Grief and recovery.
During lockdown, I must admit that I neglected my paint brushes. This was not the first time that I have experienced the feeling that my art was pointless. Over 10 years ago, when my husband died, my world broke down. I sat in splendid isolation, and wondered what would happen next. Then I received a letter. It was from someone whose husband had died suddenly. He was a lovely man, called himself my scottish fan club. She wrote to say that the last gift he had bought her was one of my paintings, and she wanted to thank me for that which brought back so many fond memories, and she hoped I was still happy and painting… That within months of experiencing her unexpected grief, and unaware that I too was grieving, she would write to me to tell me how much my work meant to her…I took it as a sign that my artwork was not pointless, if it could bring pleasure and meaning. I started painting again. So although lockdown brought home the inessentiallity of art, I knew there was more to life than the essentials of health, food and shelter. Whilst I cultivated my garden, I was waiting for a sign. Sometimes if you’re lucky, and you can take time to sit and be still, you can perceive signs, and acknowledge synchronicity.
At the end of May, someone ordered 2 of my paintings. She wrote “I look forward to receiving the paintings and getting the same pleasure from looking at them as the one of Robin Hoods Bay has bought me all these years.”
She sent me a photo of the painting, she had bought it 13 years ago. Now, her words were the sign I was hoping for. Just to emphasize the point, in the same week, someone who had bought some of my paintings over 10 years ago contacted me, and yes, bought 2 paintings. And then in the same week, someone else bought 2 of my paintings. So yes, I am painting again.
I am so lucky to have a job I love. Sometimes I wish I painted faster, as a painting often takes me a month to complete. But then it brings pleasure to someone for over 10 years… That’s why I paint. It is such a huge feel-good-thingy to be told that one’s creation brings pleasure for years. It is a great feeling.
And it is a timely reminder, when the current situation makes one feel that one’s skills are worthless, that art matters too.