Thursday, February 18, 2021

NaMoPaiMo day eighteen

We all know that the best way to become a better painter is to paint a lot, preferably every day. However, sometimes that just isn't possible. 

Case in point, last night I pinched a nerve or pulled a muscle or did something to my left shoulder. I thought I might sleep it off, but no. It's even worse today. Since this was also the day of James' wisdom teeth extraction, it was an easy decision not to paint.

Sometimes, even during NaMoPaiMo, life happens.

I asked the NaMoPaiMo Facebook group why they weren't painting today. A few of the answers were funny.

A lot involved animals.
Shauna McDaniel
Lauren Hoeffer is rehabbing an injured feral cat,
Jordan Poveto is doing the same for a rescued duck...
and Erica Ferguson has had to rush her cat to the vet twice in the last ten days. 
Several people referenced children as a source of their non-productivity. As Karin Hullatti says: Kids, who I love dearly, take up a lot of time.
Of course, this year is extra difficult because so many kids aren't attending in person school. Breanna Scott writes: The kids are home from school because of Covid. I am required to sit with my youngest (pre-K) through the entire class. The older two attend zoom classes on their own, but I have to help with homework and stuff. 
Nicole Severs is taking care of her four month old, while also working as a teacher. She says balancing  in-person and virtual students hasn't left much time for painting. Fortunately, the extreme winter weather cancelled school for a week!
Speaking of the weather...
Laura Skillern's horse Simon enjoying the Texas snow
As Celene Dionn saysz: Living in Texas this past week has been my excuse.
Lexie Lawrynovicz writes: Art is one of my anchors! There are usually one or two days a week where my schedule is so full I just can’t squeeze it in, but most days I make something. Unfortunately this week I’ve been without power and water. I’m in Houston, and it’s been a colossal disaster down here during the freeze. I’ve evacuated to my mom’s and I’m okay, but no art has been happening.
No surprise, work stress is another common cause of not painting. Stacey Kianese writes: We are slammed so I’m working tons of OT. By the end of the day I’m wiped out. Creative pursuits the last thing on my mind.
Despite all that overtime, Stacey's 2021 NaMoPaiMo horse is fantastic
Caroline Spracklin concurs. By the time my at least eight hours is done, I often just don't have any motivation or brain power left to do anything but sit on the couch and watch mindless tv. I did not expect that working from home during the pandemic would lead to complete burnout...
So many people are working longer and harder than ever before. Liisa Michele is one of them. She says: My full time career as a quality control chemist for pharmaceuticals. I have been an essential worker since day one of this pandemic and it's not slowing down. I've never worked longer hours (without additional compensation) in my life. I'm averaging twelve hours every night in the lab. My company is contracted with over eighty Covid-19 projects. When I do get home I'm stressed, exhausted, and in pain. I live alone so I have to do all that housework on my "time off", as well as take care of my aging cat with medical issues, and a real horse! And now we're natured in snow and below freezing temps. It never ends. This is my excuse for not painting all year not just in February!
Sadly, several NaMoPaiMo entrants are dealing with deaths of friends and family members. Others have serious health challenges. Tomorrow, this year's first NaMoPaiMo Champion of the Day, Marjolein van Baarle, undergoes cancer surgery.
More than anything else, however, a lot of people aren't painting because of confidence and mental health issues. Clémence de Casanove writes: Most of the time it is confidence issues, that lead to panic and anxiety.... "you are your worst enemy " always feel very accurate!
The struggle truly is real. September Rennie-White says: I'm a perfectionist, and creating anything is hard for me. But I'm getting there! You'll be pleased to know I've started prepping.
Bobbie Allen's desk reflecting her mental state
And like everything else, the pandemic has made these feelings worse. Leslie Osborn writes: I get immobilized by anxiety and worry. Part of it is for sure pandemic and remote school fatigue. The other part is that, as my resolve is weakened by the above, the regular doubts that at are part and parcel of creating creep in, that annoying and often wrong voice: can I do it, do I know what I'm doing, will I ever be as good as x artist, why am I bothering with this. The only antidote is simply sitting down to the table and doing A Thing. Any thing that shakes the psychic dust off.
Tina DeCaussin reports: When I make myself sit down and work on my horse, it is good - but I do not seem to be able to do consecutive days. I can handle the cold, but it has been dark all the time except when I am at work. The darkness has crept into my mood. I sit and watch videos instead of painting - feeling crabby, sad and nostalgic. Instead of forcing myself to paint, I force myself to go to the barn, where I do not think of anything but sassy four year old-ness. But, it is starting to get light again, this week I feel a little more positive. I could actually see my horse last night when I left, no headlamp required. At the moment, I think I may actually paint tonight.
The pandemic has worn everyone down. This post by Laura Jennings really struck a chord with me: I get really bad Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder on top of Major Depressive Disorder, and normally all the enthusiasm and colorful horses cheer me up. This year beat me. I'm just dabbling in other stuff, a little, but I'm not really completing anything. It's hard to feel motivation for anything right now..

I want spring. I want a vaccine. I want somewhere to go, especially with my dog. I need to breathe and do some outdoor shopping where it's not cold and I don't have to worry about slipping on ice.

I wish there was more poetry to it, but that's the most of it. I, a massively introverted misandrist, have realized that I need other people or I'll die.

I'd just rather sleep.

Like Laura, I also want a vaccine. I want to be able to travel safely, with and without my dogs. I want to ride on an airplane, visit my mom and attend a model horse show. More than anything, I want to be with people - lots of them. 

It will happen. I don't know when, but it will happen.

Until then, we need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and fighting the good fight as often as we can. When it's too much, that's okay, too. Take the day, take the week, take care of yourself. Keep painting, but don't beat yourself up if your horse isn't finished on February 28. NaMoPaiMo isn't just about finishing. It's about community.

We are your community, Laura, and we're here if you need us. Please take care of yourself, and know that even if you don't paint your horse this year, you are still the NaMoPaiMo Champion of the Day.


  1. I'm in the same boat with depression. On top of that I'm now on disability, which is income, but is less than half what I was making when I worked full time. The extreme cold we get here in February is hard on a fixed budget, this and other worries makes get up in the morning hard. My cats help me to keep going and a friend, who always seems to know when I need to get out, asks me to go to her house and check on her dogs. My friends in this community and here at home have kept me going for the last year, and I can't thank you all enough!

  2. Thank you Jennifer for rendering down 243 comments. They were too much for me at the time, though I knew their message. As always, you get to the heart of things. I am so, so grateful for that. Keep on rendering, my beautiful friend.