Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Back again after big changes

The two years since my last post have been challenging. Lots of changes in all areas of my life. I returned to a job which I hadn't done for 25 years - teaching piano to young people. So I've been pre-occupied with re-training myself and getting up to date with syllabi and repertoire. Not to mention the technological revolution which enables me to instantly send sheet music to a student along with an audio or video file. Using my phone. It's mind-boggling.

So my visual art took a back seat for about 18 months. I was simply too physically, mentally and emotionally drained to attend 3 hours of life drawing, and then teach 4 hours piano. My brain is low on serotonin at the best of times, and my new music teaching job was greedily eating it all up.

Last September I took a painting class at the Workshop arts centre, Willoughby. The teacher, a professional full time exhibiting artist, Jo Bertini, inspired and encouraged me to do more.

Around the same time, a remarkable person came back into my life. John Hancock was my creative director when I worked as a copywriter at Ogilvy and Mather Direct in Melbourne in the 1980s.
I was lucky to reconnect with him for the last few months of his battle with cancer, during which, despite hospitalisation, heavy duty treatments, and palliative care, he was an energetic and powerful mentor. As he was when we worked together all those years ago.

So I have experienced unexpected and incredible generosity of spirit in the last 6 months. And I am painting again.

Also, my music is different from when I used to play years ago. I no longer feel pressured to perform, to achieve, to live up to family expectations (I grew up in a musical family). The impulse is coming from within me, something I thought I would never experience. I was one of those kids who dutifully   did all the classical exams, practised 2 hours a day, and never questioned it. But it wasn't coming  from my heart.

My grandmother said back then "don't ever give up your music". But of course I did. I had to. I had to drop it, forget it, then rediscover it and claim it as mine. And my grandmother was not a painter, so she didn't really "get" the art thing. I am a far, far better painter than I am a musician. Now I feel free, and entitled to enjoy both on my own terms and no-one else's. It probably sounds weird but that is
important for me. My own terms.

Through all of this, my piano playing is the best it's ever been, my painting is the best it's ever been, absolutely incredibly and profoundly satisfying. I'm still battling with my severely depressive brain which is a constant. I've been through worse and survived. Menopausal symptoms don't help (ironic chuckling) but that too shall pass.

More to come, plus new and wonderful paintings. I am planning an exhibition soon which will be both online and IRL. Excited.