(Warning - this may get a little long)...
In her book "The Artist's Way", author Julia Cameron discusses, among other things, the concept of taking time to fill the creative well - that vessel from which we draw, which nourishes our creative spirit, but like all vessels, can run dry if not replenished from time to time.
Friends, I was there.
Seriously. Those of you who follow my ramblings here know the challenges we've faced in the last several years; My dear husband, companion, best friend, and love of my life has been through the wringer; mitral valve repair and replacement, heart failure, COPD, and non hodgkins lymphoma, and each with just about every complication imaginable. I've also had my own health issues, and will soon be sporting a permanent ankle brace.
During the course of these life and death battles, our once comfortable income and small savings were decimated, and somewhere along the line my little "extra" art job became a seven day a week necessity. Pressure as I've never known it....
But just when I was feeling very much at the end of my rope, a blessing presented itself in the person of a very dear friend, who made it possible for me to take a three week break; a road trip through the southeastern United States. You can read about it here. From the rolling hills of Virginia, to the barrier Islands of South Carolina, from Charleston to Savannah to St Augustine we rambled, soaking up southern culture, seeing some amazing sights, meeting the most lovely people...just breathing and being for a few weeks, with no deadlines or commitments or obligations.
Now, before I move on to the creative part, I should add my undying gratitude to John as well, who despite fighting a bit of a respiratory infection at the time, insisted I go. We were of course in touch daily, and friends and family checked in on him as well, invited him to dinner and so on. Did I feel guilty leaving? Of course. Was it necessary? Absolutely.
Because something I'd never experienced was happening, something which truly frightened me.
The well was running dry.
It wasn't that I'd forgotten the principle of re-filling it, it was just that there simply wasn't time.
What a Godsend to have three whole weeks to do just that!
Open roads past grassy marshes, soft sand, sparkling ocean, blue skies, old architecture, cobblestone streets, Spanish forts, exquisite cuisine, kicky little shops, time with friends...
I came home refreshed, renewed and replenished, with more ideas and more inspiration swirling around in my head that I could paint in years! And I came home with the absolute knowledge that no matter what, we need to take time to fill the well. Our creative life and spirit depend on it.
So it's back to the studio, feeling especially blessed. John is here with me, and we are taking steps to insure it stays that way. Despite the long hours, I have a "job" I love. And I have friends who have become family to me. Come what may, I am a very lucky girl. ;)
Until next time,