Sunflower 1 © Mary Baker, Oil on Canvas
Art, Women and Creativity
Women have been given the greatest gift of creativity there is--the capacity of creating and having a child. Even if a woman has never had children, just the biological possibility, is life defining.
The theory has often been that artists create their best work when they are young and after that "peak" in their career, their art becomes stale and predictable. The assumption is that an artist's work is the most important early in their lives. I would beg to differ, especially when it comes to women.
I have a theory that women come into their own as artists later in life, after the possibility of having children has passed and while the potential of having children is beginning to diminish.
Because of the biological ability to have children, women understand intuitively that creativity is a life long process, not a destination. The tremendous urge to create is still there after the capacity to have children is gone.
The passion and drive to create is combined with the wisdom learned from life's inevitable lessons. Women frequently find that their "artistic voices" become more confident and self-assured later in life. That is why women often come into their own artistically in their 40's, 50's, 60's and on up; Georgia O'Keeffe, Louise Nevelson and Grandma Moses are three examples.
This is not to say that younger women do not create great art, they most certainly do. For younger women creatively your best years are still ahead-very good news and definitely something to look forward to.
Women who have created during their earlier years have an advantage for two reasons:
1) A woman who has been creating continuously doesn't have to play catch-up in regards to the technicalities of making art. She has already spent years learning her craft.
2) "Artistic creativity" is like a muscle. If you haven't used it, the muscle atrophies, and it takes longer to get "in creative shape."
If you are a young woman and struggling with how to balance work, family, friends and the multitude of things that make up life, don't give up your ability to create art. You will be way ahead of the game when you get older and it is my very firm conviction that the best years for creating art are still ahead!
© Mary Baker