There are undoubtedly many firsts of dubious merit this January, what with the whole out-of-control global pandemic thing roaring past our shuttered doors and barred windows. But amongst them is the somewhat glum realisation that this January will be the first in over 100 years that the light-suffused Vaughan bequest of JMW Turner watercolours, traditionally shown from New Year's Day to the 31st of January, will not, this year, be seen.

Two world wars, three years of Spanish flu and much ado inbetween, but it is a small mutated virus, born of bats and animal negligence, that has finally done for Vaughan's generous and charitable stipulation to the National Gallery of Scotland, that his gift of Turner watercolours, spanning the artist's shimmering career, should be shown free of charge every January to anyone who wanted to see them.

And yet this is still Turner's month. You can't help feeling that the Covent Garden-born artist, that champion of atmospheric conditions, would have been a fan of our January light, when we get it. That cold, northern light that sings over the sea, that makes the blues more brilliant, more icy cold, the dark, spindled trees more stark, more utterly still.

But the lesson is this – whilst you can't get in to the galleries, get out, if you can, and see the art that nature provides, mark it down in your own way, or go the national galleries website and scroll through the exhibition in full, the Turner watercolours that will reflect the natural world you have just experienced back at you through the prism of the artist's eye.