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

 

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Mirror Mirror on the wall …looking at Nacissism.

 

many mirrors

The article on Self-esteem sparked me to take a long muse down a road named Narcissism.

So to really get into it I want to share with you a poem I wrote about my self !!!

 Shades of Self

Knowing me, knowing you is a song often sung,
But do I know me?
In solitude I am so fine. And am always right.
Can climb the highest mountain, reach the height.
Yet in conversations with you, my halo dims, the varnish shifts, my layers thin.
And if I look closely I see some shades of me I did not know.
So I’ve gathered them together, my collectables if you like, to share with you.
Straight from the shelf,
Not all good-looking, theses shades of Self
There is the Wannabee, the Lookatme, the Knowitall and the Toldyouso,
The ever-present Babbler, and don’t forget these too –
The Mender, Bender and the Defender, all to often the Pretender, the Spender – and the ever ready Opinionator too.
Now, herein lies some stories, characters in tact.
Weave the threads, bring in the gold.
Let it show perhaps too,
Your shades of Self,
In your story told.

I remembered a picture somewhere of a good-looking Greek fella who fell in love with his own image mirrored in a water brook.   He had met a beautiful girl, and they fell in love. But it didn’t work out because he just couldn’t get past loving the image of himself !!

narcissism

Sounds a lot like the dysfunctional marriages of today !   Self-love in personalities can play havoc with harmony and happiness.   And it’s not just a case of having a pretty face or a beautiful body.  It’s not silly vanity, or an inflated ego, it is far more serious than that and reaches deep into the personality.     Narcissism is no new thing !  Indeed its an age-old human condition wired into the human psyche.  If it is not transformed, or goes unchecked, it goes to the extreme and becomes a personality disorder that has a huge and devastating impact on the lives of other people.  It is a very serious condition, and almost always goes undetected by the carrier.

worm

orange butterf;u

We all have a Self, so likely there will be some degree of narcissism in all of us.   I once asked God if He wanted me to be a butterfly why did He not just make me a butterfly.  I liked being me, I really liked myself, why did  I  have to change ?  I thought I heard Him sigh a heavy sigh, but He did not answer, and just let life’s circumstances continue to flow over me.       Now some years later, I get a glint of why I had to transform from a worm to a butterfly, it was so that those living with me would have a fighting chance to survive my bossy, over-bearing ways, and self-opinionated personality.
(So sorry Family !)

images (4)

I  have an enquiring mind,  but I am not a psychologist.  So to get more light on the subject and delve a little deeper into narcissism, I investigated, and came across a site that gave several Psychological approaches, or theories, on the subject.  If you are interested you can Goggle     https://ruveydacelenk.com/2014/12/23/narsisistik-kisilik
Don’t forget to click on the Translate button.    It will give far more understanding on this very complex subject.   But best as I can understand it  (and that took some time !) I have come to some understanding of the Self.

In the development or construction of the psychological Self or Personality, Observations made, form Perceptions – right or wrong.  A response can go up to protect the Self, or a resistance to challenge the perception.   So even in our tiniest beings, – where and when most of the Personality is formed – observations lead to responses, that cause us to make a choice that helps us to deal with the emotion or feeling  we have observed or experience in life.
Thus the Personality, the Self, is formed through a defence or resistance response (flight or fight), and either route can lead to a distortion – the Lie !    So construction of the Personality (through our thought-life which builds the neuron patterns in our brain) determines what we believe about our Self.

This self-constructed Self, called self-esteem – taken to the extreme becomes Narcissism.  Now Narcissism constantly needs to be guarded to portray a desired, acceptable and presentable Self –  which in fact can be a False Self.   And come hell or high water it demands to be protected and respected, and will emotionally annihilate anything in its path that will want to obstruct it !!    And in fact, in my opinion, it should be respected – (I did not say tolerated !)  for it is who the person is or has become,…. and that is  holy ground – the very portal of hell or heaven !!
That is,  until Truth be told,  that will help to deconstruct the Lies, that cause us to limp, often exhaustively, through life because we have to  prop up the False Self, through fear or performance, to be made acceptable by others, who don’t really care or even matter !

So could you say we need a saving of the Self ?  My answer is yes !  Because we are all created with this amazing power called the Will, our choice, our desire – good or bad.
The Will, our choice,  is our ‘distinction’ from other created species, and is accommodated in the Mind – the headquarters of the Self.  It is at this point of decision where we can embrace a thought or expel a thought.  If,  we can discern, examine or judge a thought for what it is, we can build a positive construct, if we expel or disregard a wrong thought (negative) it evaporates into a gas and is diminished !  Now that is power – the power of our Will, our choice, our decision – that plots the course of our life.
So it would seem that the forming of the Personality, the Self, or the Soul can form self-distorted constructions (neural pathways) that can, and will manifest eventually in psychological development or disorders, and even deviant behaviour.

