Archive for December, 2009

Art and Beauty a Luxury?

December 22, 2009

Art and beauty cannot be brushed aside as luxury.  Some avoid it altogether and some are even frightened by art.   And sadly for many, the  mere mention of art conjures up descriptions such as, “unessential” or even “frivolous.”  In education we keep the sciences and emphasize math, but arts are usually the first to go with the cuts.    

If there is an element of truth in art and beauty and I think there is, then neither can be brushed aside, nor neglected.  So, can I make art, beauty, or even love my goal?  Never.  Seeking to be artful or beautiful is a lot like seeking to be loved.  M. Scott Peck in A Road Less Traveled said, “If being loved is your goal, you will fail to do it.” Our primary goal must not be to be loved or to be beautiful, but to seek a life that reveals the components of balance, form, harmony, rhythm, unity, emphasis, and repetition.

What would the observer see when they look at me? Beauty brings glory to God.  So does art.  We all know that love does too. Therefore, I must not be satisfied with the mediocre in any aspect of my life.  Life is art. Love life.

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Art is Life

December 20, 2009

The same theme ran through my university studies in art, design and humanities.  No matter what the medium, all works of art have common principles that are inherently a part of each work.  It matters not whether the work is a painting, a sculpture, a musical composition, a play, a novel, or a short story.  The principles are the same. 

 St. Thomas Aquinas said that works of art have these principles, no matter what the format.  He said, “Each must have, “integrity [wholeness], symmetry and radiance.” Most critics of the arts have agreed that in order to be “a work of art”, each individual piece must have a combination of balance, repetition, harmony, unity and emphasis.  If the piece described is a work of art, it implies beauty inherent in its constitution.  If we allow for differences in culture, art has always been an expression of, or an emotional response to beauty.  So I thought, what would happen if these principles were held as a framework for my own life? If these principles of balance, repetition, unity and so forth were held up by me for my own life, would beauty be evident?  How would these principles apply to me as I made my daily choices?  Would the body of my works be thought of as “good” to those who observed me in action?

Some of you might already be thinking how this might be lived out in the flesh.  It needn’t be grandiose.  I know of a young lady who thought it might be nice it would be to buy her mother who lived in Florida a book of citrus recipes since she had just planted citrus trees.  Now this was not as simple as it sounds, for she could not find one in stock in her community, so she went to the next town and ordered one.  Now I cannot tell you how delighted her mother was to (eventually) receive this gift, but perhaps you will begin to understand as I tell you that the mother in turn searched her mid-size Florida town and eventually went on to the next city and searched until she found what she deemed a fitting thank you card of a watercolor print card of a citrus tree on which she wrote a personal note of thanks which began, “Dearest…”.

Beauty begets beauty.  It took vision, not just seeing, on the first woman’s part, and then in-kind action followed by the inspired recipient. For both it took a little more time to see the creative connection between the planting of the citrus tree, the cookbook purchase, and the resultant watercolor thank you card. Both parties were willing to go beyond the ordinary and the results were extraordinarily lovely.

Hello world!

December 19, 2009

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