Date Posted: 12th April 2020

Red church   pastel on paper

Happy funny Easter. It’s strange times like this when we realise the importance of the arts. Having read about David Hockney making i-pad drawings and paintings while in isolation in Brittany, I got my unused I pad pencil out of its pristine white box and have set myself the task of doing one drawing every day. I find I am looking closer at everything around me. Limitations of time and subject give focus and simplification - no deadlines; no pressure. Try it!

This crisis has flagged up the importance of the NHS and the BBC – both recently underrated ‘at risk’ institutions which are precious for us all.

It is hard to imagine how people coped in the days of the Eyam (Derbyshire) plague without the excellent communications systems we have today. We have enjoyed virtual family ‘gatherings’ with a few glasses of wine, face to face chats with friends and even a doorstep disco in the village of St Bees which is a lovely idea. (*its better if you get dressed for these!) There’s no end to the ingenuity of some people.

There’s a lot of art going on here at home and in your homes. I have been glued to The Art Mysteries on BBC 5 with the unpronounceable Waldemar Januszczak. I love a good story and here he explores the stories behind 4 paintings in 4 episodes; Van Gogh’s Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear, Seurat’s Les Poseurs, Gaugin’s Vision after the Sermon and Cezanne’s Card Players. Find all four on BBC i-player until the end of April.

Theatres galleries, cinemas are closed. But are they? We can still access lots of exhibitions on line for free without running the gamut of Bank Holiday travel and the queuing and jostling to get a view. You can wander round the Andy Warhol and the Aubrey Beardsley for free at Tate Modern without even getting out of bed.  The stunning Picasso on paper at The Royal Academy is on line, on Facebook and on YouTube. Register with the National Gallery for Titian without the crowds or access it on Facebook then wander down The Strand to the Courtauld Gallery’s wonderful permanent collection. Get close to Ghent’s Van Eyck exhibition without crossing The Channel, and nip over the border to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and onward to Rome for the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican – whatever floats your boat. Nearer home find this short résumé of Anne Redpath’s life and work at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh and a longer BBC film about her by Michael Palin On Anne Redpath documentary (Ex-S, BBC2, 1997) just google anne redpath and it comes up on youtube.

Register with the National Theatre Live for relayed plays every Thursday at 7pm (Fleabag is on its way if you missed the Phoebe Waller Bridge monologue). The Royal Opera House has put an impressive programme together and there is a plethora of new enticing books. I’m more than half way through The Mirror and the Light – the 3rd of the Hilary Mantel trilogy. A huge heap is building up behind it Oh dear so much choice. (did I say no pressure?). Then there are the vinyls we haven’t had the time to listen to. It goes on … almost too much choice.

The recent auction of 5 Kelly works at Mitchells in Cockermouth fetched very good prices. Future auctions are now suspended until after lock down.   I have just updated some works for sale on  and added a few new ones.  Note the sizes given are framed sizes in centimetres.  Get in touch via the web site for more information.

Meanwhile be positive and make the most of the peace.

The gremlins (or my lack of expertise) have got into this one - sorry!