Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Spirit's Storyteller

Ana's Thought: "In Art, the Divine and Human meet."
Words are among the most deft tools creative spirits use to construct their masterpieces, but the barriers of languages may prevent beauty from soaring into eager hearts. That is why visual art is such a gift -- when we wish to broadcast our soul's desires to the world, we must only look to our paints and pencils. Meaning can be lost between tongues and translations, but art is understood instantly. The eyes, the mind, and the heart are fluent in its extraordinary language.
It is no wonder, then, that religious revelations around the world have spread through visual storytelling. When our souls are stirred, we are moved to create and share! When words cannot capture the immensity of a tale, an image can depict majesty and emotion in ways that are deeply felt. Masterpieces of such unshakable meaning are snapshots in time of when the touch of divinity enlightened mankind.
The breath of divine inspiration has brought such fantastically diverse works into being! The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, painted by the gifted hands of Michelangelo, is a triumph of creation. Within its remarkable frescoes, viewers travel through biblical scenes brought to life. When one lifts their eyes to take in the exquisite details, they lift their eyes to Heaven.
In India, the mysteries of creation also inspired works of mythic brilliance. Astoundingly meticulous and skilled artists paid tribute to the surreal beauty of Shiva Nataraja, the god whose dance of destruction paves the way for the birth of a new universe. Gazing upon sculptures of this powerful deity ringed in sacred fire, you can feel the rhythm of his movements, breathtaking in grace and poise.
Both spirituality and art stoke the embers of our imagination, calling upon us to see beyond our sight and all that separates us, opening our eyes to the truth alive in each soul. They are the bright lights that guide us into supreme awareness. Most importantly, they illuminate us in hope, assuring us that our faith and persistence will open the gates of infinite possibilities of universal Love and Peace!

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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Capturing History on Canvas

Ana's Thought: "Original Art is a signpost for history."
When it seems to us that all is standing still, the earth's dance through space goes on - and so we are all taken for a fantastic voyage! We strive to capture events as they occur so that our history is not lost from us while moments, months, decades slip by. We wish to share the lessons we learn and our great accomplishments with all people, because each is a chapter in the collective story of mankind.
Records of time are kept in words so that future generations can read and reference to the journeys of those who came before them. Photos allow us to see how things were by capturing an instant, transporting us into the past. But art is the most unique of all our historical records - it enables us to experience the emotions of lost eras. Art communicates in ways that words and photos simply cannot.
Great art can define an age. As we walk down the path of man's existence, our eyes are drawn to the gilded majesty of the Renaissance, the soft, delicate grace of Impressionism, the breathtaking intricacy of Art Nouveau. With movements of such magnitude, the work becomes a part of the everyday, not confined to museum walls or frames. At its most powerful, art transcends any niche or scene to truly become the property of all - a force of life.
Art also serves as a cultural thermometer, indicating to viewers the political and social climate of its time. Picasso's magnificent and tragic Guernica spoke directly to the hearts of all who suffered through the Spanish Civil War. Changes in the nature of France's art spoke of the nation's unrest at the time of its Revolution - the shallow beauty of the Rococo style was abandoned in favor of stern, heroic Neo-classicism. Mankind turns to art to reflect on the shifting world, allowing us to process our emotional responses and find that we are never alone.
Artists of the present day must consider what record they are leaving behind for the generations to come. It is simple to become trapped in the details of just 'being,' neglecting the Big Picture - but if we do not strive to paint our era with the colors of beauty, how will we be remembered? May we use our gifts to both document the reality of our time and to work toward a better world where Love and Peace flourish.
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Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A Prescription for the Soul

Ana's Thought: "Artist, Paint out your Hurts and you will be Healed."
Reader, call to mind your favourite painting and visualize it clearly. Let your mind wander gaily between each hue and stroke; make yourself part of its composition. After swimming through this sweet moment of reflection, do you feel calmer? If so, you have just witnessed art's tremendous power to soothe!
One of the marks of a Masterpiece is the great serenity it contains - the Divine ability to transport us into worlds of breath-taking beauty when clouds obscure the beauty of our own reality. Recall the lavish scenes and decadent palette found in Boticelli's work. When viewing The Birth of Venus, can you not hear the wind rustling the falling petals, feel the gentle waves lapping at your feet? Or envision Monet's enchanting water lily paintings with their dappled light and soft swirls of muted glory. The works are alive, beckoning us to release our worries - your eyes are delighted and your Soul breathes a sigh of relief! Such is the mark of art that man returns to time and time again, century after century. Within these Masterpieces, the gentle Hand of the Great Spirit reaches out to comfort us.
And this power to restore is very real! An increasing number of studies have investigated the link between the happiness of the mind and the health of the body. The field of psychoneuroimmunology explores the ways stress and negative thoughts affect physical and mental well-being. It has been found that surrounding yourself with positivity and beauty has a fantastic ability to heal. In the instant you see a gorgeous bloom, your heart reacts and you smile. When you focus on the Good in life, you bring even more Goodness to yourself.
The healing power of art extends beyond enjoyment of existing work. The act of making art has long been viewed as a therapeutic way to cope with ills of the body and mind. A blank canvas or page is a place to pour out all of your strife and transform it into something magnificent, a gift worthy of sharing. To the artist, creation is your truest confidante, the one to whom you bear all of your secrets. It offers relief that no medicine can bring - a pure prescription for healing the Soul, and the renewal of health and joy!

