Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Catching My Breath


“In every painting a whole life is mysteriously enclosed, a whole life of tortures, doubts, of hours of enthusiasm and inspiration.”
Wassily Kandinsky

I don’t quite understand how I can so easily forget what spring feels like. Take today for example. It’s the beginning of March and, after a few months of dark dreary days, we now have full sun, warm(ish) air and birds singing! I have found myself in culture shock. But it wasn’t that long ago, was it?

How soon we forget.

After a few short months of transitioning from one (old) studio space to another (new) studio space, I am once again at the easel working full time. I’m beginning to remember what it felt like to paint for long hours each day, but how could I even have forgotten? I’ve been doing it for years! And it wasn’t that long ago that I had to prepare for another solo exhibit. I was painting looooong hours each and every day! But it felt strange when I first walked up to the easel. The atmosphere has changed a bit (greatly improved, in fact.) But the easel is the same. The brushes…the pallet…the panel…my technique…all the same.

When we take breaks from a daily routine of art making, which we should do now and then, the re-entry process can sometimes be surprising. Personally, I have found that, once I get over the false guilt of taking a break in the first place, my confidence waivers a bit. I’ve been painting in oils for over 40 years and I still wonder if I haven’t forgotten how to paint. Sounds silly, but I’m being totally honest here.

As I look back over the years of this art career of mine, I realize that the process of art making is cyclical. And it should be. It’s okay to take breaks. It’s okay to feel a bit lost and even surprised by the sensations of art making after a bit of a break. If anything, it should bring a fresh new look to what we are doing in the first place…creating something from nothing.

The early spring air makes me want to garden…dig in the dirt…clean my house. But I’m not sure another break from the easel is such a good idea right now. I feel like I am just getting started. Maybe I’ll just eat my lunch al fresco.