Abigail McGourlay, 20, who studies fine arts at Leeds University, painted a self-portrait titled Brewing, in which she is pictured drinking a cup of tea in the bath, two things she found comforting during lockdown.
She is now in the running to win the Arts Society’s Isolation artwork competition, alongside Harrogate artist Emma Money, whose piece Spirit is shortlisted.
Another work by McGourlay, Thalia Dorme, was also included.
The 10 works of the eight shortlisted artists form a virtual exhibit hosted on The Arts Society Connected website from today, where people have the opportunity to vote for their favorite.
Artists have been asked to respond to the theme of isolation and have produced new works that reflect the artists’ experience of lockdown.
Many works explore feelings of uncertainty, loneliness as well as nature, connection and love, using subjects ranging from self-portraits to protecting loved ones, and materials ranging from acrylic to ballpoint pen. and in pencil.
Ms McGourlay said: “I have struggled with the current situation both mentally and physically.
“The uncertainty of confinement put me in a pretty stressful state of mind and I found it difficult to feel motivated at first.
“But it was thanks to confinement that I rediscovered my love of painting.
“This room captures a real moment of comfort, in my two favorite things, a hot bubble bath and a hot cup of tea and myself.”
Ms McGourlay was finishing her sophomore year in college and working as a swim instructor when the lockdown hit.
She was put on leave from work and continued her studies at home.
She continued: “I decided to regain some control that my forties had refused me and to set myself goals, I started to learn French, to work on my physical form and my flexibility and especially to concentrate. on my painting projects.
“Despite the struggle, I feel a lot more optimistic about my future now, I know I want to make changes in my life and have proven to myself that these changes are achievable over the past few months.
Ms McGourlay added: “I started sketching this self-portrait early in my freshman year in college, but as I started to develop and focus on my sculptural practice in college, many of my projects in college. painting have been put on hold.
“It was through this room, and the time I was given in confinement, that I rediscovered my love of the medium of painting.
“The feeling of total consumption in a work, like an almost hypnotic state, is how my father described me when I was painting, and it is in this work that I feel like I have experienced this relationship again. with paint.
“This piece captures a real moment of comfort, in my two favorite things a hot bubble bath and a hot cup of tea and within myself I’m usually never the subject of my own work and this piece has allowed me to explore my own functionality in a way I’ve never felt comfortable doing before. “
Its working title was simply PG Tips.
Florian Schweizer, CEO of The Arts Society, said: “We want to recreate and promote a sense of community, belonging and connection during a time of isolation and distancing.
“We believe the arts have the power to bring people together, and we will not let this virus prevent communities from enjoying the arts with each other. “
The Arts Society is a leading arts education charity with a global network of over 380 local societies.
Members of the public wishing to vote for their favorite isolation artwork can do so at: https://www.connected.theartssociety.org/ isolation-artwork-competition