How the Free Spirits Collection Started

Jo Sharpe lost her father during lockdown. The restrictions from seeing him before he died or when attending the funeral were heart-breaking.  Just like so many other families who experienced similar hardships at that time. At least Jo had her studio to paint in. This was a creative outlet during this awful period.  She produced a collection of artworks that explored her creative response to this grief.

The Free Spirits Collection

The collection is continually evolving and becoming a much larger collection of works. 
The Free Spirits collection is a development from the original exhibition:  Free Spirits: Loss in Lockdown – Exhibition of art and poetry. 
The collection delves far deeper into the haunting internal and external landscapes of Norfolk and Surrey. It expresses the creative story of Jo’s experiences and feelings over that difficult time which also involved the death of her dear mother too.

The exhibition includes works on the theme of birds as a metaphor for all the free spirits during the pandemic lockdown. There are also pieces from Jo’s other popular collections such as ’Follow your Heart,’ prints, and botanical scarves and cushions which can make great gifts for upcoming Valentine’s and Mother’s day.

The artworks are up in January and February and viewings can also be made by appointment at Studio 9, The Old Stable Block, Oaks Park, Croydon Lane, Carshalton, Surrey, SM7 3BA. 

Jo Sharpe says:

“Due to lockdown I was able to spend more time in my studio than I normally would have done. I was unable to see my dad, who was in and out of hospital and then in isolation in a care home due to the coronavirus restrictions. I would think about him while I was painting.  I realised that all the seascapes I had painted in the last year were an outlet for my stress and sadness over his situation and declining health.

“My dad died in the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital in October 2020 but I will always be thankful for the few days I was able to spend with him in hospital before he passed away. That time was so important because it enabled me to let him know how much I loved and cared for him.”

Jo Sharpe hopes the exhibition shows how creativity can become an outlet for processing grief. She wants to encourage others to use their natural creativity to process the loss and absence that the pandemic has caused. She is currently working on turning the collection of works into a book.

Creative Workshops for Wellbeing

Jo has planned several creative workshops on this theme. She hopes as well as being enjoyable they will help relieve stress and sadness that many people have accrued over the last few years.  The first workshop involves birds and hearts and the second is called ‘Free your Spirit’ where you can let your hair down with various painting techniques. The third is Stormy skies, calm seas.

The workshops for up to eight people can be held in Jo’s studio, a beautiful studio in Oaks Park, Carshalton, Surrey or other locations. They can be run privately or as part of a group.

Anyone interested in coming along to these workshops can book via the website: Art Workshops for Adults in Surrey – Jo Sharpe | Surrey artist ( or contact Jo for more information via email: