Seeing and Experiencing Poignancy

“Being away for two months had given everyone the rector knew, and Mitford (hometown) as well, a fresh, almost poignant reality.”

         A Light in the Window,   Jan Karon author

This quote hit me with strength.  I’ve had moments in my life that have been similar.  Such delicious moments.  And yet I wondered how this would be received in an art appreciation blog.  What’s the connection between this quote and art appreciation, I asked myself. Well, I reasoned with myself, how did the rector realize that everyone he knew and his hometown environment were poignant?  In my own life, I sensed this similar quality to the greatest degree through my visual senses.  When I saw people and things that were poignant, or as if I was seeing them for the first time, (I guess I already leaked the answer), it was primarily through my vision and body, emotional and mind’s response to the visual scene I observed. And maybe my soul’s response to what I observed too.

Which leads me to think of the visual arts. Does this experience add to my enjoyment of people and environments in the visual arts? At times, yes to the highest degree.

Have you ever experienced something like this in your life?

I hope so.

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What Does Your Season Look Like?

“Here it set red maples on fire; there it turned oaks russet and yellow.  Fat persimmons became the shade of  melted gold, waiting for frost to turn their bitter flesh to honey.”

Jan Karon, author of ‘These High Green Hills’

“Merely walking out the door of the door of the rectory was invigorating.  It was if he’d come back from the grave, given the dazzling, living energy of every green thing he saw.”

Jan Karon, author of ‘These High Green Hills

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”


I’ve been thinking about the two big holidays coming up.  Thanksgiving is coming up in a couple days.  Christmas is a month away.  Both holidays here in the  United States have a lot of traditional colors and specific items for each holiday.  Thanksgiving’s main colors are orange, yellow, red, and brown while Christmas’s main colors are red, white and green.  Of course there are many other intense colors associated with the holidays mentioned.

For us, the nights are getting longer and the daylight time getting shorter.  And I think the longer nights add to the vividness of the colors we see, both inside the houses and outside where lights on houses, buildings and trees and other decorations in yards and on poles help brighten our nights and days.

Thanksgiving is a day we celebrate the harvest of the summer and the transition to winter.  We give thanks to Mother Earth for the bountiful food and for all the many things we have in our lives-friends, family, love and caring, a child’s laughter, the sun coming up each day, strong coffee, busy traffic, someone smiling, the rain, especially the rain in a drought which nourishes the ground, the plants, the rivers, the farms, the fish and the people.  We have so much to be thankful for.  I continue to bring the practice of gratitude into my daily life.

Christmas  is a religious holiday, but it’s become more than that too.  Along with Thanksgiving, Christmas also has a sacredness about it.  In our darkest days, the story says that the sacred came to be born.  I understand there is an Asian ‘Festival of  Lights’ near the time of our Christmas.  There is so much we share with each other.  This holiday  is about children, giving, magic, family and friends, love, traditions and more.

In this time of sacredness and traditions, may  you enjoy the gifts of the holidays and the visual elements-colors, traditional items, smiling faces, lights, leaves, turkey, a table with food and friends and family.

Does the sacredness and the traditions of these holidays help you enjoy what you see?  And does what you see help you enjoy the season changes?

I included a quote for you who are experiencing the spring in the Southern Hemisphere.  Do you have holidays that you celebrate where ever you are that are different from Thanksgiving and Christmas?  Please let me know what your holidays or traditions are at your home at this change of season.  Please leave a comment.  Not only would I enjoy your comments, but others would enjoy them as well.

May you have a blessed season change where ever you are.  And may you enjoy being able to see these happy moments.

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Deepening Your Connection to Visual Surroundings

“You’re dreaming of a beautiful multicolor forest, floating through the scenery and admiring the flora, when a small cottage appears in a clearing ahead.  You recognize something in the light reflecting off the window, a sense that you’ve been here before, in a distant dream’.

