Friday, January 29, 2010

Are You Moved by Art?

Anna's Eyes, Pencil on Paper 3"x6"

Ellen's Eyes, Pencil on Paper 3"x6"

These drawings of my daughters' eyes were done after I attended two portrait drawing in Picard's studio. In the class, we focused on individual features: eyes, lips, noses, and ears.  I found those achievable to a moderately satisfactory degree. But, oh, when we tackled complete faces, I soon realized that lots and lots of practice is required. Slow down and observe is the rule.

Continuing on with my theme from last week about my discoveries on the purpose of art.....
I recently visited the Vancouver Art Gallery to view the show: Expanding Horizons: Painting and Photography of American and Canadian Landscape 1860-1918.

The viewing experience was so delicious that I returned the next day. On both visits, I was moved by some of the paintings to such an extent that I had to blink back tears of joy.  My chest expanded and I wanted to yell out something. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I'm too well-behaved to do that in the gallery. 

It made me wonder how that happens. How can I feel so good by looking at a painting?  Is something happening between the artist and me? Is there a scientific explanation to this?  How did the artist convey something wonderful in what he saw and put it into paint  so 100 years later I feel something  from that? 

Great music does the same thing for many people. For others, it might be a poem, a play or wonderful book that moves them. This deep feeling happens for me when I stand in front of a painting that I love, in the subdued quiet of a gallery space and let myself be. I might step in closer to see the brush strokes or to observe the thickness of the paint, trying to figure out how the magic happens. I might move back further to get the full effect. I want to absorb it, be one with it. The sense is overwhelming.  

I'd like to do that for you, my audience, with my painting and my writing - connect with you, move you. And that is one truly fine purpose of art.

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