March 16 2022 – Jeff
You and me, we are art.
We spend our days ambling atop this hospitable planet. We are grounded by gravity, we pass our days, and once in awhile we look around with a little bit of wonder.
I believe that everyone has experienced some moment of feeling interconnected with the world around us. When we look at art, sit in prayer and meditation, or watch others milling about the street, we might sense deep within us that there is a unity we can feel, yet hardly put to words.
This sensation is personal, but it is invariably warm and calming. It is the sensation that we are not just on this earth to pursue our aims, but rather a part of this earth. The earth is us, and we are her.
We are one and the same, the land and us, but we have been blessed with awareness, and the joy of appreciation for what we have.
When I was a young backpacker brimming with curiosity, I found myself stopping in for an afternoon at a special art exhibit in Belfast. I sat mesmerized by the works of Jack Butler Yeats, brother of the more acclaimed W.B. Yeats. At the time I had barely seen much outside of cities. The artist had had a deep obsession with painting horses; my youthful reaction was that he was mad, and I was inclined to carry on down to the pub.
But then something caught me.
It was not the content of his paintings, but rather the style. The paint was layered in thick globs, spread and cut with a knife so that it extended out of the canvas in luxurious textures. The paintings were alive; the paintings had dimension; the paintings evoked something I could not explain. Later I would learn that this style of painting is called impasto.
Suddenly my conception of art changed. This artist’s seemingly deranged obsession with horses now enraptured me. They had lived and they were still living, on the walls of this little museum, and inside me.
I have since seen Yeats described as "the artist of inner landscapes," and I understand why.
When I think back to that day, I can still feel those swirls of paint reaching out of the canvas. I am no deep philosopher, but I have since come to think of the earth as something like a canvas, layered with trillions of artistic flourishes, all working in tandem to evoke something beautiful.
You and I, we are some of those flourishes. And we are fortunate, because we are not only a part of the masterpiece, but we are able to appreciate it as well.