How Exciting is Life without Art? 

This post is in four sections. Find the others here:

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Visual art is the pause that refreshes the soul, don’t you agree?

The world is sometimes unbearable to think about, especially now. It’s harsh, cold, unwelcoming and frightening.

The internet made everything transparent and gives us news in real time. Of course, that’s a good aspect of it, too but there are days when it is difficult to see or take in what is going on in the world.

On those days, I retreat to the arts. Today, I’m going to speak about visual art and how it makes our lives more exciting.

Consider this–you travel to an art museum. It’s quiet. It’s lit dramatically with spot lights on particular pieces and all the displays are arranged well.
As I focus on each art piece, I feel the stress leave me. Sometimes my body rebels.

At first, I am anxious. It is probably because my mind is switching gears, slowing down just as my pace does as I stroll through the museum.
I find one painting I particularly enjoy. Maybe it is one I’ve never viewed before, or it’s one I love such as Seurat’s “La Grande Jatte”

Seurat's Grande Jatte

Pointillism fascinates me–painting a blue dot by a red dot and your eye sees purple. That’s amazing.

Or Monet’s Gardens

Monet's gardens
Bright colors make me happy. I know a teacher who loved Florida and beaches. She was a physical education teacher. She wore bright colors the entire school year even in the dead of winter. I think she had the right idea.

The art in front of you is the REAL deal, you know? The Picasso painting you are enjoying is his REAL canvas not some reprint on a discount store shelf. It almost gives me chills.

Picasso

Maybe I notice an unusual sculpture like this one at the Nelson Atkins Art Gallery in Kansas City. This is Nick Cave’s piece entitled “Property”.

Nelson Atkins

If I don’t readily understand or appreciate an art piece, it is then I know to stop and take the time to seriously consider it.

After a few minutes, I notice my mind clears. I relaxed. At the same time, the art museum invigorates me, it wears me out. The stop and walk, stop and walk cycle isn’t one I am used to following.

If you think about it, you don’t even use the same posture as you do in your normal life. You closely peer at the brush strokes of the masters. You lean forward to see the inside of a bowl from thousands of centuries before us. Shifting left and right on your feet, to see the different perspectives of a photo exhibit your legs become weary.

I sit on a bench provided by the art museum but it isn’t comfortable. Maybe that’s on purpose. Those wooden seats are hard, period. I think the bench is saying, “Enjoy the art, but keep moving. There’s more to see.”

Like a tomb or shrine, the museum is silent. One can’t think if there is too much noise. Much of the world’s sound is merely noise, you must admit.

It’s a hallowed place to me. A space to honor the creativity, imagination and genius of people. It’s a place to inspire you.

Since retiring, I have more time to enjoy art. At present, I’m too busy to visit an art exhibit, so the top of my desk will have to suffice.
On this gloomy day which holds on to winter, I have a Seurat coffee mug to lift my spirits. It will do for the moment.

What are some of your favorite paintings?

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Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or my website DeborahBaldwin.net
I’d love to hear from you!

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