Finding Your River of Gold
We have all heard of “the starving artist.” Even though I have been fortunate enough to live off of my creative endeavors, I have many times shared the path of “the starving artist.” In fact, there is a certain amount of “starving” that an artist, writer, or creator must feel in order to be in touch with the creative soul.
Elohim, the great Creator, formed the heavens and the earth from the original Creative Spirit, when the Ruach H’Kodesh, the holy breath exhaled on the face of the waters. Wow. I wonder what his inhale was like?!
To be in touch with God’s Creative Spirit, there is a certain amount of “starving” or “crying out” that a true artist must feel. A crying out for more. We must inhale, seeking to draw in creative energy and inspiration, before we exhale and pour it out in our work.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God.”* When there are no finances or comforts coming in, a soul has to look inward and upward. What was I made for? What is my purpose on earth? An artist or writer, must be ever-seeking that inward depth of soul in order to achieve an ever-higher journey of creativity, thus completing successful, purposeful work throughout one’s life cycle on earth.
An award winning and deeply inspired composer friend of mine, Marco Rosetti, who scored my short film, The Heart Beat, and contributed his amazing talent to Eve the Musical, said to me, “We, as artists, are the directors of the human soul.”
My famous quote, or not so famous, ha ha, is, “To be created as an artist seems to be God’s cruel joke.” Musicians, Artists, Writers, and Creators, must retain sensitivity in order to create, yet they must put their work before the rest of the world, often who are not as sensitive.
Without the emotional or financial freedom to create, an artist’s work can become a watered down, worthless, regurgitation of another person’s creative journey. To “sell out” is the worst fate of a true artist.
Most of us have had to sell out at one point or another, but as the window of my journey on earth closes, I find that I don’t have time to write words, or paint strokes, unless they are words or lines that have been mined in the caverns of the authenticity of my soul.
This takes time alone. Gold is mined in a cave, where one needs courage to go into the dark, unknown or uncertain place. In a river, one pans for gold, which takes patience and time.
Isaiah writes, “I will give you the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places.”** It is in these dark and mysterious places, mined and panned, with courage, time and patience, an artist can find his or her Rio de Oro, River of Gold, pouring from their soul into their life’s work.
My soul cries out for the more. My soul deeply yearns to take a dip in my Rio de Oro, maybe even a swim. Perhaps even plunge over the waterfall of my river into the unknown pool of my creativity. I have one life on this planet and to live without creating from my soul simply doesn’t work for me. If we, as true artists, are the directors of the human soul, it is not only our responsibility, but our privilege and highest calling, to be in touch with the soul, in order to create works of art that will move the mountains of the mundane.
Henry Miller writes, “Men are not suffering from the lack of good literature, good art, good theatre, good music,… they are suffering from the fact that art is not the primary moving force in their lives. They are suffering from the act, repeated daily of keeping up the pretense that they can go their way, lead their lives, without art.”***
A writer needs to author passages of words, which weave magic carpets for fellow seekers to ride on the wings of the wind. A musician must have time to hear the music in order to compose melodies that will reach down from heaven and elevate our souls to a higher plane.
Another world renowned composer and classical guitarist friend of mine, Eric Henderson, expressed to me, “When I compose a song, it is like listening to a melody in a far off village. As I listen, the melody comes closer and closer.” He wrote a ear-bending sonnet for his wife, so complex, that it took him two years to learn to play it after he wrote it.
As an architect, I attempt to compose structures and arrange the stagnant objects like rocks, wood and glass into a three dimensional symphony, so that the light can dance in the space. My other infamous quote, “Architecture was up all night, so that in the morning, the light could dance.”
In the starving times of my body or soul, I reach deep within myself, and high above myself, and as I keep reaching, I finally pull out a gold nugget. A poem or sketch that feeds the human soul.
In Proverbs we find “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”**** I would not only like to paint beautiful pictures with my words, I would like them to feed people’s souls.
Just as Job writes about in his time of darkness, “ On the left hand, where He does his work, but I cannot behold Him: He hides himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But He knows the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold… for I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.”*****
The words of Job, a man who greatly suffered, feed my soul. If my body was puffed and fat, with too much abundance, my soul might be sluggish, and I would produce nothing but fluff. When a soul thirsts for true art, music, dance, creativity, one goes inward and upward, but also finds needed nourishment in drawing from the wells of other creators who has passed through their own valley of thirsting and made it a well.******
“Art provides a healing force which aids both the maker the viewer,” writes Richard Newman. Our souls need more than the mundane. Our souls need the moon and the stars. We need to feel the rush off the wind on our faces and think of the Creator of our souls who made the wind, the one who is breathing out his holy creative breath to anyone willing to listen and brave enough to breath it in.
As an artist, I feel that if I could live in the highest calling, my highest vocation, it would be to submerge myself, the one and only me, in my River of Gold, find the hidden riches, and pour out the treasures.
I encourage you to do the same!
—“The earth has music for those who listen.” William Shakespeare
—”Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.” ~Steven Pressfield
—“Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.” ~André Gide
Lauri Matisse is an architect, artist, songwriter, and author of Eve’s Memoirs, no more black days and the Passion of Jesus.
Two new books coming soon!
** Isaiah 45:3
***Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch, written by Henry Miller, New Directions Publishing, 1957