Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Breathless In Front of Greatness

I have gotten so much support from people I know and people from online groups about this blog, and I want to say thank you so much. It's scary when you sit down to really come face to face with yourself and the support has been amazing.

I was asked about passions I have, which really got me thinking. I have been married for almost a year and a half, most of that in a strange country where I didn't know anyone. My husband works 12 hours shifts, switching from days to nights, so a lot of the time I am alone at hours when no one I know is up. It has really made me have to look inward and discover who I am without anyone around me. I know that before I sometimes let others help define who I was, rather than allowing myself to just be. But here I have to amuse myself, and it helped me both discover new passions and re-discover some old ones.

I love art. I have since I was a child, and our school would take us out into the neighborhood of downtown Kansas City and have us draw the buildings. I read books on artists, techniques, and specific periods of artwork. I drew A LOT, and as I got older I painted quite a bit. Somewhere along the way I have kind of lost that, but I have brand new brushes and canvas and I am ready to go.

Art museums can fascinate me for hours on end, no matter how small. When I was 18 and in Paris, I told my friends that if they wanted to go on ahead without me that was fine, but at both the Musee D'Orsay and the Louvre I was going to take my sweet time taking it all in. I figured my chances of ever experiencing those paintings again was slim and I was not going to waste a second of my time. I stood before what I consider greatness. I examined the minutiae that most people would glance over, the technique to get the gleam in a soldier's armor for example, and let it sink in, let it become a part of me even if for just that moment. I was fascinated not just by those artists I already loved (Leonardo, Raphael, Van Gogh, and Degas to name a few) but also by those who I had never experienced before.

I recently was in Cambridge at the Fitzwilliam, and I found love all over again. The building itself was exquisite with huge ceilings and curving staircases. But inside I got to experience some artwork that I had never seen before; English paintings along with French, Italian, and Dutch. It always interests me how the details of the painting, not just the subject itself, defines the subject. A portrait of a woman may be just a portrait of a woman without the details in the background. She can be surrounded by fine things, or the items that would make up daily life for a home-maker, and those items help define who she is even better than the softness of her clothing, or the look in her eye. One painting by Monet showed a stormy looking ocean overlooked off of steep cliffs. I sat in front of that painting for a long time. To see it literally made you feel desolate. A sense of desperation, of wanting to jump into the sea overcame me. To experience a painting that vividly can be intoxicating.

So that is one of my great passions, great loves. Art. Even when I hate a particular painting, I can assess that it was done well. But there is nothing like standing in front of a piece of art and feeling as if your breath has escaped you. To have the sounds around you cease, and the thoughts of your own float away as the art takes you in, sharing its emotions for that moment. I always found they never quite leave you, they become a part of your life experience. And what could be more chic than truly living the life you have been given?

1 comment:

  1. I like your blog, inspirational.... please post pictures of your chic life: clothes, food, art, etc....