The art class of Adelia Armstrong Lutz
Artistic living completes the experience of walking in beauty. The universe presents us with an avalanche of inner and outer beauty, and artistic living is our opportunity to give back, to cooperate in bringing forth a more beautiful world. Artistic living includes enjoying the high quality recreation of the arts: we visit galleries, attend performances, read poetry and fiction, take classes, and find out for ourselves what it is to paint, sculpt, sing, play an instrument, dance, act, write, dance, or build. At their best, the arts uplift our way of living: painting, sculpture, and literature expand our capacity to perceive and understand; music cultivates our feeling. Without preaching to us, dance can uplift our posture and movement, architecture our dwelling, and drama our action and character. Charmed, we listen, read, or watch, caught up in the aesthetic object that addresses our senses and intellect. We are touched by portrayals so subtle and complex that we could never adequately put into words their nuances of feeling. In society, joy may become a cliché; but the arts are a school of feeling that frees us from stereotyped emotions.
But talk about the arts as delightful, uplifting, and beautiful is misleading as a description of much of what is classified as art. Great art may not gratify the senses because its beauty is concentrated on a higher level. But some art is ugly on the whole, an exercise of materialistic self-assertion in which technical skill and intellectual gifts are put in the service of commercial success or the desire to shock or to display a message devoid of hope. In today’s age of planetary struggle and transition, the arts present extremes of kitsch and chaos; the confusing mix of innovative expression and lostness, confuses the very idea of artistic living.
Clarity breaks through the clouds when we remember beauty’s bonds with truth and goodness, and when we look for works of art that lead us from emotion to insight. The path forward has three steps: appreciate other’s achievements, prepare your creative expression by intelligent design, and know the joy of liberated performance.
How has your involvement in the arts blessed you?
Photo credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/78/Adelia-armstrong-lutz-art-class.jpg