This week’s featured artist is well-known painter of local coastal scenes Anna Wilson-Patterson who works from her studio which is the front room of her bungalow on the clifftop at Fairlight.
Her oil paintings are she says “inspired by the haunting coastline including Hastings, Winchelsea Beach, Rye Harbour, Camber and Dungeness”. Anna describes her work with oils as “adding, dragging and removing paint, imitating the natural world, the tidal ebb and flow, the movement of clouds and wind”.
The effect of lockdown
Lockdown has been a challenge for Anna which she said passed slowly in a lethargic fug.
“The shock of media images showing NHS staff wearing protective bodysuits was swiftly followed by the news that art galleries, independent shops and my publishers were all closing their doors. Reluctantly, having signed up a full cohort of adult students for my Art classes at the beach, I had to let them know their classes were postponed indefinitely.”
Anna found that painting was replaced by food shopping on her list of priorities but that improved once local shops and neighbours responded to the situation.
She says “fortunately ‘Tea Beside The Orchard’, a local farm shop in Icklesham, started deliveries to Fairlight. Plus our neighbours began bartering. A roast chicken exchanged for a bag of compost and six tomatoes.”
Usually Anna posts a daily image of her work on Facebook and Instagram. In the absence of any motivation to paint, she photographed her walks around Fairlight Cove, sharing her views of the gorse clifftops, rhododendrons, bluebell woods, turquoise sea and views across Rye Bay.
“I’ve tried to complete a minimum of a daily sketch or mono print. Switching the radio off to avoid the grim news, but listening to music on Radio 2. The death toll in the UK grew. My emails brought news from a friend whose son had died and she couldn’t attend his funeral. Another friend had lost her brother to Covid-19”.
Very slowly she says she developed a new work routine. Picking flowers from her garden and painting them in pots made by the late Rye potter Mike Crosby-Jones. Completing outstanding commissions and gratefully receiving new ones from customers wanting surprise gifts.
She says “my modest online shop has regularly received orders for greeting cards and small paintings. Future opportunities are definitely online.”
Like many artists Anna now recognises that virtual exhibitions have to fill the gap created by galleries working out new ways of opening and exhibitions being cancelled.
“With a good stock of oil paint and wooden panels, this month I’ve started to paint a new series of Winchelsea Beach seascapes. Now the car park at Rye Harbour has reopened I can enjoy a regular blast of sea air and a moment of reflection at one of my favourite places, the Red Hut.”
Anna doesn’t know when her stockists or art school will reopen or what the future holds. She says “I do know I’ll just keep painting and sharing my art with a virtual audience”.
Enjoy Anna’s gallery of images below. Anna’s virtual sites can be found under the gallery.
Calling Rye artists
Rye News is running this “Featured Artist” feature on the Culture page to support local artists whose normal channels of communication have been halted during lockdown, and also to celebrate the creativity we have in this area. If you’d like to be featured, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Image Credits: Anna Wilson Patterson , Anna Wilson-Patterson https://www.facebook.com/AnnaWilsonPattersonArt/.