Synopsis: In episode three of the five-part docuseries, “THE POWER OF CREATIVITY”, Carmen, a wife, mother and respiratory therapist working night-shift during the Covid-19 pandemic, faces death each night on the job. While grappling with her past struggles, her love for her family and the stress of her job, she finds a friend in her sketch pad, which she uses during brief respite at work as a source of therapy. Life experiences for her result in juxtaposed fantasy art sketches; a fusion of death’s darkness contrasted with the light and beauty of life. As she balances home life with her children husband and pets, often lacking sleep due to her night-time work schedule, Carmen finds life-balance in the beauty and sadness of her life, past and present through her painting.
Molly E. Smith
Life is beautiful but it can deliver wounds. Some recover quickly, living free from hindering scars, but others are not so fortunate. Their wounds recur, flaring up without warning, making life at times, an untraversable path. After suffering repeated blows, despair, worthlessness and powerlessness encroaches, crippling growth, productivity and joy. Sound dark? It is.
After experiencing seasons like this in my own life, I suddenly reawakened to the fact that people, specifically women like me, women of colour, voiceless women carrying childhood wounds, women living far from their homelands and experiencing loneliness, regained their lost selves through engaging in creative pursuits, specifically painting.
Contrary to a well-known lie I once believed, (that one cannot sustain oneself as a creative artist), I discovered women all around me, investing in their gifts, in this case painting, finding healing, joy, a sense of belonging, community, financial income and purpose.
I wanted to collaborate with filmmaker Molly Smith, because she is not only a talented, knowledgeable award-winning filmmaker, she is inquisitive about life and deeply examines her passions, developing her gifts and talents to the fullest.
It was important to me to tell these women’s stories as they so deeply impacted my own.
Yes! There is immense power in creativity and this series is a part of my lifelong pursuit to cultivate my own creativity by growing my God-given gifts without fear, doubt, human-made rules or boundaries.
I reflect often about my life as a woman of colour who moved from my hometown, Windsor Ontario, Canada in my teens, to reside in South Florida with my parents. I met my husband during my college years at the University of Central Florida, which I attended twice, earning my Masters Degree in Music Education and Performance. I taught choirs in Maitland Florida by day and sang professionally with the Orlando Opera Company by night. I left teaching to raise two boys. The opera company eventually closed its doors for good leaving me with no creative outlet. I needed one and decided to study acting.
The upside of acting? The acting part! Creating a character from the ground up for an audition or even better, for the job!. The downside? We actors do not always book jobs even though we are more than capable of doing it. For instance, my very first professional audition was at age 12 in Canada. I auditioned for ‘Annie’ and knocked it out of the park in front of the director and an auditorium packed with Annie hopefuls and their accompanying parents.
The director said to me, in front of the packed audience, ‘I wish I could cast you as our Annie,’ while applauding vigorously and laughing. Laughter? Because in those days, no girl of colour would be cast as the iconic red-headed orphan. Was I capable? Of course? Did I get the part? No! I was cast as the orphan July and enjoyed the experience immensely but from then on, I simmered with angst wanting to do have more power to do what I wanted creatively, on my terms and not have to be held back by someone else’s biases.
I found the answer to that later in life. CREATE. Create plays, films, paint, draw, photograph, sew, write, – creating creates more opportunities. Create when time allows because it is freeing, and cannot be managed by anyone else but you yourself and you!
I began to note how many of my friends and relatives were artists, specifically painters, who found joy, using their creative gifts. I dug deeper and began to ask these women about their art and their lives and what I witnessed was creative women freeing themselves from whatever held them back in their past, and instead, walking confidently and passionately, while embracing new promising chapters that awaited them. This examination culminated into a short film series about some of these women.
I wanted to major in drawing and painting but didn’t because I was told repeatedly I would not make money doing it. I believed it and gave it up. But I’m bringing it back, as a result of doing these films. Witness it for yourself. I hope it has the same transformative impact for you as it did for me.
I am an actor, classically trained singer, music educator, hobby wrestling photographer, filmmaker and soon-to-be painter based in Orlando Florida.