From Menial to Magnificent

 

skeleton

Hoarding is one thing.   That is easy.  Cleaning out is another,  not an easy thing for me.   But the day comes when the small menial tasks need to be done.  And the Bible says  do not despise the day of small things.

I have been labelled a hoarder, and although I don’t totally agree with that,  well at best then, a recovering hoarder ?   I  have yet a long way to go.   How some people can ruthlessly throw out their sort-after possessions beats me.   I don’t easily throw things away. This may just be a throw-back from my frugal upbringing.  I have learnt overtime  though, to surreptitiously absorb excess into my domain.  Like any good South African taxi driver will say  …  there is always room for one more !!

Taxi

I am learning to de-clutter, but not so much with my papers on words and writings.    And come the first month of the year I seem to have an automatic resolve to go through all my “papers and writings” – these precious snippets of wisdom that I have collected.  I usually make little piles of the favourites and then keep them in a special box – for next year’s clean out !  It’s hard for me to discard “old friends”.

I am so glad I do this, for if I had to be ruthless with my wisdom collection I would never have re-discovered the amazing snippets taken from Philip Yancey’s book on Dr Paul Brand, and his insight on the power of the blood, which I had re-written on a piece of notepaper and kept !

The book :  In the Likeness of God.  The Dr Paul Brand Tribute Edition of  Fearfully and Wonderfully Made  and  In His Image.   ISBN 0-310-25905-3 Zondervan

Read and marvel with me, as he describes the red blood that runs through all our veins.

Blood cells

But first, allow me to introduce you to Dr Brand, then you will have an appreciation of his insight and his writing.
And incidentally, notice how Philip Yancey describes, in the Preface of the book, how he had learned about Dr Paul Brand in the first place !

…”my wife cleaned out the closet of a medical-supply house and in the process stumbles across an intriguing essay he had written on “The Gift of Pain”

And further on in the book he writes …

“….  I can imagine God taking great delight in steering me to Dr Brand
(through my wife’s serendipitous discovery of his essay in a closet, of course) at a critical time in my spiritual journey.

pink feather duster

Aha !!! – So there is value in hoarding … and, value too in cleaning out, and good housekeeping,  that can take us from the menial to the magnificent !  Discoveries and re-discoveries, as I had just made.

Meet Dr Paul Brand, both a good and great man…. but allow Mr Yancey to express in his own words from the book :

” An orthopedic surgeon, Dr Brand had spent most of his medical career in India, where he made a dramatic discovery about leprosy, one of the oldest and most feared diseases.  Careful research convinced him that the terrible manifestations of the cruel disease – missing toes and fingers, blindness, ulcers, facial deformities – all trace back to the single cause of painlessness.  Leprosy silences nerve cells, and as a result its victims unwittingly destroy themselves, bit by bit, because they cannot feel pain.  When he moved to a high-tech laboratory in the United States, he applied what he had learned about painlessness to other diseases, such as diabetes, thus helping to prevent tens of thousands of amputations each year”  ……..

“… The conversations that stand out sharpest to me now are those in which he recalled individual patients, “nobodies” on whom he had lavished medical attention.  When he began his pioneering work, he was the only orthopedic surgeon in the world working among fifteen million victims of leprosy.  He and Margaret (his wife) performed several dozen surgical procedures on some of these patients, restoring rigid claws into usable hands through innovative tendon transfers, remaking feet, forestalling blindness, transplanting eyebrow, fashioning new noses.
He told me of his patients’ family histories, the awful rejection they had experience as the disease presented itself, the trial-and-error treatments of doctor and patient experimenting together.   Almost always his eyes would moisten and he would wipe away tears as he remembered their suffering.   To him these, among the most neglected people on earth, were not nobodies, but people made in the image of God,and he devoted his life to try to honour that image.”

“Most impressive to me, the wisest and most brilliant man I have ever met devoted much of his life to some of the lowest people on the planet : members of the Untouchable cast in India afflicted with leprosy.”…….

“Dr Brand described his writing journey this way : “In a sense we doctors are like employees at the complaint desk of a large department store.   We tend to get a biased view of the quality of the product when we hear about its aches and pains all day.   In this little manuscript, which I set aside long ago,
I tried instead to pause and wonder at what God made, the human body. ” ...

Indeed Philip Yancey’s book captures, apart from the life and insights of Dr Paul Brand,  also the comparison of the human body to that of the Body of Christ.

