Friday, July 22, 2011

The SMA, Bookstores, and Friends.

I finally made it to the SMA to gaze upon the lovely works of John Hafen. I think he just might be my new favorite painter. He has all the painterly stroke work of any impressionist artist without the scandal (although, I have to admit, sometimes the scandal is fun).
It really crushes me when people view a painting and they think it's "boring". Tolstoy said that one characteristic of great art can be measured by the intention behind it.

"I sense and realize the necessity of cultivating my talent God has bestowed upon His children, from the very fact that He is the giver of all gifts and it remains for us to put them to good and legitimate use. “…if it should ever fall to my lot to receive assisting in this way, and then return the same by decorating our beautiful Temple, or other necessary work which the church might see fit to have done, I would esteem it to the highest honor and the crowning point of my ambition" (Letter from John Hafen to George Q. Cannon, 25 March, 1890).

What if we all saw the "crowning points of our ambitions" as helping to build the kingdom of God, through our talents?
There are many paintings that are just not my taste; southwestern landscapes being my least favorite. But even looking at them, I can't help but think that someone put their whole soul into that work's creation, hoping to express something that would remotely convey what they feel to be truth about the world.
Forest Interior, 1901-John C. Hafen
You can know a person by their creations.
I suppose that's why I feel so intimately acquainted with the artists I study. The paintings and the painters become great friends of mine.
I feel the same way about books.
Books are my dearest friends. They always have been my dearest friends. No matter what else fails me, I know that the pages of any Austen novel will always provide a happy ending, that Jane Eyre will always end up with Mr. Rochester, and that Scarlett can always go back home to Tara. Always.
We went to Border's that same night, and I was able to see some of these old friends. I caressed the covers, looking into their new faces. Some friends I hadn't seen in ages. Some I had forgotten about. I lifted up the books, entranced by some of the new cover designs. They are beautiful. And the pages just look so fresh. They yearn to be read!
When I grow up, I want my house to be filled with friends: art, books, but most importantly, people.

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