I recently drove out to see Beatrice Wood's home about 20 minutes outside of Ojai. Woods was a flamboyant potter who continued to create until her death at 105. I was struck by the remoteness of her choice. The grandeur of the surroundings in Happy Valley also felt so removed from civilization. In 1963 she wrote to Krisnamurti: "It does not seem possible that one can live and breathe such beauty, have freedom to do the work one wishes, yet that thoughts at times are so dark one has to hang on to touch the will of living."
On the occasion of her 100th birthday, Senator Dianne Feinstein sent her a letter that contains one of the best descriptions of the artistic drive that I've read. Feinstein was quoting Willa Cather: "What was any art but a mold to imprison for a moment the shining elusive element which is life itself - life hurrying past us running away, too strong to stop, to0 sweet to lose."