I've wrote a few articles in the past regarding inspirations for models and sometimes losing the urge to make a scale model but recently I completely lost any and all enthusiasm to sit and my desk and make anything. It wasn't one event that brought me to come to a full stop: but several. Without going into too much detail I had lost a few projects at work that I was really enjoying but were cancelled due to budget constraints, business needs etc. This knocked some of the stuffing out of me, but I still found solace in models. Then my wife became unwell with not one but three separate long-term illnesses that are still ongoing. This I am not ashamed to say is completely heart breaking to me as I am unable to help in any way other than provide the love and support that she needs at this difficult time.
If these issues weren't enough, I noticed that while undertaking a summer project at home (something I always do when I'm on annual leave) I really started to struggle with DIY tasks that I have always found quite easy. I first of all put it down to just getting older (I'm 46) but as the days went on, I went from feeling stiff and full of aches the next day being in some considerable pain that didn't seem to go away. Not being someone to shy away from physical exercise I knew something wasn't quite right. A few visits to the doc followed by a raft of blood tests (it felt like Dracula himself took his fair share of blood as well!) and the doc broke the news to me that he thinks I have Fibromyalgia most probably as a result of contrtacting COVID-19 (something that I have also wrote about in a separate article). This for me was the last straw in terms of enthusiasm to do anything outside of work and looking after my wife. I just slipped into a state of abject unhappiness. I won't say depression as my work/home-life didn't suffer. I just didn't have any drive at all in wanting to do anything hobby related. This also includes another one of my favourite hobbies, my car. I am a self-confessed old age boy racer and love my E82 BMW more than anything however I was not concerned at the layers of dirt and grime on its bodywork or the fact that my beautiful leather interior was left without any kind of conditioner for months (just writing this makes me feel ashamed lol). My wife noticed the change in me, not taking my usual seat at my model desk in the evenings. It even got to the point that I politely declined her offer to visit a model shop (something that she never offers without a lot of hints from me). My 3D printers remained dormant and the longer I left my desk unattended the less I wanted to make anything.
What to do?
I suppose the best way to describe how I associate model making with my own happiness is " I make models to make me happy and I'm happy when I make models", it's almost a positive re-enforcement cycle and in recent months I've learned that if I become unhappy and break that model making cycle its extremely difficult to get back in the swing of things in terms of drive and enthusiasm for the hobby. This isn't something I have experienced before. Yes, I've become pissed off on occasions with a particular model and sometimes needed a break for a few days or a week and its usually resolved by taking it in a different direction or simply "shelving it" and starting a different project. Losing all will and drive to make anything remotely model related is completely new for me and in terms of timescale, it's been over 8 months. This may not seem a large amount of time to some people however when you consider that I have been making models of some description for over 20 years and very rarely go a day without doing something associated with the hobby. I resigned myself to continuing on in the hope that concentrating on my health and well-being would eventually lead to my becoming enthusiastic enough to consider making another model of some description. Eventually it would take a path that I had not considered to bring me back to my modelling desk:
I've said a few times in past articles that I consider model making as an art form in many respects. Yes, we construct a ready made model but every model maker will add their own interpretation of that model and how it will be finished and displayed. In other words we use our own personal artistic flair. Some model makers (including myself) will design, construct or sculpt a model if what we want to make is not commercially available. One of the last pieces that I made was a sculpt from an original artwork by Derek Stenning; an amazing artist who I have admired for many years. If you'd like to see that sculpt, its here . This particular time it was an artist by the name of Ian McCue. I am also a fan of his work and have followed him for many years on twitter. A recent post of his included a photo of one of his latest works and I soon found myself delving into the depths of the internet to view his various works; some familiar and some new to me. Around 2 hours later of soaking in the style, variations and colours in his work I found my mind wandering into the familiar territory of imagining his works in 3 dimensions and how I would achieve each part of the work in plastic form. It was then that I remembered that I had some 1/35 scale figures in my attic stash that I had bought many years previous and suddenly I had the urge to open the workbench, dust off my airbrush and get building once again.
Some final thoughts
I'm now back at my desk, enjoying the creative process of model making once more and quite obviously engaging with my website once more. I am still in a great deal of pain from my illness and sadly in even more pain watching my wonderful wife suffer; however sitting at my desk once more seems to have lessened it slightly for me. My wife has also mentioned that she is relieved to see me at my desk once more creating something and finding enjoyment in my hobby. I have began to realise that no matter what is going on in life; we really need to make some time to enjoy doing something that we love. Sometimes that may require a break from it if only to realise just how much it provides a brief but needed respite from the outside world. For me it took an artist and his wonderful imagination to bring me back to my desk. If your struggling to find inspiration to return to model making after a long break, I sincerely hope that you also find that one small light in the darkness that leads you back to where you need to be.
Until next time; take care of yourself and your families.