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Jan_20 Taking a Break . . .

Since I started painting again in 2014, I’ve been very prolific and continued to paint on a very regular basis. When my husband and I go to the cottage, I bring my paints and canvases with me. The only time that I’ve not been active in this area is when I am leading one of my psychotherapy groups. Otherwise, it has been a joy and a consistent passion of mine.

Recently however, another dedication has taken its place. For the past month, I haven’t spent time in the studio, except to sort and make order. I haven’t felt any desire to create artwork. This may not seem like a long time, but for me it’s unheard of and I don’t feel a pull to return any time soon.

You might be wondering what has taken my focus. I have been preparing physically, mentally and spiritually for my first ever operation. I’m having my left hip replaced and it’s been a full-time job for me to be in the best possible place for this surgery. For five months I’ve been riding my bike daily, doing my physiotherapy exercises twice a day and eating in such a way that I’ve lost 24 pounds and feel so much better.

Here is a photo of me, sitting in the chair that I will need after the surgery - arm rests and hips higher than my knees. At this moment, I feel as ready as I can be for this procedure.

Until last month I was able to both paint and prepare for the operation. Here is the last painting that I completed before things shifted and the studio became still. I think it’s appropriate that it’s called "The Path Forward" since I don’t really know what that path forward will be for me. I’ve done all of the preparation that is within my control. I don’t know how the procedure will be for me, although I do have my vision of the best possible outcome.

So, I realize that I need to allow my focus to shift away from painting for the time being. I imagine that at some point in my recovery I will walk back into the studio and create again. I imagine that the art will have shifted somewhat from this experience. In the meantime, I have discovered online jigsaw puzzles that seem to fascinate me and distract me from thoughts of what’s ahead. Hopefully, my next blog will be about what it’s like to start up again after a transformative break in routine.

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