Every cloud has a silver lining . . .

Exhibition Award (July 2020).

TALP Open (The Artist & Leisure Painter magazines)

Red Kite over Dartmoor - Eleanor King

With three paintings completed for the Harbour House Gallery’s ‘WILD LIFE’ exhibition, its cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic was disappointing. Of course many people were experiencing similar disappointments and in the grand scheme of things, this was fairly minor. In early March a social media post from Painters Online had alerted me to the ‘The Artist & Leisure Painter’ open exhibition, which quickly reconfigured into a virtual, online event. It occurred to me that I could redirect these paintings in that direction. I submitted three watercolours, and promptly forgot about the whole thing as I embarked upon various ‘Lockdown projects’, including making curtains and signing up to an online publishing course: ‘Writing & Illustrating a Children’s Book’.

This course lasted ten weeks and whilst I have always enjoyed writing, the demands of a children’s picture book aimed at 3 – 7 year olds proved to be a very different challenge from the scientific research and evidence based writing I do in my day job as a nutritionist! The drawing part of the course was a more familiar comfort zone, waking up old muscle memories from when I was a young graphic designer in London during the 1980s! The course proved to be a fabulous way to fill those long housebound days during April and May. It was only when I saw the instagram post in mid June of a local artist/friend who was announcing that she had had a painting shortlisted in the TALP Open that I was reminded of my own entry. I checked my email and lo and behold, I had two paintings shortlisted: ‘Red Kite over Dartmoor’ and ‘Serengeti Grazers’.

July 9th saw the online, virtual opening of Marquee No. 10 in the Patchings Festival, and the announcement of the winners of the painting competitions. My son may remember my reaction over breakfast as I opened an email, and tried to focus on the words – I asked him to read it for me saying I gathered I might have won something! In fact I had received two prizes! A Daler-Rowney award for watercolours and the judges had also selected me for an exhibition award, which translates into an invitation to exhibit 5 paintings alongside the other 9 winners in a proper exhibition next year.

So yes, the gloomy cloud of the Harbour House Gallery closure due to Lockdown, turned out to have a very real, bright, silver lining.

© Eleanor King 2020

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