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Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Patrons of the Soul's Song

Ana's Thought: "Artist, paint what you really Love and the world will be your cheerleader in due Time."
When we look upon beautiful works made by the hands of men, we may be swept off in their purity, the directness of vision that turned ideas into masterpieces. In doing so, we are quick to forget that no man - even the brightest, most inspired among us - creates entirely in isolation. History has taught us that the road to success is far more pleasant to walk upon when you are blessed with a companion at your side to champion your efforts.
For Georgia O'Keeffe, Alfred Stieglitz was such a champion. He realized the merit of her art immediately after he was given a sample of her sketches. Many exhibitions of her work, including an annual solo showcase, came to be through his insistence and dedication. He cultivated her acclaim with diligence. As a photographer and gallery owner, Stieglitz served as witness to her work and her life. The pair mutually influenced each other's art. By the time of Stieglitz's death, Georgia O'Keeffe was a name known throughout the world - and without his constancy and devotion to her gift, she may have fallen into obscurity. Truly, it is remarkable how great a difference it makes when there is someone who believes fully in your ability!
Though Vincent van Gogh did not find such a companion in life, his legacy was protected and brought into bloom by an equally significant caretaker. His sister-in-law, Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, was the driving force behind the preservation and presentation of his art. When Johanna's husband, an esteemed art dealer, passed away, she took the reins of his business. Through years of observing her husband's trade, Johanna made it her mission to bring van Gogh's magnificent pieces into the limelight. Without her efforts, his paintings would have been forgotten, abandoned to all time with dust to dull their brilliance. When we stand in awe of the master, we must pause to appreciate those gifted with the foresight to give him praise, well before the world took notice.
When you set to task at your easel or desk and feel the weight of uncertainty press upon you, do not be afraid. Set your mind at ease - just trust in your ability to create wondrous things. When your work is done, share it with those dearest to your heart. Not only will they ease the burden of doubt, you will find them eager to sing of your talents to the world! When all is said and done, how sweet it will be to celebrate your victories in the company of those who knew you would overcome all along - the patrons of your soul's song.

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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Let Your Banner Fly

Ana's Thought: "The Greatest Art is a true mirror of the Artist's soul--out of step with the fashion of its time but in step with timelessness."

Shakespeare famously wrote, "To thine own self, be true." But when your words and actions are met with negativity, you may feel your spirit sinking down. How can we learn to withstand the withering blows of doubt, both from ourselves and from others?

When waves of doubt wash over you, look upon history for inspiration. Uniqueness and diligence are the co-authors of all progress, the forces sculpting cultures across the world. Those few bright runners carried within them the courage to speak, experiment, and create freely, even in the face of rejection. In doing so, they elevated the consciousness of all. They are the stars we follow when we cannot find our way, the charts with which we plot our course.

Galileo's revelations about the workings of the solar system were rejected by the people of his age. He was considered a heretic and was cast out from society. James Joyce, whose works have been subject to praise and scorn alike, did not let the opinions of others halt his creation. Curie, Van Gogh, Woolf, Keats, Thoreau... We have no shortage of fantastically unique--and, at times, divisive--individuals to study!

The great Mystery that is the Wisdom of the universe places the heaviest burdens on those who are destined to prove their strength and overcome - for they also possess the greatest promise. The power to rise when adversity calls is part of each of us, and it is both hardy and delicate; we must care for it tenderly so that it will come to bear fruit. Always recall that your soul is a precious creation unlike any that has come before it in time. Written within it are the words of a truth that only you can know. We are called to celebrate the gift of individuality by sharing our unique truth with the world.

When you feel as though a shadow has been cast over you, do not surrender. Set your sights higher and no one shall be able to beat you down. Dare to fly your banner proudly! When you carve your own path to walk upon, you join a grand tradition of bold explorers. The doubters will be lost to time; the truly original will resound throughout the ages. Persist and persevere so that your name will find its place among history's legends!

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