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The HeART of The Matter

A little something for Mental Health Awareness Week

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week – and the theme this year is ‘Kindness’. I’m currently supporting a local heritage project called The Locals Diaries, which is encouraging people to journal their thoughts and feelings during these unusual times. Part of this support is a series of creative ‘how to’ videos, designed to give people something artistic to do, and to consider applying the creative process to their own journalling. If you’re interested, you can check out the videos here on the Sutton Council Youtube channel. Two have been published so far, and there’s one coming out this week focusing on kindness and poetry.

In addition to this work – I’ve been continuing my free art drops, albeit online, and I’m doing some creative practice linked to kindness through my work at GameShift.

I wanted to do something else to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, so this morning, I made a series of ten small artworks – simple designs painted onto 100% cotton rag paper.

These mini art drops will be placed in our neighbourhood over the next few days, when I’m out and about taking exercise. There will be no photos, no clues, but if you happen to spot one of these when you’re out and about – please take it if you like it. If you’re doing anything in support of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, I’d love to hear about it.

Update: I hid two of the mini hearts on May 18th – and later that evening someone contacted me to say they found one, while they were out walking their dog. That was a kind thing to do.

The Garden

Gardens are lovely places. Space to wander, think, breathe, remember, and more. I’m not a keen gardener but I am thankful to have some outside space to escape to.

In my role as Artist In Residence with GameShift – I’ve recently had the opportunity to artistically explore the garden as a place of remembrance. I’ve been working with some good people at Barts Hospital, designing an image to represent an online garden of remembrance. I chose to work in a representational style using ink and watercolour. Not my usual thing – but very little feels usual right now, so I used this as an opportunity to stretch myself and to hone my drawing skills a little too. Here’s what I came up with:

The Garden V1.0

I showed the work to the people at Barts, and I got some positive feedback and was asked to add some flowers into the mix. Flowers eh – good idea. See, I told you I’m not a keen gardener 🙂 A few flowers duly appeared:

The Garden

The design will now form part of Barts Hospital’s online garden of remembrance. I found the evolution of the design and collaboration process very calming, and I hope a sense of that is conveyed in the art work.

Having spoken with the staff at Barts Hospital – we have agreed to raffle the original art work to raise funds for Barts Charity. The art is A4 in size, painted using Winsor and Newton watercolours, and drawing pens, on 300 gsm watercolour paper. The art is unmounted to make it easer to ship – and it will be accompanied by a signed certificate of authentication.

Tickets for the raffle cost just £3 each and are available here until 10.30pm on Friday 5th June 2020. I hope you will consider supporting this idea, enjoy the art, and good luck in the raffle.

The treasure of a life
Is a measure of love and respect
The way you live, the gifts that you give

In the fullness of time
A garden to nurture and protect
It’s a measure of a life

The Garden : N. Peart

Wandering In Imagination

We have a garden. I’ve never been a keen gardener and right now, I’ve never more thankful for immediate access to outdoor space. As well as sitting in the garden, I’ve been contemplating outdoor space artistically too. My new role as Artist In Residence with GameShift, has yielded an opportunity to consider the importance and significance of being outside, and the results of a small garden project will become visible soon. For now, here’s a preamble, in the form of an imaginary path.

I based this drawing on a recollection of a magazine cover. I forget the title of the magazine, but it was something to do with wellbeing and contained an article about being outside. I recalled the image and sketched a version from memory. The work symbolises gratitude. I’m going to offer this A4 pen and watercolour sketch as the next online free art drop. If you are interested in taking part – head over to my Facebook page, where some clues will need to be solved.

As well as thinking about gardens for the GameShift project, I’m also taking time to think about how I chronicle my work in this time of lockdown. The heritage department of our local authority has a project underway called ‘The Locals: Diaries’. It’s an invitation for residents in the borough to keep notes in whatever form they want, and submit copies of the documentation for the borough archives. I’m looking forward to supporting this project, both directly through my own contributions, and as a member of Arts Network Sutton too. More to follow…