Tis the Season

I’ve been an artist for over half of my life. One could argue I was born this way but it didn’t fully manifest until early adolescence. My modality of preference is oil painting but I’ve also explored painting with acrylics and watercolors, making mosaics, and warping clay sculptures. I’ve painted for fun, to relieve stress, for money, and for the sake of making something. At first, I could go years without dabbling in the arts but gradually it became a monthly, then weekly, then occasionally a daily endeavor. There’s something exhilarating about purchasing blank canvases and new paints or brushes. I even love the peculiar smell of fresh oil paint. Many items in my apartment are permanently stained with various hues, a product of my inability to juggle multiple paintbrushes at a time. Unfortunately over the last year, I developed a random allergy to my hobby and am now forced to wear latex gloves and a mask that filters toxins and any chance of looking sexy while painting.

Last year, I started to feel burned out and took a break from the art of creating. It’s weird to go into my office/studio/child’s bedroom and see my drafting table/easel, the bag of paints, and my rolled up brushes and not feel the urge to make something. It’s as if the desire totally evaporated. Perhaps part of it is because the space feels crowded and not fully functional, and in that way, it’s a reflection of my life at the moment.

I love studios. I love the superfluous natural light that’s often permeating the space, the smudges on the walls, the worn easels, and scattered paintbrushes. Creative spaces that look lived in. I even have catalogs and magazines meant for designing studios. The other day, I was watching a movie called, “The Face of Love” (one of Robin Williams’s last films) and Ed Harris plays an artist. Harris’s character hadn’t painted in years, but in one moment he was inspired to create again. He dug out all his paints, brushes, and materials and set up this eccentric studio. It was messy and chaotic and much like where he was in his life. As artists, our creative spaces tend to reflect our internal processes. Some are more organized and structured, others are a whirlwind of spontaneity. Some are active, others are dormant. It’s a seasonal exhibit of our life journey.

Watching this film, I felt a resurgence and desire to create again. But I’m not sure what to make or when and I know it will reveal itself in time. Until then, I’m taking this season moment by moment and experimenting with color when I feel the inclination to do so.

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