Creativity And Solitude: How To Overcome Creative Isolation And Share Your Work

Creativity

Creativity is often a solitary process, but sharing it isn’t. How can creative work impact the world if it is never shared? How do creatives learn to step out of isolation and onto the stage to show our work?

Much of the creative process happens behind closed doors. Creativity happens in the mind, in private. Just like the caterpillar in a solitary cocoon, creativity needs this period of incubation and development to fully flower. However, the caterpillar will never reach its full potential of it stays in its cocoon. Generally, creative people are comfortable with isolation. The problem occurs when it is time to step onstage and share the fruits of our creative endeavors. Most creative people want to share their work and make their impact on the world, but many people are uncomfortable putting themselves and their work on display for the world to see. So, why is it so scary and difficult to overcome this creative solitude to share our creations?

No one sits and watches me paint or write all day. Besides the fact that this would likely be completely boring (as my husband says to every invitation to keep me company in my studio), it is also potentially distracting to me. However the reverse side of the coin is that complete fulfillment from creativity does not come exclusively from the act of creation, but is consummated in the act of sharing.

Like many artists I’m scared to draw back the curtain and unveil my progress, but this is a necessary step in the creative process. I recognize that sharing my work, as difficult as it is, brings me as much joy as creating the work. Referring back to the caterpillar emerging from a cocoon, this is a vulnerable position, but it is also critical to development. The new butterfly develops strength and capacity to fly as it fights to emerge from solitary confinement. So, how do we as artists develop this same strength and fortitude to overcome the habit of self-inflicted solitary confinement when it comes to sharing our work? The simplest answer is to just do it, but so often I’m unable to make myself. I hide in my comfort zone. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out what was holding me back. I want to share my work, but I get so afraid to do it.

An epiphany occurred to me when a friend suggested that I disable comments from others on a social media page on order to avoid this fear. My gut reaction to this suggestion was that doing so would cut me off from all the feedback of others. The compliments and even the occasional constructive and honest critique. Then I struggled to justify myself as I thought about why I wanted feedback but was still saying I was scared to share my work. All of a sudden it hit me that my biggest problem wasn’t what others thought- though that can be scary too. But rather my obstacle was my own perfectionism. I wasn’t so much afraid that someone would tell me my work was bad as I was of knowing it was bad myself, or thinking that it wasn’t yet good enough to share. But waiting for all my work to be perfect and to measure up to my often-ridiculous standards of perfectionism, I was hiding behind closed doors and doing myself a disservice by not sharing it, even if it is still as of yet either unfinished or less than perfect. More importantly, pinpointing precisely what my problem was, helped me to begin to take steps to overcome it.

I’ve gone through this process of learning to share my work with my paintings and my art. I’m experienced enough to know how good I am and also how good I’m not. I know where I excel and where I lack. What skills are assets and where I still need work and diligent practice. I’m generally familiar with how my work is received, and it’s easy to put my painting on display instead of feeling in the spotlight myself. However, writing is still something I do largely behind closed doors. And it’s scary again to step onto the stage. But throughout this process of discovering what I was really afraid of has helped me to see my audience as encouraging and supportive friends who will help me overcome my self-destructive perfectionism. And each time I must draw back the creative curtain, I get stronger and it gets easier. Sharing my creativity is always worth the risk.

Are you afraid to step onstage? Do you know what is holding you back?

Watercolor Painting

Creativity: Motherhood vs. Art

Creativity, Motherhood

I met a woman recently who commented that she had never pursued her art as fully as she’d have liked because her mother had discouraged her with the message that she couldn’t make any money doing art; that it wasn’t practical.
My heart broke for her. I could see her passion as well as feel the hurt and hesitation that crippled her inner artist. My immediate desire was to help, to encourage and try to counter the damage that had been done. I told her it is never too late, that she is already an artist.

I was simultaneously grateful for such supportive parents of my own who have always encourage and praised my creative endeavors.

This beautiful woman, is the mother of six children.

In addition to being horrified that she was discouraged from being an artist, my mind also immediately thought of all the times I’ve heard motherhood put down as an un-lofty or unworthy endeavor. Motherhood certainly doesn’t make any money- less money even than being an artist! While I hope she has not suffered similarly for her choices about motherhood as she was discouraged about pursuing art, in our day and age, I’m not optimistic. I’ve been exposed to these horrible ideas all too often myself to be naive enough to think that another has been sheltered from them.

It represents the sad state of our society today that two of the most worthwhile creative endeavors are demeaned so horribly. I cannot think of a higher more divine mode of creativity than that of creating human life. And I don’t know a single artist who doesn’t seek to influence the world in some way with their art. Is there any greater, more accessible method of influencing the world than through the next generation? These lofty goals should be praised! Not discouraged. Especially in a society that claims a woman is capable and free enough to pursue whatever she wants.

Creativity is a divine endowment. A unique and exclusive gift from deity to humankind. Creativity ought to be celebrated and re-enthroned as the virtue it is.

Creativity transforms lives, whether through a painting, a song, a story, an entrepreneurial endeavor, a delicious meal, or simply, noble motherhood.

Every Home Should Have Original Art

Why Every Home Should Have Original Art And How To Get It

Luxurious Living

Sure I may be biased as a fine artist, but I believe that every home should have original art. Why? Because original art is a luxury. And who doesn’t want their home to feel more luxurious?

There are two ways to get original art.

  1. You could buy it.
  2. Or you could make it.

The first option to having original art in your home: buy it.

You’re probably thinking that “original art is expensive! I don’t have thousands of dollars to invest in a painting.” While expensive may be true of some original art, it is not true of all original art. If you think all original art is beyond your price range you probably haven’t shopped around far enough.

