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Creativity-Portal.com Creative Careers in the Arts Series
Lynda Lehmann Interview : Page 2 of 2

Artist & Writer Lynda Lehmann

continued from page 1

Q: What makes you laugh and shine inside?

A: What makes me laugh and shine inside? When I'm deeply involved in artistic process, I am lifted above all the daily problems of the human condition, my own included.

What else makes me shine? The thought of a world at peace, though I probably won't see this in my lifetime. I'd like to see a world in which the quality of "virtue" has reinvented itself, a new paradigm in which people again believe in doing things for the common good. I think that Hollywood's dependence on the darker things in creating what they call "entertainment," like graft, greed, betrayal, adultery and murder, indicates an underlying lack of creativity. They could be doing so much to alter and enhance the collective unconscious, rather than wallpapering our lives, and our kids' lives, with images of ugliness and destruction.

Q: What helps you to bounce back when you're in a creative slump, feeling blocked and stuck in the muck, and just plain lazy and unmotivated?

A: Strangely, I rarely feel stuck and unmotivated. I usually have the opposite problem, feeling like a boiling cauldron that will spill over if I don't relieve the pressure by creating. So motivation isn't a problem. For me, the problem lies more is choosing which creative project to do at a given time. Ideas are usually simultaneous for me, so I constantly feel I'm navigating down the rapids of a roiling river. Occasionally I have to bail out and crawl to shore, just to get out of the stream. Many people feel a need to be with friends all the time or to be entertained. For me, solitude is equal to freedom. It's when I most own and am at peace with myself. I rarely enjoy being "on." While I value my solitude, I do value and like to see friends at intervals.

Q: How do you keep the creative sparks firing? Tell us all about your favorite ways to inspire yourself and keep yourself feeling fabulous!

A: Giving myself enough time to stay in the process, keeps me inspired and motivated. I don't waste time with things that are less meaningful to me. For me, the greatest challenge is quieting my mind and making enough time for a good night's sleep. Of course, we are all more productive and efficient when we're rested.

Q: How does travel inform and inspire your work? It sounds like you're getting ready for a fabulous vacation… can you tell our readers a little bit about your summer vacation?

A: Our summer in Maine will be more of a construction marathon than a vacation, as my husband rebuilds a cabin into a proper house. Building walls, installing plumbing, heating, and electrical systems, as well as kitchen and bath, is not easy. Still, we take every opportunity to enjoy a hike, swim in the lake, or canoe at sunset. We both feel very much in harmony with the universe in a setting where human excess has not yet vanquished the peace and beauty of uninterrupted landscape.

Q: What do you like to do just for fun, just for you, when you're not hard at work on another wonderful painting?

A: The word "fun" would be replaced by "joy" in my lexicon. To me, joy is a more powerful experience. I would almost always rather have the challenge and excitement of painting than more external activities. If there were more hours in a day and more days in the week, and resources were not a factor, I would snorkel near coral reefs, hike in the rainforest, photograph the glaciers in Alaska, and see Macchu Picchu. Although there are many things I would like to experience that I may not be able to, I never feel bored or unhappy when I'm being creative.

Q: What is your favorite way to relax?

A: I love to hike, swim, canoe, and on rare occasions, lie in a hammock gazing through the overhead branches of a majestic pine. I also love to read books about the nature of life and the cosmos, about human thought, aesthetics, and perception.

Q: What is your favorite moment of the day?

A: Pulling up the shades in the morning to see the bight dawning of another day, and getting my coffee! My second favorite moment is walking into my studio in the knowledge that I may have a few uninterrupted hours on my hands, in which to paint.

Q: What is the most challenging, scariest part of this work for you?

A: Knowing that it's not a standard career, nor guaranteed to reap profits enough to pay for all my materials or offset our other expenses.

Q: How do you confront the shadow side in your work? How do the deep, dark places of the soul inspire you?

