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After all the dust settles; all the words spoken and the tears cried, we still have only what we came in with. We can make something lovely or meaningful out of the materials we are given……….or not.
A parallel to this thought process in art is to begin with something, anything, and make something else out of it. An example in our art class is the day that Deby brought in the board with random color and texture already applied. Deby asked if she should throw it away. We looked at it and I saw a vase (kind of) in one of the shapes. Deb took that suggestion and turned it into a vase of flowers.
Another example is the beautiful tree on the Miller’s property that died one year. Dan loved the tree so much he was reluctant to cut the cedar tree down, and said he saw an eagle in the tree so he called a sculptor friend who , after studying the tree, concurred with Dan and carved to let the eagle out of it’s cage. Dan had a choice there. He could have lamented that his beautiful old, cedar tree died or he could find the mystery eagle waiting to be released.
This thought segues into another example of looking for beauty not ashes. Isaiah 61: 3. “…to provide for those who grieve, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They shall be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. “ We have choices. We can find the beauty, much as a miner finds silver or gold or diamonds in the dark, dangerous, depths of the earth. Or we can search for pleasure, comfort, and ease. It you want to be fully alive, you will set your sites on beauty. No matter what the obstacles are, you will look for the solutions.
Studying Art has become more a lesson in "how to live" for me. Learning to expect solutions, to overcome problems becomes a way of thinking. Art is a good way to change your thinking.