At the start of the 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic I was in a bit of an artistic rut. I thought I wouldn't be doing much drawing and painting.
Everyone was worried about the same things - going out, whether they were going to get enough food, toilet rolls.... the endless queues at supermarket, helping their mums and dads who lived in different areas of the country, helping their aging relatives....
Painting? Would I have the time, would I have the inclination, would anyone be bothered, what was the point?
That soon changed when I posted a picture on Social Media to give a positive message to friends out there who were feeling the same way as me......"Tarn Stay Strong"....
The "Tarn Stay Strong" image was spotted by the editor of the Barnsley Chronicle, my local newspaper, which is already struggling to survive during this digital age, and even more so during the pandemic.
As with a lot of things these days, everyone knows "The Chron" and I'm sure the readership has dwindled over the years, but these things are part of our local heritage and, love it or loathe it, needs to be supported.
Anyway, the editor, Andrew Harrod, asked me if he could use the image. Of course I said yes and he also asked me if I had a few ideas that he could use over the coming weeks as part of weekly lockdown reporting.
Time to get the grey cells working......
27th March 2020 - Front Page No.1 - Tarn Stay Strong
I adapted the image to include the rainbow to show support to our fabulous NHS frontline heroes. Where would we be without them?
3rd April 2020 - Front Page No.2 - All You Need Is Love
This image was a homage to an old painting of mine "when the Beatles came to Barnsley" a take on the cover of the fab four album Abbey Road.
This picture expanded on the local theme, including on the NHS rainbow, but also including the message of social distancing and wearing of face masks.
10th April 2020 - Front Page No.3 - Stay Safe, Stay at Home
The message from the Government for the weekend of the 10th April was an urgent one.
Afraid of crowds of people flocking to beaches and the countryside during the bank holiday weekend, and the NHS being swamped with new cases of Coronavirus, the message to us was to stay safe and stay at home, and protect the NHS.
17th April 2020 - Front Page No.4 - You Are Not Alone
Another message from the Government to the victims of domestic violence and abuse.
The message "you're safe at home" obviously excluded the thousands of women and children who were suffering at the hands of abusers, with nowhere to turn during the pandemic.
1st May 2020 - Front Page No.5 - Protect Our NHS
Many messages in this one as the pandemic takes hold and the daily news was pretty grim.
Stay apart, social distancing, stay strong, keep safe, wash your hands, wear a mask.
8th May 2020 - Front Page No. 6 - VE Day - We'll all meet again soon
So many things to celebrate; Captain Tom, the NHS, VE Day. A ray of hope and local celebrations, albeit social distancing in place, people holding their mini street parties in their own gardens, during these bleak times.
22nd May 2020 - Front Page No. 7 - Stopping the Second Wave
WIth news from around the world about the expectation of a second wave of COVID-19, the future was looking bleak. Again, celebrating the saviours, our NHS heroes.
12 June 2020 - Front Page No. 8 - the Barnsley Bounce Back
Has the Tarn survived, opening for business, with trepidation, and social distancing. Support your local businesses and help the green shoots of recovery.....let's get things moving again, with care, of course.
3rd July 2020 - Front Page No. 9 - The Grand Opening
Pubs open for business. The message from the Chron: "Show Common Sense".
17th July - Front Page No. 10 - Thank You Postie
24th July - Front Page No. 11 - THE GREAT ESCAPE
THANK YOU.....THANK YOU.....THANK YOU.....XX
Throughout the pandemic we owe our thanks to all the Keyworkers, be they Doctors, Nurses, NHS workers, Posties, Delivery Drivers, Emergency Services, Bin Men, Shopworkers .....
Here are a few of the additional pics that I did to show my gratitude
Celebrating the 72nd birthday...many happy returns NHS
The Lockdown Album covers