The notes that I had taken  from the book were on the chapter on the blood.  I will try to compose the snippets in such a way that will show the magnificence of the life-giving blood that runs unceremoniously through our veins every moment of the day, every moment of our lives.

Just to elaborate a little,  an incident occurred  at the Connaught Hospital where a young beautiful accident victim was wheeled into his ward. Dr Brand at first could not feel a pulse, and thought she was dead.  Then he witnessed how she came back to life as new blood was administered to her,  as the blood began to flow through her veins.

”  That young woman entered my life for only an hour or so, but the experience left me utterly changed.   I had seen a miracle : a corpse resurrected, the creation of Eve when breath entered into and animated her body.  If medicine,   if blood  could do this… “

This incident change the course of Dr Brand’s life.

The following  extracts are what brought me to the brink of astonishment, as I read about the miracle and power of blood.

” For most of us, the organ of blood, if one can think of this fluid mass as an organ, comes to consciousness mainly when we begin to lose it.  Then, the sight of it in tinted urine, a nosebleed, or a weeping wound provokes alarm.   We miss the dramatic sense of blood’s power that I saw demonstrated in the Connaught patient – the power that sustains our lives at every moment   ……… ”

” …..  perhaps a technological metaphor would serve best today.
Imagine an enormous tube snaking southward from Canada through the Amazon delta, plunging into oceans  only to surface at every inhabited island  …… ”

” Such a pipeline exists inside each one of us, servicing not six billion but one hundred trillion cells in the human body.   An endless supply of oxygen, amino acids, nitrogen, sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sugars, lipids, cholesterol, and hormones surges past our cells, carried on blood cell rafts or suspended in the fluid.   Each cell has special withdrawal privileges to gather the resources needed to fuel a tiny engine for its complex chemical reactions.
In addition, that same pipeline ferries away refuse, exhaust gasses, and worn-out chemicals.   In the interest of economical transport, the body dissolves its vital substances into a liquid (much as a coal is shipped more efficiently through a slurry pipeline than by truck or train)   Five or six quarts of this all-purpose fluid suffice for the body’s hundred trillion cells.”

“… What the telescope does to nearby galaxies, the microscope does to a drop of blood  :  it unveils the staggering reality.   A speck of blood the size of this letter “o”  contains 5,000,000 red cells,  300,000 platelets and  7,000 white cells.   The fluid is actually an ocean stock with living matter…”

”  A view through a microscope clarifies the various components of blood but gives no picture of the daily frenzy encountered by each cell….

”  Sixty thousand miles of blood vessels link every living cell, even the blood vessels themselves are fed by blood vessels…. ”

”  An average red cell endures the cycle of loading, unloading, and jostling through the body for a half million round trips over four months…”

” The components of this circulatory system cooperate to accomplish a simple goal : nourishing and cleansing each living cell.   If any part of the network breaks down – the heart takes an unscheduled rest, a clot overgrows and blocks an artery, a defect diminished the red cells’ oxygen capacity – life ebbs away.  The brain, master of the body, can survive intact only five minutes without replenishment.”

”  The drama of resurrection enacted before me in Connaught Hospital takes place without fanfare in each heartbeat of a healthy human being.   Every cell in every body lives at the mercy of blood.” 

One can only but stand in awe of the miracle of who were truly are – God’s intricate and magnificent workmanship – the human body.

Human body systems

Saint Augustine said   “Men go abroad to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars;  and they pass by themselves without wondering.”

 

We can assuredly agree with Psalmist of 139  where he glorifies God with these words

You created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I fearfully and wonderfully made. 

 

three butterflies

 

Advertisements

A MOMENT IN TIME

 

Hour glass

The sands of Time are settling down on 2018.

Time, is a gift to us all.  And how quickly it passes us by.  This I realised as I observed a little old lady having her lunch in a popular restaurant, renowned for its hamburgers and good coffee.   I had popped in after doing my shopping, and felt I needed a “spoil” after the Christmas rush, and to make the new year my own, with a little celebration of my favourite – banana milkshake !

