I have not been very present or prolific on this blog lately.
In fact you could be forgiven for thinking that I had given up on it altogether.
Well I definitely haven't...I just desperately needed a break...and some time out.
Some recharging....in many areas.
I decided to give myself some time off and set the week after Easter weekend as a date to make a come back (on this blog). Now don't go thinking I had some kind of break down or emotional upheaval (not that there is anything wrong with that) but I decided to have a break BEFORE I ended up having some kind of emotional explosion! I think it is very important to recognize when one needs to have 'time out'! So here are some of my reasons for knowing it was time....
Firstly my parents had an unfortunate incident a while back where they were held at gunpoint in their home and from that point on we decided it was time for them to make the move to come and live with us. I am an only child and so I see it as my responsibility one day to take care of my parents should they need it (a personal choice). I don't want to wait until they are sickly or there is another traumatic incident that preempts this massive change. Moving out of your home is stressful enough and I wanted my parents to make the move while they are healthy and able to enjoy the time spent with us. I wanted it to be as stress-less as possible. That being said we decided to convert my large outside studio into a little cottage for them and do other building alterations to make a new outdoor studio space for me to work and teach from. I have a small but cosy and quaint studio inside our house that I often work in at night and that I use as an office space but it is not large enough to teach or run workshops from. Anyone who tells you that building alterations are not stressful is lying to you! Not only is dealing with builders, contractors and the list of snags that always pop up, stressful...try moving your entire workspace with years of accumulated materials, paintings etc and being in limbo while building alterations take weeks longer than planned (don't they always). Earlier on in the year, knowing that all of this lay ahead, I started to put things in place that alleviated some of the many things I do as I knew I needed to 'get through' this short phase, and remain sane...well as sane as one can remain when dealing with builders and contractors and living on a construction site! Writing this blog and putting pressure on myself to complete many little paintings was one thing I decided to put on hold. I took on no further commissioned work and declined any extra teaching or workshop opportunities.
Another reason was that since I fell down our stairs, broke my ankle/leg and broke my cycle of 568 consecutive days of little daily paintings, I had been struggling with what or why I was still doing these little daily paintings despite the fact that I loved everything about the concept of Paintings in the post. They had become so much a part of my daily studio practice and not completing one every single day for a purpose just felt like something was missing. But to contradict this, I also found myself enjoying spending time exploring larger work again. I realized that many people associated me and my artwork with these little paintings only, especially people who had only just started to follow my journey. This is wonderful but there is also more to me as an artist than quick little daily studio studies and so if I have painted recently (in amongst the chaos and without a studio), I have used this time to explore and reconnect with larger more exploritory work again. You can see parts of my journey which I documented mainly on Instagram (click to visit my feed). When I started Paintings in the post I wrote that I was feeling flat and uninspired after working on a body of work for an exhibition and that I wanted to just sit and paint without giving the outcome too much thought, without mulling over and playing or exploring a painting for longer periods of time. I just wanted to document what I saw. Now I found myself missing that creative exploration terribly and found myself bored (a huge thing to admit) with little increasingly realistic studies, despite how valuable the process of completing them was for me. I needed to discover and explore again. I needed to take some time to just find myself again...
So where to now?
Well firstly, I have an exhibition coming up later in the year which will show both little and larger work. All my recent exhibitions have been purely Paintings in the post related. I have also decided to consider putting larger work back into galleries. I have concentrated so much on my online presence with the smaller little daily paintings that I did not put any larger work out there for a while (unless it was commissioned work) and it's time to reconnect with some galleries again I think. So what about Paintings in the post, you might be thinking? Well there is absolutely no reason why I cannot continue Paintings in the post. I love the concept of little paintings arriving by snail mail to collectors and followers all over the world, in little packaged parcels. Who doesn't love treasure arriving in the post?! Little paintings are SO very easy to post all over the world and my paintings have travelled to more far off places than I can ever hope to visit. There is something hugely satisfying in that thought. So I will continue to do these little postcard size daily (as in finished in one sitting) paintings and share them online and sell them via my Tictail online store. I value the process of painting these little paintings so much (I have written about this many times) that I have realized that they will always be a valuable part of my studio practice but they don't have to happen every day. I can also allow myself the time to work on more process based and exploratory work and other exciting projects too while keeping the little postcard size paintings selling in my online store. I did manage over the last few weeks to paint a few little paintings and they have been added to my store although I did not blog or write about them. An example is the little donut below. You can view a few other little paintings completed during my break (I couldn't help myself, I had to do a few) by visiting https://paintingsinthepost.tictail.com
Apologies for the extraordinarily looooong blog post, but I feel like I had a lot to share.
My parents finally move into their beautiful new cottage on our property in just a few days time. I'm SO excited to have my Mama close by! I also have a beautiful new studio that is full of light and surrounded by beautiful trees...I feel privileged and hugely grateful for this. I also feel like I have some purpose and direction back in my art making practice, something that I think came tumbling down around me when I tumbled down the stairs. I was SO hoping to make 2 whole years (yes 730 days!!!) of consecutive little daily postcard size paintings. But it wasn't meant to be. I'll take 568 though...I think it was a darn fine effort even if I say so myself!
Lastly I hope I make you think about learning to recognize when its time to 'take a break', 'give something up' or have 'time out' when you know you need it. Sometimes we are just so hard on ourselves...I chose to be kinder to myself...I hope you can be kind to yourself too.
It's good to be back!
(SHEW for someone who professes to be a painter and NOT a writer that's an awful lot of writing...YIKES! Candice Caldwell if you are reading, I think I need an editor... there are bound to be mistakes that I overlook! Ooops!)
Much love and I hope you continue to follow along and encourage your friends to follow too. Remember to sign up to my mailing list to see future posts. I promise they will be shorter!
That's all from me for now (finally), cheers Heidi
PS (not quite finished) A little peek at my new studio space...I am loving it...
Purchase paintings at Heidi Shedlock Fine Art