The artist, age 7

Subjugation & Isolation of a Young Girl– The Making of an Artist.

What is it that sends someone young in the direction of art-making? When I recently asked myself, what sent me toward the visual arts, I realized I could see some signs very early.

My eyes were always focusing on something, attracted by color, by shape, by texture. Crayons, paper, scissors, paste—the media of child play in the 1940’s. And the world of radio opened for my ears the joys of sound: music, drama, voices, instruments. But most of all, my hands wanted to create things.

I grabbed the discarded Sunday newspaper, for the joy of poring over pictures, some of them in color. All interesting, enjoyable images to savor. And so I would be stimulated by something I heard or saw, to create something like it, using my modest resources of crayons and paper.

The family drama that I lived in gave me reason to cling to these little pleasures, to take every spare moment to be drawing or cutting, folding. My play times were special: that freedom was rare. In our unique household, as early as I can remember, I was my younger brother’s nanny, responsible for keeping him safe, amused, clothed, fed. And soon—when my parents’ work schedule got tighter, I became the food purchaser and dinner cook 5 days a week. While continuing to be my brother’s babysitter, before and after school as well.

Time for myself alone or space of my own was rare. The hardwood floor of the living-room was my art table. The music on the radio was major entertainment. Isolated in my responsibilities, I escaped into arts available to me. I felt alive and excited when creating or listening. Instead of having much adult supervision, really I was performing in adult roles myself most of the time.

Jump forward to age 50, when I was stricken with Lyme disease that went unrecognized, undiagnosed, and untreated for most of a decade. But the chronic infection did bring the collapse of my existence! Trying to continue my adaptation from my childhood pattern, to live as the efficient nonprofit executive became utterly impossible.

This isolated, abused child found her best self in her mature years. About 20 years ago,I read and took up up the challenge of the popular book,‘The Artist’s Way’—to claim my calling as an artist.This influence set the outlines of my daily artistic practice. Whether serious artist or ridiculous, I was sure. My decision was to create art, full speed ahead.

But learning how close I had come to extinction was a rebirth!–Of my early artistic passion! No longer just a hobby, I took it for a calling. I studied, I worked, I took risks. I followed my inner guidance that the human subject was my main subject. It was a natural enduring effect of profound early isolation.

I now see myself as someone that medical science rescued and offered decades more of life. I gratefully choose to live these bonus years as an artist!

Artist Statement II.The Embrace of Figure Painting

A recent view of art–by another who entered the field late in life–struck a deep chord in me. He said, art is not a turning loose of emotion but an escape from emotion. Creation could result in, not experiencing personality, but escaping personality.

See Joshua Rothman’s profile of Artist Peter Sacks: Artist’s Archeology of the Mind. The New Yorker, March 25, 2019, pp. 45-53.

Figure painting has been my main artistic pursuit for the past 15 years at least. Also over a long career and was central for me as a child. Now as never before I want to grasp the source of this drive.

Portraying the human figure, nude or draped, for me comes from a craving for intimacy. And that need is intensified beyond the ordinary by my lack of the skills to satisfy it effectively. Close companions would be happy to testify to this painful failure.

Yet I keep up the self-discipline to tolerate the intense physicality of the figure studio. With the of result creating some interesting artworks. The ordeal is worth the prize.

My art practice is driven and conflicted. It does pursue a catharsis moment, when I know I am done.

Yet I love doing it! For me this drama is also wonderful, too gratifying, to have it any other way.

–Carol-Lois Haywood

Artist Statement III. Gallery of Recent Artworks.