Monday, January 21, 2008

Is it really dangerous?

(because you seem to like the snow photos)

Do you subscribe to arts Journal ( )? I get their weekly email posts and find some of the articles quite interesting. You will probably like it, too, if you enjoy reading about issues, etc. in all parts of the arts. There is an article in this weeks postings which caught my eye about how Americans are too happy! Eric G. Wilson writes in The Chronicle of Higher Education an article titled, In Praise of Melancholy.

He seems to indicate in this article that Americans are blissfully happy, they ignore all the problems of the world and this is killing creativity! Now I don't know about you, but like most people I have good days and bad days. Now on my bad days, my creativity seems to shut completely down and my left brain takes over. On my bad days I can clean, balance the checkbook, organize things, etc. ...these are things that normally make me run away kicking and screaming. But on my good days, I can spend lots of time painting, sketching, doodling, writing, cooking and all the things I adore doing! Because I can't "work" (real work) when I am down, does that mean I am not creative enough? Since my work is quite introspective doesn't it seem plausible I have to find the right place within myself in order to find my own creativity? We also know being able to find flow is important to our creativity...and I find my flow when I am happy. So, as you can see, I had a difficult time connecting with the message of this article.

I know there some of the greatest artists have an issue with depression and what Wilson calls melancholy. What I think is we all have out ways of figuring out what works for us. I also feel as though a greater awareness of creativity and the importance of accessing it in our lives has allowed Americans (because this article only addresses this group) to understand their happiness is an individual thing which comes from within as opposed to their external life. Is that so bad? What do you think?

Here is the question of the day...Are you more creative when you are happy or when you are down? Or is there a difference?

Tomorrow...I want to talk about "seeing feelings" as Barbara Wilson at Off The Wall Art ( ) brought to my attention.


~Babs said...

Another interesting thought.

Often, I simply am not "in the mood" to paint/create.Usually this is if I have chores hanging over my head that need to be done,,other life obligations.You know, the laundry,,mundane daily life things.I am getting better at allowing things to get a little behind in order to have the time,,,but I often feel too 'scattered' to create with very much chaos around me. My studio also gets to a point that I have to stop and do a clean up before I can settle in to paint.

I once had an instructor who said he was able to work in any state,,,happy or sad,,,with people or alone,,,calm or frenzied,,it didn't matter with him. I find this basically true for me,,,with the exception that I really need to be alone.I often paint with music playing, but find that being with other people really distracts and removes me from that magic place within.

Andrea and Kim said...

I get that so much! I have heard other people say the same thing you say, Babs, about needing things to be in order around them before they can create. I live with 2 guys who are just like that (well, my husband isn't much of a creative person, but he likes order) and a creative daughter who is also like that! So clear to me!

So your "happiness" is really important in that the order makes you happy.

I am just trying my best to understand where this guy is with this thinking.

Thanks for taking the time to write this.

San said...

I love these questions, Kim!

Perhaps I'm a little wimpy, but I feel like I make my best art when I am happy. When I'm sad or angry, it just doesn't go well for me.

Andrea and Kim said...

Hello San! I wouldn't call being happy wimpy! If that is the case, then so are Babs and I! Like you, if I am in a sad or angry mood (and it is extreme when I am angry) being truly creative is just not going to happen. I can say, though, reflective is different. I can reflect on one of those moods and get something out of it, sometimes.

I am glad you like these questions... Also, I know it is busy for you right now, so I am grateful for your time, too.

The Artist In Me said...

Yes...some great questions Kim. Like Wilsonart, I find myself able to create in joy and sorrow. The subject matter may differentiate depending on my mood though. I too like to create alone most of the time, unless there are others around that are genuinely working on their craft. That sometimes can serve as a surge of creative juice for me.

Andrea and Kim said...

Yes, I think creating alone is one of the things which is important to many artists. So you can create in a variety of moods...that is cool! I sometimes wish I could be that way! But, alas, I am not! What do you think that means?

Lynette said...

I'm like Babs that I don't feel creative when there's people around. I've always been a night owl since I was a kid and late at night is when the creative urge hits me. That's when everything is quiet and I start thinking of painting.

Andrea and Kim said...

I really get that, Lynnette! While I work to music sometimes, it has to be specific. I am not much of a night owl, though. Come to think of it, you always do pop in here, and I find your comment in the morning. :)