Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Art and Beauty

I had to take my car to the shop the other day to get an estimate on some body work I need done (IMHO a little unnoticeable ding but to my husband, an embarrassing eyesore!) The estimator spent about 15 minutes explaining my options to me, waving his hands over the car as he did so. You could tell he enjoys his work. As I was pulling away, I noticed a tech getting ready to pull a wrecked car into the garage. And I wondered if he looked at that car as a kind of blank canvas, or ugly lump of clay, just waiting for him to draw out the beauty.

Later that week, I was in a meeting at work where several members of our accounting group were explaining some of their processes to our group of sales and customer service personnel. I swear I saw their eyes light up as they elaborated on what seemed to be tedious and mind-boggling procedures.

And that got me thinking, I wonder if everyone sees beauty in what they do, if they view their work as art. Or is that reserved for certain personality types?

For me, beauty emerges when things work together properly. When I can have a hand in that, all the better. When words line up as they should, to draw forth a picture of what is most true, that's beautiful to me. When I'm cooking and ingredients come together just right, and flavors marry well, that's beautiful to me. I don't often find this in my day job, although occasionally, when I'm working on a big project that requires a lot of creative thinking to pull things together, I get a glimpse of beauty in a very odd sort of way. Back in the day, I used to do quite a bit of artwork - mostly calligraphy, sign lettering, some graphic design and a bit of watercolor and pen and ink work. That, although art and enjoyable, was not necessarily beauty to me. Why? It usually didn't involve much creativity.

How important is beauty to you? How do YOU perceive beauty? Do you feel compelled to create beauty, or are you content to just enjoy it? I ask, mostly out of curiosity, wanting to get a glimpse of how others view work and life. Is your work beautiful or do you find it elsewhere? I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Becky said...

Oh, great questions. I appreciate beauty in the things that I cannot do I guess. I appreciate a beautiful painting or drawing because I cannot paint or draw.

But I get satisfaction from the beauty that I can participate in. And that involves more creativity. Like the beauty in a quilt or nicely decorated room, or a lovely table setting.

I rarely ever look at a person and see beauty. I think a beautiful person is beautiful on the inside, so I don't really look at the outside as much.

Well, you know, except for children. A beautiful child is just about the most beautiful thing in the world.

Tami Boesiger said...

Great questions, Dianne. I think the desire to create beauty is what makes me unsatisfied with most things I write. I want the words to take people's breath away. No pressure there, huh?

I'd say I have the desire to view beauty and create it. Do you think the desire to create it comes from the appreciation of beauty when I see it?

I see beauty in art, music and writing, but mostly in people and their relationship to each other. I love seeing it in the transforming work of God in a person too. Truly, we are His canvas.

Thanks for getting my motor going tonight, Dianne!

Katrina said...

Well, I know I *don't* see beauty in cleaning the house. :)

Your post made me think though, and I discovered that one place I often see beauty is in my boys. I can't necessarily take credit for it, but seeing them learn and grow and accomplish and develop character is truly beautiful to me. And I pray that my attempts at being a good Mom will be fruitful in their lives.

I appreciate the beauty in music (though I can't create it!), and in nature, and in words. And when it comes to words, I hope to create a little beauty there too -- even if it's just in a note left on the coffee pot for Chad or an email to a far-away friend.

Debra said...

Great post! You touched on onething I find beauty in almost every week-- I absolutely love to watch people who are doing what God created them to do. There is such joy and contentment all over their bodies. I find great art and beauty in that.

And I need to be reminded to find the art in what I do, too, so thanks for that reminder! Blessings, (and thanks for your comments at my blog!)...Debra

Barb said...

Oh, I much prefer to see beauty than to try to create it. When you're looking for it, it shows up in the smallest places. Something as simple as my new granddaughter's eyes, to me, is beautiful.

And I'm much better at discovering beauty than I'll ever be at creating it.

Sharon said...

I don't think everyone sees the beauty in their work - the world would be a better place if they did! Maybe certain personalities always find the beauty, but for the most part I think the ones who see beauty in what they do, are doing what they love. :)

My husband does paint and body work. I wouldn't say he sees beauty in the work, but he does love his work, and he takes pride in putting the beauty BACK into a vehicle that has been wrecked. He's not satisfied until he has it back to as good as new, if not better :)

I love beauty in it's expected forms, but even more, I love to find beauty where you least expect it.

Jennifer, Snapshot said...

Oooh, that's interesting, and I don't even know. I don't think that "beauty" is important to me, but I do think in terms of "creation," which is maybe the same thing??

Seeing vegetables grow in the garden, seeing some thoughts come together as a piece of writing, seeing my children grown and change.

But to answer your question, I never got excited about my job work. I think that has to do with passion and purpose. Some people's passion and purpose IS their job, while other people fulfill that need in different places.