A: On the news, in the media, everywhere in the world there is human suffering on a grand scale. I rely on my art to move me into a state of joy, when the tragedy of the human condition gets me down. I think that part of me is naturally very positive and optimistic, because I rarely find myself in a state of mind in which darkness or pessimism manifests in my work If I'm in a really bad mood or upset about something, it must be of a serious nature. At those times I usually put my energy into trying to solve the problem, rather than attempting to paint. I learned when I was in my twenties, to face and embrace my darker emotions, and ride them out. If you don't let yourself own them, you're depriving yourself of feeling the full range of human emotion. If you try to hide from your darker feelings they will find you again and again, each time with added power. Generally, I feel that doing art keeps me feeling positive about life.

I think the job of the artist is to put forth new forms of beauty into the world, and these new forms can lead to new paradigms. I wrote this on my "Words, Not Pictures" page of my web site:

In a world torn by political, ethnic and religious conflict, only art has the power to unify, inspire, elevate, and heal….

Art, both the making and the viewing of it, encourages us to see the world in new ways, as well as to look into ourselves. A world without art would be intellectually and spiritually barren. Imagination makes all things possible, and art is the most profound outgrowth of the human imagination that is not subservient to external purposes (although of course, there are exceptions). Therefore, even in its all its confusing flux and diversity, art is perhaps the "purest" phenomenon among human endeavors.

Works of art create new relationships, new paradigms, new ways of viewing the world. Art creates vision. At its best, it has the power to create hope.

Q: Who forms the sticky strands of your support web? A lot of artists would be lost without the fabulous support of partners, friends, family, and other creative artists and professionals. This is your chance to give them a shout out!

A: I am grateful to my painting teachers/mentors at the Long Island Art League. Both Sal Tortora and Stan Brodsky have been very supportive of me and of their students in general. My comrades in art, my fellow painters at the art league, are also part of my mutual support system. My husband and family have been supportive of my work. And I'd also like to thank the wonderful people I've "met" on the web, like Chris Dunmire at Creativity Portal.

Q: How do you indulge yourself? Treasure yourself? Treat yourself like a queen? What are your favorite luscious "guilty pleasures"?

A: Chocolate chip cookies for indulgence. Meditation, prayer or a good book about the cosmos for putting things in perspective. And my "guilty pleasure" is loving what I do, and the fact that I finally have enough time in my life to be able to call it a "process." Even if it means being delinquent in the garden or kitchen.

Q: Do you spoil yourself often enough? I find that many women — myself included! — have a hard time with this. We feel we don't deserve it, or worry about being perceived as selfish. Is it difficult for you, too?

A: It was always difficult to call myself an artist. To even entertain the idea of pursuing it full time was out of the question, until I had breast cancer four years ago. That experience, coupled with the fact that I'm in my late fifties, gave me the determination to call myself an artist and act on it.

Q: If you could travel back in time to visit your thirteen-year-old self, what advice or words of wisdom would you want to give her?

A: Believe in yourself. Feign confidence, even if you don't feel it, because practicing it will help you develop it.

Q: What is your greatest source of inspiration?

A: The bounty and beauty of nature and the endless, infinite stream of human creativity. Art in all its forms. •

Lynda Lehmann is an abstract expressionist painter and digital photographer whose lush and active acrylic paintings and photography are featured on her websites www.lyndalehmann.com and www.absolutearts.com. A creative spirit with a love for words and ideas as well as images, she has enjoyed writing four middle grade and young adult novels as well as a number of soft, sociological science fiction stories. For the past two years, Lynda has put her writing on the back burner, to pursue her graphic arts projects. She has shown her art in numerous juried and solo shows in the New York area. She is a contributing author to the Creativity Portal Author's Series and her article "Art and Power" has been published abroad. You can read some of her thoughts on art on her blog, Peripheral Vision, at www.innersights.blogspot.com.

© 2007 Molly J. Anderson-Childers. All rights reserved.

Molly Anderson-Childers is a a highly creative writer and artist from Durango, Colorado. More »

6/25/07