Photography, Books, People
I am retired, but my personality certainly is not retiring! I love taking pictures and never had the opportunity when I was operating my organic food store. Sold that and kept up with my alternative healing practice until called to California to be the house director for a sorority at UC/Berkeley. Need I say it was an eye opening experience?
Anyway, now I have lots of time for pictures and with the help of some really nice people on this site, I am learning every day. My newest camera is a Fuji Finepix F550EXR - a point and shoot that takes photos with amazing clarity and does not take up much room in my purse or pocket. My other favorite DSLR is an Olympus EPL1. I will have to look up all the extra info for lenses when I get home, since I am writing this on the road.
That is another good feature of this site. I can be anywhere and as long as I have an internet connection, I can stay in touch with everyone, review photos, upload my work and receive good feedback.
Have made some good connections on this site and really enjoy watching my work develop as I practice suggestions offered by people far more accomplished than I.
December 2010 placed first in the Still Life category for the first Cyber Challenge. The winning title is 'Still Life Photo'
JANE JENKINS IS FOLLOWING
Jane Jenkins :
This is really long, but I believe it speaks to what all of us are trying to do with our photos and drawings. This guy sends out e-letters from time to time and I always learn something when I read them. Jane
Friday, December 10, 2010
They Make Us All Richer
by Alexander Green
Last week, some friends and I were in Vienna and visited the Belvedere, a magnificent Baroque palace that is now an art museum.
My publisher, Julia Guth, is a fan of Austrian painter Gustav Klimt, a turn-of-
the-twentieth-century artist, who was once marginalized but is now considered a modern master. As some of his best-known work was on
exhibit there, we decided to have a look.
The highlight was Klimt's most-loved piece "The Kiss," a remarkable 72-inch by 72-inch painting that depicts a couple, in various shades of gold and symbols, locked in an embrace and sharing a kiss against a bronze
background. The painting - which now adorns everything from coffee cups to calendars - is one of the most recognizable icons of modern art.
The Kiss: http://www.spiritualwealth.com/images/kiss.jpg
I enjoyed the piece, but something else struck me. As our group stood
admiring it, a young woman in the room turned and suddenly recognized the
Her mouth fell open and she stepped slowly forward, her right hand curling up to her heart. She stood in front of the painting for several minutes, wide-eyed and speechless. When we left the museum half an hour later, she was still anchored there.
What is it about art that shocks, amuses, provokes or enchants us? Like language, art emerges spontaneously and universally across cultures, from the Paleolithic cave paintings of Lascaux to the experimental art of today.
Art is a quintessentially human activity. It separates us from the rest of the
animal kingdom. Sure, we have intelligence, but other animals do, too, even crows. We have complex language, but so do dolphins and whales. Even our use of tools is not unique. More than forty years ago, Jane Goodall discovered chimpanzees in East Africa extracting termites from their
mounds with blades of grass. They were effectively "fishing" for dinner.
Only homo sapiens have an aesthetic sense, a need for expression in words, music, painting or sculpture, although no one really understands why.
Art objects are among the most opulent, extravagant, and glittering creations
of the human mind. They expand our understanding of the world. They
intensify experience and give us a sense of the sublime.
Art can be dangerous too. Plato feared that immoral art would steer people away from the virtuous and the good. In his Republic, he recommends that the state censor the arts for the protection of the citizens. (Not one of his better ideas.)
A museum is a cathedral of contemplation, a place to discover riches of imagination and insight. "Art teaches nothing," said Henry Miller, "except the significance of life." Proust said, "Thanks to art, instead of seeing one world, our own, we see it multiplied, and as many original artists as there are, so many worlds are at our disposal."
Art surprises you, makes you see things in new ways. A particular work can stretch your perceptions and expand your mental capacities. It can purge emotions, clear your mind, edify and enlarge the soul.
Art means different things to different people, of course. I don't agree with
those who insist you need to appreciate a certain artwork for the right reasons. There may be wrong reasons for disliking a piece of art, but there can't be a wrong reason for liking one. You might easily enjoy a particular landscape painting not because it exemplifies some school or movement but
because of its loveliness or realism. Or maybe it just reminds you of home.
Interpretations are bound to vary.
We often see in pictures what we would like to see in our lives. We all enjoy beauty in nature and harmony in our relationships. Yet we can also admire pictures of war or tragedy or evil. These, too, are facets of life.
