The Art Spirit

There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we see beyond the usual. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom. If one could but recall his vision by some sort of sign. It was in this hope that the arts were invented. Sign-posts on the way to what may be. Sign-posts toward greater knowledge.

Robert Henri

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Hello From The Other Side

It's been a while since I've been in New York.  I'm in the second semester at Brigham Young University getting my master's degree in Art Education.  So I am writing to you from Sandy, Utah, some 2,000 miles away from Manhattan.

I'm trying to create a new blog, but it's on hold for various reasons having to do with my poor organization and propensity to lose...everything.

So as not to waste my precious Saturday time, I'm going to go ahead and muse my first musing in response to my graduate courses, research, and daily experiences as I try to shape, develop, focus, articulate, and determine my thesis here, on this personal and outdated blog.

I have this idea for an education app to give people, especially children, access to the art world and an art education that they might not otherwise have reasons or means to pursue.  I think that creating and studying visual art can be a great answer to our need to process, problem solve, connect, respond, adore, explore, test our power, imagine, think critically and innovatively.  It can relieve stress, stimulate our minds and senses, excite us, cause us to ask questions, give us a medium through which we can express and give shape to our emotions and thoughts.  It can offer comfort, aid in beautifying our environments, give us reminders of what we love, what we aim for, what we struggle to feel and remember and discover.  Most of my impulses to create come from urges to express love.  Either I want to show someone my love by creating something that I create lovingly and while thinking of them, or I share the power that I have discovered and been shown by others that I have so they can feel that power in themselves, as well.  Or, I paint what I love, or imagine it and play it out visually in my mind.  When I draw or paint someone or something, It necessitates that I study on my subject, notice intimate details and relationships I don't have access to at a cursory glance.  I want to embrace and touch and comfort those I love, so sometimes it gives me a way to do that - both by stroking their edges with my eyes and by using my hands to caress through creating.  It also helps me feel prayerful, peaceful, close to God.  And I am overwhelmed by the love I feel when I create and try to capture the essence, the truth, the correctness, the core of something.  When I don't have words or I want to understand things, not just through words or conceptually, or when there are things I want to meditate on, I use my awesome paints or colored pencils, my Exacto knife, pretty paper, my great grandfather's compass, my knitting, and I play and I study.  Often, when I lack inspiration, not just for art making, but for understanding myself and finding a place for me to be, to feel known, to feel safe, to move and feel alive and a part of something, I go through my art books, my photo albums, my poetry books, my picture books, or my books about art or artists (sans pictures).  Or I go to my studio, and touch and look and play with my tools and colors.  It allows me to be quiet, but not get lost inside myself.  It gives me a still place to be while making sense of all the noise and information and chatter of other people or other responsibilities.  Its something I can see and hold and participate in and improve at.  It also helps me concentrate.

I want everyone to have those things.

We're supposed to figure out our methodology for our research for our thesis.  I'm still trying to understand what that means, and what the different kinds of methodologies are (both in terms of what they're used for and why, and also which types are called what).  I'm motivated by a desire to give gifts, much as I have received them.  By that, I think I mean understanding the physics and magic of creating and seeing, giving people power to recognize and make and learn what they love.  I want them to have the experience and opportunity that I have been given through my art education to have mysteries revealed, to learn and utilize power I could not guess that I had as a little girl, to find meaning and love and peaceful stillness (while also experiencing the vitality and dynamism that comes with revelation and creation).

I want people to be happy.  I want people to be informed and enabled so that they can see things truthfully and create lives for themselves that are consecrated for their learning and growth and learning about love.  Art has done that for me.  Where life is difficult, dark, confusing, painful, deadening, consuming, overwhelming, burdensome, oppressive, disorienting, frightening, and infusing us with senses of powerlessness and doom and despair, I want others to have the means to escape it, make sense of it, have power over it, use it, and feel able to imagine and reach for better, happier, higher, truer.  Where they can learn who they are, what meaning and power their life can have, so that they can find joy and peace.  I want to empower.  I want to connect.  With people, the earth, the heavens, myself, my god, mathematics, the dogs and the birds and the trees, music.

Art is hard, but so is discipleship.  So are relationships, so is living, so is feeling, so is looking at things honestly.  But what good does it do to not do these things?

I'm fascinated with the mind and what power we have to change it, improve it, take greater advantage of it.  Art also provides me with a context to learn about that.

Everyone under 50 knows how to use a smart phone or tablet.  Click on the app and navigate with your fingers.  It requires no other tools, no special physical location, only your mind and eyes and hand.  How many people never enter an art museum or art gallery?  How many people think of art as a rich white man's interest?  How many people identify themselves as "not an artist"?  How many people dismiss Modern and Contemporary art because it doesn't usually come in a straight forward beautiful representational oil-painted form?  How many people get intimidated by studios and artists and big museums and the people who seem to know things about them, or are worried they'll be judged or will disappoint themselves, so they never spend the time in front of the artwork, trying to draw the texture of a leaf or their own face?  An app is non-threatening, can be opened and used privately at anytime, easy to drop and pick up, and you can only see (and need to handle or worry about) a little at a time.  But how many would benefit from making and learning about the art they never will because they don't have the resources in school, they don't have the means to travel, they don't feel like they have a liaison or guide to take them through and help them approach and make meaning from artworks in a gallery?

This is a disorganized, vague, unedited stream of consciousness that paints things in idealistic broad strokes, but I'm publishing it because I don't want to lose it on accident, and I'm using it to try and work some of my thoughts out, so I'd like to come back to it, though.  Fortunately, I don't think anyone reads this blog, so it's more like storage for notes to myself.