Why lockdown has been a "blessing" for some artists

Pandemic, isolation, social distancing, masks and lockdown have become dismally common words these days.

Thursday, 11th February 2021, 10:00 am
Gertruda Totu
Gertruda Totu

But Hastings artist Gertruda Totu has managed to find plenty of consolation – in her art.

“As bad as it was, lockdown for artists has actually been a blessing in a way,” she says.

“Looking back, being confined to staying indoors, has enabled me to lose myself in art and this has made me very productive. There is one problem though: it is harder to get your work seen, to be in front of the people who love art and show your artwork.”

Her point is that you can always rely on art: “Art can be a source of comfort and reassurance in times of crisis. Our current situation, with billions of people cut off from their normal lives, is unprecedented. But in these kind of moments you start realising who you actually feel close to and what you really like to do in your free time. You see yourself the way you are, you discover yourself with your limits and your strength because it’s so quiet and it feels like time has stopped.

“Originally from Romania, I moved to the UK in 2015 and settled in Hastings which has always been an artists’ town. I have an extensive background in art, counting 23 years of intense passion since I first presented my art to the public in 1998. When I was a teenager I was inspired by impressionist painters and later I was fascinated by Dali, O’Keeffe and Shishkin.

“Lockdown has been a blessing for some artists. Not being able to travel or go out to meet friends made me direct my energy towards painting. Evenings and weekends, with music in the background, became a game with brushes and colours, a dance on the canvas. In this dance I found my strength, my calm, my world and through my art I expose my inner feelings to everyone’s eyes.

“When I paint, I feel fragile and powerful at the same time, I have the power to decide. I am in control. What’s inspiring me can be a word, an image or a colour. All I need is the right mood and the colours start telling the story. Yellow can speak about joy and sunny days, purple about elegance or a long overdue hug, blue about wind gently touching your skin, red about a flower’s parfum or a tear on your cheek.

“Last year, between February 17-March 1 2020, I had my last show in Hastings exhibiting 40 paintings. I felt appreciated. With endless hours to kill indoors, now, in less than an year, I have 50 new artworks ready to be seen by the art lovers – portraits, landscapes, modern art, all waiting for galleries to open up their doors to the public.

“My nudes express the ideals of beauty and virtue, my horses express my need of freedom, my landscapes the desire to travel and my flowers represent fragility.”

You can contact Gertruda on [email protected]