- Countries Visited: 43… I think
- Travel Wishlist: Japan, India and North Korea😎
- Locked down in: Galway, Ireland
“I had six friends in a group where we would work out together everyday. They were in Canada, Hawaii, Switzerland, Australia and London. This was a massive help to my mental state.”
Before I make this all about me, a quick intro to the Irish lockdown:
We went into full lockdown for 6 weeks in March. Only essential shops were open and you could not walk further than 2k from your home. I was stopped by police regularly. We have gone back into lockdown 2.0 2 weeks ago. Only essentials. I can only exercise up to 5k from my house. Schools are still open. Pubs/restaurants have been pretty much closed the entire time. Some can do takeaway. Restaurants were open for a few months in the middle! We are known for our drinking and our night life. Covid has done a huge amount of damage to this sector. We’ve had big numbers in the last few weeks and our healthcare system cannot handle a spike, we just don’t have enough beds. We’ve been criticised for having the harshest restrictions in Europe. Saying that, we’ve had some of the lowest deaths.
Now! My story!
So, I was in the UK when covid had started to surface, there were a few whispers about it but I didn’t pay too much heed to it, I was going to Fiji for work. Finally, my dream job! I had to swing back to Ireland before flying to Fiji and the day I left, Ireland went into lockdown. I was like ‘see ya later alligator’, I’ll be fine on a remote island in Fiji. Well, I got that wrong, didn’t I? 6 days later, still not over my jet lag and with a serious case of gastroenteritis, I was flying back home. We were taking bets about when we would be back again. I said 3 weeks!
I had to self isolate which I actually really enjoyed! Loads of YouTube workout videos and Netflix to keep me company. It started to dawn that this was going to last longer than expected. So I found a temporary apartment to wait out the storm. I wanted to make the most of this time off so I studied personal training and started painting again. I had six friends in a group where we would work out together everyday. They were in Canada, Hawaii, Switzerland, Australia and London. This was a massive help to my mental state. Six cheerleaders getting each other through another week.
So I had painted portraits my whole life, I was always ok-ish at it. I only paint from pictures, which I was told for years, was not ‘real’ art. So to keep myself occupied and busy I started again. Well. It took off. I started getting really busy with commissions… which, honestly, can be very challenging. I have recently been making high quality prints and they’ve been very popular.
This all sounds fantastic but there have been some serious lows. I was just starting my career in prop making. I had worked for Marvel and Netflix. 6 months later, I was begging prop masters to take me back with no reply. After my temporary apartment ended in August, I slept on my dads couch for 6 weeks. I kept up the hope that somebody from London would call me. I applied to every Facebook ad and nothing. I recently got brought on to a horror movie in Dublin. That was great fun. I realised around early October, that I could take a leap of faith and paint for a living. Give it a real try. Be a real girl artist! And hey, if I fail, I fail, there’s always work in something else.
So this leads us up to today. I am currently on my second day of an art residency in Galway. I’m here for two months to explore my portraiture.. to try and make ‘real’ art!
Covid has been absolute pain in the ring. I’ve had days were getting out of bed has been a serious struggle. I workout like a champ to try counteract the time I spend in the fridge. And it really helps with anxiety and depression. I’m trying my best to make the most out of this. It’s not always easy. But it is temporary. We will look back at this in 2025, still wearing masks and laugh. ‘What new skill did you learn in 2020?’ This has been my story, which is has been relatively successful, my heart goes out to the people who haven’t had such a good run.
Fair play to you Jamesa! Hopefully this page will comfort a few. I know it certainly helped me!