Friday, August 26, 2011

the price of art

My favorite picture from the week . . .

This isn't today, but life is still this full and my kitchen nearly as messy.  Today I am enjoying the rare pleasure of two littles napping at the same time, and my oldest beside me coloring at the table.  The long naps are thanks to a few incredibly busy days- or has it been weeks?- and my kitchen thanks to this as well.

I am sitting here torn between the urge to get my house back in order, and the urge to sit here with my daughter, to enjoy the silence as we both make our respective art.

In case you wonder- the fire extinguisher was hung by our landlords before we started renting, and has nothing to do with my cooking.  Really.

Today I choose art.  

I am choosing it more frequently lately, to pour out the paints and trust that it is worth it: color, the dripping brush- or words and wondering- they are more important than the drips and stains, than the messy kitchen.  The quest for beauty is more worthwhile than the futile effort to keep my house clean.  I wonder- have I taught my children this?

There is no making art without making a mess.  In fact, when I stop to think about it, a mess is required for just about anything that is worthwhile.  

I think I have wasted a lot of time fretting over imperfections.  Life.  My own.  How often has the fear of failure or imperfection kept me from making art- from trying something beautiful?

The most beautiful lives I know bear their worn, tattered patches.  Tender, wounded places.  Places of discomfort and unanswered questions that they do not attempt to cover or explain but simply hold, however painfully, toward the light.

Could it be that whatsoever is lovely contains colors that are unlovely?  Does whatsoever is true bear it's own aura of intangibles?  

There is a patch of weeds in the corner of our yard.  It is where the butterflies gather.

One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to 
give birth to a dancing star.
Friedrich Nietzsche


Jenny P. said...

For months and months after we built our house, our backyard was a tangle of unsightly weeds... like weeds as tall as my house weeds. It was not a matter of weed pulling, rather a matter of weed grading and clearing and underbrush removal. So. It took us a while to save the money to do it. While we waited, we referred to our backyard as a butterfly garden. It made us feel much better about things.

And also, I find that if I feel the need to create, I best follow through. The house, with it's constant occupants, will always be in need of something - some cleaning, some repair, some something. The work will never be finished. So if I wait to create until the work is done, well then. I never create and my well of happiness remains dangerously low. (At the same time, I must admit, there are days that I have to clean to keep my well full. Because a clean space makes me happy too. It's all about balance, I think.)

Jo@Mylestones said...

So THIS is what you wrote at naptime?!
I love everything you've said here, every word. And those last two sentences made me catch my heart in my throat. Gorgeous truth.

p.s. You didn't tell me you'd been painting again? I must be talking way too much and asking too few questions. Next time, my house, and we'll sit and talk art. :-)

Janet said...

Both those paintings your girls made are lovely -- that one on the right even has perspective. And such breezy, Easterish colors! LOVE them.

I needed this particular piece of art today -- this post about the value of beauty-questing. Thank you.