after the storm

I feel like I've been dream-walking these past two weeks. Getting through the worst hurricane recorded in over thirty-five years was a frightening experience, but it was the loss of electricity that tested our resilience. Life became dependent on the daylight. I’m a night person and this turned my days upside down. I was, however, luckier than many because I did have a generator, which we purchased after last year's blackout. Our challenge was in finding gasoline to keep the generator running. Yes, my husband was one of those lost souls wandering from one gas station to another. Everyday brought a new challenge as many of the stations ran out of gas. My heart goes out to those people who are still without heat and electricity.

Now that my life has come back to what I used to call normal, I'm amazed at how much art I created during this period. As I said before, light became this golden commodity that couldn't be squandered. I actually found myself waking up at seven a.m. and going directly to my studio. I found the light was best between the hours of ten and twelve and remained good until three p.m. It became more difficult to paint in the fading light.

I had an overwhelming drive to create. Somehow, not having other distractions gave me a freedom I wasn't able to tap into before. I owed it to myself to dig in and see where it took me. During the evening hours, I was able to work on some large collages. I listened to a book on tape while I worked under two 100 watt lamps. The sound from the generators outside was like a marching band of lawnmowers creating a white noise that blocked out everything else.

When the electricity finally came back on five days later, I was shocked at how much work I had accomplished. I nearly completed a 48"x48" painting and was amazed with how loosely I had painted it. I didn't suffer over small details or stay to the original design. There was a freedom I hadn’t had before. I was so obsessed with getting the most out of the light that I seemed to have lost myself in the art. I completed four large collages as well.

This whole experience has been an invaluable lesson to me. There are too many distractions that pull me away from my studio and I need to take another look at that. In the end, allowing myself to not put expectations on myself seems to increase my ability to produce.