When Artists Get Sick
I can’t remember the last time I was sick like this. Probably when I went to spend Christmas in Cebu in 2019, when I had the worst cough and cold I’d had in a long time. I’m always getting sick at the most inopportune moments, and by such moments I mean either when I’m travelling or when I’m *arting*.
I’m writing this in bed in the middle of everyone’s favourite virus ~ I wasn’t asymptomatic, unfortunately, but gratefully lucid and able enough to write (and even log into work the other day, and hopefully again tomorrow). I’m resting as hard as I can, haha ~ which means, *the painting factory is closed* at the moment.
I have to say it’s driving me nuts not being able to work on my Rogues right now.
And it’s just so hard to pick up again after getting *thrown off your groove*. I have to admit, however, that in the evenings leading up to the one when my parents bundled me off to the infirmary, I had already been *losing my groove* anyway.
This brings to mind this famous artist I used to know, younger than myself, who had to spend some time in hospital for I don’t know, dengue or something, I don’t remember. They told me he was crying because he wasn’t able to work. I can totally believe that.
I mean, what do you do. The art couldn’t care less if you were at death’s door, and the deadlines, even less so, lol. If possible, some of us will suck it up and carry on in our respective painting factories ~ this was what I was trained to do (ironically, not at art school).
If you’re one of these heroes, I very heartily commend you and Kermit-level envy you.
I don’t know if I’m just being L-A-Z-Y, really, but taking this time to just get better really is a good idea.
I can think of only one piece I’ve worked on whilst I was sick that I didn’t completely botch up (although who knows, maybe it would’ve turned out better if I was better when I worked on it) ~ but other than that, I usually do mess up most anything I insist on working on even while I’m snorking into a tissue or hawking up a~ you get the idea.
I guess it depends, I mean, if it’s really life or death like deadline-wise… but then… I don’t know. Case-to-case, I suppose. But generally, experience tells me it’s usually a good idea to wait until you’re better.
Your hands won’t shake as much, for one thing, if your meds have that tendency. Your head will be clearer. You can work longer because you won’t get tired as quickly. You can also work uninterrupted by sneezing, snorking or worse. And as if there wasn’t enough *mess* going on in the studio, during… right?
I may have mentioned this in my post about why you need to take a break when you’re burnt out, but I guess it’s one thing to be burnt out and another to be just, ill. (Although arguably burnout is kind of being unwell, I guess, to say the least.) But I like to think that you may make *better creative decisions* when you’re well, instead of when you’re not.
By this, I mean like, which colours to use or where to place things, compositionally, you know, that kind of thing. Unless you’re into, you know. Just freestyling and not really *deciding* anything as in premeditated or planned out. But you get what I mean, I hope. Of course *nice* accidents happen. Not-as-nice ones do, too ^^;
Also, there’s that whole, it’s God, or your body (or both) telling you it’s time for you to take a break.
For my part, I don’t think it’s that far along into the year this year yet for me to have earned a break ~ and ironically, it’s now that I’m consciously trying to cut my half-a-century-old self some slack that I’d gone and gotten myself sick! But as finite beings we can only see so far x we can’t see the whooole picture, so…
And besides, it might actually take you longer to get *well-well* if you don’t hit the brakes on production for a bit, i.e. what would take X number of days for you to get better, might actually take X + Y days now because you were diverting energy from your recovery to, well, art ^^;
Plus, this may sound odd, but I’m also wondering whether, if I were to work on things now (I have a piece done at the end of the month for a group show that I just couldn’t help joining), I’d leave germs on them and I feel weird about spraying Lysol on them, you know what I mean? (Although they say the Virus Flavour of the Month doesn’t live that long on surfaces ~ obviously the surfaces I’m most concerned for are paper and canvas (fabric) (with plastic (acrylic?)
In any case, laziness aside, taking time out to just get better isn’t so bad I guess ~ although I feel like my bakunawa is staring at me being all ‘It’s going to take you FOREVER to paint all my scales ~ and there you are rolling around in bed doing nothing.’ (I actually told him ‘Don’t look at me like that!’ ~ Mom and Dad must’ve thought I was nuts, lol.) (Not that they haven’t already ^^)
Anyway, now that I seem to be getting over the worst of my symptoms (God willing) I’ve been using my downtime to…
…do a little planning and a little bit of research for my Rogues to come (after I’m done with my baku). I might doodle some studies for that group show piece (which has taken a different shape in my mind since getting sick).
I’ve also been doing a lot of reading ~ Mom says to just watch things because reading can strain your eyes, but she’s the one who keeps giving me books I haven’t been able to even open yet (like the Fowl Twins she gave me last Christmas) ^^ Have just been going through the Tolkien paintings and the Escher book she gave me for my last birthday XD
I’ve mentioned my parents having taken such great care of me through this, which I feel horrible about because of the risk I’ve exposed them to ~ which brings me to something else I’d like to share as another thing that might help tide you over during these times of forced inactivity: Accept the kindness of others <3
I won’t bore you with my fangirling over the fabulous chicken arroz caldo, lipsmacking bulalo or the amazing meatballs-and-soba soup (because she couldn’t find misua) that Mom has been bringing over every day since I got sick ~ but I do want to share the kindness of one of my ex-coworkers who went to the opening of the group show I was in that opened yesterday.
As much as I had been looking forward to attending, I couldn’t, for obvious reasons. But Gen went and took photos of my Pelly and Henny there ~ thank you so much, Gen! I owe you one (again) <3
I guess it’s times like these when you find out who’s there for you when times are tough and when it’s brought home to you how much you really, really have to be thankful for ~ whether you’re an artist or not.
Anyways, have just been sharing a few things that might help tide you over during a time when you’re dying (hopefully not literally) to get back to work in the studio.
Maybe it’s just better if you don’t, and just allow yourself time to recuperate. It’s okay. You’ll work better for it, afterwards when you’re back at 100% (or at least 90, lol ~ or negative ^^).
It’s not your fault you got sick, and nobody plans for these things to happen. It’s just one of life’s little curve balls that you just gotta deal with when you’re there ~ you can’t plan ahead for this sort of thing or everything (ask Samuel L Jackson, he’ll tell you life is a highway ^_^).
For now, if you’re reading this in the same boat (bed? XD) I’m in, get well soon, and I’m here if you could use someone to talk to ^_^*
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