Let me show you my best painting secret!
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It is that time of summer when the humidity and tempers have risen to dangerous levels. The sort of weather that makes people say and do crazy things then regret them later when the consequences come back to haunt them. I once read that the widespread use of air conditioning significantly lowerd the divorce rate in Texas. Presumably this applies to anywhere that suffers from very hot summers. Makes sense really. The heat also affects productivity at work. Even something like painting for a few hours becomes frustrating when you have to stand under a cold shower to keep sane.
My studio does not have air conditioning. Winter is not a problem with a basic heater sorting the chill out. But high humidity cannot be escaped. It saps creativity and the patience to press on when things are not working out. What to do when the heat wave starts to run for days on end?
Well there is the wisdom that work should be done early and then late in the day. The unpleasant middle part being sacrificed to a siesta. Empires may not have been built on this idea, but it seems like good sense to me.
A few hours of repose during the heat of the day, phone off the hook and away from traffic can only help to keep a person sane. Another plus is that energy can be replenished for a late afternoon flurry at the easel.
It is also best to avoid all potentially annoying situations. Driving, waiting, phone calls and paying bills all conspire to kill creativity. Avoid them all until you have cooled down or preferably until autumn arrives.
Our family cat has demonstrated it's talent for dealing with the heat. Consider that a cat is covered in fur and should suffer in the heat. Compared to our dog that pants away like a machine while simultaneously drooling like a fool, the cat takes it all very calmly. Just yesterday I observed our cat stretched out on my wingback chair. Its hind legs were touching the floor, its back draped over the seat while one of its front paws was extended to the top of the chair, claws embedded into the upholstery to keep it from slipping down.
Amazingly our cat was now almost 1.5 metres long! In this way it was able to keep itself cool and relaxed as only a cat can do. Had he been lying on a coach he would no doubt have reached two metres in length.
Our cat's posture reminded me of Dali's famous painting, The Persistence of Memory, where the clocks appear to be melting. Our cat's melting pose would have made Dali reach for his paint brushes in delight. No doubt Salvador Dali, being Spanish, would also have appreciated that a siesta is a sensible way to through the heat of the day.
Nature and the seasons cannot be ignored. The lesson was a simple on. Instead of disconnecting we can pay closer attention to the rhythm of nature and adapt to the moment. Instead of fretting about productivity we can create more with better quality of work when we are comfortable and at peace.
If in doubt ask your cat.
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