“Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci
This has been a challenging 6 months for me. We lost our beloved big dog, one of my life-long best friends, and my vibrant mother. I know that sadness typically diminishes as time passes, but the hardest part for me has been the difficulty in understanding the timing of it all within 180 days. At first, I stopped my regular activities to provide assistance to others and then, I began pulling away from my own relationships.
The four paintings I had started in July became afterthoughts. Walking into the studio was as haunting as thinking about my missing loved ones. I felt guilty for not being creative because I know that my friend and mother were two of my greatest fans. My dog was my studio mascot.
I’m a pragmatic person and knew that in time I would return to work, relationships, and my everyday life. Crossing back into creativity was going to be a different bridge. I can’t explain why that freedom was without an engine, but it was gone.
My wife and family all supplied encouragement. An artist friend suggested using the creative process to help deal with the grief. Of course, I hate wasting paint, so the idea of some parsimonious effort to begin healing didn’t jive with me.
I did some soul searching on our trip to NYC with Kathy when we visited the MOMA, Guggenheim, and 911 Memorial. The Charles White exhibit at MOMA struck me, especially his line drawn works. His dedication to his art amidst incredible challenges was remarkable. I sat on a bench watching people enter and exit the gallery, and said to myself, “You’re missing some of your life, but not your life’s work.” I couldn’t wait to go home to my studio and pick up the brush.
Admittedly, New York is not my first choice for a vacation, but Kathy insisted that I go along on her birthday trip. It was I good thing I did. Thanks, Babe.