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Ever had times when you feel like you’ve lost your mojo?

Hi you guys, it’s been awhile since I’ve written much on the gallery blog. I want to talk about being stuck, which is exactly how I feel right now. Most of the artists I know have had at least one time when they’ve felt really stuck. How about a huge interruption in your life that just seems to take the wind out of your artist-sails? Like, 6 months and counting?

That’s what happened to me

I haven’t pulled a print since an accident in September, when our sweet (large) dog, Shadow, knocked me over on a steep trail and I injured my knee.

 

Skip the next paragraphs if you’re in a hurry:

After a repair-arthroscopy and 7 weeks of rehab, we discovered that I had a hidden slow-growing infection inside the knee capsule that suddenly reached a critical point and made itself known with excruciating pain. A second surgery to wash out the bacteria in the knee, then hospitalization, and intravenous daily antibiotics left me bed-ridden at home for a week. During that time my health took a sharp turn for the worse. Tim and I both thought all of my symptoms were just from the infection.

It was only by luck that I was in the hospital getting an antibiotic infusion on the weekend, when the attending doc noticed my gray skin and admitted me. Turns out I had developed large blood clots in my leg while lying in bed at home and a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. Another hospitalization. Blood thinners. More antibiotics. Very scary.

Now, many months later I am walking (more like lurching) with a cane or single crutch, waiting until I can have the whole knee replaced. I have to wait til August or September. Meantime I have weekly labs, physical therapy, water therapy and ongoing antibiotics dominating my daily life. It will have been an entire year of dealing with this complications from that hiking injury! Sigh.

Needless to say, after all of that, I haven’t been in my studio — as in, worked in my studio — since September 2019. 

Last fall, before my injury, I had a few drypoint plates ready to print. Where the heck is my mojo now? I’m just not up to it yet. I kinda feel stuck. My knee is so sore, my leg muscles have atrophied into noodles and it’s hard to stand for longer than 5 minutes. The printmaking studio is set up for standing and walking between paper soaking area to press to inking table to press to drying rack … Not much sitting allowed!

But. How to get unstuck? How to chase that mojo and get going again? 

I do have a plan. I have to go slowly. I’ve tried in the last few weeks to spend more time in my studio, teaching my art students. Trouble is, after two or three hours, my body hurts and my energy level is somewhere near rock bottom. I know I have to ease into full days … little baby steps. Right now, I have to actually be in the studio to feel inspired. I have to get out my boxes and bins of scraps to feel inspired. I have a large flat box where I store pressed plant parts to use in my monoprints. Get those out!

flattened marguerites

 

Another flat box is full of shapes I use over and over in my monoprints. Certain motifs seem to show up frequently in my dreams and imaginings. Spirals, eggs, birds, clouds, zigzags and waves. These have printing ink on them – ink that takes forever to dry on the coated papers and card stock I use. I love the unpredictable nature of reusing shapes that have bits of printing and color on them.

monoprint plate with paper cutouts and pressed sage, ready to run through the press.

Then, there is a handful of larger boxes that hold piles of paper scraps for chine colle´ and collage. The colors and textures get my juicy brain going.

oh, just some yummy papers and a little bird

 

an assortment of ferns and lichens gives me color inspiration

 

wild rose stems and leaves placed on an inked drypoint plate make a lovely embossed image.

I just need to put all the plates I want to use out where I can see them. Get my supplies ready (it’s important to make a bit of a mess) and sort through the boxes for some delicious enticing papers and shapes. Then it’s time to PLAY – no pressure! The petals hit the metal now. Heh

Here’s an assortment of botanicals, papers and cardboard shapes to feast your eyes on. This is where I am going to try to find my mojo again. Do you keep your art stuff put away in boxes or is it usually out where you can always see it?