Dream Deja Vu, Michelle Carr, Author

Psychology Today

A Short Review of Posts

 All the posts in this new blog have centered on connecting to your visual surroundings of your everyday life.  One step by another step, you have considered many ideas and questions.  You have considered:

  • that something as simple as the shadow of a hand and doorknob may have an impact not only on your day, but in a mysterious way in your spiritual life.  A Visual Image Makes Me Pause post.
  • that the connection to a visual image or art piece may feel deep.  What May Be Possible When You Connect with a Work of Art or Image
  • that the dictionary definition of beauty may have some surprises. And that realistically it looks like ‘art is in the eye of the beholder’ is true.  Do You Think You Know What Beauty Means post.
  • that facing a loss of life and recovering caused one person to consider, for the first time, that the shape of a leaf and the color of water in a pool and other ordinary objects were beautiful.  Can we learn something from a woman who who faced a loss of her life and recovered to find beauty in the supposedly ordinary?  Look As If For The First Time post.
  • that a practice of looking for visual beauty in the restaurant business or any other practice may lead to an ability to appreciate new beauty or beauty in art.  Response to a Practiced Scene post.

In This Post

Now in this post, at this time, I’m kind of wondering how this information connects to  the past posts.  But in some way I know it does.  This is something that is developing over time.  I’m really not sure where it’s going.  An adventure. And here it is.

I’ve been a photographer off and on for years.  One of  the big ways I sharpen my eyes and practice a heart/mind connection to my visual surroundings is to take walks.  Yesterday I took a walk in a nearby town in an area I didn’t know.  I love exploring new areas by foot, by car and other means. I usually walk in residential and historic downtown areas.  If I get to an area that feels unsafe, I walk out the same way I went in.

Well, in yesterday’s walk in the new-to-me residential area I caught the sight of a vacant lot with no sidewalk.  As sometimes happens, I thought of country scenes or earlier times in our country.  I thought of country scenes close to nature.  I thought of nature.  It was a kind of deja vu from an earlier time, maybe from the 1800’s.  I felt an instant peace and well being.

As with the rest of the walk, I tried to guess when the neighborhood was built.  Then I tried to remember what life was like during that time. I’m guessing that neighborhood was built in the 1970’s or 1980’s, a time I remember. But I kept coming back to the scene of the empty lot, and the vision of nature and countryside.

Later I thought about several paintings in the art gallery in another city near me.  They were traditional beautiful paintings from the late  1800’s.  The one painting I remember well had a family of field workers in a field preparing lunch on a small fire. I’m drawn to being outside and in nature and the paintings and photos I like are often on that topic.  My friend who accompanied me to the art gallery had very different favorite paintings.

What makes your heart sing? Gleaming skyscrapers, family scenes, nature, restaurant scenes or historical scenes or something else entirely?

Do you connect with historical periods?  Can you look around you as you go to errands, work, get togethers with friends and family or other travels?  Do you ever get a sense of deja vu at some scenes?  Can you imagine living in areas that you like or find interesting? Can you find a photo or painting that you’d like to imagine being in?

I hope so.  May you, in some way over the next week or so, feel some kind of a connection with your visual surroundings.

Copyright(c)2013-2014 by Lynn Fosnaught. All rights reserved.  You may translate, link to or quote this article in its entirety, as long as you include the author’s name and a working link back to this Commercial use or selling of this article is prohibited.

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Look As If For The First Time

“I also appreciated ordinary things-the color of a flower, the shape of a leaf.  Because I was in that bed so long, I was in awe of how beautiful the flowers were.  How beautiful the pool water was.  I’m still finding beauty in these things.  I still see them as wonderful and amazing, how perfect so many things are and how a creator could do all that” .


I read an article in a newspaper about Sally.  She had surgery and due to complications was put into a medically induced coma, for five months.  Three times the family was called to come to the hospital to say goodbye to her.  Yet she survived all these experiences which ‘taught me to look for miracles in life’. And as the above quote goes, one of the miracles she experienced was being able to look at flowers, water and everyday things in her experience as beautiful.  Maybe in one sense she was able to ‘look at things as if for the first time’.

