Ah, “Who are your favorite Artists” is a wonderful question for a person deeply involved in the arts. First of all, I look for what accentuates my ideals of beauty. The arts must draw a sense of awe and wonder to me. I crave the peace and harmony that many of the arts provide. My innate craving for hidden rhythms is satisfied by the arts. I look to the visual arts, to music, to poetry to feed my artistic desires.
When it comes to the visual arts, I gravitate toward the French Impressionists, especially Edouard Monet. The fresh, quickly rendered landscapes give me a sense of peace. I dearly love the warm feeling I get from viewing the mother and child portraits painted by Mary Cassatt.
The visual weight of Michelangelo’s painted figures, such as in the Renaissance era Sistine Chapel, amaze me. He certainly paints his figures much as he carves them – in grand solidity. His work fills me with a sense of wonder, especially when I tilt my head back and imagine gazing at this enormous ceiling of epic proportions which took him four years to paint!
Of course, I must say, I am greatly attracted to children’s art, especially because I taught art to kindergarten through eighth grade students for thirty years. There is just something quite fresh and remarkable with the direct approach children take to creating their pieces. Viewing children’s art from around the world, via Pentel’s International Children’s Art Exhibition, was an opportunity of a lifetime for our community. Displaying it for a number of years was a real treat. Check out https://www.pentel.com/pages/icae-fm-winners to see some current world class winning student work! I thoroughly enjoy clicking through the Foreign Ministers Awarded works to get a taste of children’s art.
Other Types of Arts: Music and Poetry
Next, I mention other types of arts. In my mind, music and poetry have quite a lot of overlap. Both must be heard to be appreciated. The aural experience of rhythm is part of what attracts me. If a poem has a regular beat (such as iambic pentameter – sounding much as the human heart) it especially speaks to me. An example may be a few lines from Robert Frost’s poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.
Whose woods these are I think I know. His house is in the village though; He will not see me stopping here to watch his woods fill up with snow. The rhythm sets up the gentle and imagined silent sound of the later mentioned horse clip-clopping through fresh snow. Mary Oliver is a favored poet of mine. The imagery in her poems many times speaks of nature. Here are a few lines from her poem, Today, which allude to the trip that the arts may help us to travel! But I'm taking the day off Quiet as a feather. I hardly move though really I'm traveling a terrific distance.
Just this morning, I am reminded of a beloved vocalist, John Denver. He always inspires a sing along when John’s music and I are together in the car. Some of his similes sum up the arts. “You fill up my senses, like a night in the forest, like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain, …” I get to experience the world vicariously through the arts!
I do love a variety of music, though, from classical to pop, from swooning to the swells of Hillary Stagg harp to shaking loose in expressive, rhythmic dance to the heavy beats of Cusco, a new age group with a modern twist to Native American flutes and drums.
Sounding the Summary of the Arts
Finally, the arts are what make us human. These artists I mentioned are only a few of my favorite. The fine arts allow us to express ourselves, to run the gamut of emotions from elation to even grief. Here is an art form called Kintsugi which actually honors the feeling of grief: BROKEN.
In conclusion, when we enfold ourselves in the arts we may find our lives enhanced through the enchantment the arts provide!