“Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
~ Pablo Picasso

The end of January.
In our family this is the time that the holiday celebrations are now truly over. Hard on the heels of the New Year, we celebrate both my husband’s and my son’s birthdays, so January is a month of continued family feasts, gifts, board games and laughter filled evenings. I savor these times and record constant mental snapshots of these moments of togetherness.

Much as I love these events, the end of January is a time for me to catch my breath and look anew at the projects I’ve put aside in order to keep up with the many details of the holiday season. It is also the time when the winter doldrums or “cabin fever” tend to set in. Ask my kids and husband; early February is always the time of year when I’m feeling the lack of sunshine and need to move around the furniture, reorganize my closets and “unclutter” my living space. They all hate it and tend to scatter like chickens when faced with the prospect of moving the couch to the other side of the room just to “see how it feels”.

Since we are actually living in a cabin out in the woods this winter, with no room to move around furniture, “cabin fever” could be dangerous! I am not one who can sit around doing nothing, and there are only so many movies I can watch, books I can read, or scarves and wraps I can crochet. Diversion is necessary for my peace of mind, and many years experience have proven that not just any diversion will suffice! The most loved diversion involves tubes of vivid color and large expanses of blank canvas.

As I am taking down the last of the birthday streamers, I find that my eyes keep drifting to my easel, which has been folded up in the corner since we needed to make room for the Christmas tree. I believe it’s time to dust it off and cart out the unfinished paintings that were bundled off to the loft before the holidays. I know I could probably be doing all sorts of other “more necessary” things…but my creative streak has been restrained to a low simmer for weeks now and it is time to let it boil over.

I have so many images that I’m feeling the urge to spatter on canvas, that I can’t decide which to do first. My husband knows the signs and has heeded the warning…soon the cabin will be cluttered with my art paraphernalia, and he will be eating his meals on the couch as there will be no room on the table for plates. (I am a lucky woman…he never complains, but is just happy that I am happy!)

My painting is as necessary to me as love, laughter and air. I can no more stifle my creative spirit than I can change the color of my eyes. It truly makes all the difference.