When I have reached the end of my energy and focus, and I cannot paint anymore, I feel a deep emptiness. I have to wait patiently until I am replenished. In that space where I cannot work, I am grieving. I have been ejected from the place I need to be. I am without purpose. Knowing that I will paint again soon gives me no comfort. It takes enormous willpower not to turn to alcohol to fill this void. I understand how easy it is for an artist to become a drinker (the last thing I need is to be a slave to drink as well as painting). When the grief is too much, I will just continue painting anyway, push myself even further. I cannot bear to stop.
For me, painting is a compulsion. No, it is not relaxing, or therapeutic. It takes stamina to paint. Even so, it brings great joy. For every high, however, there is a low. To stop, would be to have no reason to live. Without it, I am lost.