• Kirsten Johnston


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.


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