It is true to say that my enthusiasm for art has waned of late. I found myself dragged down by the Covid-19 situation and the endless stream of bad news. World events other than the pandemic have hardly been encouraging. It is hard to find that ‘good news feeling’ in much these days. And then I realized, that is precisely when that good feeling needs to come from inside of us as we better appreciate what we have. And this autumn, for me at least, has been a good reminder of that.
The Summer Fades Into Memory
In the summer, life here in Umbria is mainly focused outside. The beautiful countryside, the garden, the fruit trees and hot, hazy days. Meals are eaten outside, the cool of the evening is welcomed, even if the mosquito bites aren’t.
Though our year has been very different, some things haven’t changed. We still stayed at home out of the heat and avoided the towns – usually because of tourists. But also this year because Barnet Boy and I are both in the risk categories for Covid.
No Photography Outings
My regular trips to the UK have stopped as well of course. Apart from visiting local Italian villages and towns, one of the main sources of photographs for my work comes from my UK trips. So many of my floral pieces are based on photographs taken in my Mum’s lovely garden. And our visits to explore Sussex towns and villages. Thank goodness for my daily video links with my Mum so I can keep in touch! But the lack of photographic opportunity left a void that needed to be filled.
Rediscovering My Enthusiasm for Art
I think I actually started the process of rediscovering my enthusiasm for art towards the end of the summer. In one of my blogs in September, I talked about remembering art as a hobby. At that time I was playing with pebble painting. I went on to paint some flower pots too. I have been collecting rocks and stones so that I have a good supply to decorate over the winter. The whole process made me re-evaluate what I wanted to achieve from my art. I realized how beneficial the process of painting, as opposed to photography, is to my well being.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the fine art photography side of my work. But letting my creativity flow with paint brushes and palette knife is a wonderfully calming, de-stressing activity. Sometimes I forget how important that is.
That spirit of adventure has carried on and recently I have been spending time in my studio, playing with paint (with loud music accompaniment of course). I am exploring different acrylic pour techniques and getting thoroughly covered in paint in the process. But, hey, that is part of the fun.
Olive Tree Series
I started to create a new photo art series of images focusing on the olive groves that surround our house. So much beauty so close to home! And so much history in these lovely old trees. I touch them and I am reminded of the generations that have farmed them. When they were originally planted. The rough hands that have pruned them and gathered the olives over the years. The children that have run around the olive grove who now, as adults, take care of the trees. If only these trees could speak what stories they would tell!
As well as olive picking, autumn also bring some renewed interest artistically in the land around us. The beautiful colors as the leaves change, the wild flowers and fungi, all lend themselves to photographs that form the basis for my photo art. My enthusiasm for art, particularly photo art, has been reignited by these wonders of nature around us.
Not A Bad Thing To Pause And Reflect
All in all, it is not a bad thing to have a pause. Take time for reflection. And decide which things you want to pursue and the things it is time to leave behind. In the same way that we might spring clean our house, or decorate it for the holiday season, our mind and motivation needs the same period of review. So that we can leave behind what is not needed any longer and move forward positively, with light steps and fresh faced.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!