Borders artist explores how life in lockdown has changed her work

An artist from the Borders has been exploring how the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown has dramatically changed her perspective and creative style.
Annie working by her fire with her faithful rescue dogsAnnie working by her fire with her faithful rescue dogs
Annie working by her fire with her faithful rescue dogs

Before lockdown, Annie Broadley was working from her studio in Edinburgh’s Arthur Conan Doyle Centre and enjoyed a large, light filled studio with plenty of room for her materials and space to build, stretch and prepare her own large, painting canvases.

Since March 2020, she hasn’t been able to work in her studio and has been working from her remote Borders home, which has had an impact on her style, and sent her work in a different direction.

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“I have had to rethink what and how I paint,” she said, “I began by using a spare bedroom and have gradually been colonising other parts of the house. It means working on a much smaller scale than I am used to. I have gone from sketching in Antarctica to sketching in my garden. It has meant going small – both in subject and in size.”

Annie's symbolic Thrush paintingAnnie's symbolic Thrush painting
Annie's symbolic Thrush painting

Artists have faced major challenges since the beginning of the pandemic as galleries have not been open where they would normally promote and sell their work, however despite the challenging situation, Annie said that there have been some positives.

“When I couldn’t reach my studio, I had to buy my materials online, and I ended up using some that I had never used before,” she said.

This has led to her developing new themes and revisiting familiar ones but seeing them with a fresh eye. Out of those experiments, the Roses and Briars paintings emerged.

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She added: “In Roses and Briars, the roses appear to be trapped in the middle of tangled vegetation. This seems to me to have parity with the Covid situation where most people are living under severe restrictions.”

Roses and Briars, by Annie BroadleyRoses and Briars, by Annie Broadley
Roses and Briars, by Annie Broadley

Recognising that everyone has been impacted and has been working and living with their own challenges throughout the pandemic, no matter what age, Annie continued: “These are difficult and sad times for so many. Covid and this lockdown has made me think deeply about the struggles facing people and this is also coming out in my work now. It started me wondering about how we deal with fear and apprehension in a world where the future seems so uncertain.

“The thrush with its beautiful song represents survival, a home, family around us who care. This is a sketch for my latest painting where the thrush is pre-eminent but which will also include other symbolic images”

“I hope that some of my paintings might, albeit in a small way, bring some pleasure to those who are finding times hard.”

See more of Annie’s work

Annie's November TreesAnnie's November Trees
Annie's November Trees

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