24″ x 30″ acrylic © 2018, Molly Larson Cook
“In order to be open to creativity,
one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude.
One must overcome the fear of being alone.”
~ Rollo May
I’ve begun work on a new collection of jazz paintings, putting my solitude to constructive use as Dr. May suggested. I’ve long been open to creativity, have rarely had any fear of being alone, in fact enough of an introvert to be quite happy alone much of the time. A felicidade.
Which is not to say that I’m not also happy in the company – even in a crowd – of a like-minded spirit who also appreciates solitude. Context is everything.
Rollo May also wrote a book titled The Courage to Create in which he likened the creative person’s pursuit as something akin to Prometheus stealing the fire of the gods. (Who do we mortals think we are, wanting to horn in on the gods?) Prometheus suffered a painful penalty for being so bold. Nobody wants what he got.
But the title of the book is provocative and so is May’s point. Isn’t it just fun to mess around with paint or play a few tunes or fiddle with one inventive activity or another? Where does courage come in?
Well, I’d say courage comes in at about the same place Bayles and Orland were when they wrote the little book Art and Fear: Observations on the perils (and rewards) of artmaking.
I say this because true creativity involves risktaking, and risktaking requires courage – a lot of courage or a little depending on the risk, but always courage.
As Bayles and Orland put it so well, “Simply put, making art is chancy–it doesn’t mix well with predictability. Uncertainty is the essential, inevitable and all-pervasive companion to your desire to make art. And tolerance for uncertainty is the prerequisite to succeeding.”
I daresay these words can be applied to all kinds of creative activities. Or – why dodge it? – to life itself. Life, love, and the pursuit of happiness all take courage.
Case in artistic point – uncertainty…In my last post I included a new painting. I knew it was not finished, and I tried a few things with it this weekend, but uncertainty being what it is, I wasn’t happy until late in the weekend with the finished piece, above.
It’s miles from where I started, but aren’t road trips to unknown destinations always the best?
Be brave. Be bold. Be happy.