Having shiny object syndrome has its pros and cons. On the plus side, I’m always fizzing with ideas. On the downside, when one of my ideas takes off and people start to want a piece of it, it starts to smell a bit like work!

My plans for getting down to some figure drawing were totally derailed by – no, not someone else – by my own writing.

What I did produce was, at long last, the outline of an article about running a craft business, and what I learned from the business that I gave up. It made me think about how much has changed for me in the last 10 years, and how little has changed about me fundamentally. I’m still trying to do all the things, mostly on my own; but now, instead of sewing all the things, I’m drawing and writing and publishing and promoting all the things.

Back to life, back to reality

Six weeks ago I had surgery. In the first week, nothing much seemed to change, but every day after that, I could see incremental improvements. The biggest changes happened about 4-5 weeks on, when I could stand up straight again.

When usually able-bodied people get ill, we can go from taking our daily lives for granted to taking nothing for granted, and then slowly ramp up to forgetting again. It’s easy to forget about it when you get better, but some people never do. I am getting better, and before long I expect I will fully recover, but this experience has made me think about those of us for whom diminished ability isn’t a couple-of-months-long blip.

I had this many years ago, where I was temporarily disabled whilst I was pregnant. I knew that in all likelihood it would go away, but at the time it was an all-consuming blot that not only overshadowed the way I felt about myself, but obviously changed the way that others viewed me. At the time I didn’t know how long it would last, and was actually quite afraid that I’d never be the same. A year later, I was fine.

That experience has never really left me, which is partly why I was dreading this fresh experience… but it hasn’t been as bad. Yes, I’m impatient with myself, but the fact is, there is an end in sight.

Even now, I’ve passed through the realm of invisibility that the disabled are pushed into by our reluctance or inability to engage with them.

A friend of mine, a fellow artist, suffered a stroke last October, and despite having been dealt a hand of truly outrageous fortune, he’s been a real inspiration to me and I expect, to everyone who knows him. It puts my passage through this state into sharp perspective.

The less able figure

Representational art can’t help but find itself sticking to the decorative, the beautiful, the perfect. We want it so badly because frankly, we need it. Static on a page or as a sculpture, we want to immortalise the image of the body so we can forget about the body’s propensity to go wrong.

It’s all just made me think about the purpose of my own figure drawing, pursuing an image of a body that is itself relentlessly in pursuit of perfection…

But we’re all being transformed, no matter how able or less able we are right now.

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Studio Notes 08/02/19