I’m not Sally, but in some way was it facing the loss of life that helped her to see the beauty in the colors and shapes of everyday things that she took for granted before her illness?

Have you or anyone you know experienced something similar?  If so, that’s a precious gift.  On the other hand, I don’t believe that you need to face the loss of life to be able to look at something and find beauty in     colors, shapes, light and shadows of everyday scenes and objects.

Can you look for something this week in your surroundings and look to learn or notice something about these surroundings that you didn’t notice before?  If so, that’s great.  Do you want to sit with this moment of notice, think about it, review it in your mind and savor that moment no matter how large or small or do you want to move on?

Some Ideas of Things to Look for?

All of us are experiencing a change of seasons, whether we are in the Northern Hemisphere with the sun lowering in our sky, or in the Southern Hemisphere with the sun path rising in the sky.  Painters, photographers and other visual artists talk about the light and shadows in their work.  They notice what area of their painting or photo is in direct light, or indirect light which can be a little darker, or the darker shadows.

During sunrise wherever you are, if the sunlight comes into your house, where is the light landing?  In my house, during the summer, the early morning light fell on my door.  Now in the fall, the light falls on my nearby bookcase.   And now, the light falls on my hands when I prepare breakfast.  How about where you live?  At the sunrise time period, are the shadows outside long or short?  Look again around noon. Are they shorter or longer?

If you’re in a cloudy area, do you see a mist outside?  Is the mist a little lighter or darker than the nearby area? Do you see different shades of grey?  Do you see a little blue color in the grey?  Are the clouds one color of grey, or are the clouds, grey, white and open sky blue?  One day I was driving in the rain and I drove to the top of an overpass, a bridge of sorts, and I loved the scene before me.  The sky was all grey.  Really the whole scene was different shades of grey with a shade of blue in the distance and lighter grey in the distance.  I loved it all.

A couple other questions.  Where is the sun at dusk, as the sun goes down?  Where are the lighter areas and where are the darker areas in the scenes before you?

Did you notice anything?

I hope so.

I believe that if you can find beauty and awareness of visual features in your surroundings, your ability to appreciate art will change and increase.

Aluna Joy sent me a business card from her business,, and I loved the message, ‘Act as if everything is Sacred’.  I think Sally found this way of thinking and when I can sense the sacred in things, I think I find more beauty.  This isn’t necessary  for anyone to sense beauty, but it may help.

Copyright (c) 2013-2014 by Lynn Fosnaught.  All rights reserved.  You may translate, link to or quote this article, in its entirety, as long as you include the author’s name and a working link back to this website:  Any other use of this article is prohibited.

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Response to a Practiced Scene

Beauty happens unexpectedly but it comes out of a practice of attention and humility’.

Tom Jay, Sculptor

‘Art as a Way of Life’, Rod MacIver

Recently I saw a movie which portrayed a family who owned a restaurant and every member of the family worked in different ways to make their restaurant a happy, crowded, festive affair of food.  The movie showed the careful and loving choice of flavors for their feasts.

Then they decided to make a big move to a foreign country far away.  They traveled many miles without finding a place that that seemed to fit what they were wanted.  At the next point unable to go any further because of car problems, they were generously given shelter, which they openly and gratefully accepted.  But then, sitting at a table in the kitchen in a foreign land and with people they didn’t know, the hungry family was presented with a large platter of simple, colorful, vibrant and delicious food, that in many ways was different from their customary food.  And the family swooned.  With years of preparing, tasting, smelling, and arranging their own food for their customers and themselves, they swooned and felt ever so grateful for this sight of beautiful food in front of them.  They spent time just taking in the colors, arrangement and details they didn’t know about.  Carefully smelling and feeling the food with great pleasure, they slowly and joyously ate the delicious food, listening to explanations of what the food was, how it was prepared and where it came from.  At times I enjoy food in a similar manner.  I couldn’t help but think as I watched this scene, that this family too thought that this platter of food was beautiful too in so many ways.

