“Where the Spirit does not work with the hand there is no art”
-Leonardo da Vinci
How true this statement is to me. I had a period of time this past summer when I was not able to work at my art. Instead I dealt with a brush of another kind; Breast Cancer. It just came out of nowhere and hit me like a brick. Initially an entire team of health care professionals swooped in and guided my way through the process. After going through the necessary steps to rid the body, treat the body, and heal the body, the emotional impact of the experience surfaced. My life became a maze of scheduled surgeries, treatments, and procedures. Just as suddenly as the news was given to me, so too was the suddenness of a halt of activity. Next came a time to wait, to heal, to rest, to think. Later the follow up appointments once again. In the meantime; stillness, self talk, sleep, slow down, prayer, inner connections, peace, quiet, reflections, introspection, contemplation, meditation. This is where “Spirit” entered the picture-the bright side of this experience. Much simmered beneath the surface as I let that source guide me. Not a time for action. No outings, no blogging, no painting. But much learning no less. A lot of imagined brush strokes, dreams of colors and shapes different from my usual realism. Mental sketches of images that I was unfamiliar with but somehow felt calming to me and right. I did a lot of reading and guided imagery meditation in order to find meaning in what I was experiencing. Many thanks to my friends and family who supported me through this period of time.
A small gathering around Christmas made me realize how much I had missed my friends near and far which impacted my need to get back in the saddle again. But so like my “old self,” I immediately started explaining and apologizing to others about not painting, blogging, or keeping up with social media. A friend put his arm around my shoulders and said: “Pam, it’s OK, you are an Artist, you are NOT a Machine...it is a process to create.” What a heavy weight off my shoulders once again. All artists are different in their approach to their work. We are all affected by outside forces but each has a unique way of incorporating and utilizing what is happening inside. For me, the connection with my inner source or spirit was so necessary that it was worth the time to process the meaning of what life was throwing my way. I also learned that I don’t have to feel badly about taking time for myself or not having daily paintings to show for it. What I need to remember is that paintings don’t begin with the hand or the brush but rather the inner guidance of Spirit.
So however the Spirit moves me....