• Narelle Callen

Isolation, adjustment and change

By now, you and I will have been a week or more in social distancing mode. Luckily where I live our weather has been quite mild, so the garden is dug, we’ve done some clearing out so the house is a bit cleaner than usual. The kids are home on school holidays and so far making their own fun. I have a super long list of all the things I need to do and every time I tick one off, I add about 5 more.

It will be pretty amazing to look back at this time and to see how we have be able to adjust, cope, change and slip right into a new normal. We will have evolved and changed so quickly we will hardly notice. By the time springs comes around, our gardens will be stunning, and productive. Our houses will be spruced and reduced (ie. All the junk we’ve been meaning to sort out will be gone). We will have put in place new ideas, new regimes, adopted new habits and be completely reinvented. Well, hopefully it all goes that smoothly!


We had to cancel our plans for Easter holiday camping with the kids. Like everyone else we are all at home doing our holiday a bit differently. If this is you too, please enjoy this painting "Tropical Dreaming" on me. I hope it brings some sunshine, blue sky and cool tropical water into your life.


Change is usually gradual and we often don’t notice how we’ve progressed over a long period of time until we compare things to the baseline or what it used to be like. I think this imposed isolation and adjustment to normal life, might see these changes evolve us all more quickly.


Taking a look at my progression and the development of my style over the last few years shows me how my work has had a gradual change and development. I like to see the progression. But like a lot of us, I also cringe at some of my attempts. So I have a pile of things to paint over. I will just keep trying, modifying the technique, trying new ideas, adjusting and changing so I improve and get better at what I do, and hopefully, more interesting in what I paint.

This time last year I was preparing for a number of art shows and art fairs. But unfortunately, they have either been cancelled or postponed for 2020. Instead, I’ve been shuffling my studio around to make room for new work - because it just keeps coming. It doesn't stop. Blessings in disguise I think!


The original of this painting called "Picnic Details" was sold last year at The Other Art Fair. This image is a 30 x 30cm print. I love this painting and if you'd like to see me painting it you can follow this link to my You Tube Channel to see how I did it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XbbkjMxt_6M


This time of confinement means we have to change the way we do many things. From meetings, socialising, buying things, working our jobs. But on the up side, forced change is often what leads to amazing steps forward. Innovation in fact.


Just remember that nothing is a bad idea. It’s just an idea and if it’s not suitable at the moment, it might be useful further down the line. Don’t discard it, just put it aside. You never know when you might need to use it or adjust it a bit more to make it work in a new context.


Here’s to trying new things. Making small step changes and taking leaps of faith as each day is still a bit uncertain.


Stay safe and well. Be mindful and kind to others. Talk to you soon.


You can see more of my work on my website The Callen Collective or follow me on instagram @nlcallen or I'd love to be able to know you better and to do this you can subscribe to my email list here.

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© 2020 by The Callen Collective. 

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