“Crimson River”, 11×15″ Acrylic on Paper. Available.
It’s been a difficult week. My puppy had a relapse of her vestibular thing, but this time, instead of getting better, it got progressively worse. We were thinking she’d come out of it, but instead it became painfully obvious that there was something more serious going on. The vet didn’t really give us much hope, so we had to make the painful decision to end her suffering. And suffering she most definitely was.
I’m not really feeling much motivation to do anything but lie in front of the TV in the fetal position, but I know if I just go and do something eventually I will feel better. I gave myself a week to wallow, but any longer and I risk sinking into a depression. Can’t have that, especially on the brink of winter. So I got off my ass. I got to the gym for the first time since I started having trouble breathing… it wasn’t exactly the workout I’ve been doing for the past 15 years, but I managed about a half hour of exercise without a coughing fit. I worked in my art journal a bit. And I did a bit of painting.
Painting is like meditation to me. It’s the only time during the day when I am completely in the moment. I don’t have that when I’m drawing. Drawing is much more of a thinking thing for me. When I’m painting an abstract it is just paint, colour, shapes… the world falls away. I think the only way I’m going to keep myself sane is to take the time to go into my studio and work, even if what I create is complete and total crap. So much for taking a break. It doesn’t seem to be helping. I guess I better just get back to work.
A page from my art journal. Layers of angry writing underneath all that paint. I suppose that squawking crow is me… yelling at the swirling mess that is life.
What a week it’s been. A surprise win in the US election for the guy nobody expected could pull it off. Outrage and shock for half the population. The whole campaign was like a three-ring circus, and up here in Canada we got out the popcorn and got engrossed in the show. I tried not to get too tied up in it, but it was difficult. My American friends were emotional about their candidate, and some of the stuff we heard was very disturbing. Mostly I just tried to understand what people saw in their chosen one. That was more difficult than I expected. There’s something about the algorithms used by Google and Facebook that limit your exposure to differing opinions. Already established as fairly left-leaning, pretty much anything I saw about Trump was truly awful. It wasn’t until near the end when I saw a couple of his ads on YouTube that I understood how people could ever find him appealing. Of course there was a lot of negative to overlook, but in the two-party system, folks were limited in their choices.
The thing about continuing to complain about something that you are powerless to change is that it just makes you feel worse. I know this from recent experience. At work we have moved into a new space that no one likes, that is loud and overly bright. We had a new dress code forced upon us. We now have photo ID security passes we have to wear. And in the interest of “rebranding”, I have lost the only part of my job I really enjoyed. It is going to be done at our other facility. It feels like every day there is some new thing we have to adjust to. It’s a bit draining. The thing is, we have no power to change any of it. I can either adjust, or get a new job and leave.
This week I’ve decided that it is time to just stop complaining. I have to start going with the flow, for the sake of my mental health. I went out and bought some new clothes, which felt unexpectedly good (even though I really hate shopping. That part was torture. But it was nice to have something new to wear). I took my good headphones to work so I could block out the noise. And I found an app on my phone that will help when I’m getting angry about it all (calm… 10 minute meditations). When I feel the urge to bitch about something, I will force myself to STFU. It’s the best thing I can do for myself right now.
I’ve been neglecting my art journal for most of the last year. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve been procrastinating by doing pretty much anything else. Last week I had planned to head to my studio, and actually caught myself thinking “but the bathroom needs cleaning…”. The day I put scrubbing a toilet over painting is the day I have to reexamine how I’m spending my life. So I got out my journal and my pens and started in. It took me most of the week to finish it, but I’m glad I did it. Maybe now that I’ve got one done I can use that momentum to do the next. And maybe I should stop listening to the news for a couple of days until I can regain some equilibrium.
“Path of Least Resistance”, 24×30″ Acrylic painting on Canvas. Available.
I started this painting in September, and it took me a long time to get back to it. I’m not generally a procrastinator… but I guess taking a bit of time off has removed whatever it was that made me need to get into my studio every evening. I’ve been practicing a daily creative habit for a few years now. I had to miss a day here or there to attend to other things that have needed doing, but for the most part, I am doing something creative every day. Even if it’s something tiny, I still fit it in. Not so much lately.
Of course life has been a bit nuts. My dog is still a bit wobbly, though she has improved greatly. I’m still coughing. I got a cold and that made things way worse for a bit. I feel like I have spent too much of my time lately getting poked, prodded, scoped and tested. I’ve been trying to help my son with a few thing that have to be sorted out. We have finally moved into our renovated, “open concept” space at work, and I feel like my desk is in the middle of the 401. The constant traffic and noise make it very difficult to focus. Meanwhile, the list of things I need to do just gets longer and longer.
I remember reading something when I was younger that predicted “in the future” we would have more and more leisure time. We would be working about 30 hrs a week, and maintain a high standard of living. Certainly not how my future worked out. Nor for most people I know. The company I work for expects more and more from us, but doesn’t reciprocate. While I get there is economic pressure to do more for less, when the CEO arrives to work in his new Tesla, it makes it difficult to believe the pain is equally distributed. The best I can do is live my life as minimally as possible (stuff just gets in the way anyway), spend my time doing things I enjoy, and not worry about the things I can’t control. Easy to say when I’m sitting here, in silence at my dining room table with the sun streaming in my windows. Not so easy to remember when I’m sitting in the middle of the 401.