With this website I’m not trying to do anything except have a little fun. If it inspires you and you enjoy it then I am very glad. Whether you agree or disagree with me, I welcome your comments. I am no expert and as my toddlers and husband always remind me I have quite a bit to learn.
I am a wife and mother, a former art teacher and a current freelance writer. I dabble in watercolor, graphic design, philosophy, languages, history and mythology. I never could make up my mind what I wanted to be when I grew up.
The vision for this blog is quite broad, as my definition of art is. If art is the arrangement of materials around us for a purpose then many activities could fall under the definition of art. That is why this website is entitled “Art and the Everyday.” This isn’t a place to admire platonic forms from a distance or to imagine what art could be like if only we had time and space enough. This is a place to interact with the messiness of trying to make art with a two year old, when your flight has been cancelled at the airport or when there is a long line of impatient customers in front of you.
I think Gerard Manley Hopkins expressed this struggle well in his poem “God’s Grandeur”:
THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings
During the Victorian era, when the world was transformed by the Industrial Revolution, Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote about God’s Grandeur as something great but at odds with man’s touch. He mourned that, “all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil; and wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell.” He contrasts this dark image with the fresh promise of dawn, “Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs – Because the Holy Ghost over the bent World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.” What a stirring creation image that makes us hope for new beginnings!
What Hopkins does not express here is that God had a plan to fill humans with his Holy Spirit and redeem his lost world. A human’s touch can bring life or death. Not only does “man” smear and smudge, he too can be a creator, an artist. Everything that we do and say has consequences for ourselves and for those around us. This is why we try to eat healthily, exercise, recycle, brush our teeth and be kind to the grocery clerk. We know that the way we shape our own actions has consequences either to create or destroy. We could say that we are an artist, a maker of things, with the purpose of making life or death.
The sad truth, as Hopkins points out, is that we very often are life destroyers despite our best intentions. Why? There are artists who purposely try to destroy, like con-artists, but many of us don’t want to destroy the world around us. We just don’t see the noble life-giving creative purpose that every action of ours could have. We aren’t inspired, we don’t see ourselves as artists.
Hopkins says that the life giving inspiration from the Holy Spirit will, “flame out, like shining from shook foil.” So watch out – because it is happening! I pray that this blog is one place where it happens. “It gathers to a greatness like the ooze of oil, crushed.” One active artist inspires another. So whether you agree with me or not – I hope that you are provoked, that sparks fly, that you find some inspiration to live art everyday.
“One active artist gives courage and incentive and germinates ideas in others for producing more art.”
— Edith Shaeffer, The Hidden Art of Homemaking