This was quite uneventful, until I saw the little old lady, stricken with age, with a question mark for posture, stand up and begin to reach for her two wheel walker.  This with the help of her, I ‘m assuming, granddaughter.  The scene began to painstakingly unfold as she finally got in the position to begin her shuffle toward the door.   She looked up, and began to move forward.  Then to my amazement she stopped and with confidence, did a little bob-bob-sway-sway dance, with a sweet smile on her face, and a twinkle in her eye  – all this as she caught and held my gaze.  I was delighted,  gave her a big smile, a wave, and a thumbs up sign.  Not a word was spoken, not a word was needed as she expressed her mischief and her sense of humour.
She continued her epic shuffle to the door, but before she got there stopped and did the bob-bob-sway-sway dance again, but this time to the waitresses who were watching her go.  They all waved and clapped their hands in response to her happy presence, and called out to her  “goodbye Granny, come again”   Her smiling granddaughter looked up, caught my eye, and we just beamed at each other.   I thought to myself, I hope I can age as gracefully as this little old lady has shown me today, and that I can retain a sense of humour and playfulness into my ripe old age.

It was a moment in time, …. and it put a smile on my soul as I watched humanity play itself out before me. I got more than a banana milkshake for my new year’s celebration !  I got a lesson on life, and saw how the Aged and Elderly among us are special, and need to be seen and appreciated – and applauded !

So teach us to number our days,  That we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12

three butterflies

 

 

This Christmas Day

 

angel

Luke 2:10-12

Then the angel said to them  “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
For there is born to you  this day
in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the lord.
And this will be the sign to you : You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger”

 

nativity

May Jesus be born afresh in our hearts this Christmas Day

art-mary-joseph-and-the-baby-in-free-manger-image-information-free-jesus-christmas-clip-art-manger-image-information-images-ix-free

 

red ribbon holly

So You want to be Great.

God's hand

 

I’ve had another random encounter that has left me with a curiosity about greatness or fame or are these two things the same ?

Well, let me make a short story long !  Not to long, I’ll get to my point as quick as I can.

I love colour, textures, wools and fabrics.  Now and then I go up the hill, behind the big Mall, to  a Centre that has gated parking with a Gate-keeper who gives me a ticket to park.  I have to use the escalator to get to the lovely wool shop called Sew Time.
On one particular visit I noticed a new Gate-keeper who had a gentleness about him, and I thought at the time, perhaps a slight slowness too, so I gave him an extra warm smile and thanked him for the ticket.      Now I live in the Slow Lane and often have random encounters with special people, and if I’m smart enough will recognise them as such, and be a little kinder.    But I went on my way and gave no more thought to it.

About six or so months later I again went up the hill, behind the big Mall, passed the Centre to the big grocery store where I often do my shopping.   My son was with me and we sauntered around the store,  buying the few items needed.     When I had finished paying at the till and about to exit the store, the doorman, who checks the incoming parcels came up to me and said quite emphatically  “I know you”.   I looked at him blankly and he again said “I know you”, I know you from Show Time.”    My mind raced, no I don’t do Show Time, he has the wrong face.   I must have quite a common face, because it’s not the first or second time I have been mistaken for some one else. “Yes” he said, “Sew Time – at the Centre opposite the bank”   The penny dropped and I recognised the gentleness, and the face.   “My”, I said, “you have such a good memory, you sure do know your customers !” I fluttered my hand over my heart to show him I was happy that he recognised me.  He just gave me a big broad smile, and I went on my way.

A brief random encounter, and my heart took wings.  I turned to my son and said “Wow, wasn’t that nice – I’m famous !!”    He wasn’t impressed.
Are you famous when, people that you don’t recognise, recognise you ?  M’mmm, maybe – in a small way, I want to think so.
But that brief encounter made me feel great !

You may understand my curiosity in this, when I tell you that I have always had a secret hankering after greatness. Not so much now anymore, but I really wanted to be great -and really am not !    However this random encounter brought to mind the question of greatness.  What does it mean to be great ?  What is greatness ?  Is it wrong to want to be great ?   It is something I have always kept secret because I think of things I can’t attain, yet want to.
Perhaps there are seeds of greatness in all of us, but if these don’t sprout,  they will lie dormant, then they will die.
Perhaps to strive for greatness comes from a personal need – a cup half full.  Comparing yourself with others.  Rejection – a need to prove oneself.    Need for recognition, affirmation and appreciation ?
Now Recognition is an interesting thing  –  is that not how the whole corporate world of business moves itself forward, with recognition and reward.  Incentives that want us to do better, go further and  achieve great things ?  Ambition is not a bad thing in itself.

William Shakespeare said :  Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.

