Life and Art

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As the New Year approaches, yet still in the spirit of Christmas, I found myself taking pictures of the holiday decorations around our home. The idea started with the live poinsettia plant I brought home from church yesterday and placed on the mosaic table in our little atrium. It looked so beautiful out there with the brilliant red petals in full bloom. I didn’t know how long it would last so I wanted a picture of it before it waned.

Well, that tiny thought and the feeling that stirred within me  started a chain reaction of my wanting pictures of many of the decorations around our home.  We are planning to move in 2020, God willing, and I want to remember this house and what may be  our last Christmas in it.  I am in a nostalgic state of mind this holiday season as the hopes of moving closer to some of our grandchildren approaches reality.  It is as exciting as it is daunting, the idea of being geographically closer to some of our family brings with it the reality of moving away from other family, friends, and a city we’ve known for thirty two years to start over completely! Yikes! Change is bittersweet! I know some people do this moving thing a lot and they likely wouldn’t have much empathy for us but believe me when I say this is a BIG DEAL – for us!  This news will be a surprise to some but I have been letting people know of our plans when I have the opportunity.  If I missed telling you, please forgive me, good folks.  But this is not really the purpose of this post.  

In my snapping pictures, I was reminded several times through the years when a beloved decoration became inspiration for me to paint or draw it. Sometimes the motivation was for the purpose of a Christmas card image, although it has been several years since I have made that sort of effort.  More often than not I simply felt inspired and tried to interpret and express what I saw before me though not in a photorealistic manner.  I think the study of what moves an artist to create is a worthy analysis and I have several books that help explain the creative process in depth. I hope I am not oversimplifying this by focusing on the obvious, but for me, life and art go hand in hand.  Inspiration (and it has many sources) is experienced on the inside of a person and if he or she allows it to come outside of their mind and become, to give birth to its existence, I would coin it “Out”spiration.

It isn’t a word, look it up if you must. But it should be. Input, output also explain it and they are actual words. But people make up words all the time so if we have inspiration why can’t we have outspiration?  Inspiration is like breathing in and outspiration is like breathing out. Inhale life, exhale art (in all its many forms, find your bliss!)

Holiday spirit is often given form for us to enjoy by someone else’s inspiration as seen in the photos below on the left. Then the observer feels something stirring inside them and he or she wants to express that feeling or idea. So the inspiration, the input, becomes the outspiration, the output, and art is created. Without judgement of the quality of the product created, it is the process that I believe is a birthright for every human being, a gift of God.

The photos below on the right are my outspirations of the inspirations on the left. I will go to my grave one day knowing that this process matters and is accessible to all who seek to experience it. The joy this brings is a life spring and makes my life worth living.  I am in awe of the outspirations of others, the many forms and ways to express creativity. It is a vocation to follow the creative path where life becomes art.  I will breathe my last breath knowing my journey to follow the art was my passion and purpose in life.  May you find yours as well!  As the holiday decorations and memories are tucked away for another year, may we be open to inspiration in 2020 and have courage to let our outspirations come forth!

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