Some things can't be adequately verbalized. Art gives full expression to love, compassion, humor, delight in life, tenderness, self-sacrifice, and
intimations of mortality, as well as confusion, alienation, terror or sadness.
Artists with extraordinary skill probe the content of life and articulate strong
emotions. They create a feeling of recognition and communion with others.
It is more than just the sheer wonder of seeing something beautiful or new.
A great artist stimulates our imagination. The action takes place in the theater of the human mind.
However, the raison d'etre of art is not to communicate emotion, but understanding. Indeed, art shares something important with science. Both are truth-seeking activities that attempt to probe the nature of reality and tell us about our selves and our world. Success in each field depends on the
creative originality of a few rare individuals who take imaginative leaps into
the unknown. Is it possible to have a full understanding of life without some
acquaintance with both?
Art expresses individuality - and not just the artist's. What you hang on the walls of your home or office reveals your interests, your passions. To a lesser extent, this is also true of clothing, jewelry and makeup. Why does it create an awkward moment when two women show up at a dinner party
wearing the same evening dress? Because the event is an opportunity for personal expression. Clothes can represent our taste and individuality - but that isn't easy when someone else is wearing the same thing.
Art isn't always practical. It is meant for aesthetic enjoyment, often expressed as art "for its own sake." And while only a few fortunate souls are able to create objects of enduring beauty, most of us have some corner of our souls that yearn for it.
What is it that enables some men and women to create truly great works of art? Most artists want to receive market value for their work, but few are motivated by money. In Human Accomplishment, Charles Murray puts
forward the idea that the greatest art was historically created against a backdrop of "transcendental goods" - a belief that real beauty exists, there is objective truth, and the good is a value independent of human culture.
He notes that when the great Gothic cathedrals of Europe were built, many
of the gargoyles and other ornaments were carved high on cathedral walls and behind cornices. Why would stonemasons hide their work in places where they could not be seen? Because they believed they were carving for
the eye of God.
This notion clearly inspired many of history's greatest artists. Leonardo da
Vinci painted to the greater glory of God. Michelangelo's devotion is well displayed on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. French author Andre Gide once said, "Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better."
A true masterwork doesn't just relate to its time or our time but all time. It's this level of virtuosity that makes you stop and say, "I can't believe another human being did that."
Most of us enjoy being bowled over. In The Art Instinct, Denis Dutton writes that, "Standing before a masterpiece you are in the presence of a power that exceeds anything you can imagine for yourself, something greater than you ever can or will be. The rapture masterpieces offer is literally ecstatic - taking you out of yourself."
That feeling clearly affected the woman I saw standing before "The Kiss" last
week. Her encounter was a life-enhancing moment, perhaps even a spiritual one.
How fortunate artists are to possess these talents, to create objects of beauty
and meaning, to have the power to move us, to make us feel what that young woman felt.
They make all our lives richer.
Copyright ?? 2010 by The Oxford Club, L.L.C
Contact: Spiritual Wealth Member Services
105 West Monument Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
December 20 at 10:18AM
Pat Christensen : Yes long lol, but how true and well put, my words are no match for his but I have always said photos, paintings, drawings, ect are all Art and therefore should evoke meaning and feelings, they are an extention of ourselves and the greatest gift to give is an emotion. An interesting read thank you for sharing. Pat
December 20 at 11:02AM
PetaPan35 : Well worth the read - thanks for posting it Jane :-) Cheers, Peta
December 20 at 3:06PM
Jane Jenkins : Pat and Peta, Thanks for taking the time to read it! :)
December 23 at 3:09PM
poetkizzie : Thanks Jane, that was very enlightening, Maybe I shouldn't admit to my limited knowledge, lol, but I wasn't aware (though even common sense is all it should take to see this) but yes we are the only species that has the need and understanding and emotional depth to express ourselves through art. Isn't it wonderful!? I enjoyed the long read of your post it was well worth it! Kim
May 24 at 10:02PM
Jane Jenkins :
I can hardly contain myself after getting an All Time Best for my St. Andrew's photo. Thanks to all of you lovely FAR members that liked it enough to review it....a real confidence builder.
December 5 at 2:01PM
Bluelily : Congrats Well deserved!
December 7 at 12:34PM
d90dewey : Congrats Jane!
December 9 at 4:00PM