Greatness in Biblical proportions :
Abraham obeyed his call and became great.   Moses delivered God’s people from oppression and became great.  David worshipped God while tending his sheep and became great.  Solomon built a temple for God and became great.  The Prophets, the Poets and the Psalmists all became great in expressing their words in truth.  The Disciples of Jesus became great as they followed Him.    Paul, the revelator of mysteries in Christ,  his writings and the planter of churches became great.  And those ordinary people of great faith found in Hebrews  chapter 11.   Greatness comes from great expectations, great aspirations and great accomplishments done in Faith  – especially when you are serving a great God, for in God lies all greatness.
Even the Disciples of Jesus, John and James had a hankering after greatness and asked Him if they could be seated at His right and left hand in glory. So it’s not wrong to want to be great, its  part of the human condition, right ?

In our history halls of fame and greatness there are many who can claim greatness.
To name a few :
In war –   Alexander the Great, Napoleon,
In politics – Mahatma Gandhi
In art –    Leonardo da Vinci (one of his paintings recently sold for 4 million dollars – the world has gone mad !!)
In music – Mozart, Beethoven,  –   Elvis Presley,  the Beatles !
In sport  –  Mohammad Ali,  the Springbok Rugby team – some will disagree, but I think they are great !
In science –  Albert Einstein (my favourite)
In communication – Bill Gates
And so the list can go on.  There are many great and famous people in our history books.
But how do you measure greatness ?  And is it only time that will tell who is truly great.

To my mind real greatness must lie in the character of man or woman.  And may well be viewed very differently by God than what we perceive to be greatness.
Jesus taught His disciples that it is in serving others for the glory of God that greatness lies – in essence Humility.

It is in humility that greatness is seen.  Humility is all around us, if we would but see it, we would see greatness more often.

So, do you want to be great?  –  I have to ask myself again !

 

Ascribe greatness to our God,
He is the Rock,  His work is perfect;   For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;  Righteous and upright is He. 
Deuteronomy 31 : 3,4

 

three butterflies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Little Green Bow

IMG_8466

“Please take a little green bow, and pin it on your name tag” said the lady at the registration table at the workshop on mental health, that was taking place at a church in the heart of a little village in Durban North.  “What’s the bow for ?” I heard someone say, and realised that not everyone knows that the little green bow has become significant with mental health, and October is the designated month for mental health at the World Health Organisation at the United Nations.

For the past 20 years or so I have been interested in mental health, and have picked up my ears, and availed myself of many occasions to find out all that I can on this very complex subject.   The mind is an incredible place.  That needs to be said again  – The mind is an incredible place !

The time I spent at the workshop, presented by a Methodist minister, who himself has a keen passion for mental health, and the role of the Church’s healing ministry, and of spirituality,  in the condition of the mind – set me afresh to revisit some of the ground I have randomly covered over the last twenty years.
Having been dumped into the arena of mental health, having to either sink or swim awoke in me a leaning toward wholeness, and not succumbing to a defeatist mindset.
But it was going to be a very long slow walk of discovery with no quick-fix answers.  And, as yet, I have not arrived at any clear-cut and final conclusion, after all the mind is a very vast place !!   But along the way, as in any other way of life, it is often good to take a moment, to stop and pause and reflect.  To recap, to summaries, maybe even consolidate some of the ideas that have formed along the way.     This is one such moment.

IMG_8465

When confronted with Schizophrenia in the family, all those years ago, with its vicious onslaught of  psychosis, and the unknown, my first response was to ask the Church for help.   I thought, as the Church, with all its wisdom, knowledge and mystery of the Spiritual Realm, would be the first port of call,  and would be able to help me in my dilemma.   Wisely the Church referred me to take the medical route, and consult a doctor.   Which I did, who referred me to a Psychiatrist, who referred me to a medical clinic with a psychiatric ward.  There began the journey with psychiatry, psychology and pharmacology.

I took the route of Psychiatry, and followed the names recommended to me, I sought out psychologist who would take a spiritual approach to mental illness.  Visited  a clinical  psychologist who recommended another psychiatric clinic.   Eventually was told by a very good psychiatrist that a behavioural cognitive approach was needed – and an authoritarian regime implemented.  And I had to apply this approach, which was beyond me because, although I can at times be firm and adamant, am not an authoritarian.
Then, rather desperately, it was decided to try a Christian Rehab Centre in the middle of nowhere, where  periods of strict routine, work ethic, counselling and spiritual input would be a recommended therapy to look for better results.   There were many tears,  but also a slight breakthrough, when responsibility was taken on to some degree.  A key to the healing process –  responsibility !

