On a person level they are hundreds of joyful, spirit-lifting paintings of poppies. But for the artist Brian Clarke they are also a variety of diary of the pandemic – the highs, the lows, the reduction and the hope.

Clarke is greatest identified for his function with architectural stained glass, but he also paints, and over the very last yr, via the lockdowns, he has been obsessively painting poppies.

Far more than 500 of the watercolour paintings have long gone on exhibit at the Berkeley Square galleries of the London auction home Phillips.

Observed together, they signify a type of pandemic journal. “It wasn’t a acutely aware point of wanting to illustrate what is likely on,” reported Clarke. “It just takes place due to the fact you are just there, you are putting on your mask, you’re isolating, you’re not viewing the persons you want to see.”

Watercolour of lone poppy
Brian Clarke has devoted his selection of poppy watercolours to his late mate Linda McCartney. Photograph: David Levene/The Guardian

Some operates have tons of poppies clustered jointly, perhaps expressing a hope that if we are alongside one another, we are more powerful. Other poppies droop, sag and decay. Other folks stand proudly by them selves.

At least four functions characteristic the disposable masks that had been applied in the early times of the pandemic. “I imagined I’d done 20 or 30 of them to be honest.”

Clarke explained he experienced been painting the poppies night time and working day appropriate the way by the pandemic. “When you’re functioning and it’s going properly, you really don’t want to get out of the water you are swimming in. I’d wake up and paint them and then I’d go to bed irritated that rest was interrupting what I needed to be executing. That carried on for a calendar year, on and off.”

At one level, every little thing about the pandemic got on prime of him and he begun drawing skulls and summary models for stained glass, but he before long went back again. “I couldn’t retain absent from the poppies.”

It is a display screen “quietly dedicated” to his friend the late Linda McCartney. Clarke claimed McCartney would acquire poppy seeds, the variety you set on bread, “and she would sling them out of the car or truck window. You’d appear back again and see a line of poppies by the road. I can not glimpse at a poppy devoid of thinking of Linda.”

Clarke stated poppies also reminded him of the stained glass he is better acknowledged for operating with. “The petals are so slim that the light-weight shines ideal by them so normally.

“It just can take the smallest little blow on a poppy and the petals dance all around the position.”

  • Brian Clarke’s collection of paintings, titled Vespers, will be on view till 10 September and on sale at www.leviathan.heni.com from 1 September.