“How will major surgery impact your art?” is a question several people have asked me. Curiosity captured this cat also. In fact, I was feeling some expectation that such a major life event had to impact me somehow!
During my first few weeks after surgery, I was in survival mode and could not even think about artmaking (read Bob’s article below). Then in about week 3, I wandered back into the studio. First, I was intimidated by it and then, energized. I eased myself into painting by creating some new color charts (past color students will laugh at this!). My head spinned with questions such as, Where do I begin? What size do I want to paint? How do I make this easy? Do I know what I want to paint? Can I choose a color palette I like?
I found an 18×24 canvas that had been textured, I picked out a palette and began painting. Below is the first layer or underpainting!
I decided that the orange should be at the bottom so I flipped the painting and then started my layers. Can you see the sweeping line coming up from the bottom and the beginning of the swirling action in the painting?
Layers upon layers slowly evolved into movements of air and horn shapes. I came to realize how the images were conveying my unconscious experiences of breathing more air! The air bubbles were an addition I could not resist and just plain fun. Several people have already reacted strongly to “It’s More Fun with Air,” and I would love to hear yours. What do you think or feel? Do you like the colors? What about the concept?
How or will this surgery impact my art? It is too soon to tell, but I sense that once I totally recover that my energy will surge and my confidence will increase, hence, indirectly influencing my creative output.
Medically, the surgery was a success as my airway was enlarged by at least 3 times from what it was originally (and I now experience dreams nightly). My chin was moved forward, the roof of my mouth was expanded. Also, my tongue was moved forward and both jaws were adjusted accordingly. The pureed or “Baby Food” diet is getting a tad tiresome, but I will hang in there until week 12 (currently in week 7) – no chewing is allowed & my mouth is rubber band shut. The experts tell me that my progress is 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule! Officially, I have returned back to work this week, though not at full strength, and look forard to starting the Memory Portraits I have beem commissioned to paint!