International Artist Day – The Value of Art

by Hilary Horn

by Keren Dibbens-Wyatt —

International Artist Day was founded by Canadian painter, Chris MacClure, as a way of recognising the value of art and those who create it in our lives.  If we look around us we might be astonished at just how much art we see every day, from the patterns on our kitchen tiles to the design of our clothes, the graphics we see on the internet and the paintings we hang on our walls. All these visual feasts have been crafted by someone with an artistic imagination. Perhaps it is worth pausing for a moment and thinking how dull and sad our lives would be without this beauty all around us.

Artwork by Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Oscar Wilde was once asked why Americans were so violent, and his reply was, “Because their wallpaper is so ugly.” It is humorous of course, but as always with Wilde, there is an element of truth here. When our surroundings are garish or bereft of beauty, when they are clinical or bare, or overbearingly ornate, they are not conducive to peace or contentment.

Artists, in general, are seeking to beautify the world. I’m primarily a writer, but discovered a gift for art a couple of years ago and am now enjoying honing my craft. I paint mostly in pastels, and feel that it is good to reflect one of the facets of God’s image by creating. God has an amazing imagination, creative bent and sense of humour. One only has to take a quick glance at nature to see that, and the infinite variety all around us is unending inspiration.

When I create a piece of art, my goal is very simple, to express my joy at living in such a beautiful world. I hope that some of this translates to those who look at it. I would love, also to create art that invites people deeper into encounter with God’s character, through nature and my expression of the beauty of souls, whether they are the souls of people, animals or even (in a way) landscapes. Everyone and everything is part of God’s world and nothing is too small or unimportant to be portrayed. Everybody has a beautiful smile, worthy of being captured on canvas.

Art is a tool we have for showing our love for the world, our surroundings, animals, people, plants, and our creator. Dostoevsky said through his character Prince Miskin in The Idiot, “Beauty will save the world,” and I do believe that creativity is a powerful tool for lifting us into that spiritual realm where deep truths can touch us and connect us in loving unity.

Painters can of course also use their art to express political concerns and expose the darkness in our hearts, or the horrors of life. One might think here of Picasso’s Guernica, Munch’s The Scream, or the work of Hieronymus Bosch. But these pieces are beautiful and powerful too, and serve the same purpose of bringing us altogether.

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty, —that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

As Keats wrote in his Ode on a Grecian Urn.

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1 comment

Bev. Wilson October 25, 2017 - 12:23 pm

Thanks, Keren for this encouraging piece. Wishing you a blessed International Artist Day. Your Poppy painting is lovely, but I’ve told you that before!

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