The lockdowns we’ve experienced over the last year have given many of us much time for reflection. This collection of portraits created during the lockdown shows loss, isolation and people simply lost in contemplation; however the human spirit endures


"During the past lockdown, I'm lucky to have been drawing with an Oxford online group - I'm other side of the country so wouldn't have managed it in normal circumstances.

This was Tom's first session before he went off to work in his local hospital." – Jane Hodgson

Jane Hodgson Tom before his Hospital Shift Pastel £360

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"Me, myself and my space.

After a long period in one place, inner thoughts had become repetitive, obsessive and confusing as more time went on.

Maybe I'll do some cleaning.

Maybe I'll watch videos about dinosaurs.

Maybe it's time to bring up that internal monologue again.

I still don't know how to feel about it all, but I've definitely learnt a lot about myself."

– Stefan Tiburcio

Stefan Tiburcio Lockdown Thoughts Graphite £2,800

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"Until Something Unexpected Happens is a black and white pencil and graphite portrait of Peter. A close-up study of an ex-military man with a sharp sense of duty, dress, mind and uncompromising sense of self.

He remains locked in during lockdown. With his deteriorating health, he remains marooned from his family, friends and neighbours.

Peter pacifies his time emailing his friends, scrolling through social media, completing the Times crossword puzzle and drawing on his iPad app. Daily he longs to see his grandchildren. " – Gavin Bowyer

Gavin Bowyer Until Something Unexpected Happens Pencil £5,000

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"This drawing has been a way for me to explore the reflections, the silence, the fears and vulnerability I went through during lockdown as well as the physical impossibility of doing anything about it.

The act of sitting and quietly listening to the murmurations of starlings seemed to me to encapsulate what this strange time meant to me.

This piece has also been for me, an exploration in the use of coloured pencils. I love using this medium as I find it is very "domestic" - it does not smell or stain and therefore it is perfect to be used inside and it underlines the domesticity of this drawing.

The study and exploration of tone and light is, as always, an important part of my practice and looking outside towards the light is for me a symbol of hope." – Cristina Celestini

Cristina Celestini Murmurations I Colour pencil & charcoal £1,200

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Lyn Gray Shutdown Charcoal & conté £600

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"My wife mourns a colleague

The desire to wail is met by her pillow

The psalms pass from grief to praise

One takes despair to chisel out a dark poetry

Languid shapes coalesce into shapes of light

Grace turns this darkness into a kind of brilliance

Happy/sad

Just passing through." – Simon Klein

Simon Klein Face Oil pastel £695

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"This is a very personal portrait of my mother and seeks to portray her struggles after suffering from a fall.

She is normally a strong and resilient soul who cares for her husband with dementia, and I wanted to reflect how age can sometimes compromise that inner strength, with all the struggles and toils that life throws our way.

The fall happened early this year, not along after lockdown commenced."– Catherine MacDiarmid

Catherine MacDiarmid Bruised 1 Charcoal £550

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"We have all missed our friends in the past months, and think of them often. We support each other in whatever way we can.

When we meet again, we will feel such joy.

And we know we will always be friends." – Jocelyn Rossiter

Jocelyn Rossiter We Will Always Be Friends Oil pastel, black ink & black and yellow acrylic lines £580

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"The 2020 COVID pandemic - a unique year in modern times. I have made a 2020 series of 3 portraits, the subjects deliberately cover a wide age range - 69, 19 and just 2 years old. Richard (69) and Alex (19) are shown ‘reflecting on 2020’ while Finn (2) is simply ‘looking forward’ to his future. The three are treated differently, Richard - charcoal only on linen, Alex - charcoal with soft pastel highlights on linen and Finn strongly coloured soft pastel on paper.

In this portrait Richard is lost in thought, eyes cast down, reflecting on the upheaval to his life caused by the pandemic.

The work is charcoal on linen, allowing the texture of the material to become part of the drawing." – Jan Stephens

Jan Stephens 2020 Reflections - Richard Charcoal £1,200

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"This is one of a series of drawings of Adrian made during lockdown.

I have worked with Adrian for a number of years, and this collection of drawings has developed from recent oil paintings. I used Faber-Castell Polychromos coloured pencil, Bistre tint for each of these drawings." – Adele Wagstaff

Adele Wagstaff Adrian Colour pencil £650

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"This drawing attempts to capture the fickle nature of self-isolated self-reflection and boredom.

Self-isolated, time becomes warped and a sense of control is lost. With the disruption of typical routine and structure, self-identity can shift and subdued characteristics can surface. 

Self-reflection can take over with thoughts spiralling down rabbit holes.

Then comes the stillness of boredom. The realisation that nothing has really changed. 

The room you've been in is the same.

That is the same lamp.

That is the same mirror.

That is me sitting at my desk." – Tom Hudson-Davies

Winner of The Yoshimoto Prize

Tom Hudson-Davies Self Isolation Pitt pastel on paper £300

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Michael Lang Nocturnal Lockdown Self Portrait Charcoal £450

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Discover more Portrait & Figure works from The Pastel Society