Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Learning to Adapt in a Changing World

I was going to do a blog about pattern and focus on what an artist sees when they look at nature; i.e. an observer may only see “bark” and blow it off. An artist sees lines, ridges, shadows, and color; not just browns and tans, but lavendars, blues, pinks, and oranges.

Brown Thrasher

I planned to take photos and show examples of how I interpret what I see on canvas. I still may at a later time, but today with all the anguish in the world from riots, financial crises, revolutions, and natural disasters I wondered who cares?

Raccoons at Sunrise

How do people grapple with fear, anger, frustration, disease, death and destruction? In this climate – who thinks about art? Unless, and that’s a big “unless,” art helps people to deal with these immediate frustrations?


This is our time artists. If we can calm, humor, and make people feel happy by looking at our work, they will buy. If we can brighten a dark spot, enlighten a tired mind, or enrich a saddened life, our work is important. Now is the time to document history, lay waste hypocrisy and bare it to the core. If we can make people question, doubt, or take action because of something we’ve said in subtle strokes of pen or brush; we can make a difference.

I’ve always had a preference for vintage furniture and décor, thinking that it came from calmer, gentler times. But history refutes that idea. The recent hurricanes in America were repeated back in 1954 and 1955, and before that, and long before that. Weather is cyclical and repeats itself every 30 years or so. Governments rise and fall. New diseases come and new medicines to erradicate them. Nothing stays the same.

The Lost

People are resilient. Inner strength is born and nurtured in difficult times. Faith in God is restored. Purpose and responsibility are ignited and life goes on.

One of my favorite novels is “The Grapes of Wrath,” by John Steinbeck. Why? Because after reading the book three times, I realized the importance of women to society as the nurturers, the life givers, and the hub of family life and the nation. Women held their men together when they lost their jobs and when the family had nowhere to go and nothing to eat. They encouraged, they prodded, they offered hope, they gave sustenance.

Artists and writers can offer this same hope and encouragement. Perhaps the question is not “who thinks about art at a time like this?” but “artists and writers were made “for such a time as this.” (Est 4:14 KJV)