Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Art Saves Lives!

I subscribe to an e-newsletter from Creative Catalyst. They make very good art instructional DVDs. Toward the bottom of yesterday's newsletter was the "Behind the Camera" column. It really struck me as a timely article and I want to share it.

After reading the column again I now understand why I had a dream about rattlesnakes last night!

"Painting requires a present moment state of mind. It's an attentiveness that is a mixture of training, intuition and inner listening. At its best, it is a conversation between the artist, the subject and the painting. At its very best, it is all absorbing.

Yesterday I took the day off to paint with a couple of friends. Both are dealing with serious health issues in their families. They have found that one of the very few ways they can find some small relief from the stress in their lives is to paint. Thank goodness they have art to turn to. I was reminded of a once popular bumper sticker: "Art Saves Lives". I now have a better understanding of just what that means.

My mother's mentor, Lester Bonar, used to say, "Painting is like killing rattlesnakes. It takes your total attention." It is an intellectual and emotional dance. As our skill and understanding of design improve, we have more opportunity to express ourselves. Our art becomes less and less an evidence trail of our grappling with our medium. No matter how improved we may become, art can remain all absorbing.

As my friends go through their journey, I feel helpless to help. I hope they can continue to escape, even if only briefly, into the limitless pursuit of art."

Cheers, Lynn Powers

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