Pencils (A4 ink and coloured pencil 2017)

I started this blog to motivate myself to complete a drawing or painting each week, something that I wouldn’t be too ashamed to share with a small group of followers. The ‘small group’ is now around 950 and I’ve managed to sustain the pace despite a demanding full-time job and some turbulent times.

At first, I thought I’d just post the images with the minimum of explanation but I soon found that there were things I wanted to write about – some weeks the images even became secondary to the text. The nature of creativity became a recurring theme along with my particular passions for Henry James, Leonard Nimoy, John Berger, minimalist music, quinces and illustrators.

Send me a dozen long stemmed roses
I’ll tell you what I’ll do:
I’ll bend them into a crown of thorns
Then send them right back to you.

Michelle Shocked, ‘On the Greener Side’

During the past seven months I’ve lived through the scrappy break-up of my 15 year relationship and two deaths, my Mother and a friend of some forty years. Grief has been an almost constant companion, but so, too, has gratitude. I’ve come to treasure the support and kindness of good friends and my family. In a rather surprising way I discovered that it is possible to still feel intensely when I thought all emotion had been numbed by grief.

My departing partner left me a poem by John O’Donahue which advised:

This is the time to be slow,

Lie low to the wall

Until the bitter weather passes.

I did about a week of being slow, lying on the couch watching the shadows of the quince tree on the ceiling wondering where it had all gone wrong. You start to feel yourself dying inside if you do much of that. Far better to climb over the wall and let the bitter winds and cold rain lash you back to life. Perhaps I haven’t given myself time to properly grieve for any of these losses, but I have felt alive throughout it all which is the important thing for me. I wouldn’t wish my recent life on anyone else, but there have been more bright spots than one might imagine.

I’ve also taken part in some stimulating art workshops which have truly kept me going through these dark times, especially gestural drawing at Seawhite Studios and life drawing with Annabel Mednick and model Blue King. Both have caused me to think about the work I’m doing and how to move forward.

So for a while I’ll post less frequently while I attempt to work more slowly and on a larger scale (I’ll continue to post smaller things, older work, photographs and favourite art books on Instagram). I do hope you’ll stick with me during this period of recalibration: it’s been a pleasure to interact with so many generous, creative and inspiring people and I’d hate to lose you! Thank you so much for your support – despite it all I’m blessed in many ways.


45 thoughts on “Interlude

  1. Michael, I’m so sorry to read this. It’s no wonder you need to take some time with all that’s gone on, but I do wish you well and hope you can find some light by this new direction. Take inspiration from those quince fists and punch your way through the dark! I’ll most definitely stick around and look forward to seeing you back here, but in the meantime, see you on Instagram. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your posts are always a pleasure Michael, and i’ll look forward to them whenever you feel like posting. I’m sorry to hear you’ve had such a difficult time, it sounds like it would knock anybody for six so I just wish you all the very best and hope more of the good stuff comes your way now. I remember when I lost my dad three years ago and then my relationship went through a very rocky time I was completely done in for months and months so I appreciate some of what you’re going through. You survive it as well as you can, and then slowly, green shoots of renewal start to grow again, but it takes time and lots of love and making sure you look after yourself as best you can. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Phil, that’s so kind and so thoughtful. I’d been hinting around all this for a few weeks so I thought I’d just let it out finally. The green shoots are already starting to show through so I remain hopeful. It’s probably just time for a pause, I feel. I’ll be back soon though. My heartfelt thanks again. Mx


  3. Michael,thanks for sharing this, you’d hinted at some of it, I hadn’t realised how much you’ve had to deal with all at once. I’m so glad you are taking some time for yourself, and that you can feel some ‘green shoots’ starting to stir toward the light.
    I wanted to send photo of a little drawing of mine in answer to your coloured pencil sketch, which I like very much by the way. Can you send me an email where it could reach you?
    cheers, Sarah


  4. Doubt you’ll lose any followers when you provide not only excellent art but you write superbly AND frequently educate (me, anyway). We all experience awful times…just not usually all in one lump as you describe. Some wise sage said “and this too shall pass”. You seem to be doing all the right things to cope, especially being creative.

