It has been over two years since I have written a blog post. I haven’t felt compelled to say much in writing, because like many others, most of our world was turned upside down with cancer. Searching for answers for a husband who had seldom been sick, finding one we did not want, and a stem cell transplant demanded total focus and trust on friends and family to pull us through. it pushed us into an unfamiliar world where the future was not visible. Thanks to wonderful friends, a supportive family, the Mayo Clinic and a great medical team here, we are on the good side of things at this point. We are grateful, and my husband deserves his own story, for sure.
During that time, i was reminded that my art and writing are more than a profession, more than an activity or a passion...they are how I survive as an individual. My art, my stories, my interpretation of the world was the place I could retreat to. It is a place filled with the colors of my mood, with my own colors, my own sense of peace and soul. It was what I had and have that was totally mine, and also mine to share when finished. I hid in it, thrived on it, and could carry it with me. I could carry it with me on flights to the clinic in Minnesota, thanks to electronics, could carry it into waiting rooms where we spent much of our time.
There was something about not having any control other than doing our best that was actually a relief from the daily striving for more and better. It was not unlike giving in to the painting or story you are working on and letting it tell itself-the point at which you give up wondering if it will sell, if anyone else will understand it, or if you are wasting your time on it. I began the drawing for the image above while in the waiting room, sketched it on the back of a schedule. It was going to be called “On Thin Ice”, but by the time it was finished, I knew that was not the main idea behind the drawing. The ice we did feel thin, cracks formed while we were not aware of them. But somehow we keep afloat. Somewhere in the middle of the piece, which is called “Keeping Watch”, I realized that the important part of our lives has been how we were watched over, how neighbors and friends surrounded us during this time. While we were away someone always kept watch and took care of our home. I felt that the world had its arms around us and that is what has allowed us to drift this far.
I have taken a break for the last two weeks, which is a long time for me to avoid working on new pieces. I cleaned my studio, ordered new pastels, and feel like I am ready for a fresh start. What I hope I can keep from the last two years, other than my husband’s good health, is the realization that each hour in the studio is a time to find myself once again, an to let go of the vision for the final outcome and let life's painting take over.