The crisis in the family, became my dilemma and this in turn set me on a quest, with no road map.  I visited support groups, joined support groups and read all that I could lay my hands on to get to know my enemy !  But with good psychiatry which oversaw the essential medication, and compliance aspects, a plateau was reached where I went on cruise control.   Still curious and asking my questions of God, I latched onto the scriptures in the Bible,  held on tightly, and kept my ears and eyes open to any ministry that spoke of healing and deliverance from mental illness.

Psychology, and psychologists became a growing interest, and were visited until  the subject was mined, but not fully sufficient to answer my questions.
Slowly the tide turned my mind from mental illness to mental health  –  and so too my approach to life in general. A change of perspective can open a whole new spectrum on life,  going from negative to positive is quite a transforming leap.   And I was strengthened !

The foundation of my search was, and still is to this day, God’s Word the Bible, with its richness toward human development,  for our growth and attainment, our comfort in the hard places of life, our guidance when the way forward is blurred and most precious of all, the  unfathomable wisdom and knowledge pertaining to God Himself, and to my life.

The Neural Route.
Dr Caroline Leaf’s books brought an interesting insight to my mind, with her research of the Brain – the domain of the mind.   She writes with such simplicity that I could grasp some of the concepts, and was astounded at the application of the Word of God to the fundamentals of these concepts.  Just re-iterating that God is a good God, and that we are made in His image, and that is a good thing !  We are wired for love and for goodness, that is how our brain has been designed – and how it works.   But it is what we choose to think and feel, whether the positive – the truth, or the negative – the lie that determines our behaviour, that determines our lives.  She describes in biological terms how the thought life operates – from impulse, to protein to thought structure, to memory.  And how important it is to be aware of our thought life, to embrace good thoughts and dismiss the bad ones.  So important!
Her recent book  The Perfect You, describes the “finger-print” of the mind, and how the seven pillars of thought, which for me,  lines up with the seven intelligences of Intrapersonal –  introspection,    Interpersonal – relational,  Mathematical – logic analytical,  Linguistic – words, language,  Music,   Kinetic – movement  and Visual/spacial – organisational, perception and colour. – all these in one of her first books  Who Switched off my Brain.  How we operate in the seven pillars, or seven zones in our brain make us unique, like our own finger print !  It also reflects our gifts and our strengths, and how we should capitalise, and focus our education on these, and not always have academia imposed upon us.  Simply put that is what I gleaned from her books, and can’t help but to marvel when I look at the Brain, through her eyes, and see how fearfully and wonderfully we have been made !  The Psalms also declares this in Psalm 130:14

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  Marvelous are Your works.

IMG_8467

Always keeping an eye open for new information on schizophrenia I came across some recent blogs that offer more exploration on the subject.  Refer :   venitism.wordpress.com/2017/10/21/inside-schizophrenia/

I quote some snippets from the article.

“Wiring is frayed in more than just one region, according to a new international study – the largest analysis ever of white matter among people with a psychiatric disorder.”

” Some 40 years since CT scans first revealed abnormalities in the brains of schizophrenia patients, international scientists say the disorder is a systemic disruption to the brain’s entire communication system.
The study sets the stage for future research on the debilitating mental illness that, according to the World Health Organisation, affects more than 21 million people worldwide.”

“The researches found that poorly insulated brain wiring was most evident in the corpus callosum, which allows for communication between the brain hemispheres, and in the frontal portion of the corona radiata, a key structure for information processing. “

and further on…

 “Scientists analyzed the data of 1,963 people with schizophrenia and compared them to 2,359 similar healthy people from Australia, Asia, Europe, South Africa an North America.  Earlier studies typically included up to 100 people with schizophrenia, Jahanshad said.
The big data project was integrated from 29 different international studies by the ENIGMA (Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta Analysis) network, a global consortium headed by Paul Thompson at the Keck School of Medicine.

ENIGMA has published the largest neuroimaging studies of autism, major depression and bipolar disorder using brain scans of more than 20,000 people, said Thompson, associate director of Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute.

The researches examined data from diffusion tensor imaging, a form of MRI that measures the movement of water molecules in the white matter of the brain.  These scans allow scientists to locate problem areas in the brain’s normally insulated communication system.

