Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Proper Response?

My first exposure to fine art was a reproduction given as a gift from my aunt to her mom, my grandmother. It was carefully centered, then placed in a prominent location. It hung quietly until The Discussion.

My intellectual aunt, asked my mother and grandmother what it meant to them. They puzzled over it looking intently to uncover the hidden message. At around 13, my opinion didn't count, however this did not keep me from coming up with one. Invisibly and silently.

The picture was of a young girl sitting by a stream. Those are the only details I remember other than the muted colors. It gave me a soothing feeling for she looked like she could have been a melancholy kindred spirit.

Since it was a test in perception, mom answered correctly and intuitively when she said it was about a young girl, coming of age, wanting the freedom of childhood but hindered by the constraints of her upcoming womanhood. It would have been entirely improper of her to take her stockings off and be seen in public bare legged in her time and culture. It was a defining moment in her life. A choice had to be made. She was in agony wanting both.

I was silently biting my lips, keeping my obviously shallow and childish opinion to myself. All I was thinking was; I knew how much she wanted to get in that lovely water. Period. Why the quandary? What was the big problem? Go girl. Make a splash.

Standing in the National Gallery in London a few years ago, I again fell silent. All these original masterpieces under one roof. People were sitting reverently before the highly prized and tightly guarded treasures in awe.

Once again, my response didn't match. I wanted to rub my cheek up against a few or lick those luscious colors. Ancient colors which still looked fresh and vibrant made my eyes leak and blur. I wanted to curtsy to the unknown artist telling the story in colors, shadows and form.

I could never be a curate, the temptation would be too great. The paintings aren't under glass; they would have bald spots from where I'd petted them one too many times.

How do you experience art? My way is unrefined, but it works for me. It's like tasting wine. Like what you like, no matter how cheap or expensive it is. Enjoy the sensation it gives you, nobody else. Swirl it, smell it, taste it, see it and then clink a glass to hear it with someone you love. Lick the drips, if any drop........


Emily said...

very nice, kathleen! art can be found in so many places... i LOVE going to the grocery store and picking out produce. i love coming home and putting it all away...all those fresh ingredients just waiting to be enjoyed. people DO paint pictures of pike place market and all of that colorful produce. :)

Craig said...

"Like what you like, no matter how cheap or expensive it is. Enjoy the sensation it gives you, nobody else" My love, that is a classic line. Why can't we all be that free.

Kathleen said...

Em, have you seen Girl with a Pearl Earring? She felt like we do about the colors and textures of produce.

Craig, I love the freedom we have......