I am an all or nothing person. I am either making art, and therefore an artist, or I am not making art, and very much not an artist.
So, feeling so ill I can’t paint means I feel less and less like an artist. I don’t like breaks from painting; it’s not good for me. You know that place inside that you’re meant to have, the place in your soul, where you can find peace and safety in a world of chaos, a place where your sense of self is quietly certain and consistent, where you go and peace descends? You go there and you lose yourself in the flow of things? That place? Well, painting is the portal to that place for me. It’s the magic key to get in.
I’ve found the place occasionally before painting: running, swimming, yoga and back in the day, dancing for hours in a club.
But painting is the way I’ve succeeded most to get to my place. I don’t have any special rituals, I just get my arse downstairs to my in-house studio and as soon as I walk in and see my things and smell the linseed and zest-it, I’m in the zone. Smells really are so powerful – they go straight to the cortex y’know.
So I struggle with the inconsistencies in my creative practice that comes from being ill a lot. The good news is, I am always able to get back on the horse. I don’t think too much about what I’m going to paint, subject wise. Usually I have some colours I want to play with, and this time I had some acrylics that I’d managed to keep wet for 2 weeks (meanwhile my oils have dried to a crust on the palette, not looking forward to scraping that lot off, ugh). So today was the day I saddled up!
The more I do abstract art, the more I love it. It sings to me – the process, the intent, the results. And I am an artist once more.