"The artist's quest is to succeed in combining all compositional attributes and physical elements into those that are purely spiritual. That is the secret of art". Edward J. Fraughton
Those were the opening words to "Arts as a Spiritual Practice", our Worship Service this past Sunday at May Memorial, where I was one of the speakers. And was I ever in good company! Fellow visual artists Charlie Wollowitz (sculpture), Linda Wollowitz (fiber arts)and Bob Brudick (photography)were also speakers. I enjoyed Charlie's references to the "She-devil Muse" which compels him to create art. The multi-talented Fred Fiske composed a song "Sweet Inspiration" for the occasion. Writers Carey Pitzrick and Dick Pearson were eloquent and passionate as they read their poetry and musician Glenn Kime seemed to sum up our reasons for creating art so succinctly when he said we create art/make music/write, because it makes us happy. And that is so true. For all of the various media and approaches to art, we share a passion, a fire in our belly that compels us to create. To make art when we are happy, to make art when we are sad or confused because we know that somewhere in that search for contrast/emphasis/balance/line/shape/form we will find either resolution or acceptance. And to know and accept that our lives will often be shaped by circumstances that are out of our control.
...but when I dip my brushes into the paint, I am in control, I am in the driver's seat. Sometimes the paint takes me for a ride and that is good too.
I spoke about Art and Healing. Below are a some thoughts I had put together a few years ago on that subject, when I was preparing for a show at the SUNY Upstate Medical Library.
The Healing Arts. The Art of Healing. It’s strange how often we see these words grouped together, but seldom consider Art as healing. And yet as artists we know instinctively how therapeutic it is to create. How good it feels to take pencil to paper, or to lay one color next to another, or to carve, mold and shape. To knead the clay, to smell the paint, to feel the weight of the brush in hand. Sometimes even a new box of crayons can make us giddy with delight. So we plunge headlong into our latest artistic endeavor, considering line, shape, space, color, composition, proportion and perspective. And as we work through these issues, the bigger issues of life, love, relationships, families, religion, and death, will at various times enter into the picture. Through the act of creating art, either resolution or acceptance is achieved.