The Covid Canal Series A creative response to lockdown 2020

When lockdown began I had no idea what impact it would have on my creativity, what response I could or would make. Images of the virus seemed to be everywhere, in every paper I read, every news bulletin. It felt alien yet familiar. Everyone was trying to explain what the virus was, and how it spreads - this is just one of many videos available.

The images of the virus seemed to resonate with the patterns I made as part of my collages. Shapes, texture and colour are crucial parts of my work, I could see parallels, and wifi/bluetooth icons as discussions turned to track and trace apps.

There was beauty and danger in those images. My first attempt to capture this was quite immediate, perhaps obvious, but cathartic none the less.

Like most people, my world in lockdown became much smaller. Daily walks and just getting outside for an hour became so important. . Living beside the Forth and Clyde canal, it became the key artery for my daily walks.. There is always something going on in and around the canal. Being able to focus on the natural world of the canal helped to mark the days, the changing of the seasons and reaffirm hope as the wildflowers bloomed, the swans, ducks and moorhens nurtured their young. As the canal isn't having its regular maintenance, the water lilies are more prevalent than ever this year.

As I watched them grow and flower, I began to see parallels in their patterns and the images of the virus. the water lilies are more prevalent than ever this year. As I watched them grow and flower. This brought more focus to my work. The repeating patterns of the lilies, the replicating force of the virus. The fine line between beauty and death.

Covid Canal 1 (40 x 40cms, mixed media on board)

Covid canal 2 (mixed media on paper, 40 x 60cms)

Covid canal 3 (mixed media on paper, 40 x 60cms)

Covid canal 4 (mixed media on canvas, 20 x 20 x 2.5cms)

Covid canal 5 (mixed media on canvas, 20 x 20 x 2.5cms)

You can find out more about my work, and contact me, by following the links below.

Created By
Sheila MacNeill


Created with an image by CDC - "This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)."