As I’ve journeyed along over the past few years, learning art, blogging about my experiences, and discovering new media and techniques, I’ve often asked a familiar question. What is art? It’s a short, simple question, to be sure, but the answer is anything but short or simple, because, in truth, anything can be art.
I’m reminded of the saying that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, and if we change beauty to art, isn’t our statement equally true? Art, I’m learning, is everywhere. It can be anything.
I’m currently re-reading Denman Ross’s 1907 treatise on his Theory of Pure Design, and his ideas about art and the elements of design have definitely influenced my thinking. At my husband’s most recent visit to the retinologist, I wandered through the lobby a bit — due to the pandemic, I can no longer join my husband in the office — and everywhere I went I saw art. Not the artworks hanging on the wall, but artistic expressions in the patterns and designs of the building itself.
Here are a few examples of what I found:
First, the carpet.
More carpet in a different area.
A panel of a divider.
And, so much more. The lampshades. The wallpapers. Even the arrangement of plants along the railing. To my eyes, all of these were art.
I’ve also come to be fascinated lately by the concept of disposable art. Now it’s here, now it’s gone, look quickly, or it may blow away, dissolve, or disappear by other means.
First, from a recent walk, I loved discovering this leafy art.
This art came from my kitchen. Can you guess what it is?
And yet another from the kitchen.
2021 is my year of exploration, and I love exploring these different concepts of art. It can be pure design. It can be natural. It can be disposable. And, it can also be quite accidental. Consider this — which I consider to be an absolute masterpiece in its own way.
I love everything about this crazy, colorful acrylic abstract. Yes, this was all an accident, and maybe you can guess what you’re actually looking at here. It’s not a palette, but it’s close.
This was the bottom of my acrylic pouring pan. Yep. This is where all those luscious colors of fluid acrylics have pooled together, dripping, moving, forming designs all on their own.
I know that some acrylic pour artists actually scrape off these acrylics and use them for jewelry-making. I’m not that talented. But here’s the story.
Remember me recently mentioning my lost palette knives? As I’ve been digging around and straightening up the studio a bit, I’ve found a couple, and on one recent morning as I gathered up my acrylics for a pouring — which you’ll eventually see here — I uncovered another palette knife. It was stuck like glue to the acrylics on the bottom of the pan. So I tugged at it. I pulled on it. And the entire acrylic layer began to detach from the aluminum pan. I laughed, fell in love with it, and carefully managed to pull it out in one piece.
There are aspects of this — painting? — that you can’t see in the photograph. I hesitate to call it a painting because it’s thick, and the acrylics have molded themselves into the design the bottom of the aluminum baking pan. There is also a row of “fringe” as I call it at the bottom. These are little strips of acrylic that actually resemble thick fringe.
I have this gorgeous piece of abstract art on my easel now. I want to be certain that it dries thoroughly. I’ll then spray it with several coats of varnish, and I’ll find a way to frame it. I definitely want this hanging on my wall.
It just goes to show, that when we look for art, we’ll find it. Not necessarily hanging in a museum or gallery, but anywhere and everywhere around us. It’s under our feet. It’s in the air. It’s wherever we choose to see it. Truly, anything can be art.