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  5. I am sorry to read this and I hope for blue skies ahead. It seems to me that things come all at once and knock you over, and that it is very hard to get back up on your feet. But, I have found in my own experience that it will happen and it seems to be almost involuntary; the soul and body have some kind of wordless strength when your conscious mind says – let me just lie on the sofa all day. Forever. Time does heal you. And your art and your writing heal you. I write this from cold hard experience, hoping not to sound Pollyanna-ish. Best wishes.


  6. There seems to be a sense of exploration and adventure at the heart of this interlude. Happy trails Micheal and remember to always sleep upstream of the herd.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for this post…and for all of them. As a blogger, I understand the pull to keep things going, to post regularly, etc. But life doesn’t always work that way and taking time to grow and change sometimes means taking a break from our usual routine. You’ve been dealing with a lot of emotion and loss, which has been the undercurrent of your writing for awhile here. It seems like giving yourself time to feel your way through it in whatever way makes sense to you is a good plan. I’ll still be here whenever you decide to post again. Be well.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Michael, I’m feeling for you, and I’d like to send my condolences for your losses and upheaval. Until your return I’ll miss your thoughtful and inspiring blog posts and comments, but will look forward with hope to your reappearance here. Keep well and look after yourself, friend. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ll miss seeing your beautiful works and reading the stories that lie behind them. Creative work is a great solace in difficult times. I hope your decision to move on in new creative directions is a sign that you have started to heal.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us in blogdom Michael. I’ve been amazed by the depth and quantity of your posts considering you work full time, and wondering why I can’t do the same —– but we all have to write/create/draw/think at a pace that works for us, and that will vary too, according to what’s going on in our lives. It’s easy to forget, I find, that living means coming to terms with endings, as well as beginnings and burgeonings, and these often can shock us, even when we see them coming.
    You can or even should leap over the wall, but also allow yourself to duck down behind it from time to time. Take care x x

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hi Michael, thanks for sharing this on your blog. I find your blog one of the most interesting, honest, and ‘unselling’ one that pops into my inbox, and as such I always read it, just to find out what you are musing on, drawing, reading, at the moment. You are never telling me what I should think, do or be inspired by. I love it. Sounds like you need to rest, take time, and do whatever feels right. I am constantly giving myself the same advice! Best wishes to you in everything. Katie (from sunny Tuscany, where I am facing the trials and tribulations of being a full time artist – its hard than some people might think! Mind you, not a bad place to try it 🙂 and it’s only for a month)

    Best wishes


    Katie Sollohub 07905244623


    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Katie, thank you so much for this which I’ve just seen as it ended up in my spam folder for some reason. I’m so pleased you enjoy the blog – I certainly won’t stop altogether – but you’re right about needing a rest. I’ve been followed your stay in Tuscany on IG avidly – I love the breakfast table paintings although I’m always too hungry when I wake to stop and paint! Many thanks again and apologies for the delay in responding to your kind comments. My very best, Michael


  12. I’m so sorry about your losses. I’m happy to be patient with you as you have been patient with me. I can relate to the gratitude you feel for our online community. It has helped me through some rough spots of my own. I look forward to seeing what creations come of your interlude. Be well and may you find ease.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. So sorry for your losses, Michael. I am so glad to be part of your “little group”. We all go through times when we need to slow down. I am so grateful that you are still posting. You have been an inspiration to me for years now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, LuAnne – it’s so kind of you. I certainly won’t stop but putting aside that Tuesday deadline has been liberating! I’m looking forward to posting better work and more considered writing, just less frequently. I do cherish your support and virtual friendship. Mx

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: A creative thanksgiving | A Certain Line

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