The study paves the path for more focused scientific inquiry.   A next step could be to seek what causes these abnormalities in white matter.   Schizophrenia is partly hereditary, so perhaps specific genes promote the disorder via slight alterations in brain wiring, Kelly said ”

USC has researches across disciplines seeking to prevent or treat neurological and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy.”  “

 

In another blog :  discovermagazine.com/2017/janfeb/55-schizophrenia-genetic-spark

” A team led by  geneticist  Steven McCarroll of the Broad Institute, based in Cambridge, Mass; combed through genetic info from about 29,000 schizophrenia cases,  36,000 controls and 700 brain samples from deceased patients.
McCarroll found that patients who had a certain C4 gene were more likely to inherit the disease.   In healthy brains, the gene helps prune unnecessary connections between cells.  But when it runs amok, as it does in schizophrenia, the process destroys healthy brain tissue.
C4’s involvement might also explain why schizophrenia arise during the late teens into the 20’s.   It’s a period in human development in which brain circuits change and re-organise and … vulnerabilities to many neuropsychiatric illnesses emerge”

It is comforting for me to know that there is indeed further research been done on psychiatric disorders, and that scientific curiosity and continued inquiry is being made into this very complex disease.

Well,  this all popped up before the Mental health workshop at the Methodist Church, so I went well fired up to learn more.  Being Church, of course brings one to the brink of the Spiritual dimension of healing and deliverance from mental illness. A whole new field of seeking and finding.    And that door has yet to be knocked on to open up wider to the mysteries of the mind.
However, in this sphere of inquiry there are no formulas or equations or quotas or logical answers.  It is a question of trust, faith and patience, to allow God to do His work as He sees fit.  He is in control, knows all things, and He has a purpose in all that happens …..  and He works in mysterious ways.   One day His purposes will be revealed to those who are seeking answers, understanding and healing.
Because the Word of God says in Matthew 7:8
For everyone who asks will receive, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 

So, perhaps this side of Heaven, I will not know all there is to  know about mental illness,
its madness, its reasons and its cures.   Until then I will continue to apply the Scripture of  Romans  12:2
 And do not be conformed to this world, but  be  transformed  by  the  renewing  of  your  mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. 

But…., one day when I enter the Pearly Gates I’m heading straight for the Hall of Inquiries and when I find the writings on schizophrenia, maybe even this little blog post will be there too, who knows?   Then I will give it a wrap, ….. and put a little green bow on it !!
IMG_8466

Happy thoughts for good mental health  People !

three butterflies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Art of Art

 

“What is Art ?  –  or what, would you say, is the definition of Art,” I asked my daughter who has her own little Art school for pre-schoolers.   It is quite a question and I suspect that there is no correct answer, as Art plays such a part in the human condition.   It did however put me on a track of thought that wanted to explore the subject of Art, just a little.

These are some of the colourful artworks of  the pupils at the Sticky Fingers Art School .

You can see more Kids Art and happy faces at the Sticky-Fingers Art School at
Facebook : Sticky-Fingers.

Kids Art is important.  I learnt that the practise of Art can be fundamental to a child’s development, and exposing them to Art can help them in various ways.  But apart from that it will undeniably bring  smiles to their faces, as you can see from these photos.

The Writer on this Blog :  proverbs31woman.org/2016/09/06/watercolor-painting–toddler/#more-2524
says :
Afterall, Art is simply the meeting of all our senses at that point when it was being done”

She goes on and gives insight to the benefits of teaching kids in watercolours :
“Introduce them to the world of colour;  gives more concrete ideas about blending (primary) colours in order to produce a new (secondary) colour.  Can teach a toddler about emotions and the colour associated with them.   We can better understand the toddler’s feelings just by looking at their artwork.  Enhances parts of their brains that handle creativity;  may also enhance their problem solving skills;  and Art can build a child’s confidence.”

So Kids Art is important – and it makes them happy !

I have been surfing the blogosphere at WordPress, dropping in on Art blogs, and been amazed at some of the Art out there.  I found the Brandon Knoll  blog with his interesting creative work, linked with modern technology.    You may want to visit his blog and see his work on   https://chaoticshapes.com/portfolio-2/     Just imagine the diligence and patience he must exercise to do his kind of artwork.  And he takes his blog audience with him in the colouring-in process, as he encourages his followers to use their imagination and guess what’s coming out of his drawings.

