Saturday, June 27, 2020


You know that King Lear arts competition for amateurs over 70 doing stuff in lockdown? I sent in 4 pieces of art, and this week (after the deadline) they sent an email encouraging us to show our work to friends and on social media while the judging was going on.

Here goes, and I make no claims of any kind except that painting is fun.

Title: Dave and me in lockdown.
Acrylic and pastel.

I painted it in April at the start of lockdown and it expressed how I felt back then. I'm sorry the photo does not do justice to the texture of the paint.

The next lockdown painting I completed was this:

Seven days in lockdown.
Felt tip and crayon.

It's about my mood swings from day to day.

Yesterday was a week of mood swings packed into one Friday.

I woke up feeling fine and full of purpose. There was a forecast of heavy rain and I'd decided I was going to paint. But the morning filled up with lengthy phone calls of various kinds, the content of which left me feeling weighed down with the hopelessness and difficulties of lockdown and despair at the state of our country. 

'What's the matter?' Dave said.

'I'm upset.'

'What are you upset about?'


Maybe I'm feeling down, I thought, because I've reached all the goals I set myself, the most recent being to make a patchwork cot quilt for Mary's first grandchild, expected next month.

Maybe it was because I'm a writer and writing the blog is the only writing I'm doing:

A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity. — Franz Kafka

I sat in the sun and wrote in my journal and that helped. 

Then I fetched a pile of poetry books and read those: Mary Oliver's collections Blue Horses and Wild Geese and A Thousand Mornings, and Seamus Heaney's Death of a Naturalist.

That helped. The last poem I read was Wild Geese itself, always a comfort:

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Mary Oliver

Poetry: the magic cure.

I relaxed into the sunny afternoon and at teatime got in the car, wound the windows down, and drove to Sheffield listening to Willie Nelson at full blast. Zoe had invited me to tea in the garden. Woo-hoo! The first meal someone else had cooked for me in three months. It was delicious, naturellement, and so was seeing the family - Zoe and Brian, and the two teenagers I must not now name. 

That was my day. What was yours like?

This is my favourite photo taken on forays onto the Trail this week:


Sally said...

Uplifting post Sue, love the mix! Hope your week is more positive than negative. Sally🌻

Sue Hepworth said...

Thank you, Sally. I appreciate the encouragement, because I was dubious about this post.

Christine said...

All these years and I diidn't know like Willie Nelson! Me too . . .

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your entries to the competition - ‘Dave and me in lockdown’ is surely a winner!
It’s a wonderful symbol of life partners braving the peaks and troughs together.

And fantastic colours. I especially love those cheerful little boats being blown along.

Thea x

Sue Hepworth said...

Thanks, Thea!
I’m so glad you like it. Xx

marmee said...

Just love "dave and me in lockdown"!

Sue Hepworth said...

Thanks! xx