You should read it, by the way. The book is paper thin and while you may not agree with everything she says. I say glory to the woman who dares to define art - according to Rand, there is such a thing as bad art. I could tell you, but I'd rather you discover for yourself. Don't roll your eyes; it's your choice to be on a novice decor site written by a nerd. And in typical nerd fashion, I, too, am going to propose my theory in art: ELEVATE THE NEXT GENERATION. Search and support the new artists, the junior artists, the ones right out of school, the ones who dabble in clay and paint instead of computers and cubicles. Simpy put: creating art can take time, and we are living in a world which puts a premium on speed. We cannot lose the artists.
In my new home, in this new life, I am going to fill my walls with "This is what life means to me" expressions by the brave new world of emerging - unknown, even - artists. A favorite source of mine is KiptonArt's Junior Artists section. Here you can browse photography, oil on canvas, watercolor, and a multitude of mediums created by relatively new artists. The prices are more affordable than pieces by well-known and established artists, and the possibility for discovery is arguably greater. . . what a joy to fall in love with a piece by an artist who is also Back to A, beginning a journey of their own? Today I discovered this amazing 16' x 20' oil on canvas by Julia Haw entitled simply, "The Dogwoods."
I love so many things about it. I love that Julia Haw shares that her first art studio was in her parents' basement in a small town in Michigan. I love that her artistic focus is on "ephemerality" (one of my all time favorite words) and the "turbulence and transitions emotions play" on the human psyche. I love how peaceful the woman is in the painting, and the dogwood blossoms that rain down on her are beautiful, yet fragile reminders of how everything can change in a heartbeat. Frost expresses this sentiment with absolute precision in Nothing Gold Can Stay:
Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day
Nothing gold can stay.
Ephemeral indeed, Mr. Frost. But I also love dogwood blossoms for their ability to bloom in the fog. . .
. . .beauty amidst darkness and ambiguity. Petals, tender in the night, but fiercely clinging to a remembered spring day. Then finally, for the bittersweet legend of Christ's cross, expressed best in this poem:
In Jesus' time, the dogwood grew
To a stately size and a lovely hue.
'Twas strong and firm it's branches interwoven
for the cross of Christ its timbers were chosen.
Seeing the distress as this use of their wood
Christ made a promise which still holds good:
"Never again shall the dogwood grow
Large enough to be used so.
Slender and twisted, it shall be
With blossoms like the cross for all to see.
As blood stains the petals marked in brown
The blossom's center wears a thorny crown.
All who see it will remember Me.
Crucified on a cross from the dogwood tree.
Cherished and protected, this tree shall be
A reminder to all of my agony."
The legend only makes me love the painting more, because now I see the woman as a modern Mary Magdalene: flawed and vulnerable, but peaceful in the knowledge that resurrection will be revealed first to her.
Yes, to someone else this might just be a naked chic on an acid trip with psychedelic flowers falling down on her - apologies to anyone offended by lack of proper transition from Bible to acid trips - censor buttons are boring - but you see what I mean. When you discover art that reveals so much every time you look at it, it's even more necessary than a vacuum or cutlery or even that thing that holds the Bounty paper towels. I need to get that.
This is what life means to me now. Resurrecting a little each day.