Lockdown Portraits: Letters to the Ex

Lockdown Portraits: Letters to the Ex

So my relationship didn’t work. I was devastated. Strangely, at the time, most of my work colleagues were going through a similar situation; break-ups, divorces, general unhappiness. We spent most of our break and lunch breaks talking about it, the disbelief of it all. I had an idea to turn our conversation into a project, our pain into pieces of art. What if we could tell our ex’s exactly how we felt while we make positive steps to move on with our lives without them?

Before I knew it, I was telling my colleagues that I was going to draw them and hand over their portrait to them for them to finish in any way they saw fit. They could write on it, rip it, paint on it… whatever they wanted. The piece would be collaborative in the realist sense. I forgot to mention here that I don’t really do portraits… so behold my surprise when in doing the first subject, it actually looked like my sitter??



The first of a number of collaborative pieces: My sitter loves orchids, and teal. When I asked her what she would want to say to her ex, she said with a laugh and smile; ‘I’m better now thanks!’ 


Once I completed the first portrait I realised that (for the first time), I really enjoy drawing people! Who knew? As the project grew, so did my confidence in my ability to draw a decent portrait. Below are a few sketches of my colleagues, and later some friends. I had so many great, healing conversations about heartbreak, healing, and moving on.


Below you see some finished pieces; The Boyfriend; I had no words. The friend; heartbreak is not reserved for romantic relationships. Here is an example of that. The collaborative element was extracts from her journal - of which she wrote reams in order to process the grief and loss of her friend. And finally the Girlfriend; a musical man, he spoke of the fragility of the relationship, feelings of walking on eggshells as not to upset his ex. Hence the eggs. The cracks in the eggs are a sound signature to composition he wrote about her. As you can see, the project is far from over. Wherever there is life, human hearts will be broken and will be in need of an empathetic ear.

nadine-walker-london-NZF nadine-walker-london-TFF nadine-walker-london-NWF


If you’d like to get involved do contact me, I’d love to talk with (and draw) you xx

Back to blog