Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Whistlers Mom

I've been an artists mom long enough to know there are questions you never ask an artist - 
"What were you thinking when you were creating this piece?" 
"What were you trying to convey?"

I've been reprimanded too many times,
instructed that it doesn't matter 
what the artist was thinking 
or what meaning a piece had 
for the one who created it ...

a work of arts 'meaning' is truly 
in the eyes of the beholder ...

What does it evoke in you?
What images, phrases and concepts do you see in the piece? 
what resonants with your soul?

On retreat this weekend, 
there were many lovely pieces of art on display;
homespun linen,
to name just a few.

Several pieces 'spoke' to me,
drawing me into deeper thought 
and conversation with God
a piece of polished Mississippi River driftwood,
named "Mother and Child";
NOT named by the artist
but the buyer.

 A lovely sampler
and sentiment.
You know what a soft spot I have for the domestic arts!

My favorite though was a piece which would have been easy to overlook,
blending as it did into its surroundings;
its placement behind a desk in the study;
it felt intimate -
and though we had been given consent to 'explore',
there was a sense of intrusion as I stood looking at it,
yet I was compelled to do just that.

While it stands completely on its own,
it also seemed to echo things I'd observed outside -

 the individual stroke marks 
made by a craftsman in the 1800's 
as he harvested and prepared wood planks
for a home;
 the wispy strands of fall grass,
and 'silhouettes' etched into stone
by years of water, wear and friction.

I'm NOT enough of an artists mom 
to know what the 'process' was for creating this piece ...
 but it speaks
 to me 
of Life and Death -
there's one way in 
and one way out;
We're surrounded by others,
some named and known,
some known intimately and dearly loved,
others merely wisps 
passing by momentarily
and barely noticed
 all of us making our 'marks' - 
on each other 
and the world at large -

for good or for ill.

Now for my confession,
despite being on retreat,
I broke the 10th Commandment!
I DID covet this piece!

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