View Full Version : When Life Goes Sideways and You Stop Painting for a While

Phil Bates
01-29-2019, 12:48 PM
Hi, I've missed everyone!

Some of you (many who are dear friends) noticed that I disappeared for 6 years or so. Life went sideways: divorce, my business went south, and health issues that were debilitating. I was in survival mode, just trying to make it through each day.

For me, painting takes creative energy, passion and vision. These are resources I didn't have. It doesn't always fit with grieving. Has this happened to you? I would like to hear your story (if you can share) and how you made it back.

For me it was baby steps. When things started getting better, I found myself in a small rental with nowhere to paint except the garage. So, I set up tables, easel and palette. Even then, I spent months not painting. Then I would paint a day or two here and there. Finally I finished a painting that placed in the 2017 Oregon show. But, even then I went months without painting again.

Then a change happened last Summer. I decided to shoot new reference photos and bought a drone to help me get to places I could not access by foot or car. I went out every day, going to beautiful spots along rivers at different times of day to find the right light. That helped give me motivation, and I couldn't wait to paint these beautiful places.

Now I am more consistent at the easel and have a painting ready to enter at the IAPS show. I am not saying I am fully back, but it is looking much better. I will be in Albuquerque, so let's get together and say hi!

It is so wonderful sharing with you again. :)


Steadfast: 18 x 18 soft pastel on sanded paper.
Reference taken with a drone. Deadline Falls on the North Umpqua River.

water girl
01-29-2019, 02:39 PM
Welcome back, Phil!!! :clap: You have been missed. I'm pretty excited that our newer members will now get to see your work. I remember IAPS a few years ago, seeing you, Tom Christopher, David Patterson and Paula Ford. That is wonderful that you will be going this year. I'll PM you.

Donna T
01-29-2019, 03:54 PM
It's so good to see you and your beautiful work again, Phil! This is absolutely gorgeous and a perfect example of your over-the-top talent. The effect of light shining through the water and tinting it green is amazing! I'm sorry your life was such a challenge for a while. I can relate to the frustration of health problems but there is always hope that things can improve. I'm glad you're back at the easel and I look forward to seeing what inspires you!

01-29-2019, 05:01 PM
Phil, Im so glad youre back. I think I had just found your work when you dropped out of sight. I have great admiration for your paintings, your sensitivity. Im sorry life was rough for a while but I do hope you continue to come visit and share with us. You give a lot of joy to many people, not to mention excellent teaching. Were happy to have you. jay.

Judy Manuche
01-29-2019, 09:24 PM
Lovely painting, The colors!!! And I, too, have been gone way too long! Health scare, we moved, kids all gone away to college, and I am now adjusting to my new life and playing way too much golf! But I have now set up a studio in both houses (we winter in a warmer area) and am jumping in! Hope to post soon! Wish I was as good at water as you are!

water girl
01-29-2019, 09:56 PM
Nice to see you back as well, Judy! Missed you.

01-30-2019, 05:41 AM
Welcome back. Man, that waterfall is gorgeous.

Thank you for this post. I have found myself the kind of a motivational lull you describe. Although, I haven't been through the tragedies you have, I am finding it hard to get back on the horse. It helps to hear of others going through this.

01-30-2019, 01:56 PM
Phil, I completely understand and am thrilled that you are back! I went through quite a journey while undergoing cancer treatment three years back and it drained most of my inspiration and desire to paint. I did paint a little, but was not very enthused about it. I just did not have the energy. It took me almost two years to get back to a spot where I am beginning to feel comfortable again and ready to rededicate myself to my art.

I love the idea of a drone! I live along the intracoastal waterway in Florida and wish I could get past the barriers that keep from getting the views I want...I may have to try this!

Welcome back and I look forward to you posting regularly to share you work with us.

02-01-2019, 08:06 AM
Glad to see you back Phil....and doing fabulous work! I, too, have had a long time without the desire to paint....I managed to do a couple, when I was on holiday in great company, but now I'm alone again the feeling eludes me...however, I am mking inroads on tidying my studio...so may well start again soon.
I'm really inspired by the painting you've done...and love the idea of drone references...maybe you can put some in our library...hint hint!! :evil: :lol:

02-01-2019, 02:55 PM
Bill it is good to see your art work again. I know exactly what you are going through, been fighting that demon with family, health and service issues for 15 years. I will also be at the IAPS this year, maybe we can meet up. Bill

Phil Bates
02-01-2019, 07:14 PM
Wow, it looks like many of us have had similar experiences, more than I expected, actually. Thank you for sharing!

Bill, I hope to see you at IAPS, let's catch up!


02-02-2019, 09:21 AM
Phil, Sorry to hear of your troubles - which hopefully are behind you. Your paintings - and the new one is wonderful - have always inspired us here at WetCanvas! Glad you are painting again!


02-02-2019, 09:21 AM
Beautiful and strong! Hope to see your paintings here more often. I'm new here in the Pastels forum but not new in Wetcanvas, so I'm glad to be here at the right time to see such amazing work :)

02-02-2019, 01:08 PM
This is a purely beautiful painting:)

02-04-2019, 03:45 AM
So good to hear you are painting again, and well on your way to recovery from a traumatic six years Phil. Your drone idea is genius!
I too have had to force myself to paint over the last few years due to health issues. I still teach my weekly class, but facing my studio - well like you said, was/is takes a lot of creative energy and motivation.

Best wishes on your IAPS entry; I didn't even think about it. However, I will be there along with other Pastel Society of Oregon members to help our president, Lora Block celebrate her having earned the Master Circle medallion. Perhaps you'll drop by the PSO booth on waht ever day it is they have for societies to do that.

02-04-2019, 12:44 PM
I havent been through the trials you have. But I do relate to how painting requires much mental energy and passion.....which can be hard to muster up when life is busy, or grieving (I cannot paint when Im sad or mourning).

Time....Im approaching the crossroads of where my painting can start to provide enough income I can start to cut back on my "day" job...

and then there's family time ....and the house and land maintenance....and coaching 4-H kids several days a week until 8pm.. and getting one kid started in college....and another graduating high school this year.....and...and....:) (these are not complaints or whining) I am often mentally tired, however, ...to mentally tired to paint ....

Love your painting above....and glad to see you back!

Laughing Cricket
02-25-2019, 09:40 PM
My heart goes out to you, I understand...

Glad to see you back in the game... 😁😎

That painting is gorgeous!!!

I stopped painting for a long time after my lower back started falling apart. I wasn't able to hike or cycle and I did a lot of plein air painting but I suddenly was unable to get to the subjects I love to paint so I just couldn't. I tried a little here and there but it didn't really light the fire I was needing. I got a set of technical pens that really took me back to my youth. I used draw surreal and absurd pen drawings and it reignited the furnace.

I don't have the pastels I need, though I respond to pastels so much more. Currently I am working with some Williamsburg oils I got for my birthday and I am feeling moved again...

It helps that I finally found a decent specialist too. Navigating through the maze of doctors nearly killed me.

I haven't posted here in probably 6 years either...😏

You blessed me with pastels a long time ago that helped me stumble through until my back began to degrade.
Those pastels were a lifeline of sanity. Thank sir☺ and bless you...

02-27-2019, 06:42 PM
:clap: Have always loved your work---glad you are making your way back.
You have a great gift, art wouldn't seem as wonderful or magical without painters like you that show us what art can actually be.