During this past autumn, I have taken advantage of fall’s colors, as I have taught my students to paint its leaves, trees, etc.; and this past week, my students and I discussed how, after beginning art classes, we begin noticing things that we had not noticed before. We begin to see more actively. I shared that when I am not doing art, I myself begin to glaze over and my own life-lens becomes cloudy; but when I am painting–even when I begin teaching art, nature becomes a feast for me–a free feast that I might otherwise miss. I told my students that the primary goal of art class should be that of availing oneself of the magnitude of the world’s beauty. Of secondary importance are the paintings that might arise from the activity of “taking” those classes and/or of beginning to do art.
We Americans are a spoiled lot of people. We are thill seekers–we will pay large amounts of money for entertainment. Disneyland–Broadway–Skiing in Vail–Europe–what we want is HUGE entertainment–large doses of stimulii. The sad thing is that those enormous highs that we are seeking are not “there”–not in Disneyland–not on Broadway–not on the slopes–not in Europe. Traveling offers temporary distractions from life’s blandness; but the true “thrills” are in our own yards–on our drives to work–along the paths of our morning walks. We are just missing them. Once we begin to take art classes–once we begin to distill nature and record it on canvas and on paper, the veil is lifted–the lens is wiped clean; and we allow ourselves to see the non-stop light show that is right before our eyes. We allow ourselves to live life more fully.