Thursday, March 22, 2012

Making the world a more beautiful place

First of all; it starts with something internal. Somewhere in that interface between our senses and the outer world a breath of joy is inhaled and the concept of Beauty overwhelms us. We feel small in the face of it even as we feel exalted to behold such magnificence.
Beauty like God is the outward projection of the human soul. And being human the degradation of both God and Beauty seems inevitable. Our current situation demands our attention as the balance has been tipped decidedly in the direction of that degradation. Here's a case in point. I had just finished a painting of a reclining nude woman. A guy stopped over and looked at the painting. "Man, would I like to do her." he said. I laughed. I'm used to hearing it. But there's something tragic in our culture when Beauty is not something that makes us feel reverence but rather lust. Open any magazine and pictures of beautiful women abound with one object; to sell us something. Beauty is in our culture constantly prostituted for profit. And so when I do a painting of a beautiful woman my motives are suspect as well. I spend long hours fashioning an image which to me is a sacred invocation to the spiritual aspect of life and the response is a titillation akin to the images passed around on cell phones at construction sites.
The common person has always been prone to this kind of debasement. Shakespeare understood this as did the theater owners of Elizabethan England. They set an area close to the stage for the "groundlings" to make rude jests and obscene comments. But given the enormous power of even the common person of today to alter the environment, to consume natural resources, and to acquire stuff it no longer suffices to accept this side of human behavior. We must and we will elevate ourselves and our fellow humans. Beauty, the Sacred, and God have restored place in our hearts if our hearts are opened. The cleansing of the doors of perception is imminent. The signs are everywhere.

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