Saturday, January 7, 2017

New Beginnings

Hoar frost on red viburnum berries backlit by the sun

It's a new year. A new year signifies a chance to do things differently. It represents hope. A new beginning. But I haven't painted in eight weeks. I have found myself to be in the middle of a creative block. It was partly triggered by the political uncertainty in the world since the US election and my desolation at how it felt like forces of intolerance and hatred were winning. I also was wracked with doubts about my art business and frustrated by the ongoing challenge of finding the right audience for my paintings.

It hasn't been a complete creative block as I gave myself permission to divert my attention from painting to other creative things--things that required wider focus and less concentration. I repainted the walls of our upstairs hallway. I installed new picture rails to display my art and others. I framed art, mine and pieces I had purchased from friends. I built a simple wood bed frame with Chloé for her room. I reorganized shelves and drawer contents. I've been reading. I walk with Meeko every day. I thought of all of the good people I know. I've spent time with family and friends.

Hoar frost on clusters of crabapples

If I was to look at the whole of 2016 in a personal way, it was the year of the neck and back. I had to slow down for several weeks in the early summer after being diagnosed with arthritis in my neck. Physiotherapy has helped so much. I've learned to stand and sit up straighter. This past week, there was a new challenge. I began suffering from dizzy spells. They were scary at first but they have been diagnosed as muscular in origin--my trapezius muscle probably irritated after a vigorous hike over the holidays. My physiotherapist thinks that the dizziness should be resolved in a few days. What a relief. I can't wait for them to be gone. My neck and back keep sending me signals. Don't take things for granted. Look after yourself. Stand up straight.

So I am determined to paint again. To feel hope about the state of the world. To help when I can. To stay aware but not to the point of paralysis. To take moments to appreciate the beauty of nature. To create. To concentrate on those I do reach with my art and to worry less about those I don't. To surround myself with caring people with good hearts. To listen to my aging body but to work with it and remind it that 'hey buddy, we still have plenty we need to do together'. To concentrate on art and love and hope.

Crabapples covered with hoar frost

This morning we woke to sunshine and a magical garden covered in hoar frost. I went out in my pajamas to photograph it for you! These photos of ice and light seem to be the perfect representation of where I've been lately and where I am right now. Frozen but allowing the light to get in.

I'm not sure what I am going to paint when I get back into my studio next week but I look forward to being there. And I want you to know that I'm really glad you are here with me.




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