I didn't exhibit last year, apart from having works selected in a couple of art prizes and group hangings. It had been a conscious decision, for two reasons - one was the fact that we'd bought a house and dogs and had to re assess a few things in order to make it all viable, and two, I wanted to have a break from my Melbourne gallery; actually from showing in Melbourne altogether for a while and co-incidently, my upcoming show happens to be in Perth. It will be a three woman show. I am happy about that for a number of reasons, especially as it's the first time exhibiting with this gallery - but I know I could not have completed a big enough body of work for a solo.
In fact, I am struggling to get enough done for this particular exhibition. I am happy with the work I have done, but perhaps not how many works I have completed. You can't rush some things. Deadlines are funny... for me a bit of a catch 22, whilst they push me to be productive, there is another part of my character that rebels a little to being told I have to have THIS done by THEN. I must say though, the gallery have been extremely patient and supportive of me since we first met a couple of years ago. I am grateful for that - it's a rarity these days.
I painted all day yesterday until about 4:30pm, when I just had to get out of the studio, and the house. My back was playing up from hours hunched over the canvas. I just can't do the easel thing with the sort of work I do, even tables or benches offer little comfort - I spend most of my time painting on the floor.
I went to have a massage when I left the house yesterday afternoon, it was very intense and actually quite painful but I believe it helped somewhat. I had planned to paint again when I got home but I just couldn't - or didn't. I felt exhausted - possibly more from emotional 'anxiety' rather than physical exertion. I also find it much harder painting in the evening under artificial light, though sometimes it is necessary in order to get the work done, I do much prefer painting under natural light.
Whilst out yesterday I had a bit of a 'selfish' wish enter my head. I thought to myself...
I just want to have a week where I don't work - or paint - and just sleep until I wake (with no alarm), get up when I feel like it, watch old movies like Breakfast at Tiffany's and Roman Holiday, eat pizza and drink champagne regardless of the time of day, wear whatever I am comfortable in - or nothing at all... listen to music, (whilst dancing like an idiot in my loungeroom), finish reading books I started ages ago and have not had time to pick them up again, have baths instead of showers and generally be a sloth for seven whole days.... but without it affecting reality at all, so I'd still get paid for not turning up to work, and miraculously, my paintings would still all be done in time, as would all the housework, and...
that's when I knew it was not possible. A nice thought though. Is it so wrong to desire a week for yourself and only yourself? It's not hurting anyone. Is it really 'selfish'? I know I could not do it for much longer that 7 days as I would get bored, frustrated; I'd start to crave being more productive and pro active... but just one week like that would be nice.
It's not that I don't get any time to myself now - I do - it's just that pretty much all of my spare time at the moment is spent in the studio, even on the days where I feel uninspired. I have not even had much time to write.
I love painting, I really do, and it's something that I have to do, regardless of exhibitions... but sometimes you need to stop, take a step back, a deep breath and find new inspiration before continuing... and sometimes, you just need to do NOTHING.
One thing I am incredibly thankful for is the fact that I no longer work nights (in my other job), it's definitely made for a different and far more desirable lifestyle in so many ways. Combine working nights with (also) being an artist and you have the ingredients for a somewhat solitary existence. I can't imagine going back to the old way, and can't believe I did it for so long. Only people who have spent years working nights would truly understand just how much effect it has on everything in your life - especially friendships and relationships. In a number of ways it has almost been like starting again, unfortunately, there are a few relationships that were destroyed and cannot be rebuilt - but new ones have now formed in their place - so for everything lost, something has been gained.
I have been criticised through comments on previous posts, (some which I publish, some which I don't), for being self-centred and unappreciative. I believe these comments have come from people who don't even know me, those that know me, know me and I don't even need to say any more than that. I should not have to justify anything I write here as I write for myself, and other than this paragraph, 99 percent of the time I write here not even aware that anyone else may be reading what I have to say. If I feel like writing about how I am feeling at any particular point, I will do so, no doubt there are entries that I look back on and laugh, or even wonder where the hell my head was at, but they are MY thoughts, MY feelings, MY words. If I sook about something through words on my blog, I am not comparing myself to someone with bigger, longer term problems, and I am not being unappreciative of all that I do have, I am merely keeping a journal for my OWN purposes. I repeat what I have said once or twice before, the reason I have not made it a private blog is because I have nothing to hide, because a few family members and friends have expressed curiousity and an interest in reading, and also because I really never expect it to be read and criticised by anyone who does not know me. I read blogs, a lot of them, and there have been entries I read where I think to myself - if this person was saying this to ME, I'd have this response for them - but they are not talking to me, they are blogging for themselves - so I would be hypocritical to criticise. If you don't like something someone write on their blog - DON'T KEEP READING IT.