Those who have been reading my blog for some time know that although travel experiences frequently serve as inspiration for my work, the extended time away from the studio is always very disruptive to my routine and productivity. As I considered how to overcome that hurdle this spring, wanting to get back into a consistent work flow after a month’s absence, I recalled that “hurdle” is not only a noun—a barrier in my path to be gotten over—but a verb to describe the very act of getting beyond it!
My trusty thesaurus confirmed that most of the synonyms for the verb are positive, reflecting joy, energy, and playfulness. Terms like leap, jump, and vault suggest a joyful challenge, while words like caper, spring, and gambol (though literally synonyms of “leap” rather than “hurdle”) reminded me that hurdles can be overcome with playfulness and a sense of fun.
So why was I finding it so difficult to get back to work? Was it fear? Lethargy? Loss of focus? Had I simply forgotten the joy? It was hard to say. In any case, the hurdle must be faced. It’s awfully difficult to get over any hurdle by turning away from it.
So I filled my water bucket, picked up a brush, and began playing with a watercolor sketch I had left only almost completed. Using a palette of completely different colors, I set out to add greater depth of value, experiment with increasing contrasts of saturation, and dipped into fresh colors I hadn’t used in the initial applications.
It was fun! (Why should I feel so surprised?) My brush began to cavort across the paper, gamboling with the bounce of a spring lamb. The painting took on fresh liveliness, and I began to feel the positive power prevail. I was back on track and primed to keep at it!