Happy New Year! How would you like to start 2024 in a new, creative way?
Every Wednesday and Saturday, we will be posting an installment of our book, Through an Artist’s Eyes: Learning to Live Creatively offering you a pathway to art and the vision of the artist. Enabling you to develop your own inner creativity and apply it to the personal cycle of everyday living.
II. The Journey to Art
Creative Routines at Home, Part 1
Not everyone’s life revolves around the office or the work environment. Instead, your daily routine may center on the home, on taking care of children, or other family members, or perhaps you are retired. Although you don’t have to check with an employer, your schedule may be just as structured, filled with a host of responsibilities–lists of chores that never seem to end–cooking, feeding, cleaning, washing, weeding, daily errands to such places as the school and the store. Dozens of details crowd your mind too–baby formulas, medications, doctors’ appointments, sports practices, volunteering, new clothes, gas, and upkeep of the car. Don’t forget the pets and their daily care–walking, grooming, and the daily duty of the kitty litter.
The hours can loom ahead if you find yourself confined due to illness or the incapacities of aging. Boredom, restlessness, even despair can result, negatively affecting your overall perspective and self esteem.
Yet, even the most mundane task can be a source of artistry. Or as the painter Georgia O’Keeffe once observed, you can find art in everyday living, “when you buy a pair of shoes, address a letter, comb your hair.” The way you fill the space of the envelope in the handwriting unique to you, or arrange your stray locks into an attractive coif, or linger over the design of the newest fashion in high heels can be a creative achievement.
Food, too, can have its own beauty, not just tantalizing the stomach, but the eye as well. Countless artists, from ancient times to the Renaissance to today have concocted culinary treats in paint that a cordon bleu would envy. Georgia O’Keeffe, though chooses the common produce most likely gracing your table or counter. What could be more familiar than apples? They are presented by O’Keeffe in striking red or mellow yellow, even an appealing green, always smooth and luscious, inviting you to eat. Plums, too, are part of her artistic diet, purplish red, succulent, and tasty. Or a juicy peach may be paired with pure white milk.
How about flowers that are so constantly part of our lives, and yet can be overlooked or taken for granted? Or, according to O’Keeffe, “still–in a way–nobody sees a flower–really–it is so small–we haven’t time—and to make time—as to have a friend takes time.” Hundreds of artists have painted flowers over the centuries, usually large bouquets, overflowing their vases or pots or entire garden beds, full of a diversity of hues and textures. O’Keeffe focuses on just one or two blooms of flowers such as poppies, irises, lilies, or pansies, both the plain or exotic, exaggerating their size so that “I will make even busy New Yorkers take time to see what I see of flowers.”
Pause, then, for a moment and really learn to know the flower, whether you have picked it from your garden or bought it at a local store. Touch it, smell it, search it, experience it–noting the subtlety of its tones, the quality and textures of its surfaces, the fragrance of its unique aroma. A flower is a miracle that now belongs to you and revitalizes the spaces of your home, whether single or blended again into groups.
You become an artist–gardener, temporarily planting your blossoms in pots, vases, or other containers, on tables, desks, window ledges, in whatever rooms you wish. They may prominently adorn your most treasured piece of furniture or rest in a cozy corner known only to you.
COMING SOON: Georgia O’Keeffe and Flowers
cCopyright 2010: Joan Hart, Museum One, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced in any form or by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented including photocopying, recording and information storage and retrieval without permission from the publisher.