Getting Lost in Art or Finding Yourself in Art, That’s The Question…
As an eleven year old girl, way back when, I would challenge the gods by sneaking out at eight at night to run to church. Not to do anything religious, no, I would climb up into one of the big, wide window sills of this old church and nestle in, very concerned not to be seen.
I had stumbled on this secret place one evening when I had climbed over the balcony wall of my family home and let myself down into the street looking for a hideaway where I could peacefully contemplate my new found tidbits of life lessons. The window sill had been hidden between the branches of a stately oak tree and climbing into it had been a piece of cake.
Living in tight quarters with my very alive family and sharing a bedroom with my 2 sisters, my eagerness to create an island of space for myself had gotten the better of me again. The dark, dutch evenings gave me the cloak to sneak away.
That very first time, thinking I would find quiet and solitude – being with my life lessons one-on-one – I looked up scared as I heard the tic-tic-tic of a stick tapping wood. Was I found out? I peered through the window into the bright lit room and to my amazement there was a full orchestra sitting in folding chairs and looking up at the conductor, who had asked for their attention. I held my breath, could not believe my eyes and then my ears, as the sound of violins, cello’s, trumpets, etc. embraced me. I am sure they could not see me, but I still pushed myself to the side of the window and sat transfixed as I saw the conductor with the help of this stick create the music that I so love.
My mother had always treated herself to the most beautiful Mendelssohn, Brahms or Tchaikovsky after the kids were finally in bed, not knowing that I would lay my ear against the door to not miss a note. And now here I was, as if the whole orchestra was playing for me. I do not think that I ever experienced a more spiritual moment than the evenings I spent on that sill. Even if halted by the perfectionism of the conductor, explaining perfection to the musicians, I could lose myself in the beauty of the music. It talked to me, not in words but in wavelength – a wavelength that lifted and expanded me. And that is where I found myself. No longer concerned with day to day life lessons, I felt a curious freedom that yet was so familiar.
I had stumbled upon one of the purest kinds of aesthetics. I forgot about the sill, about hiding my body, even my body itself and stepped into the music. It was talking to me and I was listening, understanding, moving while being moved. Boundaries I so had wanted to escape were forgotten: being ugly, poor and terribly skinny did not enter my mind. Life lessons? What life lessons. I had stumbled into aesthetics, something that did not appear to be of this world – it was just…spiritual. And in a funny spiritual way I held my breath not to miss a thing.
Years later, when I first met my husband, he arrived at my house with a file in his hand. He laid it on the table, opened it and there was this amazing, painted wonderworld full of shapes and color, deep and far away as well as close up. I tumbled in and felt myself float on the wavelengths of beauty and depth, tumbling through a universe of fantasy. I pulled myself back and looked at him, what was that?
Faintly I recognized a state of mind I had not felt in a while. Patiently he showed me more and more pieces and again I held my breath not to miss a thing.
He started to explain how he wanted to create paintings that would communicate with the observer, and I knew he had just done that.
In a pure state of excitement we talked and talked about this art that would give people the wings to dive in and fly, like a Hubble telescope roaming through space encountering the most amazing constellations in their color and bursts of fire, creating breathtaking pictures. An invitation to spiritual experience, not religious, as that adds meaning to spirituality. No… just being there surrounded by space and beauty.
Once more I was lost in art, only to find myself. Now I understand why artists keep the spirit alive in the people around them. Now I understand that the need for artists and art is as basic as the need for water. As one may keep the body alive, the other keeps the spirit alive. And their works of art seen every time you walk into that room, complements you and your alive-ness, acknowledges that there is more than walls and chairs, more then curtains and sofa’s. There is a world out there that is bigger than that. And we tap into this world when we see the art pieces that inspires us. How else could it inspire us?
Beautiful art is the door between the material and the spiritual world. When you are lost in one, step through the door and find yourself in the other. And you will be beautiful.