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How Can Isolation Can Be an Artist's Best Friend

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by Gillian Ching (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane who loves exploring quirky places with my dog. Join me on my quest to find, experience, and share fun things to do and interesting places to go.Please subscribe if you enjoy the articles.
Published April 21st 2020
Create with your aloneness
Famed French impressionist artists Claude Monet once said,"My work is always better when I am alone and follow my own impressions."
The idea of isolation, social distancing and staying indoors is new for most of us, but for many great artists and creators, this is business as usual and a preferred way of being. Whilst in isolation, some of their best work emerges.

So why does isolation fuel some artists' creativity?
Some say it's because artists like to sit with their feelings, to be receptive to them, to examine them, turn them into a story, a painting or a film. It helps to foster introspection and reflection. It brings their experiences, memories, and goals into sharper focus. When they're alone, artists don't have to worry about the critique and interpretation by others.

It gives artists freedom. When they're alone, artists don't have to worry about how their work will be received by others, rather they can explore, express their creativity and do their best work.

By Edvard Munch - National Gallery of Norway, Public Domain,

Here are some artists who revelled in the isolation of creating alone:

Edvard Munch (Artist)
Norwegian artist, Edvard Munch (who is well known for his work called "Beyond the Scream "), was an expressionist artist absorbed by such motifs as love, life, death and anguish. Munch's paintings captured the psychological feelings evoked by man.
He lived alone on his estate outside Oslo for the last 27 years of his life. He never married and loved his paintings, calling them his children.

When he died in 1944, at the age of 80, authorities found a collection of 1,008 paintings, 4,443 drawings and 15,391 prints, as well as woodcuts, etchings, lithographs, lithographic stones, woodcut blocks, copperplates and photographs. He certainly was prolific in isolation.

By New York Sunday News, color portrait photograph by Harry Warneke and Elkins - Sourcefinal version from the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Public Domain,

Orson Welles (Filmmaker)
George Orson Welles (1915-1985) was an American actor, director, writer and producer who worked in theatre, radio and film. He was noted for presenting troop variety shows in the war years.

In 2002, he was voted the greatest film director of all time in two British Film Institute polls among directors and critics. In 2018, he was included in the list of the 50 greatest Hollywood actors of all time by The Daily Telegraph. He is remembered for his first feature film, Citizen Kane, which he co-wrote, produced, directed and starred in.

It was Orson Welles who once famously said: We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone.

By Lynn Gilbert, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Susan Sontag (Writer)
Susan Sontag was an American intellectual and writer best known for her essays on modern culture. Susan was also the partner of one of the world's most famous photographers, Annie Liebowitz. (Fashionistas will fondly remember for extravagant, no holds barred, and pricey covers for Vanity Fair),

She said, ""I want to be able to be alone, to find it nourishing - not just a waiting." Alone, alone. I am alone I ache Yet for the first time, despite all the anguish and the reality problems, I'm here. I feel tranquil, whole, ADULT. One can never be alone enough to write,"

So take a tip from the greats in the art world of solitude and use your time at home and perhaps alone to dig a little deeper, express your feelings and create art. If you've always wanted to learn knitting, try painting or ceramics, then being alone or isolated may be the perfect ingredient you need to create your very own masterpiece.
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