In this episode:
- Updates on family and teaching opportunities.
- Art and artists are natural connectors of people. Add vulnerability to the mix and it brings amazing opportunities.
- An old elevator provides life lessons for deep adventure.
Continuing the busy theme of last Summer, this Fall and Winter have been equally busy as well. December brought two more families together as our son John married his collage sweetheart Jenna.
Bobbie and I also had the pleasure of a road trip to deliver wedding presents and supplies out to their new home in Philadelphia.
“Fine art is knowledge made visible.” — Gustave Courbet
"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance."— Aristotle
“Art is the stored honey of the human soul.”— Theodore Dreiser
The Power of Connection
Artists often set up on locations where people can gather and watch. Recently, while painting at Lincoln Park Conservatory, everyone was enjoying the warmth and sweet smells of moist soil. Some folks were very busy, some paused to stop and look, while others paused slower still too say “nice picture” or good job”. Young children look first at the painting and then they look straight into the eyes to see whose painting. The older generation look straight into the eyes first and then maybe or maybe not at the painting. One particular gentleman, Lou was his name, with piercing blue eyes caught my gaze and held it for a good two minutes, we talked about such things as age, life in general and the “old country”. Not sure if he even looked at the painting.
As artists, whenever we paint on location, we put our art and ourselves out there for all to see. I would challenge other Plein Air painters to never miss an opportunity to look into the eyes of the people we meet. The eyes tell amazing stories. The eyes help us meet people where they are at in life. The eyes offer bids for connection, and if met with an equally open vulnerable heart, they help connect us at a deeper level. And isn’t that what artists are always looking for anyway, that deeper connection in our art and life?
Sometimes I think I’m really just a connector of people cleverly disguised as a Plein Air artist… Come to think of it, that’s not too bad a thing.
The act of creating art is a vulnerable process and then creating art in a public space is another act of vulnerability. And as Brene Brown puts it, "vulnerability creates opportunity for connection!" As artists, that's what we do best.
This following story was part of my toast to John and Jenna on their wedding day. I think it's a good story to share and remember.
"The human heart is deeply designed for an adventure to live.
When we had our condo in the city, the century-old elevator had an array of floor buttons, and at the bottom was a bright red alarm button.
At least once a week, maybe more, we would hear those elevator alarm bells ring for just a second. It's sound carried throughout the building. We always would wonder who was ringing that bell, and why were they consistently asking for help? It was a mystery and even got annoying, until one day, while Bobbie and I were waiting for the elevator to arrive, we heard the alarm bell go off again. Soon, the doors opened to reveal the cause of these bells. There were two small boys, ages maybe 2 and 5, and the limit of their reach allowed them only to push that bright red alarm button. As soon as we saw their excited faces, Bobbie asked them, "Are you two going on an adventure?" Their smiles announced loud and clear, they were!
We were fortunate enough to ride down to the lobby with them and fascinated by their spirit for adventure.
We told this to their worried / relieved mother awaiting their arrival.
Now, since that moment, every time we'd hear a bell or an alarm, Bobbie and I look at each other and say the word "Adventure!!!" And we instantly remember that story.
The greatest moment of life is now, and may you frequently push the "red button" to make some noise, reminding us all that life is indeed...deeply designed for adventure."
Medium: Watercolor on Hand-made Paper
One of our more adventurous Parsons projects was the Straits of Messina Bridge project. I had the privilege to spend some time in Italy and Sicily meeting with the warm local people and some of our partners, all the while recording reference materials for this winning proposal. Inspiration for this painting came from the deck of the water ferry as we crossed the Straits and entered the Port of Messina. The hills behind Messina just glowed in the afternoon light. This Italian sunlight is so spectacular it actually played a creative prominent roll in our proposal itself.
Size: 13" x 20"
Status: Currently Available
That's all for this month!
Thanks for reading!