With a Light Heart

“People must live. And bear their burdens with a light heart.”


Still Life with Anemones, 1924 (oil on canvas), Henri Matisse

Still Life with Anemones, 1924 (oil on canvas), Henri Matisse

Matisse suffered from ill health in his old age, which prevented him from standing up at his easel.  He didn't stop making art, though, he just changed his method of working. 

Here's a picture of him cutting out paper shapes in bed!


The limitations of his illness forced Matisse to experiment with new methods of art-making, resulting in his fabulous colorful paper cutouts.

"The Fall of Icarus" a paper cutout by Matisse

"The Fall of Icarus" a paper cutout by Matisse

I feel comforted looking at these photos of Matisse making art in bed, probably because I've had to be in bed a lot myself, lately.    For the past six weeks or so, I've been in a lot of pain, unable to walk or stand for very long.  I have an old injury in my body that was caused by childbirth, and although I have lived with it for eight years, it has recently taken an unbearable turn for the worse.  


I feel grateful that, despite my pain, I can still do lots of wonderful things: I can hold my kids on my lap and read to them, I can play the piano, and I can sketch and paint (as long as I am sitting down.)  So, I'll look to Matisse for a positive role model, and I'll try not to get depressed.  I have a few doctor appointments scheduled in the coming weeks, and hopefully things will improve.

"Hope springs eternal!"


Hope springs eternal in the human breast;

Man never is, but always to be blessed:

The soul, uneasy and confined from home,

Rests and expatiates in a life to come.


--Alexander Pope, an Essay on Man

April 9, 2018 UPDATE:  It's been about a month since I wrote this blog post, and I'm very grateful to report that, after some physical therapy*, my intense pain has subsided, and I can do some of the activities I used to love, like walking to my studio, for example.  I am still healing, and so I am "taking it easy."  I emerge with a newfound respect and appreciation for my body; it's the only one I have!

*Women's Tent and Dr. Valerie Turner, PT.