Tag Archives: visual art

exactly

Exactitude is not truth – Henri MatisseLynnUnderwood

Currently I try to spend time most days doing and studying art. I get better in many ways through practice and study, but I will never get to a photographically accurate image I expect. I do hope, however, to get close to the truth — of the subject, or idea, or myself.  I did this self-portrait yesterday of me in the sunshine, using a hand mirror. It has ‘mistakes’ in it, and it is not exact. But I still hope that it gets at some truth of me.

If you do a creative activity of some kind, can you be pleased when you capture some feeling or express something imaginatively? Cooking or woodworking may be a creative activity you enjoy, or you may play music or write fiction. I hope my ‘mistakes’ can encourage you to continue be creative even when you are not exact.

to see what we see

drawing by lynn

drawing by lynn

We must always tell what we see. Above all, and this is more difficult, we must always see what we see.”        –Charles Peguy

art and love

…To see in contemplation, is not limited only to the tangible surface of reality; it certainly perceives more than mere appearances. Art flowing from contemplation does not so much attempt to copy reality as rather to capture the archetypes of all that is. Such art does not want to depict what everybody already sees but to make visible what not everybody sees….

To this end we have to consider a certain aspect of the term “contemplation”…. The ancient expression of the mystics applies here: ubi amor, ibi oculus — the eyes see better when guided by love; a new dimension of ‘seeing’ is opened up by love alone! And this means contemplation is visual perception prompted by loving acceptance…affectionate affirmation.”

-Josef Pieper, Only the Lover Sings: Art and Contemplation, Ignatius Press 1990. pg 74

painting by lynn

painting by lynn

representing reality

art by lynn

art by lynn

I have been reading a great book by the artist Ben Shahn, written in the 50’s entitled The Shape of Content. I find myself these days wondering why I do art, and what I am trying to do with it.  What is its purpose? Shahn was a wonderful graphic artist and his words inspire me.  When I was helping to find cover art for a book on the science of compassionate love, I offered this piece. The visual image on the cover was important. To pin compassionate love to the board like a butterfly was impossible. Visual art can stretch our thinking. It was a necessary complement to the scientific and analytic content of the book. I think somehow art can make a difference – that is one of the reasons I still do it.