A few weeks ago, I was collecting quotes about yielding to changes in our lives – in a positive way. Presently, the whole world is pondering the increase in school shootings…and the pall is palpable.
Like the small wildflowers that erupt in tiny crevices between desolate, dry rocks, those who must create endure.
Although our art may not be political per se, we often feel a strong urge to create beauty to combat the ugliness of evil –or to reveal truth amidst evil. When I taught high school literature, students often asked why I included so much history. I explained that literature (or any art is a reaction world events; it does not occur in a vacuum).
Many artists draw attention to a specific cause. Others gain a sense of comfort in the act of creating.
With that in mind, I urge you to follow your creative urges.
Many painters insist on warming up by painting each morning. Action creates energy. I have been advised to choose a random word from a thesaurus as a daily motivation. Julia Cameron, author of the notable The Artist’s Way, instructs us to write three “morning” pages. Gail McMeekin suggests taking 15 minutes a day – in solitude - to open to creative thoughts or practices.
According to one of my favorite authors, Madeleine L’Engle (best known for A Wrinkle in Time), “All of life is story, story unraveling and revealing meaning. Despite our inability to control circumstances, we are given the gift of being free to respond to them in our own way, creatively or destructively.”
-from Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art
“The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.”
- Julia Cameron
“If a branch is too rigid, it will break. Resist, and you will perish. Know how to yield, and you will survive.”
- Liezi, Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
As creative beings—we continue painting, writing, designing, composing. This habit will keep your mind at peace as you ponder beauty.
It may give you purpose as you create art designed to persuade. History is replete with artists and writers whose purpose has been to persuade.
In The Third of May 1808 Francisco Goya sought to commemorate Spanish resistance to Napoleon's armies. (below left)
Jonathan Swift urged the aristocratic landlords to lower taxes of starving people in his satirical “A Modest Proposal.”
In photographs such as her iconic “ Migrant Mother,” Dorothea Lange's photograph humanized the plight of those suffering during the Great Depression. (below right)
Art is powerful.
To strengthen the soul and the sanity of the artist.
To change the world.
Encourage artists around you!