As Scotland slowly approaches a new normal after the Covid-19 lockdown, Shawbost artist DK Macleod has been busy creating, despite the challenges.

On a practical level, it has been difficult to source materials as art supply stores have been hit by lockdown and of course galleries have been shut. DK initially expected the lockdown period to be one of few sales and a chance to use available time to paint new work to send away to galleries when they reopened, and to add more artwork to his growing website.

What he didn’t expect was the positive and important influence of the art community on his own experience.   The Artist Support Pledge was created in March 2020 by English artist Matthew Burrow who wanted to find a way to support artists in a time of massive economic downturn.  

Using Instagram to highlight and sell their art, at no more than £200 per piece, each artist pledges to purchase the artwork of a fellow artist once they hit £1,000 of sales. The virtuous circle of buying beautiful art not only helps give artists a platform to new buyers on the hashtag #artistsupportpledge, but also helps them support each other and keep income flowing for creatives and artists around the world.

DK explains how he got into the Pledge, “I started seeing the #artistsupportpledge on Instagram in April and spoke to an artist friend who was taking part.   She said the scheme was giving her a real boost and she was seeing sales coming in. To me it seemed like something where I might just sell a couple and then it would fade away into nothing but I’ve sold over 25 paintings to buyers from as far away as New York and North Carolina!”  

DK has had exposure to new buyers, built his following and as part of the pledge has picked up some new art for his own walls, supporting fellow artists in the process.   Life on the islands is slowly returning to some kind of normal and DK is now sending work away to galleries as they begin the process of reopening.

“I’m most delighted about starting to see life return to a new kind of normal. My daughter can go and hug my parents again after changes to lockdown and I’m going to be able to restock my art materials and get painting – the world here on Lewis is slowly beginning to come back to life!”

Born and bred on the West Side, DK works from his studio in Shawbost and displays his work at local and national galleries.  DK studied Art and Design at the University of the Highlands and Islands, North Uist campus in 2004 but since completing the course, has been largely self-taught.  He has spent the subsequent years developing his style which has led to a slow evolution as experimental brush work has given way to a more assured understanding of his tools and process.

DK’s subject is predominantly the land, sky and cloudscapes in his native Scottish islands and he paints in acrylic and oil to create shape, texture and light. DK spends most weekends at the beach, photographing, sketching and capturing ideas to develop back in the studio. Beaches and bays are a particular inspiration.  Working from a converted garage on his croft, DK has created a dedicated space for painting and hanging his work.  Visits can be arranged by appointment.

Paintings are available via his website: www.dkmacleod.co.uk