Friday, 16 April 2010

A sobering but motivating experience

I was driving along a busy dual carriageway on Wednesday night at 60mph when my bonnet suddenly flew open, blocking the windscreen. I couldn't see a thing, so all I could do was hit the brakes, keep driving in a straight line and hope for the best.

Luckily I was on the inside lane and not in the middle of a maneouvre in another part of the road. Luckily the lorry behind me reacted quickly and didn't drive into me. Luckily there was no collision and nobody was injured. I pulled over and assessed the damage, temporarily secured the bonnet catch and drove home slowly.

Now the shock of it has passed, it's been a sobering reminder to me that we just don't know how long we've got. One could go at any time in any number of unforeseen ways. Therefore, it feels even more important to act now, live in a way that means something to oneself, and do things that matter.

Reminder to self: watch that film 'The Bucket List'.

I may never earn a penny from making art, but it feeds my soul, soothes my mind and makes me feel better in myself, which has a knock on effect in the way I give back to the world in my own small ways. For these reasons I need to keep doing it.

Even the few times I have drawn this week, I've felt that familiar, sweet, expansive feeling coming back, the one that comes with I start engaging in creative activity. The feeling that I get when my thoughts start to soar, build, flow and mesh into ideas.

I realised, to paraphrase the artists block stuff I was reading, that it doesn't really matter what I draw, as long as I keep drawing. This is the main thing.

I felt freed up yesterday, when drawing in my lunch hour, from the expectations of passers-by. For once, I really didn't care less about whether they liked my drawing or not - it didn't interrupt or bother me at all - and that felt good. I just kept going.

I read 'Notes from an Exhibition' recently, a novel by Patrick Gale. The central character is Rachel, a painter with bipolar disorder. In it, Gale describes her as 'throwing off' a couple of drawings as her warm up exercise before she starts painting. I really like that expression.. yesterday, I also didn't care less whether *I* liked my drawing or not.

I just kept on drawing without judgement or self-criticism - that was a new feeling and a good one. It felt relaxing and freeing.


Jennifer said...

WOW - I'm glad you made it through the accident well and sounding like it was a changing experience. If you are like me - you aren't alive if you aren't creating. Keep going!

Steve Bremner said...

Thanks Jennifer!
It was a bit of a wake up call, that's for sure. I met a fellow artist at a party the other night who was urging me to buy a canvas and start painting again. I promised to buy the canvas - so I hope to get at least one painting done. I feel the same as you, I need to be in creating mode, or something feels missing. At the moment, it is more universal - home improvements and sorting out the garden - attending to some of the other 'spinning plates' needed to make a life work better. Thank you always for your positive encouragement. Best wishes from Steve