Weeping Willow Fronds in Spring
I’ve been reading the latest Louise Penny book, which always give me artistic pause. Her mysteries often have art woven into the story, with the characters pondering the deep, dark meaning behind the creation of art. Hmmm. In this one, she has a character stating that a good piece of art begins “with a lump in the throat”, and involves destruction before creation. There is probably a lot of truth to that, although I have seen paintings on exhibit that probably were cathartic to make but more properly belonged in the studio or the therapist’s office than on display.
For the most part, when I paint, the love and joy I wish to share is the starting point, and beyond that I am reaching for beauty and to avoid trite. Sure, anyone paying attention must be feeling dismay at things like California running out of water, or escalating hatreds leaping up in the world like wildfire. And yes, I could paint that but I choose to look for the beauty that is here. I guess I feel that whatever we turn our attention to will expand, so I choose beauty and love, not out of a polyanna wish that bad things would go away, but because they exist. It is my reply, if you will.
What about you? What do you look for in a piece of art? Often what I see actually sell at galleries is nothing more than washes of color, and I wonder what that means. Are people exhausted, and simply wanting the equivalent of white noise on their walls? I think this may be the case. We are asked to understand so much, these days.