Saturday, July 2, 2011


A Dry Hot Night   24x36" oil on canvas

in progress

Well, it seems I finally got it. I've been chatting with a few colleagues online and reading some blogs and finding that a good number of us are suffering from a general feeling of ca-ca and a decreased desire to paint. I've dubbed this "highly contagious virus" The Dread Mahockiss. It was a name a co-worker gave to a lingering feeling of malaise we used to complain about years ago. I loved the sound of it and have used it to define that free-floating feeling of ickyness, pertaining in this case to an increased feeling of dread as one approaches ones studio.

It started late last week when I felt my momentum begin to slow down. Then those uncomfortable glances into the studio began starting a butterfly migration in my stomach. Thankfully, I was just finishing up some certificate and commission work when it started so I'm in good shape deadline wise. I thought painting folds would be prevention perfect and stave off any lasting effects, but alas, it was too late.

I stopped in mid stroke, let go with a few choice expletives and put my brush down. I cleaned up, turned everything off, stomped out of the studio and took to my bed with the remote, a cup of tea, and a very convenient Burn Notice marathon on cable. That was Tuesday.

Nothing since. I've read that this illness is best treated with copious amounts of red wine and round thin potato disks deep fried in oil. Himself is being very kind as he's seen this before and knows it won't last too long. We'll see.

And...the boys got out again!! Thank God, I'm insanely vigilant and always look out of the living room window just in case—even though they're behind locked gates in the backyard. As I glanced out I unexpectedly spied a certain chubby little pug butt clear across the street in the neighbors flowers! Horrified I ran outside and again spirited Raz out of the street, put him safely in the house and headed out to chase Blu who went around the other side of the neighbors house. Happily he had strutted through their open gate to join the landscapers there hard at work and he was easily retrieved. That side gate now has a padlock on it. I'm stumped as to how it opened, we never use that side.

Anyway, despite my self-indulgent, bratty moodiness, I'd like to wish everyone a safe and happy Fourth!


  1. Oh the dread Mahockiss!! That really sucks Suzanne. :( I hate it when that happens. And you know I expect it's a little like childbirth because once it's past it's hard to remember just how horrifying it was when one is smack dab in the midst of it.

    But I feel for you, you are awesome and this too shall pass! I find that copious amounts of barely done brownies help as well.

    From one fellow dread mahockiss temporary survivor (In other words, your painting sista in arms, or just plain old bloggy friend and supporter) to another.

  2. Hi Suz,
    I have been worried about you.
    But, I think I sometimes get that "highly contagious virus" too. I get it with words for my storys. Sometimes there are just not any.
    I hope it does not last very long.
    We love your painting,, it has feeling in it, and possibly maybe a story from long ago.
    Those boys of yours, have been naughty! I am glad you found them safe and sound,
    Hugs to you

  3. Suzanne, I am sorry to hear of your attack of the Dreaded Mahockiss [what an amazing name! makes me laugh] I know we all get it occasionally, but I had never heard of the "red wine/deep fried chip" cure?! And I am so glad you got your little rascals back before they got into serious mischief. Hugs, and enjoy the cure.

  4. Oh... dear Suzanne, that Dreaded Mahokiss strikes me down regularly. Funny... DM are my original initials, so... hmmmm.

    I feel the DM virus acutely now. It's part burn-out and part lousy economic climate. True confessions.

    I think part of the cure, for me anyway, is talking with other artists or getting together to paint. Blogging is good. A funny movie helps too, at least with the blahs. I expect the doggies are good for that, as well.

    And sunshine is good. We finally have some up here at the edge of the earth. Digging in the dirt is good therapy and my weeds certainly need whacking. They got very much out of hand while I was working on my big project the last couple of months.

    By the way (and the reason I came to your blog)... I love this painting and hope you finish it. The beauty of the fabric arrested my attention when I saw it at DP.

    I hope you feel better soon.

  5. Happy Fourth to you, as well. I know you'll be back at your easel soon and will be asking yourself, "what was my problem?". I can speak with authority on this since I just got back to the easel after my own week long run-in with The Dread Mohockiss virus. I hope yours runs its course quickly...


  6. Suzanne,this painting is ...breathtaking.

  7. I love the painted drapery. Its one of nemeses that I must conquer.

    As for DM, it holds no boundaries and attacks randomly. The cure? Studio banishment, copious quantities of wine, indulgent food, forays into exotic art galleries...oh and chocolate.

  8. Those folds are perfection on a canvas, Suz. Just beautiful work, malaise or no. We lost a beloved dog once because some kid or other opened our yard gate when we weren't looking. All of our dogs got out, but one sat right in front of the house, another gallivanted and came back in the wee hours. The third was our Bloodhound and he was spotted sporadically throughout the next week and we spent hours and hours out and searching. Eventually he was hit on the interstate that ran next to our old town. We were devastated. So? My point is to be so glad you got that gate locked up.

