It is Monday and the party is over. The last guests have been dropped at the airport. The house and my studio have been tidied . The bins have been emptied. The washing is on the line. All that is left to do is write this piece. This blog has been something I have been hesitant about posting. I have rewritten it in my head a hundred times but it never felt right until now. Today feels like the right moment to share with you some of the journey I have been travelling through over the last three years. Writing it down feels like the last little piece of the jigsaw.
I will tell you more about the party later but at this very moment, I feel I am beginning a new and exciting phase in my life. I am sitting at my computer and I feel so very joyful! Sadly, the last few years have not been so happy. I feel that I want to explain why I have not been so ‘out there’ and why there have been fewer workshops and exhibitions, blogs and Facebook offerings.
I told everyone that I was ‘having a sabbatical’ which was something I did originally intend to do. After my mother passed way and another precious family member died unexpectedly soon afterwards I decided that I would take some time out. I would explore and develop further my artistic ideas and spend time feeding my soul. Days after making the decision to have a sabbatical I too was diagnosed with a serious illness and my world fell apart again. I won’t bore you with the details because so many of us have similar tales to tell- but it wasn’t much fun. I tried to focus on the positives and luckily was able to immerse myself in painting which was a huge solace. I had handed over my book ‘ Experimental Landscapes’ to the publisher the previous year and it was being launched in the Spring. I went ahead with a big book launch exhibition and the success of the book was the most incredible boost. It gave me the encouragement and motivation to continue painting and helped me through the blackest of times.
My story is not unusual and I know I am one of the lucky ones. I was given the ‘all clear’ quite a while ago but I still needed to work through a kind of emotional healing. I cleared my studio in a sell out sale last year. It was all part of the cleansing process. One thing I felt certain about was not to punish myself if – shock horror- I actually didn’t feel like getting my paints out. There were moments when for the only time in my life I felt that I might stop being an artist and tried to think if there was something else I could do? My way of dealing with this was to cut down the hours I spent painting and tried to concentrate on quality rather than quantity. I also spent time doing other kinds of creative things such as redecorating my dark, olde worlde house and turning it into a haven of light and colour. I enjoyed time in the countryside surrounded by nature gathering information for future work. Gradually, gradually I began to feel like ‘me’ again. And now I’m on top of the world!
There is a wonderful book called ‘Women who run with the wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. One of the chapters is called ‘Clear Water : nourishing the Creative Life.’ It uses the metaphor of a river and clear water in relation to creativity, particularly within females. She likens the creative force to an underground river searching for outlets in our psyche. It flows, cascades, meanders in new directions, empties, rises and falls again in natural cycles. Even when the river appears to have run dry it may be quietly bubbling and simmering away, waiting to spring forth. Problems arise when the clear water becomes diverted, forced into dams and contaminated by all kinds of negative forces including illness. At that point we need to purify the water of its pollution so that it can flow freely again. One day I would like to write more about this as it is such an important aspect of our creative functioning. Being kind and patient with myself has been part of this process and now I feel the river is about to overflow again! I am full of ideas and enthusiasm and desperate to get painting after a recent trip away! I have some very exciting projects to plan and work towards.
And the party? It was a wonderful celebration with family and friends to celebrate Life, Love and Moving Forwards. And – getting married in the Seychelles! Photos and blog to follow!!
With love to you all and thank you for being there!