Artists are often quite resourceful people. The challenges posed by the pandemic have been manifold, but many are managing to adapt and find new ways to explore their passions. Crediton artist Vin Jelly lost much of his paid work during lockdown, but kept painting regardless. He also started filming his paintings as they developed and sharing the videos on YouTube. Not only has the filming process helped him concentrate, but he has gathered a new audience for his work.
Before lockdown I was painting portraits, and working out in the landscape, from life, as well as teaching two watercolour classes a week at Crediton Arts Centre. All of these practices have been largely put on hold by the pandemic but it’s not stopped me from painting. Basically, I can’t stop doing it.
Some months before we had heard of Covid 19, I started a YouTube channel which documented my plein air sketching trips, many of which were in the Crediton area. Since lockdown I have worked from photographs taken on the daily walks and, when things eased a little, have managed to get more reference shots from slightly further afield as well as working from life again.
More recently, as summer flowers began to appear, I have made videos of flower paintings as they developed and all of these can be seen on YouTube now.
When I started making the videos, I thought camera work would be a big distraction from painting but I have actually found the opposite to be true. It helps me to concentrate, and I want to make the paintings work, so the film will work also. As a result, I get two creative results for the time spent.
Making videos helps to analyse the painting process too, and is akin to teaching in that you have to ‘realise’ what you are going to do in terms of someone else watching the film as a finished product. Now that making films is part of my painting process, I can’t bear to paint without the camera recording the process. I am hooked! The channel is still fairly small, with just over 200 subscribers, but it’s picking up speed.
Getting any number of followers on social media is no mean feat, especially with well established competition monopolising the ubiquitous algorithm for prime places. It’s still a relatively new world and it’s changing the way we exhibit, sell and look at art. These days, perhaps more than ever, an artist has to be resourceful and must master social media skills as well as the usual skills of our trade.
Okay folks, enough about video and social media. You may have opened this blog because you wanted to know about painting. Well, here is a link to my YouTube channel where you can watch me at work, often with narrative or commentary on the process.
There are plein air sketches done in and around Crediton and also studio pieces in watercolour, some of which have local themes.
For now my teaching is on hold but I’m hoping to resume after Christmas so watch out for my classes at Crediton Arts Centre.
And, if you are interested, you could sign up for classes and have a go yourself. The classes are good fun and we cover a range of topics each term.