Meet Molly O'Riley
Say hi! Would you like to introduce yourself?
Oh hey!! I’m Molly O’Riley, owner and artist at Darling Rage Creations. I am a painter and a printmaker, and I love creating colorful and vibrant abstract works, with an emphasis on depth, movement, and emotion. I like to call myself a serial encourager of creativity, and I LOVE teaching others how to access their inner creative voice through painting and play. Being a wife and a mom of two littles has informed that work in crazy good ways! I have always been an artist, but it wasn’t until last year that I really ventured into pursuing art making and creative education for real. After struggling through months of severe postpartum depression with my second child, I started to recognize that I needed to start creating again in order to be able to truly express myself. At that point, I had really lost my voice, and painting helped me to find it again in a much deeper way. Because of my experience with mental health issues, I have become very passionate about finding ways to help moms use creativity to fuel their souls.
What does being a creative mean to you?
To me, creativity is allowing your soul to breathe. That looks different for every single person, but I truly believe that if you are a human being, you are creative. One of my favorite authors on this subject, Erwin Raphael McManus, really says it best: “It takes courage to not only accept our limitations, but to embrace our potential. To deny our creative nature is to choose a life where we are less and thus responsible for less. We see ourselves as created beings, so we choose to survive. When we see ourselves as CREATIVE beings, we must instead create.”
Do you recall when you first realized you HAD to be creative?
I know that from day one, I have had a drive within me to make things. I remember being six years old and meticulously gathering twigs, leaves and mud to create tiny houses for fairies in the backyard. In high school, I was a very impulsive creator. I could hardly stand getting through other classes so that I could get back into the art room and get my hands dirty. In college, I thrived on creative collaborations and conversations about changing the world through artmaking. Most recently, going through postpartum depression, that urge rose up in me once again. I felt it in my bones. I had to start painting or I would start dying inside. I know that may sound dramatic, but it is truly how I felt. When I create, I uncover a more full version of myself.
What is your favorite work ritual?
My favorite work ritual is letting the work speak for itself, and patiently allowing it to unfold over days and weeks. I have gotten into a habit of painting daily, and adding a new layer to many different works in progress at once. I don’t like wasting paint, so I use whatever I have on my palette on as many canvases as I can until it’s gone. My paintings usually end up being finished somewhere between layer 4 and layer 20. It all depends on how the marks and colors are unfolding. Painting is also very therapeutic for me, so there are emotions in every layer. As I paint, I’m usually releasing whatever it is that is on my mind.
How do you cope when you feel overwhelmed?
When I feel overwhelmed, I have learned that taking a step back is the best way to diffuse it. If it is with life in general, painting or brain dumping verbally into a voice memo on my phone are both things that help. If I am overwhelmed with a painting, and not sure where to go next, I never force it. I usually walk away, or move onto a different piece. I have learned to listen to my body, and if I feel myself getting stiff, shoulders up, forgetting to breathe… those are all signs that I need to stop and take a step back and a deep breath. And I probably need a coffee. Or a nap.
What three traits would you say are a must for someone going into business for themselves?
I would say that the three traits most needed are:
1- A love for the process - meaning that they might be afraid or unsure, but are totally okay with flexing their failure muscle. Going into business means failing a lot. And learning even more.
2- Perseverance. I have learned that business, like painting, is not successful if you are only willing to work on it when you feel like it. Hard work is a must if you’re going into business for yourself, ESPECIALLY in the beginning.
3- Patience. Ain’t no such thing as an overnight success. Momentum builds up slowly. Never stop, but also know that anything worth having takes a while.
What is your definition of success? Do you feel that you are successful?
Yes. I define success as being present where you are, being thankful for it, as well as being courageous enough to really reach for the desires of your heart. If you are engaged in the process, you are successful. In that way, I think that I am successful because I am finally pursuing what I really want to pursue in life, and I’m loving the process along the way. That is not to say that I have “made it” to where I want to be as an artist and entrepreneur. I am at the beginning of that journey, and still have a long way to go. But I am SO FREAKING THANKFUL for every step, every relationship, every connection, every collector, everything! This life is a gift, and the fact that I am free to pursue my goals as a painter and educator is a dream.
What has been the best advice you have received?
This one is tricky for me, because I truly believe that I wouldn’t be who I am today without ALL the experiences (good, bad, and ugly) that I have gone through and learned from. But if I had to choose one piece of advice to pass along to whoever is reading this, it would be to remember that life is literally SO SHORT. You could be gone tomorrow. Don’t waste your life being stressed out or in judgement (of yourself or of others). Be you, and create space for others to be themselves. Always operate in love, because every single person around you is doing the best that they can with whatever they have to work with.
Who is a female (past, present or fictional) you find inspirational?
Georgia O’Keefe is a HUGE inspiration of mine - her spirit through adversity, and her use of color.