Couple, 24X30, oil on canvas, by Carol L. Douglas
Yesterday, I was reading a short essay by Maria Popova on the premise that psychological androgyny is a trait of highly creative individuals. What fascinated me were the quotes she chose from her source, psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi:
… When tests of masculinity/femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers…
Waiting, 24X36, oil on canvas, by Carol L. Douglas
Psychological androgyny [refers] to a person’s ability to be at the same time aggressive and nurturant, sensitive and rigid, dominant and submissive, regardless of gender. A psychologically androgynous person in effect doubles his or her repertoire of responses and can interact with the world in terms of a much richer and varied spectrum of opportunities...
It was obvious that the women artists and scientists tended to be much more assertive, self-confident, and openly aggressive than women are generally brought up to be in our society. Perhaps the most noticeable evidence for the “femininity” of the men in the sample was their great preoccupation with their family and their sensitivity...
At my advanced age, I’ve had the opportunity to observe three generations of gender roles: my parents’, my own, and my kids’ generations. I have known a lot of people, and I don’t think that most of them operate within this caricature of behavior. The ones that do, inevitably seem miserable.
Masculinity, 16X20, oil on gessoboard, by Carol L. Douglas
Most successful artists I know live extremely conventional lives. That has nothing to do with conforming to or rebelling against culture, and everything to do with expediency. On the other hand, we’ve all met artistic poseurs who concentrating on outward social imagery rather than content (usually as rebels). They’re always failures.
If there's a characteristic of the creative temperament, it's that most creatives spend their time thinking about their work, rather than where they fit in their tribe.
Submission, 18X24, oil on canvas, by Carol L. Douglas