For our first guest blogger post in our Creative Inspirational Wisdom series, Dr. Patricia Daly-Lipe reflects on her creative journey.
Maybe I am a late bloomer but, finally, I have arrived at an important juncture in my life. What I used to consider a pastime, I now consider a passion. Two creative arts, painting and writing, have become the focus of my life.
I crept slowly into taking my art seriously. As a child, I watched my father paint. I learned to use watercolors when a woman down the street from my home in California opened her house to the neighborhood children and taught painting. Often we would take our tablets down to the rocks and attempt to paint images of the incoming surf.
Later I attended the local Art Center’s painting classes for children in a little white wooden building with trellises laced with flowering Wisteria vines in front. My work won at some shows, but for me, art was just a pleasant thing to do.
I took art classes in school and later in college, but still it was not enough of a passion to warrant full-time study. As a young adult, I studied figure drawing. My likenesses were quite good, but the paintings lacked depth. They were more like caricatures or illustrations. I came to find between years of learning to draw figures with proper proportions and dimensions, tones and contrasts, and learning to paint with style, my own style, there exists a leap of faith. It takes knowing how to draw things and people as they really are to be able to draw or paint them as they appear to you the artist—and knowing who you are is the center piece of creativity.
Vincent Van Gogh said it best. In 1879, he wrote: “I know of no better definition of the word ‘art’ than this: ‘Art is man added to nature,’ nature, reality, truth, but with a significance, a conception, with a character which the artist makes evolve, and to which he expresses, that he frees up, illuminates.” I believe deep down within our very being lives the creative muse, and she is yearning to find expression. It is she who connects to the primal rhythms of the universe. Watching a sunset, looking at the snow-covered bare limbs of a tree, peering into the opened petals of a rose, all these scenes are captured by our creative muse, who stores them in our memory. Someday, she will find release. That is, if we allow it.
But creativity is not confined to art. The writer, be he or she a novelist or historian, a biographer or a reporter, also allows creativity to find expression. For the writer the words paint the picture. Consider poetry. Poetry celebrates feelings. “No tears in the writer; no tears in the reader,” Robert Frost said. This is true of the poem and equally true of literature. Just as “a poem begins with a lump in the throat,” so too a good book should entice the soul, draw upon the emotions and require reflection.
The artist considers the media to use; the writer chooses the words. There is an affinity between musical rhythm and literary rhythm: repetition/meter/movement/harmony. One of the most powerful mimes defining life is sound. Take the ‘motion’ out of ‘emotion.’ Music is motion. Life is motion. For some, the creative muse finds her expression in music. Words are not necessary. The visual is not necessary. Music takes us beyond the external world and draws upon our inner selves, our emotions.
So be it writing, art or music. “Within each of us is a creative core that actively creates the universe,” Robert Hand said.
Man is both creature and creator. Creative energy creates. The journey never ends, and it is the journey, not its destination, and the creating, not the created, that opens our minds and hearts to more than logic, science, or technology can ever know.
Dr. Lipe is a past president of La Jolla Branch NLAPW and DC Branch NLAPW. She is the author of eight books with the ninth—Historic Tales of La Jolla, published by The History Press—due to come out in January. Patricia is the recipient of numerous awards. An artist as well as a rescuer of thoroughbred horses, Patricia shares her love of nature and animals with her husband, Dr. Steele Lipe, at their farm in Virginia. Please visit www.literarylady.com.