Old Normal vs. New Normal
Confession: Initial goal of blogging once a week had turned to once every two weeks, and now....more like once a month. The art of letting one self gooooooooo.......
While I do have things to rant on about and fun things to share, I find myself putting it off. As absence gets longer, the motivation wanes. Someone actually asked me, "how do you know people are even reading your blog? Are they reading your blog?" I laugh. The question may sometimes discourage me when I think about it. No. Not many people read them, actually. Truth be told, as I'm collecting my thoughts at this very moment, the thoughts are being interrupted by Luke pointing out a squirrel through the window behind me and me doing a piss poor job of humoring him. Ok anyway, so I don't need a whole bunch of readers. I just need to keep the momentum going for the sake of The Canvas Confessional. To keep it alive. Alive for my soul which is fed by the freedom of creativity. Also, and truly mostly fulfilling, if this reaches any audience who can relate in a way where we can connect is probably the most inspiring and encouraging.
So it's weird times right now. How is everyone handling it? Up one day, down the next? Insecurity but then calm? Enjoying the slow pace? Everyone has a different way of handling a worldwide pandemic. Ha! I say this like I've experienced them more than once. Truth is, I feel pretty free and wonderful about 90% of the time! I've mastered finishing my work from home by noon which gives me the rest of the day to be with my family and be creative.
It almost feels shameful to admit that during such a grave crisis where most of us are paranoid, losing jobs, feeling uncertain about the future, losing the freedom to travel around, and social distancing from our loved ones. I assure you, Paul, Luke, and I have been and continue to be extra cautionary. We keep our distance when we go for long walks in our neighborhood. We wash our hands extra diligently. I went grocery shopping at Sprouts yesterday with latex gloves on. I only hang out with my friends via Zoom. I'm working 4 hours a day during the week and we are homeschooling Luke the best we can. I'm eating way more carbs than usual, working out less, but definitely going on lots of walks! We're making less money. We're paying more attention to one another. We're happy. We're healthy. We're grateful. We can't complain.
For over a week though, I had not touched a paintbrush or a pencil. This bummed me out. Had I really lost this much motivation? Don't I have MORE time now?? All these self judging questions swirled around my head the first few days of working from home and self isolating. It's ridiculous because that's all I've been yearning for the last few months. More time at home. Less outside obligation. Before all this, when we were in the "old normal", I painted every single night for 2 months. I finished a 30" x 40" acrylic on canvas commissioned painting and two small 5" x 7" dog portraits as gifts (one of them for Luke).
Joker was so fun and gratifying to paint. I got really creative and took my time with that one, experimenting with cut up dish sponges, a toothbrush, and palette knives to create a lot of texture. It's also the largest painting I've ever painted. I would say it took almost 60 hours to complete, though I never kept track to be honest. Once I handed it to my customer (or are they called "client"? I have no idea), I took a breather. I had also been working on a pencil sketch of Bjork and am 90% done, but for some reason haven't gone back to it since we were told to "self-isolate". I don't have an answer or a reason as to why. I'm only home for another week with 4 hour work days, and then I'm meant to go back to work on April 6.
But I did pick up a paint brush yesterday.
It was Saturday and we have nowhere else to be with nothing pressing to do. It was Paul's 40th birthday last Thursday and the Monday before that, he half joking requested a Renaissance portrait of himself, like the one pictured here.
We have been binge watching "What We Do In The Shadows" and in the opening credits, there are paintings of the vampire characters. One of them being a Gothic wide ruffled collar portrait from the 17th century. He loved the humor of him being painted in that depiction. I loved it too. Four days later and it's his Birthday and I as so much as haven't even picked a pencil. He gets it. He knows I wasn't being lazy. I am busy with work, with Luke, going on family walks and preparing 3 meals a day for us until its like 9pm and I'm winding down watching TV with him. Yesterday, I found some down time and sketched it out. I was in my zone, creatively free and loving every second until it was time to prepare dinner. Took a deep breath and found it almost impossible to stop painting. I was making great headway and having fun blending the skin tones. But, dinner. Paul had started dinner by cooking chicken tenders over the stove. I just needed to finish it by preparing the salad and the dressing. The painting would have to continue the next day. It's 4:47pm and I haven't gone back to the painting yet. I made myself blog first. By the way, this blog has taken me a few hours to write with a break in the middle to go work out and play with Luke in the backyard.
There are no due dates. There is no pressure. There is just the need to keep the momentum going while understanding that painting and drawing is my driving force and freedom but it needs to flow out naturally, not forced. If you are reading this, I continue to THANK YOU. Whatever it is that drives your creativity and whatever it is that makes you feel free, may you express it however you can in your daily "new normal" routine. If it's healthy and keeps you sane, I hope you give yourself that beautiful opportunity so you can stay fulfilled and uplifted.