It has been a while since my last post as I have been slowed down and sidelined by one of those bumps in the road that we all face from time to time - and I have survived quite a few. This particular bump unfortunately has the distinction of being permanent without hope of resolving on its own in time; it will only get worse unless drastic measures are taken: such as major back surgery, and that is a truly scary prospect. I have been living with spinal stenosis for ten years and on the whole I have managed quite well by being careful and pacing myself as well as using the best working/lifting techniques and so on.
But since last Fall it has been getting steadily worse and especially this past Spring and Summer I have reached a point where nothing seems to work anymore and even the simplest functional activities have become problems due to pain in my legs day and night, and a pronounced weakness that has made even a slight incline - not to mention stairs - close to impossible, so that the daily (now shorter) walks with my faithful dog has become an endurance test instead of a pleasure.
Previously the studio has been my sanctuary when things were difficult: all I had to do was go in there, turn the music on and the creative forces would take over, time would stop and I would enter another world - almost an altered state of consciousness, that would put things in perspective and give me a reprieve.
But now that is not the case anymore either and the process of working on a canvas of a fairly good size is one of the aggravating factors; my way of painting is quite physical with prolonged periods of standing and walking back and forth to judge the progress at a distance, while getting closer to work the materials - and the canvas needs to be horizontal either on the floor or on a table or such, which means that I have to bend over somewhat. I have changed it as much as I can to get it to work, but can only do short periods at a time which chops the flow up and breaks my concentration to the point where I loose the thread and it all takes much longer. The painting (36 x 36") you see above as well as a smaller one are the only ones I have managed to finish this summer, and both have been slow in coming together - but I now think that they are OK. I have started another 36 x 36" canvas and hope to be able to manage that - from then on I may have to resort to small ones which I don't much care for, but at least then I can work on them most of the time in sitting. I have to keep going: if I can't paint I fall apart!
So I shall persist with this last one and know quite well that at least in the early stages, I will get carried away - it is impossible to be totally focused on the painting and let it set the pace while at the same time keeping an eye on the clock - so before I know it, it several hours have gone by, my back is screaming at me and I can barely move; that wouldn't be so bad if not for the fact that the real price I have to pay comes afterwards: for days and especially at night making sleeping and everything else very difficult.
Anyway, enough for now - I know that I am in good hands with the top back specialists at the major trauma centre here in Vancouver. They do amazing spinal surgeries post injuries as well as everything else spine related, and now I just have to wait and hope, that it won't be too long before I know exactly what they can do - I am through the initial tests and assessments but nothing will happen very fast; they see the most urgent cases first which is fair enough, and I don't really expect anything much to happen until next Spring at the earliest - but you never know!
So keep your fingers crossed for me, please!