A high-end art gallery with hundreds of dollars of overhead isn’t the only place to buy art. There are art fairs all over the country (and likely the world) where artists (probably the starving ones) are selling their original work, searching for patrons of their creativity. Still think that’s out of your price range?

Try your local high school or community college. These institutions are filled with art students eager for their first clients. I know I was. And it wasn’t just about the money either. There was a sublime satisfaction in the plausibility that my work was “good enough” that someone actually wanted it enough to pay something for it. Students know they’re still learning their craft.

In addition to owning original art you’ll also be doing the artist an invaluable service not only by validating their efforts, but by giving them some practice in the real-world skill of selling and negotiating while working with you as a client. Because believe me, for any artist, negotiating prices for their work is the hardest part. And I would add that now, fifteen years later (not to mention that much more skilled at what I do) it is those first few clients who helped shape my career and who most qualify for special discounts and deals. Every artist would much more desire a patron than simply a one-time customer. When you demonstrate patronage you are more valuable as a customer and the working relationship moves beyond a simple transaction of money.

If you thought about it I’m sure you already know personally at least one artist whose work you admire. There is affordable original art out there.

The second option to having original art in your home: make it.

I know, I know, you’re thinking “that’s easy for you to say, you’re a painter.” But, as a painter, I can testify to the sense of fulfillment that comes from having my own art on display for the world to see. Well, any who enter my home that is. If in the very least it is a conversation piece with guests when you can say, “I painted that myself.” Still skeptical?

Enroll in a class. I can promise you as an art teacher with 15 years experience helping creative skeptics just like you, that with a little expert help from a teacher, you will be amazed at what you didn’t know you could do! Try it. You might even enjoy it.

I had a young student who sold his work of art within ten minutes of completing it at my studio. As a nine-year-old, “five dollars richer” made his day. And the buyer went home with a lovely piece of original art.

The thing about children and art is that children have no inhibitions to their creativity. Still struggling with the courage to pick up that brush? A child will do it without hesitation, and as a child you did too. Unleashing your inner artist is very much like freeing your inner child. Remember what it was like to be that child willing and able to try the new and exciting without fear of judgment or the stifling prospect of being “good enough.” A child will always tell you they’re a good artist. They have no doubt about it. Until they learn to doubt it.

Sponsor a child artist or better yet be creative together!

One final note about displaying art. No matter the quality of the work, the right frame can make or break the art. Yes I know, believe me, frames can be expensive too. But they don’t have to be. They do however have to compliment the work and not detract from it. Choose wisely. The simplest piece can look exquisite in the right frame, while the wrong frame can detract from the most beautiful painting. More on frames later.

No matter which of these methods you choose, having original art in your home will always add an element of luxury.

Do you have original art in your home? What significance does the work hold for you? Share in the comments.

Don’t Buy Luxury, Create it!

Luxurious Living

Contrary to popular belief, luxury in life need not be bought, it can be created. The truly luxurious things in life, seldom require money at all.

As an artist in the blogosphere, what is my message? Well, not surprisingly, my message is about creativity. The world needs more creativity. Why? Because creativity solves problems. Creativity enriches life. Creativity brings joy and satisfaction to both the creator and those with whom the creation is shared. And because a creative life is a luxurious life. (You can read my Artist Statement here.)

Let me explain. Most of the time luxury is associated with money. And perhaps there is some truth to that idea. But that is not what I’m talking about. Creativity makes life better. Creativity makes the ordinary extraordinary. Creativity makes the old new again. Creativity envisions, inspires, motivates and produces. But it doesn’t end there. That’s the magic of creativity. As the old adage says, creativity can never be used up because the more you use, the more you have. Creativity is the ultimate natural resource.

And here’s the secret: Everyone has their own limitless supply, a creative well which will never run dry. It is a well which can be drawn from endlessly, any time, anywhere. Perhaps your creative well is rusted from neglect. Luckily, the pump can always be primed.

  • My motto is “Live Luxuriously, Be Creative.”
  • My message is that luxury has little to do with money and everything to do with being creative.
  • My mission is to inspire and teach others to enrich their own lives by unleashing their creative powers.

Since you’re here on my website, you’ve undoubtedly seen my tagline: “Living Luxuriously as a Starving Artist.” I can attest to the fulfillment that comes with doing what you love, even if it’s not viewed as practical. It is certainly a luxury.

If you are creative like me, I have no doubt you have already experienced this, and you know that nothing gets the creative juices flowing faster than being inspired by someone else’s creativity. I look forward to connecting and collaborating.

If you are skeptic, let me prove it to you. I can promise you that once you open the creative flood gates, your life will never be the same again. I’m not necessarily saying it’s easy. Creativity is work. There’s an old saying: Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. This is false. It is a subliminal message that work is a nasty, evil conspiracy that makes our lives miserable. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the sentiment meant by the message. Believe me, there are plenty of tasks that are not fun, that I just plain do not enjoy doing, but that are still a part of life. But that’s not what I’m talking about either. Work, the right king of work (and with the proper mindset I might add), can be richly rewarding, but it is still work with all the blood sweat and tears implied by the idea of work. However, creative work is a work that is fulfilling. It is a work that is never drudgery even when the immediate task at hand is unpleasant. Because when we live creatively we have a whole new mindset. Work becomes about accomplishing goals. Work is about creating something that didn’t exist before. It is about production. And that too is a luxurious way to live.

The new, the extraordinary, that which brings pleasure and fulfillment, all these are luxury. Where creativity is found in abundance, luxury inevitably follows. I’m excited to share more about how creativity can enrich life. Additionally I’ll share my own creative experiences, both successes and failures, in the hopes of getting your own creative juices flowing. Here’s to a luxuriously creative life!

What are the obstacles to creativity in your life? Share in the comments and let’s conquer them together.