the artist's notebook










the creative life

creative issues

learn to paint

inspirational artists




the nature of creativity

Why do we create? Artists often talk about our work and what prompts us to do what we do. This afternoon, this subject came to my mind again.

An email brought news of the passing of a dear friend's husband. My friend, an artist and businesswoman, mentioned that she might start painting again. This is common among creative women, that we spend much of our early lives caring for others and, often, also tending to our non-art careers before we reach a period where we have the time to really pursue our passion.

I have always believed that the most creative years of my life would be begin in my 50’s. It would probably take at least five decades of life, I thought, to have both the time and artistic maturity to produce my best work. I looked forward to those years. Now that I have reached my mid 50’s, I see that I was right in some ways. However, blessings often come in disguise.

In my own case, my creativity was ignited by the unexpected. Although I have painted my whole life, it was not until I was housebound by a serious illness that I started to see differently. I suddenly had the time to sit on the front porch and notice how the leaves on the trees glowed in crisp morning sunlight. I could lie on the sofa and watch the shadows created by a vase of flowers move across a table as the afternoon progressed. The beauty of small moments, of common objects, amazed me. And, I grew impatient to get to the easel to see if I could put this beauty on canvas. That was the beginning of the series “moments.”

It’s a shame that it sometimes takes a loss to crystalize our creativity. Perhaps, on considering the lives of some well known artists, it is emotion that drives us to work. But, our work also heals us.