After a night of restless sleep and sick kids and freezing toes, I stumble into morning and the blackness of my studio. Cold fingers feel for the edge of the velux blind and I unceremoniously push it up so I can see. There, suspended in my ceiling’s window, is a beautiful feathery butterfly. I am encouraged by its quiet frosty promise.
I found an old friend – the kind that reminds you of where you come from and what you’re capable of when you forget. This is a sketchbook from 1992/93 – the year I graduated from university, quit my job, got married and moved continents. The year I started to drift in my art and question my creativity because everything that I defined myself by disappeared. Now that I know who I am – where I am (but still not every direction I’m headed) it’s good to see this work – flashes of inspiration, insecurities that now seem unfounded, the journey that has taken me full circle in some things and far away in other adventures.
Take a look back… time gives a whole new perspective. Just don’t get stuck.
These last two really interest me. The one on the left is from art school. The one on the right is my studio wall today.
I’d finally gotten enough time in the studio to start some serious painting – 3 small works in a series begun! I was feeling virtuous and creative and then…THE ELECTRICITY WENT OUT. No joke – high gales knocked out everything. Here in Scotland, that means candlelight from about 4:30 pm onwards. sigh. Frustrated, and without anything like the internet or a dishwasher or TV to distract me, I decided to try something totally new – my husband’s LED headlamp. Armed with a whole new way to see, (and a rather ridiculous new look) I went to work. Thirty hours without power produced a lot of smoke from the wood stove, piles of dirty laundry, heaps of dishes, a hundred candle stubs, AND a finished painting! Maybe I should title it “Lemonade”.
The paint just ran away from me. The colours took an unexpected turn.
I could not call them back into the predestined order of shade and hue.
I had a choice to make:
fight the shift or put my whole heart into it,
wallow in a soon-to-be mud pit or paint my way into a new vista.
This painting did not turn out as I had planned, but I’m so glad now that I didn’t give up on it.
If you are in a creative struggle or a LIFE struggle, don’t lose heart. Strength and beauty are forged in the fire.