Artists & Art History · Beginner Art · Drawing · Sketchpads

Art in Lockdown – Ideas & Activities

I never thought that I would be writing such a post just a few short weeks ago, life has changed immeasurably for everyone as most of us are now in lockdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak.  I have had my entire term’s face-to-face teaching wiped out and face a brave new world of online teaching.

I now find myself glued to my computer for several hours a day trying to get to grips with new learning technologies and learning at what feels like a frustratingly slow pace.  Like many I have struggled to manage my anxiety around insecurity about the future and the fear of catching the killer bug, all while trying to learn new things at a pace I’m not entirely comfortable with.

One thing that is there for me during challenging times however is art and it always has been.  I write this post to help all those in need of an escape and have decided to cease the weekly posts and keep this post up for one month.

We have to remain positive during these times and I thought I would share some art ideas to help you do just that:

1.  Keep a Sketchpad 

If you don’t yet keep a sketchpad, this is a great time to start one.  Sketchpad’s aren’t for polished, perfect drawings they are for thoughts, scribbles and inspiration.  I use mine for writing as well as drawing (no one need see it!). The practice of drawing something or even moving the pen or pencil around is very therapeutic.  Read my post on Why is Keeping a Sketchpad Important? for more information.

2. Walk, Observe, Draw

I now walk more than ever, although I always did walk regularly as spending time in nature is important to me.  My daily ‘Lockdown Walk’ has made me more observant and appreciative of what is on my doorstep, which for me fortunately is some beautiful countryside.

Why not take the opportunity to walk everyday and take back the inspiration for your art.  Today I was inspired by the spring blossom and the daffodils which suddenly seem to have sprung up overnight. I took several photographs and would like to create some art from them. You might even want to sketch outside once it gets warmer, working outside is great and I’ve published several posts on the subject – How Do I Handle Working Outdoors?

3. Go on a Virtual Tour of a Gallery 

We can’t go to one at the moment in person but several art galleries have fantastic websites and some are offering ‘virtual tours’ see this link for details: List of Virtual Gallery Tours

Why not learn about an artist’s life, Van Gogh’s life was fascinating.

4. Art on Televison/Film 

When you seek out art on the television and in films, you realise there are quite a few films about artists and programmes out there!  I can recommend ‘Frida’ which I watched recently, a great film about her life and art. I’ve listed some ideas below.

Frida (2002) Official Trailer

Arty Films

BBC Big Painting Challenge

5. Read about Art History

Reading about artists and the movements in art gives you real insight into how art was made and how it all fits into one another.  I have listed some recommended reading under my Resources and written a post What Are The Best Books To Learn About Art History?

I hope you like these ideas and it helps you all get through this difficult time, what are you doing (art-related) to get through lockdown?  Share below…

11 thoughts on “Art in Lockdown – Ideas & Activities

  1. Hi Rebecca, got my pastels out this week to draw a rainbow for the window – had forgotten quite how therapeutic art is – thanks for sharing these ideas. Sue

  2. Thank you, I am trying to do an hour a day art. Your page is inspirational, it will keep me on the straight and narrow. At the moment I am drawing and colouring a ivy leaf onto a blank greetings card for my grandaughter’s birthday, her name is Ivy. Not long ago we were worried about being in a ‘smelly’ classroom, good job we didn’t know what was round the corner. I am missing my lessons so much. There was something quite wonderful being in a room others drawing quietly.

    1. Hello Mary, thank you for such a nice message, I know what you mean I really miss the atmosphere and buzz of a face-to-face class. Glad to hear you are carrying on at home, I hope to publish more free resources in the coming weeks for all those working at home. Take care.

  3. Thanks for these 5 tips Rebecca! As an artist, being isolated in the studio hasn’t been too difficult. I go between periods where I maintain a journal and find that it does clear my mind of stressful thoughts, so I’ll be prompting myself to sketch more frequently during this period of self-isolation. It has also been nice to spend more time with the art history books and monographs I’ve checked out from the library…I do need to get outside more, but I live in the city and have a lot of anxiety…I was thinking that sketching the panoramic landscape from my roof would be a great creative and emotional boost.

    1. Thanks Adam, I think all artists are used to isolation in some form, part of being a creative is to lock ourselves away! Sounds like you are using this time to channel your creativity, I agree the sketchbook/journal/doodling is very useful for calming the mind at this time. I don’t have any panoramic landscapes from where I am, but if I did… great opportunity!

      1. I have just drawn a horse that looks like a horse. I am spending at least an hour a day drawing. I have been helped by remembering your lessons and I have also joined ARTTUTOR on line. A brilliant resource, not as good as class but will keep me going.

  4. Thanks for this Rebecca. I don’t have a panoramic view either but I’ve finished (??) a watercolour of the inside view out of our very small suburban front garden. During the time I did this the black thorn blossom faded and the hawthorn blossomed (I’m one of the few in our road who has a tree) so the outside view has changed but just doing the painting was pure escapism, forgetting about everything and the time flew…. I also dug out an old art book “Painting for Pleasure” published in the seventies, some of the materials may have changed but the same observations apply… as a result I’ve also done some on-line exploration of still-life painters I had forgotten about or hadn’t heard of. I do enjoy your website!

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