ART & CREAKY BONES, the latest book from Sheila Reid, (with a French translation by Anne Marchou) has been named one of the best independent books of 2020 by the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, one of the top worldwide awards programs. It was chosen from thousands of entries from 38 countries by the Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group.
It is a thoughtful, stimulating narrative about how a creative activity can make the senior years a time of joy and fulfillment and even of good health. It explains how and why beginning a creative activity can turn the years after fifty into a time of joy and awakening.
The author explains, « A short while ago I came across news of a lady painter, Carmen Herrera who has been studying art and painting since she was eight years old. In a heart breaking understatement she said that during all those years of work, people were just not interested in her paintings because she was a woman.
The first one was not sold until she was in her 80’s! But now just recently the Whitney Museum in New York City gave a retrospective show of her work. At 102 years old she is successful. Encouragement for all of us!
This story warmed my heart and set me to thinking about how our ideas of old age are changing. That, and a few creaky bones of my own, were a clear incentive to read piles of scientific studies to see what the experts say.
The really interesting thing about painting or singing or dancing or writing or anything creative, is that scientists actually have found evidence that even if you’ve never done any of these things before, beginning a creative activity can actually prolong your life.
And there is evidence that aesthetic pursuits actually do keep us healthier. There are hundreds of scientific studies about this subject now. So it seems to be a very serious preoccupation with many people.
Scientists say that as we get older the perception that we had of things changes, so we begin thinking in a more unusual way. We see things differently. It actually increases innovativeness for a number of reasons.
First because ideas and impressions become free of our old preoccupation’s and we tend to be less strict with ourselves and so we abandon our old ideas. The things that are important to us change.
Scientists noticed that even artists who always used a very restricted palette or muted colors in the past, or even all black and white, as I did for the first 25 years, often begin using brighter colors. They think this may partly be because we allow ourselves a new freedom to use whatever gives us pleasure. We become more accepting of ourselves, which can lead to brilliant new ideas and sometimes very surprising unconventional results.
There is an element of fun that I also think is very important and that increases with age. Maybe it’s because we take ourselves less seriously. Which doesn’t mean the result is less important. It’s just a way to be completely honest.
The author Sheila Reid is actually one of the rare women artists whose large-scale structures and Installations have been exhibited by museums in many countries, in the USA, France, Italy, Japan, Egypt, Portugal, Denmark etc.. Also collected by museums including the Guggenheim in New York, and the Musée d’Art Moderne in France, among many others, a total of thirty-five museums around the world.
In 1972 after studying at the Center For Creative Studies, she moved from Detroit to Milan, Italy and began painting. Later she moved to France and has lived most of her there, always working twelve hours a day.
As an author she is best known for her first book ‘Art Without Rejection’ that was published in 1993, and is much loved by professional artists. It was used in more than 200 universities. Her writing has always had an original way of inspiring people to find their own creative identity.
This book is an enriching discovery of how and why painting or singing or any creative adventure can help keep us healthier, longer. The years after 50 can become prolific and exciting. So if your own bones are on the creaky side, you’ll find this book at Amazon.
It is WINNER in the 14th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards in the category Aging.
Sheila Reid Books at facebook