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What Was My Biggest Challenge in the Studio Recently?

 Overcoming Obstacles: My Week of Art with a Twist

The other week in my studio, I faced an unexpected and significant challenge that tested not only my physical resilience but also my creative spirit. It began with an unremarkable moment—a simple misstep that led to a fall, resulting in a badly injured shoulder. Little did I know, this accident would transform my approach to drawing and painting, activities that have been second nature to me.

The incident happened early in the week. I was setting up for a new project, moving around my studio, lost in thought about compositions and color schemes as I stepped through into the studio kitchenette. Then, in a swift moment of imbalance, tripping over a small lip in the doorway, I found myself on the floor, my favourite cup flying through the air to smash into several pieces against the filing cabinet. Pain radiated from my shoulder, elbow and knee all of which I'd managed to crack against something on my way to the floor!

My Beautiful, broken cup
My Beautiful, broken cup

As I lay there unable to move from the shock and crying, my granddaughter who was feeding her cat nearby thought I was laughing and so of course didn't come rushing to my aid. It was only several minutes later when I didn't answer her finally asking if I was OK, that she came to see if I was OK or not. She went and got my partner who is an energy healer and he helped to soothe my injury before I attempted to get up.

The diagnosis was swift but disheartening: a severely injured shoulder, necessitating rest and minimal movement.

As an artist, my hands and arms are my most precious tools. The thought of being unable to use even my non dominant arm was daunting. I felt a mix of frustration and helplessness, watching my canvases and brushes sit idle. But, as I've learned through my art, every challenge is an opportunity for growth and innovation.

Determined not to let this setback keep me from the new series of works I had begun, I went back to the drawing board so to speak. I could do no more that evening but was determined to get back to it again the next day. I knew that painting wouldn't be possible this week so at first wasn't sure what else to do.

Projector shining an image to be transferred onto a canvas, teacup and tha light candle

Before the fall, I had set up my easel with a projector shining onto a new canvas and had a drawing ready to go. I actually haven't used a projector for years, however as I had several Krystal Spirals I was wanting to draw up on four different canvases, I thought this was the best way to go about it. It was an efficient but also an easier way to get this image onto the canvas because it is very precise and mathematical in its construction and I did not trust myself to really do it straight onto the canvas with a grid.


So the next day during the day I realized that when I pulled the blind down in my studio and shut one of the doors I could still use the projector because it's actually quite dark when there were no lights on. So yay, that was a plus because until then I hadn't even realized I could use the projector during the day. Anyway long story short I managed to complete 4 versions of the Krystal Spiral on 4 separate canvases this week, which I probably wouldn't have attempted if I hadn't had this accident. What this means is that I have several canvases now prepared to work on without having to put the projector up every time I want to put a new Spiral onto a new canvas. So one of the lessons I've learned from this is to think ahead a bit more and be aware of what preparation I need for any series of works.

The other factor here is that a tool like a projector can make the work a lot quicker in the long run, although it has been my experience in the past that using a projector for drawing up flowers didn't work too well for me.


The other very big lesson was that I need to be a lot more present about what I'm doing and where I'm walking. I clearly was somewhere off with the fairies when I fell over. Also picking up my feet properly and paying attention to what I am doing Is probably not a bad idea!

What was Timothy Leary so fond of saying - "Be Here Now"! Pretty good advice really when you think about it! It's amazing how quickly these things can happen. I usually try to be quite aware when I'm going through that door because I've actually fallen over that step before a few years ago. So the solution to this problem is that I’ve asked my partner John to please fill up the gap now so I don't have to do another face plant which might be worse the next time.   Oh the drama of it all – she says – hand to forehead!!

Using a projector to transfer my Krystal Spiral onto the canvas for my next painting.
Using a projector to transfer my Krystal Spiral onto the canvas for my next painting.

This week I've been on a big learning curve. I've discovered resilience I didn't know I had and tapped into a different way of approaching things, fueled by necessity. My art has always been an extension of my experiences, and this week's work is no different. These pieces are not just visual representations on canvas; they are symbols of overcoming adversity and of finding beauty and opportunity in unlikely places.

As I continue to heal, I am excited to see how this experience will influence my future work. I've revived an old technique, embraced imperfection, and found new challenges in unpredictability. My studio, which can at times become a place of routine, has transformed itself into a space of unexpected happenings and extended consequences. Watch what you wish for when you embrace the unexpected!!

To my fellow artists facing their challenges, remember that constraints can sometimes be the catalysts for unexpected creativity. I also have much gratitude for the fact that the fall could have been much worse. Embrace the unexpected, adapt, and let your experiences shape your art in new and exciting ways.

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