Momentum can be defined as the impetus gained by a moving object, or the force of an object in motion that keeps an event developing after it has started. Momentum, in our lives, keeps us going once we’ve put in the effort to start, or built up a regular practice; when we’ve ‘got moving’. It can take a little while to build up but can be a fabulous asset once established.

For me, momentum is crucial, especially in this time of flux when I am away from my permanent studio. Each painting session requires the set-up of equipment, the work itself, and then the packing away of materials. Momentum is what keeps it all rolling along at times when the procedure seems a little too much. The daily routine, the satisfaction of seeing pieces progress, the unquestioning undertaking of those requirements to get going are a result of momentum and, in turn, contribute to the further creation of that force for future days.

For many reasons, however, momentum can be lost. That force, that subtle drive to continue, can dwindle or disappear altogether. When this happens, the conquering of inertia (another, not so fabulous, physical phenomenon!) becomes more difficult. For me, it becomes much harder to start, to go through the process of getting ready and to break through the resistance to attack the blank piece of paper.

My past few weeks, with their travel, distraction, dislocation (in the most delightful way) and, simply, not having the complete artistic wherewithal on board, have played havoc with my momentum. I have returned to home base with desire but lacking drive to overcome the perceived obstacles to work.

But I need to remember that I have built momentum before and I can do it again. A deliberate rebuilding of the daily practice, no matter how small or how short-lived and a reminder to myself that the setting up probably, in reality, only takes 20 minutes and allows for an almost unlimited period of enjoyment, intrigue and satisfaction (one hopes!) are the tools that will coalesce into the valuable momentum, that force that ‘keeps the events developing’.

That’s my task. That’s the requirement. I’ll keep you posted.


6 thoughts on “Momentum

  1. This is exactly where I am at…lacking momentum. Great post, good luck with the beginning, it is wonderful once it has started!!


  2. Oh Kirsten, this momentum thing is indeed momentous, and broken down is a series of infinite moments: have you read “The Fault In Our Stars” by John Green… it reminds me so of the infinite moments. I think we think in ones, but actually life is not even duality, but an expansion of endless options in multi-directions, sort of like an ever bouncing ball…

    Here’s a teeny bouncy thought
    When finding a super ball in the gutter while I myself was lacking momentum, I wondered if I ought
    To pick it up and give it a home
    Or leave it be in case it would roam
    Back to it’s original owner from who it had escaped;
    Maybe if left right there it would be draped
    In opportunity to return
    For the owner, who, seeking it might yearn
    So much to find it again,
    That retracing steps and looking closely at possibilities of where it went, when
    It bounced and rolled away,
    Would then find it and be delighted it came to a halt and a stay.

    But the next time there it was again and I no faster in my plod
    Me, retracing the path where I yesterday had trod.
    Time two was a second take on the whole situation
    I picked up that teeny rubber ball without the slightest hesitation
    And found the most remarkable friendly energy in its spherical curve
    And a joyful delight in its bounce to un-nerve
    My lack of momentum, my reluctance to venture on.
    And since, it’s traveled on foot with me over three thousand plodded miles,
    Mostly bouncing rhythmically back to me, bringing me internal smiles
    That I can manage even the energy of caring for two:
    Myself and a little rubber bouncy super ball, who
    Mostly returns as expected from where it’s thrown,
    But reminds me quite regularly that I do not own
    The knowledge of where EVERY path leads,
    Because with the slightest variation in the surface it hits it heads
    The call to an entirely different direction,
    Fast, directly and not in insurrection;
    And so in order not to loose it and loose out I must swiftly follow,
    Finding the new momentums of places I go, with a different tomorrow.

    Walk I did over three thousand miles, noting new things every time,
    Yet as I went by bouncing the ball, never twice in the same spot, I begin to learn a new rhyme
    That is an endless melody and song
    Which meanders to unexpected crevices for just long
    To see if I’m tough
    All the way through
    To follow with my ball when it leaves the me and you.

    We think we know the me and you,
    Of our conscious and subconscious self
    But really we are neither one but the surface which is the shelf
    The ledge
    The joining spots of the inbetween where we hedge
    Those infinite bets found
    Thinking that we’ll catch our own rebound,
    Forgetting that even with the best rhythm, intention and pace,
    There is always space for the ball to land
    On a surface just a teeny, tiny bit different in the grand
    Scheme of predictability,
    To jerk our sensibility
    Back to adventurous life,
    To keep up with that strife
    Of the rebound away
    That you can follow to say
    I still can keep up with this
    And find it bliss:
    My little ball
    I’m riding WITH you after all.

    So, my wish to you as you set up is to follow the ball where it bounces, each tool, each spot and so forth and feel the joy in reconnecting with that endless sphere of undulating energy. xo T


    1. Such a beautiful image, that of the super bouncy ball and the way they have almost an energy-producing quality all their own. I love your description of an uneven surface sending the little ball into unchartered territory – so appropriate and so gorgeous! Such a strong visual image. So I will bounce into today and barely notice the set-up phase and see where the uneven surface of ink and water on paper takes me! Thank you so very much. Xx


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