Leopard
Leopard

 

Macaw
Macaw

Of course we get to the fine arts students who, to my mind do the “real” art stuff.  Those finely trained professionals who make a living out of their creativity.   This may well be the heart of Art.   Yet some of the master artists of their times, who painted with their very souls, seemingly only received recognition many years after they had gone.  Some even died paupers, and yet now their art works fetch astronomical prices.

Taking a glimpse over the history of Art, it reveals that Artists influence the times that they live in, their history-spaces so to speak, which may lead one to think that they are the subliminal influencers of their times, expressed through their artwork.

The Renaissance Period with  Leonardo da Vinci and others;  setting the way of Western art.

Mona Lisa
Leonardo da Vinci’s   Mona Lisa

 

Last Supper

Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper

The Impressionists with Claude Monet, Vincent Van Gogh and others;   painting their perceptions before nature.

Claude Monet
Claude Monet’s  Sunrise

 

Van Gogh's Tulip fields
Van Gogh’s  Bulb Fields

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Realism with Millet and others, celebrating the  working-class and peasants.

Millet Painting the Gleaners
Millet’s  The Gleaners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

picasso.jpg

Surrealism :  Pablo Picasso – ridiculous art, painting dreams and exploring the unconscious mind.

And so on.

Apart from its expression and beauty Art can also be functional.
Art and Science :
 In an article on Longreads Sept 2016   on Space Art….      … “Bill Hartman, a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in  Tucson,… sees his artistic role as that of a synthesizer, blending a  mass of disparate and highly specialised astronomical data into a more complete whole.     This is often necessary in a field that wallows in minutiae at the expense of the big picture.

Art has long been used to clarify science, and vice versa

He says, ” Leonardo da Vinci sketched waves to learn about wave motion, but dissected bodies so he could paint better portraits.
Space Art, for all the ostensible benefits of art and science working together, artists have found themselves being squeezed out of the field of astronomy, just as they had out of the life sciences in the 19th century. “

Indeed, a picture paints a thousand words !

Art and Psychology :
This quoted from a blog called Everyone Means  Something
https://phulme.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/genius-22-as-inspiration

“Surrealism…challenged fundamental premise about Art and creativity, shifting the focus from the conscious to unconscious processes introducing the role of chance in the role of the creative process, and treating that process as not merely aesthetic but political social and metaphysical”

Surrealism is crazy art, but is not our world a little crazy ?   And for those artists who have become a little ‘unhinged and unhooked’, may well be the ones who have something to show those who live in the normal world.

Starry Night

And as October is Mental Health Month, let us take a moment and salute Vincent van Gogh, who painted his famous Starry Night from an asylum room.

Well, Art, in one way or another, must have an important part to play in the forming of our personalities.  Therapists often use art to understand what is going on in the minds of their patients – perhaps because art is an expression of what we feel deep on the inside,  – even reflects what is going on outside of us, –  and often in our natural environment.            Perhaps Art is the view from the room on the inside of us.

God's hand

Art and God:
I quote from Alan Webster’s QT 24.11.16

“When we tap into God’s creative power, like in an artesian well, there is then a rush of creativity that we can draw from to express our own creativity.”

 

20171012_155129

This is my Art, now keep the words of  Leonardo da Vinci  in mind, when he said :  “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” !!  It’s the closest I can get to painting a straight line, (chuckle !) …. and its called “Distance”

Classifying Art is of course the right way to go to get the most from Art and for that we do need to appreciate the history of art.  And there is that, but, what about the little Kids Art, what about the new tech artist, and the daring dabblers with paints and brushes who do art for the fun of Art ?

For what is Art ?
Is it merely a fun exploration of our creativity, or the technique we apply, or does it become good art when emotion is expressed through colours, shapes and forms, creating a thing of beauty for others to see and appreciate.  I’d say all of these.
For the narcissist Art may merely be an expression of oneself, an extension of oneself, a recognition of oneself, a determination even a demand to be oneself.
But at heart Art is a soul thing – an artistic enquiring soul reaching deep into the creative processes to express some kind of truth or beauty, and done in the right spirit will want to share that beauty for others to see and appreciate too.

To my mind the art of Art is Art when it becomes an expression that releases the emotions, to both the artist  and  to the viewer.  To express and reflect the perceptions the intuitions and the imagination into an explosion of visual creativity.

Art is Art when it gives and takes to become a thing of beauty,  –  and,   “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” 

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God will shine forth.
Psalm 50:2

three butterflies