Friday, October 8, 2010

The Art of Art

In my family there are many artists. My grandma Lou was a great (not famous) painter, and so is my Aunt Deedee though she keeps it a secret. My cousin Lindy can paint your socks off, as can my son Tim, my cousin Adam, etc. There are others, of course. I am an artist, too. I say this not because I'm very good, but it is more a frame of mind.

I'm glad that on both sides of my family people have always been art-minded. I'm glad because I know what I need to do sometimes. There are times when I just have to "do art." It doesn't have to be painting for me. My mother and father are both musicians, and really my first love (in doing the arts) is playing the piano. But it might be painting, or drawing, or writing, or photographing, or cooking, or sewing(!), or even dancing. And none of those things has to be done especially well, at the time, I just have to do them. I have to get something out, something deep inside that won't come out any other way.

For me it can also work just listening to music, in which case I guess the listening is the doing. Or reading poetry, though I don't do that much anymore. Even a really good movie can work. It's as though the artist is expressing something I truly "get" and my heart can fly with, or drown with, or whatever. What an ecstatic feeling--to be understood. How funny that you might not really be understanding the same things at all.

But it just goes to show you that art is on a level beyond the frame of communication wherein it is set. Today my four-year-old asked me what a "soul" is. Well, I didn't have time to answer him right then, which was a relief--I won't lie. But then he asked, "Is it the part that can love God?" And, not to get into a theological debate Watchman Nee-style over the dividing of the soul and spirit, I simply said, "yes." This little guy is an artist too... and so is God.

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