Blog entry one (not all this long, promise. You might identify with this one)

Social isolation should be easy for artists, they said. The COVID 19 enforced period should be a 'piece of cake' to all creatives as they like to be alone. We are, predominantly, solitary beings, and would be the lucky ones. It was a common assumption that the pandemic would create hundreds of paintings, melodies to melt hearts and novels and sonnets worthy and better than Shakespeare. We would, in our colourful way, make the world sing, and see joy once again.

A lot of my fellow artisans, at the beginning of the whole 'virus thing', scoffed at it. The extroverts disquiet and need for company with an 'oh, that's a norm for me. Can't wait'. We all loaded our carts, not with toilet paper and disinfectant, but brushes, paint, and paper. Writers sharpened their pencils; musos tuned their strings, sculptors wedged their clay. You could hear the expectative rumbling all over the creative world. I, for one, cleaned my studio, my brushes, prepared canvas, spoke of finally breaking a long term artist block. We were all to put it into Australian vernacular, 'tickety boo'.

Time passed, with constant daily news: global uncertainty, mounting morbidity rates, and loss of the routine. Distancing from your constants, a wave of disquiet and fear of the unknown settled over our heads. Regardless of who we were. Our families lost jobs or worked from home fractious and uncertain. A lot of people in the arts lost gigs, classes, and commissions that not only supported us financially but gave us the feedback and affirmation we need to keep creating. In essence, it defined us. I lost classes, positions, and projects I had planned for months in advance. An exhibition, a course, and new beginnings. Gone.

I then noticed a growing malaise. Surely not, I thought. It was 'just me'. That the expected inspiration that I was counting on being allowed to remain in my studio, had dried up and left home. I was finding it hard to get up, get dressed, and 'unwooly' my brain to function properly, let alone create a masterpiece. It was like a hidden shame, and I was glad of the solitude to hide away and 'be'.

I finally confessed (when I could stand a meter and a half away from them) to a fellow painter my shame of 'losing it'. 'It' being my verve and reason to 'be'. As an educator and person who was also supposed to inspire, I felt I had failed. 'It' had gone. 'O.M.G'. You too?' was her reply, and then a torrent of anguished words fell from her mouth as she echoed everything I was feeling. She hadn't painted for weeks and was feeling 'numb' and flat.

And, as I gradually connected with other creative, they also shared the fear and absolute horror they were ashamed to admit; that their artistic abilities had died and gone somewhere likened to a blackened hole of the talentless abyss. So many. A writer, a sculptor, a musician, a cake decorator. As we gradually met in groups of two, then four, it became a realisation that we as artists had heaped on ourselves an expectation of isolation idealism and fear of failing had grabbed hold.

One evening, I received a message from a young artist from an online mentorship program I was part of asking for my help. She expressed dismay at experiencing a 'crippling artist block' since February. She said she had seen some of my work, and she had noticed how I was a teacher as well. 'How do I get it back?' she asked.

I kept thinking that this situation was like the Winter that had come, (sort of a Game of Thrones scenario) that is lurking still in the shadows and we needed Spring to hurry up and bring us back to our creative selves.

Darn it. Well, that did it. I needed to find how to unblock myself, not only for me, the projects I had in my head, for the people I supported, and for my creative colleagues.

A commitment.

So there we are; the blog called 'Breaking down the Winter Moments and Creating Instead (During Isolation and Beyond)' was born.

Go Me (and you)