For Art Group Wanstead member Emma Davies, oil painting provided a much-needed distraction from the stresses of lockdown, with trees and changing landscapes among her inspirations
At first, I thought there was nothing good about lockdown. Six months later, I have experimented with textures and different ways of making marks in my oil paintings. A privilege to have some time to be, to paint and reflect.
Painting became my respite from lockdown and the computer screen for work. The horrors of the news and the suffering of family and friends faded away for a while. Walking the dog every day on Wanstead Flats was my daily trip out. As my world narrowed, I became more observant, watching the grasses emerge and the landscape change.
I’m an amateur artist and an academic. I’ve been painting for more than a decade. I particularly love the feel of oil paint, experimenting with different ways of applying paint to canvas. As well as brushes and palette knives, I use squeegees, feathers, sticks, sponges and anything I can find to apply and remove layers of paint. I’m inspired by many different artists, from Botticelli to Mark Bradford and Per Kirkeby.
The last exhibition I visited just before lockdown was Among the Trees at the Hayward Gallery. It was fantastic. Inspired by the artworks, I painted Stories, the oil on canvas depicted here (60cm x 120cm). I also painted an ode to NHS workers, which I put in our front window to say thank you.
I’ve missed Art Trail Wanstead this year, having exhibited for the last couple of years in shops, restaurants and pubs. The trail is exciting and a great opportunity to show my work, and to see everyone else’s illuminating all our local businesses. The trail is a whole community effort. We’ll no doubt do it again just as soon as we can.