There is a practice called ‘mindfulness’, which if I understand it correctly means to become aware of one’s own senses, sight, smell, taste, touch, hearing and being in the moment.  And it is a practice.  It’s something that can get better with practice as with this family with all of its years of preparing, smelling, tasting and arranging food made the family’s experience with this platter of new food a deeply experienced event.

And so it is with art appreciation.  This family practiced an attention to the details over the years of the beauty of each piece of food, the arrangement, the taste and to other details not mentioned to make the total experience something that customers wanted to experience again.

This family may also have the ability to enjoy paintings and photos of any part of the restaurant business, the kitchen, food, eating, going to the market, if they were open to the experience, in ways that others may not be able to experience, unless they too have a connection to these events.  These events of the senses, sight, mind and heart.

So, do you think a practice of attention to the visual realms of real life, paintings and photos will deepen your sense of appreciation to art one step at a time?  Just maybe, yes?

P.S.  In the movie, both the colors, bold and vivid, and the lighting, golden and sun drenched, were exquisite!

Copyright (c) 2013-2014 by Lynn Fosnaught.  All rights reserved.  You may translate, link to or quote this article, in its entirety, as long as you include the author’s name and a working link back to this website: Any other use of this article is prohibited.

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Do You Think You Know What ‘Beauty’ Means?

Sometimes I think I’m more confused now about the process of being moved by art and real scenes in life than I was before I started this blog.  Not long ago.  I know I’ve been moved by art and visual moments in real life for years.  Now after writing down some thoughts and some ways of looking at this topic, it’s expanding and connecting to places I didn’t expect. So now what?

Maybe the next step should be to find a definition of ‘beauty’.  What do you think beauty means?  Let’s see what a dictionary says.

Definition of ‘beauty’:

The quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestation (as shape, color, sound, etc.) a design or pattern or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest). 

A beautiful thing, as a work of art or building

A beautiful person.


I like this definition of ‘beauty’ in that it offers the emotions of ‘intense pleasure and deep satisfaction to the mind’ in response to a work of art or shape or color among other things.  I would like to add to this definition of ‘intense pleasure and deep satisfaction to the mind’  and to the heart.  This broadens the mental and emotional response that could be possible.  And it makes it that much more interesting.

Does this mean that everyone will agree on what’s beautiful?

I think you know the answer to this question, or at least many may agree that ‘no, not everyone will agree on the appeal of a work of art’. We’re all so wonderfully different that the old time saying, beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ really says it all. Some art has a broader appeal and other maybe less so, but on a wider scale it’s possible to see that there are very different art pieces that appeal to different people.

So, did you find this month a work of art or scene from real life that gave you intense pleasure or deep satisfaction in mind or in heart?  If not, did you find this past month a work of art or scene from real life that gave you some satisfaction or some pleasure?  Can you be aware from time to time this month of your surroundings and the scenes that are there or art work in galleries or on walls in coffee shops or public buildings or in magazines?  There might be a surprise there.

So in this post we explored a beginning definition of beauty and the concept of ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder’.

Copyright (c) 2013-2014 by Lynn Fosnaught.  All rights reserved.  You may translate, link to or quote this article, in its entirety, as long as you include the author’s name and a working link back to this website: Any other use of this article is prohibited.

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What Might Be Possible When You Connect with a Work of Art or Image

               “The ancient roots of the word “art” have to do with connection, and art, at its best, is our connection to the mystery, to parts of ourselves that are deeper and truer than our day-to-day world.”  

Rod MacIver,  Author and Painter

In this post I want you to consider, or think about what might be possible when you connect with a visual work of art or a visual image from you day-to-day life.  I want you to consider or think about what might be possible in your mind and heart when you connect with a work of art or image from our every day life.  Really connect.

