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.
I enjoy art and like to look for it in the natural world. My craft interests include handspinning and most of the fiber arts, especially knitting, weaving, and working with paper. Other important things are my family and friends, my pets, nature, literature, poetry, music, history, birding, star gazing, museums...and the list goes on. In other times and places, I've been an archaeologist, taught anthropology, and worked in a living history museum, so I find all sorts of things to hold my interest and keep me entertained. I hope to share some of these things with you.