Down through the ages, in good times but more importantly in bad times, artists have turned to their muse, their source of inspiration for releasing feelings, making statements, and providing soulful expressions to what they are feeling and thinking.
Yes, art is the golden chain, or velvet cord that can tether us in a grounded space to assist in the healing of our soul. As Picasso said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
We live in trying times: Covid changed our lives immensely, some of us more than others. We found ourselves being separated from friends and family, perhaps from our jobs. Worry and loneliness became an ongoing everyday occurrence.
We began to breathe a sigh of relief when restrictions started being lifted and life began to return to normalcy for some, but others still suffered because of businesses not being able to get out of the quagmire with lost jobs and supply chain problems in many industries.
Then the Russian invasion of Ukraine began with many of us wondering how this could still be happening in the world. We rose to the occasion and began various fundraising initiatives and preparing for additional immigrants coming here to escape the ravages of war.
We’ve watched our country become divided over many issues and may find it difficult to understand another’s perspective on what is the best way forward. There is worry over job security, inflation, climate change, gun violence, and a list of potential crises too numerous to mention.
And now the heartbreaking daily scenes of carnage that began just a few short weeks ago in the Middle East. The pain and suffering happening in that region has caused us to again, reexamine what it would mean to be able to live in a world with peaceful coexistence as we see an unprecedented rise in the number of hate crimes being committed.
These feelings may overwhelm us many times during the day and we struggle to do what we can to alleviate this suffering. Sometimes the first thing we must do is to take care of ourselves, as we regain strength to help others, without burning out and becoming ill.
How is it that we can give ourselves this much needed relief against depression, anxiety, anger, and sorrow? There are many ways: going for a long walk enjoying nature, working out at the gym, listening to music, getting together with like-minded friends, and art.
ART. As I mentioned in the beginning of this musing, art and artists are often the muses that inspire us as we move forward in dark times. Yes, artists become OUR muses and we can turn to them and the soulful works they create to soothe our wounded souls.
Viewing a piece of art that is chaotic, such as ‘Guernica’ by Picasso can be disturbing but also cathartic. Done in black and white, Picasso was saying, ‘No more” to the horror that surrounded the small town of Guernica that was heavily bombed during the Spanish Civil War. The images may horrify us but they can also act as vehicles to release our pent-up anger and sadness and then be able to ask ourselves and each other, “Now what? What is it that we can do to begin to change this?”
‘Guernica’ is a harsh example and perhaps what we need at a particular moment is to be soothed by beautiful and peaceful art. Yes, art provides that for us and allows us to feel the peace and beauty that can certainly exist in our lives. Plein Air art is a fine example of this through its beauty of viewing nature in all of its glory. Portraiture may move us to contemplate what the subject was thinking about while the artist painted. Impressionism is often a soft and calming view of what is happening in the painted scene: the blurred strokes allow us to use our internal vision to create something soothing and comforting. Abstract art allows us to meditate on the lines, angles, and swirls, to move us from frenzied feelings into a calm and soothing space. Art that is brightly colored uplifts our spirit, and art that has a humorous or unexpected theme can allow us the room we need to laugh and regain a feeling of lightheartedness.
Art is available to us through all times of chaos, whether it be world wide chaos or the chaos that exists in each of us that is caused by every day life in a very complex world.
Artists and their art allow us to establish similarities between the past and the present – maybe even a glimpse into the future. They create a bridge between the abstract and concrete. They allow us to mourn. They open us to our inner muse and the soulful interior we often do not allow to come forth from the shadows.
What is it we need from art? Oh, so many things – assisting us as we try to understand our emotions and overcome obstacles, gaining an understanding of the world around us, giving voice to injustice, commemorating history – and so much more.
Take a day to wander through a museum or gallery; look closely, feel intensely, open yourself to your soul and allow what you feel within yourself, your shadow, to step into lightness and being.
The Smith Gallery and Fine Custom Framing provides a peaceful atmosphere in which to view art slowly and completely. Leave your troubles and worries at the door and enter a soothing environment created to wash the dust from the soul of everyday life.
Art used in this musing by Pablo Picasso (Guernica), Beki Kilorin, Richard Michaelian, Annie Lesch, Karen Morton, Carrie Wissler Thomas, Stuart Leask, Arlene Figueroa, Peg Belcastro, Jeanney Wharton, and Sten.
Please visit the The Smith Gallery to view more art by these artists and many other talented artists and view our ArtTalks videos for conversations with artists.
The Tenth Muse was created to give inspiration, information and confidence to the reader.
This publication celebrates The Tenth Muse that is alive in all of us! She gives us the confidence to embrace going beyond the nine original muses.
Ms. Terious explores many subjects related to art and framing that can be used in the real world as you explore your own personal tastes and experiences without boundaries.