Transition in the physical sense is rough, as it nearly makes continuing my work impossible. I’ve been learning that down time can have its benefits, though, in a number of different respects:
1) Contextualizing your inertia- If you make painting a daily practice, and you should, it can at times be easy to lose sight of your direction. This in itself can be a good place to be working from, but time away can afford you a more fresh approach to your strengths and running dialogues.
2) Redefining your character- Your personal mythology is not something you should generally think about too terribly often, though we all have one to various extents, and it appears more or less continually whether or not we are aware of it. Become aware of it in your time away! If you see an odd reflection in your work, change it, enhance it, embellish it, to whatever level you feel grounded with in your idea of your self.
3) See new work- A few months ago I made a point to see Eddie Martinez’ work on a trip to New York. It was refreshing and exciting, a true inspiration, but now I live in this place absolutely full of new work. See as much as you can in your interim, the effect will undoubtedly be larger the longer your thoughts have to marinate.
4) Read, study, write, play- If you’re to be away from your regular form of expression, take on a new one, a new character. If you’re into knitting or fort building or sidewalk chalking, what better time to do it than now? Personally I’ve had the chance to approach my music (which has been on a silent back burner for a couple years) in a new light, with full focus, and turned the fifteen guitar pieces I’ve made in those years to completed songs, with melodies, lyrics, etc. I feel like I have time to play shows, so I am.
Nothing is useless to your painting, if you’re so unlucky as to be away for a time. Sure, you will return a changed artist, but your life will only change you for the better. So, get your life organized and continue, if you’re so lucky to find a space, but consider no time “away” from your passion.