  9. I feel your pain. I have a dreadful job outside of painting. After I am finished with doing that all day, I come home and I get that same feeling. I have been diligent though. From the looks of your artwork, it looks like you are doing just fine!!!!!

  10. Hi Suz,
    I am sorry you are in such a down place right now but I am soooooo happy you got your puppies safely home. That certainly puts things in perspective, doesn't it?

    In hopes that even one of these might help, I'm going to toss out some of my studio lifesavers:

    1. go for a drive and try to get lost (then try to find my way home)
    2. go on a photoshoot
    3. go to galleries and take my magnifying glass
    4. remove all my "in progress" works from my sight and clean and organize my studio so I'm ready when I'm ready
    5. take out some old stuff and rework it with total abandonment (that's where my flowers came from). There's such a sense of freedom when you've got nothing to lose.
    6. Use another medium
    7. Try a new wine (usually more expensive)
    8. Kiss my kitty, smile and be grateful for the times it does work

    Your work is magical; I look forward to seeing what the tannins have done for it!

  11. OMG! Is THAT what I have??? Dreaded Mahockiss! I knew it was something and not just in my head!! I am about to chop up a pastel painting from two years ago that I looked at yesterday with sudden loathing...everything I've done looks like crap to me...all my ideas for new stuff are pointless...but now I feel better knowing it is a passing hope it isn't passed on through blogging:-) We have a new ice cream maker and my hubby made up a quart and one half of chocolate, coconut milk wonderfulness which aided my little lost soul syndrome amazingly (we are vegan so can't do REAL ice cream, which I was tempted to fall off the wagon and go get at the nearest ice cream shop!)
    I love painting folded material too and yours is beautiful!

  12. Ah, it's the post-Maine aquas - hah! I have written down "Mahockiss" for my next little spell. I think you are both clever and talented and hope that the Machkiss leaves you pronto!

    (Love your little bee/honey/home play on words)


  13. I am sure it will pass! It HAS to because you are a huge source of my inspiration at the moment and so you can't stop ;0)
    I imagine you will see something which will spark some inspiration soon :0)

  14. I think it might be the Summer weather. I too have been struggling to get inspired. Love your tales of Raz and Blu. My Bull mastiff, Moose, manages to escape also. Fortunately he runs the hood for about 5 minutes and then knocks on the front door. Poor guy is addicted to his people:) Hope you get your mojo going again soon, because I can't get enough of your masterpieces:)

  15. I think we all get it at times. I've had a hard time with the computer lately. Somehow, it always feels better when there is a name for a malady. I usually take a walk or go plein air painting, a new environment, to get the juices going again. Let yourself go into that beautiful painting you have going.

  16. I believe that painting crap is an important step to growth. In fact, I frequently paint crap just to prove the theory. No, seriously! How can you improve if you think everything you do is wonderful? Consider it a growing pain, and roll with it. Give yourself permission to suck once in a while. It's only paint, right? And besides, if the wine and deep-fried potato disks don't help, dark chocolate and puggie kisses certainly will. ;-)

  17. Hi Suzanne,

    Sorry to hear you are down, but this piece is magnificent. You would never know you were not 100% when you did this painting.

    Sounds like your pugs had themselves quite a caper. Glad it was a happy ending and you retrieved them quickly.

    Remember this too shall pass.


  18. This is an amazing almost finished painting. I won't give you anymore advice, really, except........... don't beat yourself up. Just go with the flow of your mood and do what feels best. We all need a little down time, or time down! Even if It's dreaded. It's warm here with flowers and birds, but I have no time to paint. I am not sure if I can tell people I am an artist, I have been painting so irregularly! That's my life (although I am having some fun), and I miss my grand pug!! Enjoy those snorts and fish breath!

  19. tell little Suz to buck up and behave...

    Victoria aka Wicki

  20. I was away when you posted this, and had 6 screens of email to catch up on - so sorry I missed your malaise! I think we should always listen to that inner voice that says "STOP". It means we have to nurture, cultivate, care for our creative selves. It means we have something to work out, something to tend to, someplace to grow. Bed. Wine. TV, a couple of pugs... it always will resolve itself. in the meantime don't waste a drop of paint until you're dying to get back at it! ((hugs))

  21. thank you, thank you, thank you everyone for this amazing support and great advice. i want to personally say thank you to everyone but i think it best i get back to work and say again, your words helped so much. it's knowing that others care that makes it worth getting out of the pity pot! thank you so much!


Your visits to my blog and the comments you leave here are an integral part of my creative process. They are helpful, supportive and well, let's face it, they feel really good! If I don't thank you personally, please allow me to thank you in advance for taking the time to stop by and leave your thoughts, they mean so much!