This piece was selected to be part of the Harley Open 2020 exhibition, which runs from 1 Aug to 1 Nov, 2020. It was amongst the first paintings I made during the Coronovirus lockdown days at the end of March and beginning of April.
In the early days of lockdown, in an effort to gain some measure of calm, I removed myself from the daily streaming of panicky thoughts brought into our daily lives through news stations and social media, seeking out solitude and nature, which became a reassuring constant over the coming months.
We are very fortunate to live in the Nottinghamshire countryside at my partners long-standing family farm, which has an old secluded orchard. I set up a washing line in the orchard and began to make drawings of the familiar trees and to watch the slow dreamy breath of billowing bed linens after their laundering, as part of an extended domestic routine – bringing them into the compositions.
The days repeated themselves – unseasonably and surreally warm and lovely, like fabled childhood summers, which added to the strangeness of the time. I began to feel lost in a world that was by turns benign but also sinister and utterly beyond my control.
We were also very lucky to have our three grown up daughters around us through this time, variously: working from home; suddenly returned from an interrupted university course; and at home heavily pregnant with a first child. They each came to see me working in the orchard – the eldest taking some video footage of the process of creating an early form of the composition.