I learned from my mother the desire to surround myself with art. We talked about each piece and artist and their importance in our scheme of things. She shared her favorites; and through her patience I learned what I loved. For me, the beauty was all the color and had almost nothing to do with the subject matter. When the colors please, they can be made up into any shape they like.
The way I look at art has aged as I have aged. I used to see in an appreciating sort of way; or I’d see it wasn’t quite my taste. Now I feel the possibilities and potential; and I definitely see pencil marks and imperfections when I look closely. The idiosyncrasies of a piece are what get under my skin and rattle in my brain. They thrill me. Those are the bits that stay with me and make me smile. Not because I relish the mistake but because the humanness is what holds the beauty. It’s not about the overall perfection. It’s the littlest thing in the corner. Right there, to your left way up high, yes, that bit, THERE. Why do you think the artist did that thing, there?
Here is what goes on in my brain: I like to suck on those swirling thoughts like a lemon drop and get all of the goodness out of the thing. I’ll take the sublime with the ridiculous, thank you very much. Art, love and loss; all the beautiful and tragic things part of being human. To imagine the passion of an artist able to transcribe those feelings.
I look at their brushstrokes. The textures are smooth and satiny; or they are coarse and pitted. I look at the lines, the sweep, the depth and the shade of the thing. I smell the paint and the spirits in the open studios and my brain hangs on to the aromas as I examine the paintings in the museum so very closely. I breathe in as far as I can and try to capture those phantom scents. I am watched by the guards as I get closer, closer. I just want to see that small stroke towards the bottom corner, I’m sure that’s the one that will tell the story. The guards look serious and disapproving as I get closer and closer and nearly touch antiquity. My fingers long to run ever so lightly over the painted paths worked hundreds of years ago. I stop, poised for exploration. And move on as my activity is sighted.
A recent favorite of mine are the ones that have been created using encaustic technique. The waxy surfaces make me want to scratch with my pinky nail just along the edge. Just a small mark, no one will ever notice, not even the artist. I see the painting, the colors and here is the added layer of the waxy stuff; and now I want to be involved with the painting in my own secret way. I sigh and refrain. Some of the encaustic pieces are finished off differently, they’ve got an almost lacquered appearance. They have a more finished and fine look but they are less pleasing to me. I like the ones where the rawness shows through a bit. Those scratched surfaces hold my attention and my appetite.
In one open studio I engage an artist and I tell her my story in the fewest words possible. It goes something like this. I turned 50 a while back and realized I hadn’t done all of the things that I thought would fulfill me. I decided to paint and write and now my path has veered direction and I am vastly happier. She said the French have an expression for this. It is called “Avoir du pot”. I looked it up on google and it just means to be lucky. But when she said it to me, it felt prophetic and filled with light. It was a small conversation that made me feel many big things. This has happened before when I have told strangers about my plans. To my heart, these dreams signal I am embarking on a voyage. I’ve noticed it’s harder to be honest about my plans with the people I know; and I struggle to understand why. Why tell a stranger what you cannot find the heart to tell your loved ones? Perhaps it is easier to give honesty to someone not invested in your possible futures. Strangers judge more and less given limited information and requirements.
Hoping to find some answers in meditation, I purchased stones for help and guidance. Honey Calcite for the third eye and crown chakra, Chiastolite which aids meditation and past lives, Zebra Jasper for dreams, goals and enjoying life as it comes, Green Calcite for centering and grounding and stability. I also purchased lavender oil for mosquitos.
I will paint. I will write.