Friday, November 25, 2011

Christmas Decorating and others thoughts

Today was decorating day...the day when the decorations of 11 months are put away for a vacation! While not quite as thorough as years past (there was no village this year), I was pretty much able to decorate the house for the coming holidays... in one day! And that included having to repair several items including installing a new stand for our Christmas tree! It fell over, mostly decorated, when the broken leg re-glued with Super Glue and duct tape failed. A trip to Target for a new stand and several attempts to make it stand again, finally got the 20+ old fake tree to stand upright (there is a chair leaning against it just in case it can't make it through the night).

Blending decorations of 30+ years and 60 + years inherited from my in-laws who ONLY collected Santas, you begin to realize a certain pattern in Christmas decorations. Colors, shapes, themes. I reflected on the fact that one glance was enough to tell you what something was. It was the different ones - due to color, shape, even theme that stopped you and actually made you look at them. 

It dawned on me that too much of the same thing was two things: comforting and boring.

How much of life falls into these categories? None of us could actually handle a life where nothing is the same and every opening door was a new experience. We all want our lives to be mostly predictable. Yet, often we think that so much of our lives are boring. Face it, we can't have it both ways. 

The arts - music, art, sculpture, movies, the theater, books, even architecture are attempts to give us variety. While we want things that bring us ease and comfort, often it is the thing that is just different enough that captures our attention. Hence the Christmas ornament that follows the theme, but is enough different that it causes you to pause, look at it for a moment and possibly give it a place of honor, that captures our attention.

Crafts and art often fall into this same category. We think we want something that is familiar yet often pause and look at something that is not. Why? What arrested you? Do we often close our eyes to a different vision? Colors that are not quite our style or favorites? 

We forget that today, after over a century, the Impressionists of the 1860's through the early 20th century  were vilified by their peers. The Salon decided that these artists were not suitable for selection to the finest galleries of their day. Yet, if you love art, who doesn't know Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Degas and so many others? Their paintings literally showed a world of light, color and beauty in their surroundings that shimmer even today. Does anyone remember the artists of the Salon?

When you view the creations of your peers today, and yes, not all are of wonderful execution or quality, I do urge you to try to understand what their artistic vision was. Some are just better than others. Does that make their statement any less relevant?

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