Pearls from artists* # 439January 27, 2021
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
Art is a way of preserving experiences, of which there are many transient and beautiful examples, and that we need help containing. There is an analogy to be made with the task of carrying water and the tool that helps us do it. Imagine being out in a park on a blustery April day. We look up at the clouds and feel moved by their beauty and grace. They feel delightfully separate from the day-to-day bustle of our lives. We give our minds to the clouds, and for a time we are relieved of our preoccupations and placed in a wider context that stills the incessant complaints of our egos. John Constable’s cloud studies invite us to concentrate, much more than we would normally, on the distinctive textures and shapes of individual clouds, to look at their variations in colour and at the way they mass together. Art edits down complexity and helps us to focus, albeit briefly, on the most meaningful aspects. In making his cloud studies, Constable didn’t expect us to become deeply concerned with meteorology. The precise nature of a cumulonimbus is not the issue. Rather, he wished to intensify the emotional meaning of the soundless drama that unfolds daily above our heads, making it more readily available to us and encouraging us to afford it the central position it deserves.
Alain de Botton and John Armstrong in Art as Therapy
Comments are welcome!