The Lockdown Fox

The Lockdown Fox - Topsham Museum

Added: 17 August 2020

Late one evening during the early part of lockdown, I looked out of my window in Topsham and watched a fox casually walking down the road and into the High Street.  Although I know foxes have adapted well to urban life and are now common in many towns and cites, there is still a thrill in catching a glimpse of this elusive creature.  I grew up on a North Devon farm, and although the fox was not a welcome creature, to me it still represents the untameable nature of the countryside. In Spring this year there were reports of wild goats and deer in people’s gardens, and it seemed that with less traffic on the roads, fewer planes in the sky and people not going out so much, the natural world had become bolder and more visible. 

 The fox represented this changed environment, so I decided to do some artwork to illustrate how wildlife was adapting.  I chose Indian ink and a dip-pen, which I find more flexible than fixed-nib drawing pens.  I wanted to add a colour wash on a watercolour card, but this clogged the pen nib, so I switched to Bristol Board, which has a harder surface.  Using photographs of Topsham locations as reference, I made an initial pencil drawing on A4 board and added the fox. This was then over-drawn in black Indian ink and a colour wash applied, before over-drawing in black again to finish.

 That first image showed the fox walking across Fore Street, with the new moon in the night sky.  I scanned it and posted it on Facebook.  It was well received, so I carried on producing images of a fox in various places around the town, ending up with nine images, together with another I’d done previously in a similar style.

 A few comments suggested a children’s book, so I put the idea to Topsham Museum, where I am a volunteer, and they kindly offered to publish it for me.  This will hopefully help to raise funds and awareness of the museum until it is able to re-open. The book can be bought from the museum’s online shop www.shop.topshammuseum.org.uk The illustrations in the book are available as A4 prints or greetings cards form philkeen30@gmail.com

Phil is a valued member of the Museum’s creative team and we are delighted to support this venture. The book is published by the Museum with profits going towards Museum funds. A printed version is on sale for £4.00 from our new online shop and at various places around town, including 21 Victoria Road and on some Saturdays at Matthews Hall or Fore Street.