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Black Isle art therapist's lockdown portraits through the window put Cromarty folk in the frame


By Louise Glen

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Liz Hall sketches the faces of people during the lockdown.People pop along and sit on her bench outside her house and she draws them from behind the glass. ..Liz scetches Mary Bowers and her dog Hattie...Picture: Callum Mackay..
Liz Hall sketches the faces of people during the lockdown.People pop along and sit on her bench outside her house and she draws them from behind the glass. ..Liz scetches Mary Bowers and her dog Hattie...Picture: Callum Mackay..

A BLACK Isle art therapist has turned her skills to sketching villagers during the coronavirus lockdown.

Liz Hall, who moved to Cromarty fairly recently, said her daily sketches were a way of connecting with the community during the lockdown.

Mrs Hall, a a painter and art psychotherapist, has been inviting village-folk to sit on the bench outside her house, as she draws them from behind a window.

Mrs Hall said: "I am an art therapist who works with people with all kinds of challenges, I am also an artist who works in community projects.

"I wanted to do something in this community to bring us together during the coronavirus restrictions.

"I had initially decorated our window to give people a smile as they walked along the village street, but I still wanted to do a little more."

"We only moved to Cromarty fairly recently, last autumn. The previous years my husband and I had a sabbatical year where we spent time in Portugal and in Zambia. I am involved in training artists in a therapeutic art project for families in Zambia, and it was wonderful to spend time there.

"Before that we lived in Newtonmore, it is lovely to be in Cromarty, in spite of the strange times."

Mary Bowers and her dog Hattie sit for Liz.
Picture: Callum Mackay
Mary Bowers and her dog Hattie sit for Liz. Picture: Callum Mackay

Mrs Hall continued: "As the lockdown went on, I thought that I would like to be able to share portraits of people in the village. I was speaking with my husband about maybe doing something.

"When, one day he came back from the post office and said that people were really keen on the idea. So that was that, I was encouraged to do the Portraits in Lockdown.

"We placed a bench on the pavement outside our home, with a cordon around and a sign that reads 'Art Work In Progress', so people would be able to keep socially distanced, even when they are sitting for their sketch.

"People who come along have an assigned time to sit and I sketch them from the window, sometimes I ask them to come a little bit closer so I can see a little better if there is something I can't see. It is very socially distanced art.

"I have worked over three days to capture as many people as possible."

"It is a lovely way to show that we are all connected.

"Sketching someone is quite an intimate thing and you feel connected with the other person.

"Everyone has been enthusiastic and there is a sense of community.

"I can see people and spend time with them, even if I have not met them before."

Liz Hall sketches the faces of people during the lockdown.People pop along and sit on her bench outside her house and she draws them from behind the glass. ..Liz scetches Mary Bowers and her dog Hattie...Picture: Callum Mackay..
Liz Hall sketches the faces of people during the lockdown.People pop along and sit on her bench outside her house and she draws them from behind the glass. ..Liz scetches Mary Bowers and her dog Hattie...Picture: Callum Mackay..

The effort raised £285.45 for Cromarty Care Project over three consecutive Wednesdays in May. During that time, she sketched 20 children, nine adults and three dogs.

Mrs Hall has been recovering from a broken wrist on her writing and painting hand, and her foray back into sketching has had her plunged back into art, more so that she has for the last few months.

More of Mrs Hall's own work can be seen on her website at artsoulmind.co.uk

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