A return to painting

It has been about a year since I painted anything. This is mainly due to health issues and struggling to finish my Bachelor of Fine Art degree. Yesterday I actually put paint to canvas and started expressing the ideas that have been percolating for a while.

My painting graduate exhibition was pretty much exactly 1 year ago, and I had 5 courses left to finish my degree. I planned to get it all done by June but boy was I wrong. I did a two week intensive life drawing course over the Christmas break and a 6 week intensive printing course during semester 1; these have basically been my only creativity in a year. I enrolled in 3 other courses in semester 1 and only managed to finish Colour in Context (amazing subject!!!!!).

It was pretty much another semester from hell with huge flare ups of my illness as well as the added bonus of both parents in hospital for surgery. I stress cried a lot! Then took a leave of absence for semester 2 because I just wanted to recover and couldn't cope with another semester of stress.

Uni and art have pretty much become stressful and limiting, the only things I create are the things that are due for assessment. I am to the point where I just want to finish but the assessment strongly dictates my desire to do a subject, I just can't handle the pressure of mountains of research, reading and memorisation. The crazy thing is I used to be doing a maths PhD and my illness has pretty much turned my memory to mush and my stress tolerance to almost zero.

Actually painting again was totally a spur of the moment thing, I've been feeling the need to create the last few weeks. I thought I would do a big odd coloured landscape, so I looked through my old photos to find inspiration. The picture I found just struck me, I had drawn up part of it on the canvas with no real plan of the outcome, it all just came to me as I did it.

So this is a self portrait (from about 6 years ago). My face will be mostly hidden by my crazy curly hair which will swirl into some as yet unknown image on the left. The canvas will go from vibrant colour on the left, to muted colour on the right. I'm also thinking from thick to sketchy, thin paint. I've started doing the face with Liquitex Paint Markers to achieve this.

You can probably see my life is changed, I'm sick, maybe I sound like a whinger to you, but my experience is shared by many. For quite a while now I have wanted to find ways to communicate in some way what life is like with a chronic illness, to raise awareness and understanding. A phrase came to me a few weeks ago and so now I begin my new project, "A Life Less Lived".

#painting #university #illness #ALifeLessLived

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