Some of the folks who know me are aware of the fact that one of the things I enjoy doing for grins and giggles is to paint. Abstracts, Landscapes, and the occasional still life are in the repertoire, while anything remotely resembling realism is left out due to sheer lack of ability or any sort of talent in that direction. While I'm no Salvador Dali or Michael Angelo, some of my abstracts and human figure studies would definitely rival anything put out there by Picasso. (Personally, I never understood Picasso's appeal - the man's work is horrid, and his main claim to fame is that people thought his human figures were Supposed to look like abject travesties!)
The photo that I've got up as my profile photo is one of my own paintings, done a couple of years ago in the space of about 15 minutes, on a whim. That's what I like about working primarily with Acrylics - the drying time is incredibly fast, so what would take several days (or even Weeks) with traditional oils can be accomplished in a matter of minutes - or perhaps hours, depending on the complexity and degree of layering in the painting - with acrylics. I can switch back and forth between Oil techniques and Watercolor techniques, depending on the effect I want to achieve. I can use both styles on the same piece of art if the mood strikes me to do so, or it's what I need in order to achieve a certain "feel." I don't think any individual completed painting has ever taken me more than 5 or 6 hours spread out over the course of a single day.
I go through phases, though, where I am extremely productive with the easel and canvas, and where my artistic muse seems to have flown the coop like an ill trained hawk allowed off the jesses for the first time. When my father's stroke originally occured, I was deep in the midst of a creative phase, and various pieces of art flew from my fingers as fast as I could set brush to canvas. Over the course of time during the intervening 3 years, that slowed to a piece every now and then. During the past 8 months, I've been in that uncreative lacking-the-muse downswing of things, and I haven't even gotten the easel out in most of that time.
I was sitting here a couple of days ago, and glanced over into the open closet of the office, where my unused canvases were stored. (And so were the paintings that aren't currently hanging on the walls of this house.) It got me to thinking about art, and painting, and using various forms of art as a means of stress relief. As I sat here thinking about it all, I came to the realization that as my stress levels grow my creative and artistic urges begin to fail, replaced by a sense of depression and apathy. The question to myself at this point: Do I work through the apathy, hoping that the stress relieving qualities of tranquil painting time will pull me out of it, or do I set things aside until I'm no longer feeling apathetic, depressed, and completely lacking in the urge to Create? I have yet to decide which route I will attempt the next time, but I do know that my creative juices are beginning to flow again and are fighting for release onto canvas and more writing.