Hello to all of you out there in Bloggerland. How have you been? I'm not even sure where to begin after a 5 month break from blogging, so I guess I'll just jump right in. Otherwise this post will be indefinitely delayed by the "Oh where do I start?" hand-wringing.
My hiatus from blogging turned into a bit of a hiatus from art. I had a sense during the fall and winter that it was not the time to paint. I needed to take care of my health, reassess my life, and rejuvenate. I felt guilty about not doing any art - I mean, how could I be a Real Artist if I didn't do any art? And didn't I want to get Somewhere with my art and therefore I absolutely had to practice on a regular basis? I was reasonably successful in quieting that guilt and I trusted that even if it went against all the rules I was doing what was best for me.
Last month I was contacted by our local natural history center with an invitation to show my work in their new gallery space. I finally felt ready to come out from under my artistic rock, so I accepted their invitation and put together a show of my bird paintings. As I was preparing for the show, I gathered all of my pieces together for the first time in a while and as I looked at them, I realized that there wasn't anything in the group that reflected who I am right now as an artist. The newest pieces I had were from the 100 Painting Challenge I had done in 2009. This really got under my skin. With just two weeks to go before the show opening, I picked up a paintbrush for the first time in months and whipped out what I now consider one of my most successful pieces to date.
The miracles didn't stop there. Even with a last minute broken frame that had to be replaced, I managed to hang my show in plenty of time (and without forgetting anything!). There was a great article in the newspaper about the show that ran the day of the opening, and drove a lot of people to the center. I somehow managed to get off work right on time (which never happens on a Friday) so that I could be at the opening feeling relaxed. And the new painting hung front and center at the show opening and got rave reviews.
That night a local watercolor artist whom I know and whose work I admire stopped in. We were talking shop and I sheepishly admitted to not having picked up a brush in months and how stunned I was at producing the gull painting immediately after such a long hiatus. She didn't seem surprised in the least. "Sometimes things need to gestate," she said, "Sometimes a break is what you need. I've done the same thing myself." and she and I agreed that from now on, we will refer to any similar artistic break as "a productive hiatus".