helen Clarke

I was asked to paint a bluebell wood as a commission, which I did in watercolour and acrylic inks and my son was keen for a picture of his puppy, Blue, which was something new for me to try.

Blue by Helen Clarke

My small painting groups have been eager to come to my garden and meadow this month, having missed our usual sessions and during every week end in July, I shall be participating in Open Windows.

This period away from “normal” life has reinforced to me, the therapeutic benefits of a painting escape.