Art Appreciators

 

— Posted by Artist  Anne Bialke

Isn’t it lucky for us artists that there are so many people who appreciate art?

Think of all the things there are in this world to be interested in and follow– NASCAR, ferret showing, building miniatures and creating dollhouses, bass fishing, curling, recreating Civil War battles!  Not to mention professional sports. Occasionally I’ll stumble upon some new realm of which I was entirely ignorant, and be surprised– and sometimes amused.  When we got a pug, sort of by accident, I went online to do a little research about the breed and was astonished at all the people who seemed to have a tremendous amount of time AND the desire (!) to dress their pugs as everything from Louis XVI to a lobster.  Who knew?

But art cuts across the lines of  specialty interests.  The universal truths embodied in the work of talented and sensitive people about life, about nature, and about ourselves, seem to transcend the niche areas of many other passing fancies.  People who have no idea how to draw, paint or sculpt are attracted to and interested in art for what it says to them.  There are messages buried deep within art that speak to the viewer, the appreciator, in a language they immediately understand, even if they can not articulate what it is about that particular piece that awakened that response.

Recently a group of women from the Art Club of the Ithaca AAUW came to my studio.  It was a lot of work to get ready for their visit, as my studio seriously needed cleaning and organizing before I was ready to welcome the general public, and it was hot that week.  My studio is on the second floor of our old farmhouse.  It was about eighty-five degrees up there as I was crawling around in the lofted space, straightening and cleaning and sweating like mad. At a certain point in any such endeavor you ask yourself whether the whole thing is worth it. Wouldn’t it have been a lot smarter to just be out of town on that date?

 Well, the studio got cleaned up, the vacuum put away just as the first of them arrived.  After they were settled on chairs hastily assembled from all over the house,  I asked them if they were painters themselves, and while a couple of them allowed that they dabbled, they introduced themselves as art appreciators.  Suddenly a little door clicked open in my head and all of the work was worth it.   It struck me again, not for the first time, how grateful I am to them and people like them.  Without them and nameless others I have no audience, no one with which to share my observations and passions.  Whether they know what I know, or appreciate the finer points of the technique involved in making a painting isn’t the point.  They are there, waiting to be engaged, looking on, interested and approving.  They are enthusiastic and full of enjoyment.   There are few artists who can claim that EVERYONE likes their work.  But all of us, I think, could safely say that SOMEONE likes our work, from the veriest beginner to the most accomplished among us.  If we have something sincere to say and say it clearly, chances are we’ll find an audience to share our thought.

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