Lockdown walks let artist's imagination roam

Jacqueline's drawing of Lauderdale House will go on display in a virtual exhibition this month

Jacqueline's drawing of Lauderdale House will go on display in a virtual exhibition this month - Credit: Jacqueline Freeman

Lockdown got Jacqueline Freeman's creative juices flowing when she would retreat to the end of her Archway garden to draw.

When she wasn't lacing jam sandwiches with homeopathic cures for the resident foxes, the graphic designer was rediscovering a love of capturing her surroundings.

The Whitehall Park resident had attended art college then "fell into graphic design and forgot about what I loved doing". But the pandemic gave her time and space to rekindle her passion.

"I run my own business which I love, but it gets so busy and I found it hard to find time to just sit down and draw. In the first lockdown I retreated to my garden shed which backs on to wasteland that has been overtaken by wildlife. It was a nice place to get away from the house and I found that half an hour drawing was wonderfully creative and just as calming as listening to my meditation app."

St Joseph's Highgate

St Joseph's Highgate - Credit: Jacqueline Freeman

Eager to improve, she took a 10 week evening course where her tutor encouraged her.

"I thought I lacked imagination and was just good at observational drawing rather than putting my own spin on things, but she encouraged me to start with observation, go into a corner of the house and draw it, then play with it. It was a lightbulb moment. I realised I was going on daily walks noticing lovely things but not seeing it as inspiration. I started to see it through new eyes, scribbling sketches, taking photographs, trying different mediums and techniques. It almost became an addiction."

Archway Bridge

Archway Bridge - Credit: Jacqueline Freeman

Jacqueline's drawings of St Joseph's Highgate, the Parkland Walk, Crouch End Platforms and St Andrew's Whitehall Park are being snapped up on Etsy, and Lauderdale House got in touch to use her drawing in an online heritage exhibition this month.

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She describes them as "observational, playful, light-hearted".

"I've always been a cartoonist and I lay down colour and work over it afterwards. Rather than trying to make it perfect, it's seeing what happens, playing around with it," says Jacqueline, whose Instagram handle @fox.feeder refers to her habit of nourishing the wildlife.

"Art got sidelined as something not practical or important. There's a lot of emphasis on relaxing with yoga, and creativity isn't perceived as being good for you in the same way. I forgot how much I enjoyed it. It's become a habit, now I can't imagine not doing it."