A long creak and a loud bang travels through the cottage, signalling Rob's departure for work and the beginning of his lockdown commute.The stoney path that stretches down the garden to Rob's make shift studio is sandwiched between a hedgerow on one side and flower beds the other. There are no turns, but plenty of distractions.
It is not unusual, in fact I would say it has become usual, to peer out through one of the cottage windows and see Rob has not made it as far as the studio that day. Instead he has amassed what can only be described as an impressive collection of tools and begun a new project in the garden.
"Painting should never be a chore"
Painting should never be a chore, Rob will say, whilst mimicking a professor at his art college. One thing you learn about Rob, fairly quickly, is his immediacy. When a task is placed before him, Rob will almost immediately be completing it, no matter what other activity he is already doing.
Whilst to others this may look like a distraction from his art, it is in fact anything but and to call it procrastination would miss the productive nature of these activities. No, what it is only becomes apparent weeks later, when we settle down for our family lunch and Rob presents a new painting within which is a snippet of the project Rob has been busying himself with weeks earlier.
Please, don't misunderstand, Rob has not been sailing the high seas chasing Sea Serpents, nor has he taken up horse riding (or road trips to Barnard Castle for that matter), but even these paintings seem inspired by conversations.
Rob's gardening puzzles often involve problem solving, creative engineering and stamina. Whether it's the gravelling of the path, crafting 30ft long trellising or re-fencing the veg patch, each have been acknowledged in Rob's work for their contribution to his lockdown experience.
As a contributor and co-creator of LibertyTree.Scot, Rob will also be publishing his letters and selling original pieces direct from LibertyTree.Scot on our website gallery with new paintings added weekly.