It’s been a long time since I stopped for long enough to think about writing about my art, but with an exhibition coming up and a lot of changes taking place I am now making the time. My last exhibition at Wild Canary was in May last year and I happily signed on for another one after the whole experience was a complete joy from beginning to end. My cancer was stable, treatment a bit of a doddle really and all was great.
Unfortunately just a few months later there was quite the progression with my cancer and I went back into chemo and I have been there ever since - week 60 and counting! Happily it is being very effective and we are getting great results but it has led to some changes. I lose a few days a week to the delightful side effects that are part of these things, but most weeks manage to paint a few days but managing to get all the work done for a solo show in a shortened work week has been a challenge. With such reduced time it has made me really focus on what I want to do and make sure I am not wasting time. I thought I had done a pretty good job of clearing the decks so to speak when I was first diagnosed with metastatic cancer in 2017 but this shortened work day has made me work very lean, and it is kind of great I must say. I have culled social media down to Instagram alone, I have closed up wholesale print side of my business. I have help to run the print and Etsy store, and rarely take commissions and suddenly I have so much more time on my hands to focus on just painting and even have time to write a blog post! In some ways it feels like I have stripped away all of the distractions of the last few years and am back to doing what I love in a way that feels more pure somehow.
The only real downside to long term chemotherapy is that things take longer to complete. For example the lemon painting , Moya’s Plate, which is on the front of the exhibition invite was started back in January and was only finished a few weeks ago. The lovely Moya arrived for a visit not only with a Persian love cake - seriously they are the sort of friends you want right, cake and lots of laughter and fun but also this beautiful plate. Moya certainly knows what I love and I immediately popped some lemons on it and started preliminary sketches and planning. It just screamed to be painted.
To get it painted has been frustrating at times and the path of painting this one sums up the changes in process a bit but I devised a system whereby I work according to chemo induced hand shakes. I can always find a way to paint in some form but detail work needs to have shake free hands so I plan my painting according to my self devised and oh so scientific shake scale. Drawing and laying in shadows works on mega shake days, mid layers like above come together on mild shakes.The finishing work can only be done when I have rock steady hands so it means there are only a few days out of every three weeks when that is possible so I work on finishing during those days. Once I got the hang of it it all fell into place.
So the exhibition is just around the corner, I have work at the framers, excitement is mounting, and the normal natural anxiety of worrying about people turning up and hating the work, but that is half the fun of it all. Getting it out there is always a bit nerve wracking - a bit like coming back to blogging. Writing and talking about my art is something I’ve gotten out of the habit of doing, so I’m looking forward to getting back to it via this blog.