What I have gleaned from Psychology is that there is more, much more.   In dire cases, the Self or Personality can fragment or split (sometimes necessary for surviving the hurt, shame and pain of trauma), can dissociate itself and form other “selves” or personalities, display patterns of obsessive behaviour, self sabotage on inferiority or insecurity, or roar and rage in smouldering silent angry rebellion. Anxieties and depressions are almost the order of our modern societies.  Could these be signs of the  True Self  wanting out?

worm to butterfly

Well that is my understanding and opinion, and I suppose I am entitled to it, because after all I’m just a recovering narcissist !

hand mirror

But  wait there is more, this distorted Self is not the True Self.  So how do you get to dig out the True Self from all the cacophony of voices, distortions and misconstruction.   Perhaps then an exercise in the deconstruction of the distortion  – the Lie, is a place to begin, enter the psychologist, the healer or the Truth.
After wracking my poor brain on the theories of Psychology and narcissism, I asked myself what is the truth of the matter.  So I turned to the pages of the Bible, the book of wisdom, – by the way a must read, –  to look  a little deeper for the soul and for the spirit.  I came across some of these Scriptures that told me that indeed we do have a soul and a spirit. Of course, in Theology there is more, much more than just the psychology of man, in fact a whole magnificent story unfolds of the restoration of Mankind.

Psalm  139:14    I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.

Proverbs 18:14   The spirit of man will sustain him in sickness , But who can bear a broken spirit ?

1 Thessalonians 5:23    Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely and                                               may your whole spirit,  soul and body be preserved blameless…..

So, as humans we are made up of the body,the soul, and the spirit.  Three engines, if you like, that should function in harmony.   The body we know, the soul is taking a little longer to know, and the spirit  (the subconscious) which is almost unknown to most.  The spirit is very important, because it is here where The Lie operates.  It hides itself, like the coward it is, – so undetected, can continue to reinforce even entrench more lies, with invading thoughts, false belief systems, false identities, deviant behaviour, in fact all things devious and deceitful,  that cause immeasurable torments, sadness and sorrow in the soul, and play havoc with our happiness and our lives, and the lives of others, especially those near and dear to us.

The Truth of the matter is that we are made in the image and likeness of God.  God is love, and God has a will. His will is His desire.   We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made because, like God, we too have a will,  a choice, a desire, that operates through decision.
We carry, in us, the original blue print for Love and for the good, the lovely, the honourable, the pure, and all the value and virtues of goodness.  So when we have to make a decision, when we have to make a choice, it should  be for the good, for the love of the Self, because our original Self is designed in our Creator’s image.  That’s good self-esteem, and ‘narcissism’ at its best !!
That’s what our souls long for, the magnificent Self.

But of course we do not know this when we are tiny tots, rebellious teens or ambitious adults, growing our personalities. So we just develop along the lines of survival, need and greed to feed the Self.   That is unless we come to  know and accept the love of God, through Jesus Christ,  Who loves us with an unconditional love,  (warts and all) and wants to set us free from the Lie, to be who we really are – our True Self, in Him.  His task is the task of unique restoration, as we are all the same, yet each one so unique in their personality.     We  find this out when we search the Scriptures that mirror and reveal who we really are, and what lurks and is hidden beneath the surface in our souls.

But where do we begin ?  The key is Christ, to accept Him and invite Him into our hearts and our minds, to read His Word, the Bible, and by reading His Word a transformation begins to take place in our thought processes.

Romans 12:2….. , but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may                                          prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Now we are lining up our thoughts with His thoughts, His Will – His desires, which are good and favourable toward the Self, (for we are His workmanship, His creation) , and our decisions will become positive decisions that will be for our good, our development and for the prosperity of our soul, and our lives.

Jeremiah 29 : 11    For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

It is however necessary,  to implant the Word of God in our hearts.
James 1:21   …. , and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

Bible picture.jpg

Is this all just religious talk.  The answer is no, because this is what the Word of God,  has the power to do,  – it is  a game changer  !

Hebrews 4:12       The word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged-sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The Truth, and only the Truth will make us free to be who we blue butterflyreally are, and destined to become.

We are complex, us human beings, but with the help of God, and when we begin firing in all three engines of body soul and spirit – can be magnificent in our inward parts, no longer deceived or broken, or functioning out of deficit or the Lie,  but made whole, in the right image and with a healthy, life-giving self-esteem.

Narcissism is nothing more than Pride – the very thing that caused Lucifer to lose his place in heaven, and raise hell on earth !
Narcissism is identified in the Greek fables.   In the eighties it was labelled Self-esteem, and is found in the Trolls of today’s world we call Virtual Reality  – the Internet and Social Media.

We are in the age of consumerism and humanism.  The era of  ‘the selfie’ !  Progress and development are accelerating.  We can reach higher, farther and faster on any level.    We need to take care that in our humanism we do not lose our humanity.  We need to hold onto a belief system that puts people first.  Today’s advanced technology may well pave the way for our younger generation to go into a kind of emotional isolation or “flight mode” –  desperately seeking purpose and attention, trying to escape from the gaping holes in their souls.    Or is it just sheer ignorance of the Truth about the Self, – the Truth that actually  keep us real and mentally and emotionally grounded.

Masks

Perhaps its time for change, from face book to face-off to face-to-face, where real interaction with real people help us to see ourselves a little clearer with warts and all.    A getting to know the real me, the real you, – and that will take a whole lot of courage because emotional pain is almost unbearable, and will distort any image .
Bring out the mirror, take on Truth, get a little more honest, a little more humble, a little more real,  then, observe the personality bloom like a sweet-smelling magnificent rose, for all around to enjoy.

So lets boot out nauseating narcissism, give the selfish Self a big shove to make room for others  –  and bloom where we are planted in the garden of humanity,  – or even too in the cesspool of life.

6937419-awesome-rose-buds

1 Peter 3:4   rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty          of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

 three butterflies