On The Importance Of Taking Breaks

I haven’t painted for a month.

Moving is so glamorous!

Moving is so glamorous!

Somewhere between moving out of my apartment and traveling to London I stopped picking up my paintbrush. Going to the studio was a really big struggle for me for a decent amount of time- at least 4 weeks, if not longer.

I actually can’t remember the last time I spent so much time away from my easel. At the beginning of this hiatus I went to my studio with the intention of painting daily- while also moving out of my apartment. I would go there, put on my apron, and be crippled in the mind for all the things that still needed doing. I think it shows in the painting below.

“Did I call my insurance company?”

“I still need to cancel the internet, and the electric bill, and this and that and this”

“Is this the right choice?”

“What if I forget something?”

Do you ever have creative blocks like this? Normally, I’m very good about leaving problems and to-do lists at the door so that I may open mental space to work. This was a first for me: being unable to create because of the enormity of everything else that was going on in my life and the weight of those responsibilities.

After three studio sessions in a row where nothing was being made I chose to stop visiting my studio until my move and traveling was over. And I think it was really good for me.


Work in progress

This is a painting I started before my move, I can see my mental conflict in the color relationships!

Anyone who has moved after living somewhere for a significant amount of time knows how emotionally draining the process is. You are exhausted at the end of each day and it’s not a fast thing. My motto this year is Eyes Forward and the change of moving really confronts that. To look forward you have to let go of the things holding you back. The place I was living in was starting to hold me back. That and a few boxes of paper work that “I’d get around to” ha!

I was moving out of my old place right up to a trip I had planned to go to London. By coincidence that meant that I was taking more time off from painting- but this time in an exploratory sense. The trip was fabulous and I’ll write about it in another post- but mostly I wanted to say that the balance between clearing out/removing things in my life and the discovery/awareness of new places was really healing.

In moving, I was able to discover in myself what I wanted to bring with me to a new house, but also what I wanted to bring in this new chapter of my life. A lot of things that used to have sentimental value didn’t make the cut.

In traveling, I discovered that my hunger to see new places hasn’t abated and that my confidence in my own painting ability had been hiding under ‘my life is out of control’ types of feelings. It comes and goes in cycles.

Yesterday I went to my studio and sketched out my next painting. Change is happening in my work and my life and now I’m leaning into it. I was able to go to the easel with a clear mind. I now call upon more change and I can see it coming in the next months. Eyes forward!

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London

To wrap this up: I want to encourage you, my reader, to take those breaks when you need to. Life comes at us fast and It’s not every day that reality matches up with our plans. This form of long term selfcare is crucial to make it to the finish line of life, and we have important things to do. :)

Hope you are having a wonderful day!