|Francisco de Goya (1746-1828) Portrait of Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos, oil on canvas. Image courtesy of the Prado Museum, Madrid|
We need to be attentive to the sparks of creativity, wherever they appear, because in today's hubbub and rush, they easily get extinguished. Art is something that everyone seems to deem precious and important:one only has to look at the reams written in books and on the Web about art in all its forms. Yet this mysterious alchemy - art - that can lift the spirit, bring joy, healing and coherence, understanding and inspiration, defies easy definition, let alone easy creation.
Every artist knows that it is hard to create consistently good work; practice, practice and application are needed. Sometimes, whatever the medium, the artist realises, after the work is finished, that something good has happened, something worthwhile. But it is almost a matter of good fortune, something akin to a miracle, when everything has fallen into place and beauty has "happened". No matter that every person's definition of beauty can be somewhat individual and experience-based; there are nonetheless still enough components of beauty that resonate with many people, not only in one age but down the centuries. In the Telegraph, for example, Matthew Collings lists ten aspects or qualities that make art beautiful - from the work being rooted in nature to simplicity, unity, transformation, animation and surprise...
Personally, the mystery of art is magical, indefinable, but always uplifting. It can be a Cycladic head from the Early Cycladic II period, Syros phase (2800 - 2300 BC), for example.
|Female Head, marble. Image courtesy of N. P. Goulandris collection|
|White Peonies and Roses, Narcissus, Henri Fatin-Latour, 1879, Private Collection|
|Vase of Peonies, Henri Fatin-Latour, 1881. Image courtesy of |
Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, HL