I love the smell of turpentine in the morning

I am an artist, a painter. At least, I think. Before M.E. came up I was sure about it. I was an artist and I painted.

Ever since I am disabled by M.E. I feel uncertain whether to call myself an artist. Most of my drawings aren’t more than doodles or sketches for paintings that I want to carry out in the future. Up till now, my paintings-to-do-list keeps growing. I haven’t touched the brushes in quite a while and I don’t even remember the last time I opened a bottle of turpentine. I used to love the smell of turpentine in the morning.
My artworks were rather spacious. Not enormous but at least life-sized or bigger. Therefor I can’t get to my studio and take place at the easel. I can’t get myself to make small sized works. I don’t want to sit down during working. And I hate quitting after less than half an hour, because parts of my body start to ache.
This mental obstacle is something I need to get over. And I have to accept M.E. as my boundary that requires me to make smaller paintings and work with acrylics instead of oil paint because of the chemical fumes that go along with it.
I know Henri Matisse could accept the shortcomings when he aged. He managed to put a charcoal or pencil on a long stick and draw the contours of the shape he wanted. His assistant would cut out the silhouette.

I am not ready to adapt my personal way of working. Often I tried. Perhaps I will succeed when I – like Matisse – am aging. So far I am still unsure about calling myself an artist. As an M.E. patient I will continue to do the next best thing that is in me as an artistic person: I write. But that doesn’t mean I feel like calling myself a writer.

This post is also available in: Dutch

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