Everything that sucks in life happened in 6 months….my cat died, I got a “divorce”, my step father died, ( suddenly and at a very young age ), my mother died 5 months later of a broken heart, ( they were married 30 years ) and then my other cat died. The accumulation of all this in such a short amount of time was too much. I lost my mind…..
I’m not sure where it went but it booked out of town. It just couldn’t cope. So I was left alone to grieve without a support system and I was broke. Being an artist is usually the most awesome-ness thing ever…..but at this point in my career it was extremely challenging. I suddenly couldn’t paint my happy colourful abstracts that sold so well. They had no meaning, no content, no substance to me anymore. I wanted something to mean something in my life and I figured it should be my art. But it wasn’t. I was suddenly questioning my whole existence….If creating art isn’t at the core of who I am, who I thought I was for that past 44 years…then who am I? A horrible question to be asking in my mid 40’s…
Did I just waste my whole life thinking I was something I’m not? Am I a fraud? What do I really believe in? It’s a horrible thing when one’s parents die. My father died when I was 15. So I’ve had three decades to recover and find my place in this big world……but here I am questioning my whole existence. Not as a child, that didn’t occur to me then; but as a full functioning adult who supposedly has her shit together……
Turns out I did have my shit together. But only hindsight can show that. I went through that year feeling a sadness I had never felt so deeply before. There were times when I just wanted to not wake up….I didn’t want to end my life, I just didn’t know if I could go on feeling so sad…..
I decided the best course of action was to go back to basics. Since everything I painted sucked at that time, my mojo was gone…..I had no desire to express myself through painting, I had to get a job…..the biggest dread for a working artist….but it ended up being ok. I worked at an art supply store which ended up giving me a great opportunity to learn, and a great discount! And since I was going back to basics it made sense. I started reading books on drawing again, watercolour techniques ( I don’t paint in watercolour ) I was experimenting with oil painting styles and acrylic mediums…..My Gallery was unhappy with me and I knew that relationship would end. But for now, my shitty paying job and the surplus of good paintings still at the Gallery would help keep me afloat.
I moved most of my belongings into my 900 sq ft studio. Then I moved my basics, like my bed, 2 cups, 2 bowls, 2 plates, 1 pot and 1 frying pan, etc. etc. into a 200 sq ft apartment. I never knew 200 sq ft apartments existed, but here I was. It was all I could afford and it was going to work.
I proceeded to do as little as possible. Read, practice painting techniques, and sit…in my little apartment, and do nothing. This sounds really weird when I write it down but it was the most healing experience I’ve ever had. I barely socialized, I didn’t go out beyond the studio and the gym. I sat. I sat with my feelings day in and day out for a year before I came out of it.
Have you ever heard of post traumatic growth? It’s an amazing thing….when a traumatic experience in your life causes you to do one of 3 things….wither away and be beaten down and run your life with fear….go on living the same way, or dramatic growth and evolution……
I experienced dramatic growth at an incredible depth. Sitting for so long caused me to learn who I truly was. What I really really wanted from my life. The end result…..what truly matters is being true to yourself at any cost. I discovered that being an artist was only part of who I am. What I really wanted was to connect with people. And I inadvertently chose to do that through painting. A talent given to me by my father but only a component of who I am. Some artists I know are artists through and through. Their identity is within that being of life. Not me…surprisingly. Shockingly actually; I was devastated to learn this about myself….until I realized the power it held to know oneself to the core……
Now I could truly blossom into the being I was meant to be. I could grow and develop myself without any more road blocks. The blocks that kept me back from being really really successful because they were screaming at me to look deeper. You are more, you can be more, stop, look, pay attention. It took my Mom’s death for me to look more closely. To dig deep and not run away or fill my life with stuff. This is my thank you to my Mom for being a Mom to the very last. Showing me how much she loved me even in death…..especially in death. And the irony….I’m a better artist because of this. Thank you Mom.
All Images Are © Lisa Heinricks
Lisa Heinricks Artist Bio Home base and my sanctuary is Penticton, B.C. Canada. Quiet, hot, riddled with Wineries and one of the most beautiful places I know of…..
My biggest influences and inspirations include; Pollock, Rothko, Amy Dryer, Chopra, Carr, Dr. Seuss, the Group of Seven, and movements like Fauvism, Humanism, Art Nouveau and the Baroque period.
I love it all….abstract, portraiture, landscape and black and white realism. All excite me and stimulate my brain in different ways.
I’m very proud to announce the launch of my newest project, Awesome People Movement. Be Awesome. Voice your story. Participate. Check it out!
Blog / Website: Lisa Heinricks | Painter | Writer