We’ve all found our own ways of coping during lockdown.
For trail artist, Paula Bowles, painting a secret (or not so secret) Shaun the Sheep has proved a welcome distraction whilst she self isolates at her home. We found out all about Paula’s latest project and exactly what she’s been up to.
“I have painted sculptures for The Grand Appeal since 2013 when they first released Gromit Unleashed onto the streets of Bristol. So of course, I was thrilled to be asked to create a particularly special Shaun during lockdown.
“It’s been an interesting time to try to create something whilst in self-isolation but I find inspiration all around. As the seasons change, a spring theme seemed an obvious choice. It’s a naturally colourful season and a symbol of new beginnings. With it comes a sense of hope and I think that’s a message we all need right now. Shaun will also feature a few rainbows, as a nod to all the wonderful key workers, doing their best up and down the country.
“I am usually busy illustrating children’s books which I’m lucky enough to continue but lockdown has been emotionally stressful at times, especially because I live on my own. I’ve found it hard to focus on work and motivate myself. My mind has been drifting, and I often think about the news, friends or family. When Shaun arrived on my doorstep, it was like a little ray of sunshine!
“I’ve been painting him whenever I get a spare second. Where both my work and social life are now centred around a computer, decorating my four-legged friend has provided some well-needed time away from the screen. It also means I’m not tempted to visit the BBC News website.
“This crisis has left me feeling a little shell-shocked. It’s hard to ignore the endless stream of tragic stories from across the globe. To be given the opportunity to paint and raise money for Bristol Children’s Hospital has truly lifted my spirits. It’s given me purpose and structure and most importantly, Shaun will raise money for so many sick children out there. I know first-hand how much they need our support.
“As part of The Grand Appeal’s art programme at Bristol Children’s Hospital, I’ve visited patients along with storyteller Wilf Merttens. Wilf will make up stories with a child on the spot and I have the task of illustrating them as they brainstorm ideas. It’s magical to be a part of that moment. It might be only 15 minutes or so but asking a patient to join in not only breaks up their day but gives them a valuable chance to create something for themselves. Obviously, we’re unable to visit during lockdown, but I’ve found myself thinking of those children and their families.
“There’s the staff too. They do amazing things and I can’t thank them enough. I hope they are looking after themselves. For anyone feeling stressed, whether or not you’re a key worker, don’t put so much pressure on yourself. I’d recommend painting as a lockdown activity as a good way to unwind, but even I have days where I don’t want to paint and do you know what? That’s fine too!”
If our chat with Paula has left you feeling intrigued, keep your eyes peeled! Our Spring lamb will soon be the grand prize of an exciting raffle, raising funds to support the patients and incredible staff at Bristol Children’s Hospital.