ifoneMy last three or four blogs were actually written some time ago when I was ‘on a roll’ writing about drawing. I was very glad that I had them in reserve, as I could continue to post every week as my life took unexpected turnings. As life does.

On the journey back from Texas in June I twisted my spine quite badly. Why are there no lifts in Paddington Station? By the time I returned to Malta I was in a lot of pain, which was getting worse and worse until I saw a chiropractor (thanks Russ!) and since then it has slowly improved.

Three weeks later I was flying back to the UK again, as my mother suddenly died. She was 85, and had ‘Happy Alzheimers’ – she lit up the care home for two years with her singing and dancing, bless her.I was in the UK for three weeks and have only just returned to Malta.

I am telling you all this because I am not a paint-every-day kind of artist. Life affects me and I am easily sidetracked. I have just realised that I haven’t actually painted anything worthwhile for months. When I am in Painting Mode things happen very quickly and I hate to interrupt the flow. I was working really well before my exhibitions, but I had to take care of all the peripheral stuff like framing and printing and organisation, which took all my attention. I think that my current exhibition in Mdina (Palazzo de Piro until the end of August) includes some of the best work I have ever done.

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Exhibition opening, June 4th

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I flew to Texas the day after the official opening. The trip was enormous fun but it was all so new and exciting that I didn’t focus long enough to paint. The rest I have already told you.It’s worthwhile taking stock sometimes and observing your own process. Having these long breaks used to worry me, especially when I lost the creative urge completely. This is often called Artist’s Block, and can be frightening. If you really feel that all inspiration has left you and you don’t even feel like trying, what then? If you thought your art defined you, and you called yourself an artist, who are you now? Will the urge ever come back?

It is easy to panic when this happens, but I have learnt to relax. I concentrate on feeding my soul, my muse, with as much raw material as possible. It’s a bit like the in-breath – inspiration – which fills your lungs before you let that breath go back out into the world again. The new work is always different and more informed.

I have been to galleries, an art materials show, demos, talks and craft shops. I have watched programmes, films, seen and heard beautiful and ugly things. I have taken notes, photos, a few sketches, and generally kept my eyes and senses on creative alert.

And I found a free iPhone app called iPaint which is huge fun for playing with while travelling or even watching television.

It will probably take me a week or so to ‘land’ properly in Malta. To adjust to the heat in my roof-top studio. And then I will unpack all my new toys and tools – ink sticks and sword liners, pens and papers, books and ideas. I am looking forward to what happens next.