‘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!
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