Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. Thomas Merton

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Song without Words 10/01/08

Art is that which stimulates the senses or the mind by conveying ideas or emotions in a variety of ways.

Those of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning will know that this is pretty much my working definition of art. I don't want to get into any heavy philosophical discussions of what art is or isn't and who or what is capable of producing art. This definition could change at a moments notice if I suddenly decide that it no longer works for me. I think that is key: It works for me.

When I see something that touches my spirit and evokes an emotional response or causes some mental response in me, then I could call that an art moment, if you will. If I can have a senior moment or a blonde moment, then why not an art moment? One might also choose to call it a spiritual moment, a contemplative moment, or a religious experience, depending on the response. Take your pick. I suppose the idea of the experience being a contemplative moment is really the best way to describe it.

I have come to the conclusion that art is in all things, if you just take the time to look. At this point, I do not believe that art is only created by humans. Dante tells us that Nature is the art of God. Through the work of the Almighty, we have an entire universe filled with art. We should spend more time looking for it and enjoying it. Saul Bellow said, "What is art but a way of seeing?" This supports my idea of seeing with the heart to find that which touches the spirit. We should take time to seek out those things in the world around is that touch our hearts and minds. We should look for that contemplative moment in the things around us.

I spend plenty of time in the application of the spoken or written word concerning the things that I find around me and things that happen in my daily life. Sometimes, when speaking to my friends about my blog, I lovingly refer to it as "the daily drivel." Sometimes it just seems like so much blah, blah, blah. I have often wanted to post a picture or a quote that has given me an artistic or contemplative moment, but it has seemed that commentary is unnecessary and would spoil the experience. I have decided to start a new--what? feature?--when I feel that words are inadequate or not needed. I am using the title "Song without Words," borrowed from the collection of piano solos written by Felix Mendelssohn. These pieces occupied a goodly portion of my time when I was a piano student and often led to contemplative moments at the keyboard, although I believe that the first movement of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" always put me in the most contemplative place.

So, here's the first Song without Words. It is yesterday's (9/30/08) National Geographic Photo of the Day featuring a volcanic thermal vent. It reminds me of something Van Gogh would paint. I hope you enjoy contemplating it for a little while.


  1. I had an art moment today. I've never been really "into" art per se, but today I went on a required tour of the Museum & Gallery at Bob Jones University, where I'm studying. The moment occurred somewhere between Tintoretto and Dore, I think; I can see why they are called masters. I didn't want to leave. It was incredible.

  2. Hey, great! My first truly significant encounter with art was during my 17th summer that I spent with my older sister in Washington, D.C. I got to walk to the Smithsonian almost every day. One of my favorite places was the National Gallery of Art. I was hooked.

  3. Lovely scene. Looks mysterious and nature inspired which is lovely. I take a huge amount of my inspiration from nature, trees, animals and birds. I think nature is the most amazing artist of us all. I went to the V & A Museum last week and was awe inspired by the beautiful art and crafts on display. Things created over 600 years ago are just as beautiful and meaningful today.

  4. I have just discovered your blog - love it!!

  5. Thanks, lucy. I'm not the greatest at frequent posting. Life kinda gets in the way of blogging. We recently had a fire in our garage (relatively little damage and property loss considering what could have been) and I want to post something about it, but just don't feel like it.