What happens when you can't do art?

Every day I do something artistic - whether it is part of a large-scale project, such as a multi-coloured print; or just a simple drawing.  If I'm not in the mood for actually generating something from my imagination, then I will do something that will drive a project forward, such as tidying my study and laying out what I need for the next day; or doing a small task such as pinning the pieces of an item I'm sewing.  However, for the first time in years, I have not done anything artistic for at least a fortnight due to poor health.  I've had the worst outbreak of eczema I've ever had.  I've suffered low level eczema ever since I was a child, and now and then it flares up, but it has always been manageable through the short use of steroid creams.  However, recently, a huge flare up was triggered by low immunity as a result of a sinus infection; exhaustion from constant 5am wake ups courtesy of our daughter; and eating at least 20 plums a day from our amazing plum tree (I had not realised plums could trigger eczema).  For weeks now, I've had angry red eczema across my face.  I've done everything I can think of to calm it down - cut out sugar, wheat and dairy; juicing every day; taking primrose oil and fish oil and various other supplements.  It has now been complicated by a secondary fungal infection.  The only way I can get relief is by practising 'wet wrapping' - see photo below (and fellow eczema sufferers, it really helps!).  Slowly, I am getting better, but there is no end in sight at present. It has been a miserable, isolating experience.

Wet wrapped face

As a result, I have simply not had the mental or physical energy to do anything creative at all.  Recently, I wrote about how to handle a creative slump - but this is more than a slump, this is a standstill!  So what to do?  Well, I derive great comfort from the saying 'this time will pass' - and trying to view it as an opportunity to do something that I would never normally do.  At the most, I perhaps watch TV for around 30 minutes a day - my priorities lie elsewhere, and I never have the patience to watch more than that.  But at the moment, with my energy so low, and also the fact that I HAVE to sit still for several hours a day while letting the 'wet wraps' work, I have been indulging myself and watching TV.  Highlights have been the fantastic french crime drama 'Spiral'; the movie about the drugs war 'Sicario'; the hilarious 'Life in Pieces'; and the enjoyable nonsense 'Bodyguard'.  Dealing with this issue is similar to recovering from other difficult situations - being kind to yourself, and recognising when it is necessary to conserve your energy to address the challenge you are enduring.  I have no doubt that my artistic drive will return once I am back to full health - and in the meantime, I am practising at feeling no guilt for lying on the sofa with the remote control in my hand...




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