Art: Harmony vs. Turmoil


Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth

Is art better when it’s created from an inner state of turmoil, chaos, anger, disappointment, grief?

Or is it better when it’s created within a harmonious state of joy, peace and gratitude?

Better is subjective, isn’t it? Is there even better art?

Isn’t art in the eye of the beholder? Whether it’s writing, photography, painting, drawing, making music or movies.

Who is to judge what is better?

To me, art is an expression of our humanity.

And when we experience others’ art, it’s an acceptance of our humanity.

Art is connecting to our own souls, our cores, whether we are the creator or the observer.

It’s about connecting to others, moving them in some way – whether to a state of turmoil, clarity, serenity, or harmony.

Art can bring on physical feelings. Emotions. States of being. It gives us something to muse upon. It can bring us up or down or sometimes cause us to feel nothing at all.

What appeals to us on one day may be completely different on another day.

I wonder about some of my all-time favorite books. I believe they fall into the “all-time” favorite category partly due to the time they came into my life. If I had read that same book a decade later, going through a different phase in my own journey, might that book have connected to me the way it happened to when it came to me at just that right time?

Sometimes I write for myself, never planning to share it. When I write that way, it is solely for me, to process, or to help me work through something. Writing is therapeutic for me. It’s calming. It’s how I make sense of my world.

What I choose to share with the world in my writing is generally something positive -- about being in nature, pondering quotes or thoughts, how I’ve grown or am so profoundly moved through mothering children or being in relationships. I want to share with others my enthusiasm for these things that give me pleasure.

There is certainly a place in our world for the dark. Sometimes sad truths need to be told. I admire the artists who are strong enough and brave enough to go to that place to bring their piece to life. To make themselves so vulnerable.

I don’t find myself as strong. Or as brave.

Or willing to be that vulnerable.

It’s not that I don’t have sadness or turmoil.

Or haters.

At mid-life, I’ve had the bumps on my road that everyone has had. We’re all the same in that way.

I do believe the bumps make me a better artist. A better writer. A better photographer. Even if what I choose to share are works that are positive and, hopefully, uplifting and thought provoking.

As I experience conflict or anger or disappointment, it gets me to feel more. And when artists feel anything….and ruminate and percolate… that is what compels us to express what that is – however we can.

What we share may not represent the totality of who we are; it may be just the piece we choose to portion out.

I am reading Andrew Wyeth's biography. Now getting a glimpse into his life, I look at his paintings completely differently. Sometimes it's best just to know art through the art itself and not learn the complexities that plague every artist, every person.

Sometimes our pieces come out better because they come from real, honest, raw feelings.

The beauty of art is when it connects and moves someone else in just the way he needed at that time.

I hope in some way, with some piece, I’ve connected to…you.

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