Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Art and Meaning for the New Year

It's that season again - a time to crack open a new calendar and marvel at all those little white squares of possibility.

Just searching for the right calendar is a kind of ritual for me. I head over to the University Bookstore in Seattle and comb through the shelves. I pass by the section of kittens (cute!) and babies dressed in flower outfits (ugh!) and zero in on the shelves of calendars featuring art. I pick them up, one at a time, folding the different kinds of art around my hopes for the coming year as if they were changeable outfits on a paper doll. Finally, I choose one that seems to fit. That calendar sets the tone for the learning, dreaming and growing I want to do in the year ahead.

This year, I picked a calendar with works by the Canadian artist Lawren S. Harris. I love his handling of landscapes - how all the details melt away under his brush, leaving just the mood and soul of the natural world shining through. He seems to know that sometimes it’s what you leave out, more than what you include, that gives art its power. On the back of the calendar, there is a quote from one of Harris’ letters to Emily Carr: I am in great need of losing my littleness and sharing completely in the life of the universe, in water and skies and land and light."

Ahhh...Now that is something worth striving for in 2008 and beyond!

I have chosen Harris' art and sentiment to set the tone for my New Year. I hope these images will help me move away from my own littleness and embrace the universe more deeply. That is what I am reaching for. In art, in life, in spirit. I want to tune out (or at least tune down) the overwhelming chaos of details for the greater meaning that lies just under the skin. It feels good to a unifying philosophy to connect both my artistic and soulful quests. We'll see how far I get!

It certainly does help knowing that I will be traveling the roads ahead with my dear POBL friends. The journey is so much nicer when you are along. Happy 2008 everyone! And as Mary Oliver might ask this time of year, “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?”



tlc illustration said...

Lovely lovely thoughts Sarah. You are much more poetic in your calendar choices. his year I have a desk calender of daily examples of "forgotten English" (bizarre phrases that you've never heard of!) and a wall calender featuring - *chocolate*.... That seems apropos for me - losing my brain and surviving on cocoa...

Rebecca Bush said...

I love those Canadian landscape painters! Thanks for sharing this image and those sentiments. Separating from the "littleness", from the ego that keeps us from "sharing completely" is a great goal indeed.

isobel said...

Sarah - thank you for your beautiful sentiment... You are precious and help us realize how to savor every moment. A good time to reflect on the worthy things to strive for this year. This sentiment is completely shared by me! Maybe that's what I mean in my Part 1 blog listing about my goal being to have a top priority - it's to get to 1. realize my top priority and then 2. to not let the bottom priorities distract and capture all my attension, keeping me from the top priority!