My painting momentum has stalled. I haven’t painted in weeks. It isn’t because my passion or motivation has waned; it’s because winter is coming.
I live in Michigan, which means the winter happens like flipping a light switch. Brisk and wet springs grow into warm and sunny summers that phase into chilly and vibrant autumns that abruptly hit you across the face with the slap of a cold and dark winter. It’s like being kidnapped by an ice blanket. Where in the hell did that come from? Where is my parka and flashlight?
The truth is, if you are lucky enough to be cursed by winter you know you have to prepare for it, which takes time and energy. The time and energy I was recently spending splattering paint is now used to wrap the bee hives or erect a storage shelter or replace the brakes on the car. The time and energy I was only weeks ago devoting blissfully to bouts of creativity have now been delegated to all sorts of other tasks designed to protect us from the coming snow.
I don’t know when it dawned on me that I had stopped painting. The reality of it took me kind of by surprise. Things slip away easily if you’re not paying attention.
And too many things have slipped away in my life when I wasn’t paying attention.
I will not let it happen again. Not this time.
So, like the changing seasons of the earth, I’ve decided to change the seasons of my painting. Gone are the summer days when I could lay a tarp on the driveway and splash a couple of layers on plexiglass with the sunshine promises of warm mornings or pleasant evenings after work. Gone is the space I had to throw paint wildly around to see what design it would end up being. Gone is the convenience of stepping into a wide openness that was not only part of my property, but part of my brain.
However, that doesn’t mean it all has to go. It only means I have to do things differently. Change or stop painting. Adapt or die.
I’ve moved my “studio” from the great outdoors to a corner of the basement that my family has not only been gracious enough to reserve for me, but has been generous enough to actively set up for me. They want to get me back to painting as well. Not because I am some bitter brute when I don’t, but because they saw how happy I was when I did it and they love me and want me to be happy like that again.
Long nights or not, that’s all the sunshine I really need this season anyway.
So, hello, Mr. Winter. I’d like to introduce you to some of the paintings I did during the fall. Now let’s see what you and I are capable of.