i’ve been reading recently about the american artist beatrice wood. i chanced upon her on pinterest and was taken by her long grey hair and quote at 104 years, ‘i owe my longevity to art books, chocolate and young men’. so googled her immediately on the merit of that comment.
what i found was a colourful bohemian romantic, well ahead of her time. ditching her aristocratic new york background in the early 1900’s, she fled for france to study the arts. there she experimented with drawing, painting, acting, two husbands and seven great loves before finally landing in pottery and writing in her later career. the titles of her early autobiography, ‘i shock myself’ and a later memoir, ‘touching certain things’ made me smile. a fuller biography can be found here and is a fascinating story.
i find other people’s journeys of creativity very helpful. i’m unsure of my own and think, maybe a little naively, that i should be able to imagine into being something new and original instantly. i collect ideas, words, shapes, and colours like a junkie, recombining them into what i fear is bad art – and am left feeling sheepishly like a fake. then wonder if that’s normal process for people who create things or just me being, oh dread…a poser.
besides the colourful story of beatrice’s unconventional life, i also appreciated this artistic insight. one which could apply to any form of creating – art, writing, music, dance…
“Do be true to yourself, whether it’s bad doesn’t matter. The important thing – you have to copy while you’re studying. Each of us is like one pearl added to another to make a chain. We each contribute to the other. And that’s all right. But once you’re on your own, do that which comes from within.”
i like that.