Art and aches
The drizzling rain and cold grey was easy to ignore if I focused on the vibrant colours before me. My paintings and photographs were a distraction from the weather and how it was affecting my limbs. Pain can’t be ignored, but it can be tolerated. The aches and pains all over my body hollered their presence despite doing my best to keep busy. As Van the man sange about once “There’ll be days liked this”.
Atmospheric pressure and pain
Millions of people experience flare-ups in their bodies on damp days. Experts have a theory on this. One states “Before it rains, barometric pressure tends to decrease. When this happens, there’s less air pressure exerting itself on your body, which may allow muscles, tendons and other tissue surrounding the joints to expand. The expansion may crowd the joints, putting extra pressure on them, which may lead to pain.“
Hooray for yoga. It helps! I practiced some in the afternoon when I was a little bit more limbered up, and it made quite a difference.
When I got home I saw that even the cats seemed under the weather. They had stayed snuggled up for a long sleep, then took it easy all evening.
At the exhibition space
Pain is exhausting, and while it was not an easy day, and at the same time it was great to be installing my exhibition at Tralee library.
When my beloved went off to pick up some photography prints, I turned off most of the lights in the exhibition venue.
One of the team kindly asked if I wanted to turn on the spotlights. I explained to him that I found daylight easier to work in. This is the case for many people with fibromyalgia, arthritis, and sensory issues including autism. Harsh lights are a torment, especially on days when my body is tingling all over.
Trees as teachers
I hung the paintings and added half of the photos, then paused to admire the trees outside. They looked spindly and vulnerable on a cold, damp day, but still beautiful against a lush green carpet of grass.
As for the tones in my work, I was happy with the photography prints and how the eclectic mix of paint materials glowed. Yes, the photos could look even better with professional framing, but apart from that the overall effect was fine.
I don’t do ‘perfect’. It is a phrase that has crept into every day use here in Ireland in recent years, and it is not used mindfully. A friend commented recently on how it is especially common within the ‘copy and paste’ culture of Instagram where most people create content, not art.
The notion of ‘perfect’ is nonsense, when you think about it. To be human is to know that there’s no such thing. Perfection is not what I sought as I installed the exhibition.
A narrative was important though, and while it seemed all well-sorted in my mind during the planning phase at home, it did not translate to the space. As I stood back to survey the room, I observed something that I had not expected. Something that I could never have envisaged.
The overall look just didn’t work! The mix was off, not balanced. My paintings did not sit well with the photography and text.
A recent group exhibition that I had installed looked fine with mixed media, but on this occasion the mixed visual effect was messy and cluttered. Putting the bright, hand painted works on canvas and paper in the same space as my photographs and text simply clashed, aesthetically. Shit! I’d have to change my design.
The best thing to do was to remove the paintings and allow the photography and text space to breathe.
It now looks much better than the original vision I had in my mind’s eye.
I’ll exhibit the paintings later on in the year and let people know in my newsletter.
Art mirrors life.
Things happen, and plans have to change. We feel pain and tiredness in one moment, joy and elation the next. One day feels easy, the next is disrupted. Still, let’s always remember that is a massive privilege to be able to rearrange things and to make adjustments.
I am enjoying the process, and very grateful for it.
Thanks for reading.
Click here to listen to the song “Days Like This”.
 Read more about rain and pain here.
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