Friday, May 22, 2009

Thoughts from the Healing Chair

I am sure many of you have suffered from this at one point or another in your career, when you became sick/disabled/unable to make art in the way that you want to. You might have cancer and had chemo, you might have had a baby, or have some other illness or life circumstance that makes you incapable of making art in the the way you are accustomed.

I experienced that many times over my 35 years as an artist; the birth of children, the stress of single parenting, student teaching and working, no space to make art, having teens that would invoke a nervous breakdown in a saint.

Somehow through it all I persevered, working in mediums that were appropriate or available at the time. Kitchen counters turned into soldering stations, jewelry making on the corner of the dining room table... Though all of this I learned about what I liked and did not like to do, what I was good at, and what was better left alone.

Several years ago I severly broke my ankle and had to have major surgery. At that time I was working hard on my art - my studio was finished and I was gung ho.

After surgery and weeks of being in severe pain in bed, I got really depressed. I could not do anything but watch movies and TV. Reading was not easy as I was on a lot of meds which made concentration difficult at times. After a while I got antsy and started looking at art magazines and books, even if only at the photos. One day when I was strong enough, Larry helped me hobble to the studio and I instructed him on what art materials to assemble into a plastic box. I went back to my bed, and in the haze of pain and Vicodin, I would sit and make little hand colored and stitched cards, with funny sayings on them. I developed the line called "Nursery Crimes" and a new style of card making was born from my bedside. I may not have done a lot, and was limited in materials, but I do best when faced with that challenge.

Currently I am disabled with some horrible digestive problems and am too weak to work. I started a painting last weekend, but know I am in no shape to breathe oil fumes or even stand and paint. I took out my little digital camera, and managed a walk around the garden, taking snapshots to play with in Photoshop. Thus my photos called "From the Healing Chair". Who knows where it will go and if it will go anywhere, but it fulfilled my need to be creative.

As an artist we have to let go of the pressures we put upon ourself and spend time healing or helping others heal. The time away from our studios or art rooms is not "lost time" as our art can continue through our musing about life, understanding what our current lesson is during this period in our life, learning what is most important to us and our art, making plans, create IF WE CAN with what we can find to adapt to our situation.

Tonight's art is something I found while cleaning my attic, titled Mon Cherie, a collage on the lid of an old candy box top. I will float it and I have an antique gilded frame, complete with appropriate flaws to frame it in- one of the greener ways of making art. However, that topic will be for another blog.


No comments: