A friend and I who had similar Decembers and Januarys in many ways were talking the other evening. We both confessed to not having painted for nearly a month. His mother had passed away a few weeks ago after three weeks in hospice. He had developed simultaneously crippling arthritis and his partner had put him on notice that their relationship was pretty much untenable.
I had been in the hospital with chest pains and a subsequent angiogram that had shown no cause for concern but it took about two weeks to fully recover from the procedure. My mother, meanwhile, had become suddenly severely disabled with dementia and I had to spend nearly a month going through 80 years of things she was unable to throw out - and then I had to move her from one location in her building to another that offers assisted living - my mother lives in Dubuque, Iowa. All this while trying to prepare lessons for a new drawing course that began on MLK day and my two web design courses that began the day after.
So - the question I pose here is - WHY IS IT ALWAYS OUR ART THAT SUFFERS when our lives hit the fan? WHY DOES PAINTING TAKE A BACK SEAT to everything else?
My buddy said, "Well it's hard to paint when you're depressed". True - but shouldn't our studios be the first place we seek out when it all comes tumbling down?
I pose these questions as food for thought. I don't expect there is an answer that makes complete sense. Painting requires focus, patience and time. I find it nearly impossible to paint when there is a nagging monkey on my back and I wonder - are we all like that? Am I just being self-indulgent?
We were talking this out before our life drawing session began on Thursday evening. Our model was C, a beautiful woman who has been sporting dayglo magenta hair for the past several months. It is now transitioning to white and is currently a kind of blue violet with metallic pink and lilac. I've painted her at least three times prior and each time was unhappy with the results - while the paintings weren't necessarily bad - the likeness just wasn't there. This week I nailed it. Finally - here is C.
This site is both the chronicle of my recent sabbatical - the theme of which was "a sense of place" and my ongoing work in life after sabbatical. I try to share thoughts and insights about my work and the practice of painting that others will find useful and applicable to their own work. I hope you enjoy your visit!