Inthe last post, ‘A Visual Image Makes Me Pause’, I described a moment in an early winter’s morning when I reached for the doorknob to go into the classroom where I would be working that day.  But I didn’t go inside before I noticed the shadow of my hand and doorknob really slanted on the door and door frame.  I had to stop and look.  There was something that made me pause.  There was something beautiful in that moment.  There was something comforting in that moment.  I remember that moment as if it was yesterday instead of the 25 years ago that it actually was.

And as I said in the last post,  I now believe it was a gift from the spiritual world, or whatever you may call it.  You may have a different name for it.

Now here I am 25 years later and I’ve had more experiences of connecting to the mystery, the grandness, the utter beauty of visual works of arts and our visual world we live in.

Have you ever been felt this way with a work of art or image from our world?  Have you ever felt this way at the edge of an ocean, or in the mountains or in nature, or with a painting or photo, or even with other types of art such as music, films and theater?  I hope so.

I’m not saying that this deep response to visual art and images is predictable, or happens often or is even controllable, or that we would even want to live in this wonderful feeling state all the time.  But it is wonderful when it happens and I think we can increase our chances of that happening with learning ways to appreciate art.

I’m hoping now you have a glimpse of how a deep reaction to the visual world is so beautiful and connecting.  Now I hope what might be possible with the visuals arts and world has sparked your interest.

Copyright (c)2013-2014 by Lynn Fosnaught.  All rights reserved.  You may translate, link to or quote this article in its entirety, as long as you include the author’s name and a working link back to this website:  Any other use of this article is prohibited.

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A Visual Image Makes Me Pause

Have you ever looked at something in your personal life or at a work of art of any kind and thought, ‘wow, this is beautiful’?  As I thought about this topic of beauty, I remembered a time many years ago in the early winter morning when I reached for the door knob and was struck by the image of my hand, door knob and the long slanted shadow that my hand and door knob made on the door and door frame.  In that moment and in that image there was something special that made me pause and really look.

I’m trying to find other words to describe this experience and I’m having a hard time.  As I think back on it now 25+ years later, I’m going to have to say that somehow this was a gift from the spiritual world, a moment of connection. It was so simple and so ordinary, yet I still remember that moment as if yesterday.

Have you ever had an experience where something visual has moved you in a positive way?  Have you ever been struck by the beauty of something ordinary?  Have you ever noticed the beauty of an object and its shadow?  Has something ever caught your eye by its appeal?


What was that like?  May you notice something in the near future and appreciate its quality of something extraordinary in the ordinary.


Copyright(c)2013-2014 by Lynn Fosnaught. All rights reserved.  You may translate, link to or quote this article in its entirety, as long as you include the author’s name and a working link back to this website: Commercial use or selling of  this article is prohibited.





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What is This Blog About?

Have you ever wondered how to take steps in developing a deeper appreciation of art?  Have you ever wondered and been interested in the process of creativity for artists?  Have you ever wondered if maybe you could be an artist?  Have you ever been drawn to beauty? This blog will be talking about these topics.

This is a blog that’s posted every 2-4 weeks and is intended to give you the readers an assortment of ways and perspectives to help you increase your appreciation of the visual arts-photos, paintings, sculptures, and mixed media presentations, although the focus will be mainly on paintings, photos and 2-D art.

We’ll be looking at our own physical environment, our homes, streets, trees, countryside, city scapes and more as art.  Secondly we’ll be looking closely at the visual arts already produced and thirdly we’ll be learning about the creative process of artists.  Lastly we’ll be looking at the philosophical, mental and emotional states that tend to increase the enjoyment of art.  And somewhere in there we’ll be navigating around beauty.  I am a seeker of what I find beautiful.

I hope this will be a journey that will be fun, thought provoking, interesting, surprising, fulfilling, puzzling, opening and wonderful!

Will you join me in exploring the visual art?

If you want to look at an article by itself, please click on the title of the article you want.  Then if you want to print it out or send it, you’ll be able to do that without printing out the entire blog.

Copyright (c)2013 by Lynn Fosnaught. All rights reserved.  You may translate, link to or quote this article, in its entirety, as long as you include the author’s name and a working link back to this website: Any other use of this article is prohibited.

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