A long time ago after I left art school talking with a woman sculptor who had to set aside her work for a while due to some family issues. She wasn't sure when she would get back to making art again. Her family issues were significant so I understood to a point but inside I was wondering how the heck she could just walk away from her work. Couldn't she squeeze in and hour or two a day? She smiled and said sometimes life gets in the way and other things are far more important. Today I remembered that conversation from so long ago and understood.
Today was the first day I picked up a paint brush in many many months. Sometimes you can't paint because something so huge is looming it takes away all energy and focus. This summer my brother was diagnosed with lung and bone cancer, a particularly ferocious kind that took him away from us in 3 months. I talked to him every day, we talked possibilities and cures and amazement at HOW could this happen so fast. He was in excruciating pain and sometimes on the phone I just listened to him cry and to his frustration. After some of our more difficult phone calls I thought making art might help but I couldn't even step into the studio. All my thoughts were for him and the others I've recently lost (it's been a tragic 3 years) I had nothing emotionally or physically left for painting. Originally I was going to go home to help him with cleaning, laundry, PT but instead I went home to help his amazing kids hospice him. They did all the heavy work, I filled in the gaps and it was so gratifying to do something as simple as feeding him or giving him water...it felt like a blessed moment. For a mere week and a half one or more of us were with him 24/7. Often he and I would be alone and have very rich talks about what was going on and what was to come. It was the most beautiful and painful of times.
He's been gone to where ever we all go eventually for a month. I get all teary at those times of the day when I would call him because I think "hey I'll call Bill" then realize I can't so I talk to him in my head. I kept waiting to "feel" like painting again and was propelled into it after reading an excellent piece about motivation by Orzan Verol https://heleo.com/forget-inspiration-real-key-getting-motivated/16332/
"Once you start painting that empty canvas, once you start writing that proposal, once you start moving those levers, it will get much easier to keep going.
Action precedes motivation."
Picking up that paintbrush this morning felt like trying to lift a caber. Maybe the painting will work out, maybe not but it's a step.