Taking My Solitude Into the World

“When you find human society disagreeable and feel yourself justified in flying to solitude, you can be so constituted as to be unable to bear the depression of it for any length of time, which will probably be the case if you are young. Let me advise you, then, to form the habit of taking some of your solitude with you into society, to learn to be to some extent alone even though you are in company; not to say at once what you think, and, on the other hand, not to attach too precise a meaning to what others say; rather, not to expect much of them, either morally or intellectually, and to strengthen yourself in the feeling of indifference to their opinion, which is the surest way of always practicing a praiseworthy toleration. If you do that, you will not live so much with other people, though you may appear to move amongst them: your relation to them will be of a purely objective character. This precaution will keep you from too close contact with society, and therefore secure you against being contaminated or even outraged by it. Society is in this respect like a fire — the wise man warming himself at a proper distance from it; not coming too close, like the fool, who, on getting scorched, runs away and shivers in solitude, loud in his complaint that the fire burns.”


When I read this quote, it resonated. I am a loner who craves my solitude by nature. I have been practicing taking my own solitude into the world. I saw in the newspaper that one of my city’s art museums had launched a new exhibition. This is a positive environment for me. So, I summoned my creative soul, and we went on a play date.

For two hours I quietly moved among the strangers, falling into the colors, textures and emotions of art.

The native exhibit was rich with stories and powerful lines.

Local artists were celebrated, their works unique and gripping.

Hilltop Artists

This piece is the artist’s self portrait. She battled a life of drug addiction, and creativity saved her life. The symbolism in this piece speaks to me of grasping onto the fervor of recreating our lives, even as we feel we are drowning.

Let us go into the world with eyes that create art out of everything we see and experience. Take your solitude into the crowds and stand peacefully among the humans.

Notable Quotes

“My works exist in real space, rather than the illusion space of painting. As I must stroke the paint to shape it, it becomes so much like skin that the gesture is akin to a caress. I also play with the weight of painting, letting gravity reveal the material’s flexibility so the works allow painting’s historical significance to reflect back on itself.”

Margie Livingston – Margie.net

“In various ways, I have been making paintings that use light and color for the past two decades. Color cannot be perceived without light.

My interest as a painter is in the fragile and ever changing phenomena of the temporal world in which we live… Plants reflect this in their annual cycles through the seasons that come about through exposure to light. I paint plant cycles because they reflect most other life cycles… Day always gives way to night, and that night cannot contain the color of the flower that will fade and then become a seed. Conversely, the seed cannot flourish without the light. These are the experiences that engage me as a painter.

Anne Appleby


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