The current Coronavirus outbreak my old painting "Sitting Duck" has gained a fair amount of new attention. It shows a situation that many commuters could relate to even before the pandemic.
The true reason behind its creation started in 2016 when I lost a lot of my mobility, I struggled to walk and was in constant pain. I was finally diagnosed with a chronic autoimmune disease which caused swollen joints and trapped pockets of synovial fluid. The only way to treat this was to chemically surpress my immune system and I spent a lot of time laid up in bed. This is when I started to paint again after a gap of more than 20 years. Sitting Duck was only my third new painting.
I was still travelling to work by train when I started working on "Sitting Duck". The painting was intended to highlight how vulnerable I felt when everyone else was coughing in a confined space around me. I had around 1-2 hours on each train journey so thought I could paint small amounts at a time and then compile them into a larger image.
This method worked well for me and Sitting Duck was painted over about 15 different trips. I added new people but always tried to sit at the same seat to get the same angles. I like to paint in the live environment but couldn't setup with oil paints on the train so I used a discrete digital tablet to paint extra details onto the image. When I got home I then painted and corrected the main painting with the final work representing 100's of hours of painting and repainting. I'm very pleased with how it developed and how the final work turned out.
I entered the finished work into the Refresh Art Award and was delighted to be shortlisted. It's fantastic that they are giving representation to new and emerging artists like me and I'm proud to have been a part of the first show. I'm really looking forward to seeing the next round of entries when it reopens.