The Mountain Stream
1903, oil on canvas, 26 x 23 inches
Springville Museum of Art
My mom sent me this quote by LDS artist John Hafen this week:
“The influence of Art is so powerful in shaping our lives for a higher appreciation of the creations of our God that we cannot afford to neglect an acquaintance with it. We should be as eager for its companionship as we are eager for chairs to sit upon or for food to sustain our lives, for it has as important a mission in shaping our character and in conducing to our happiness as anything that we term necessities.”
When I read this I thought of a journal entry I wrote my last year in high school– the time I was trying to figure out exactly what it was I would do when I grew up. I wrote:
“”Art is the symptom of a soul.” ( That’s a quote from my English teacher Mr. Dempsey.) The very fabric of our being which separates the men from beasts is our ability to create, to think on abstract and elevated levels, and our awareness of those abilities. Whether the means be visual, literary, musical or physical– the arts are humanity’s vehicle to express self awareness, imagination, creativity, and develop abstract thinking skills. Art sharpens our senses, and through expressing self awareness one becomes keenly aware of his surroundings. Reading, writing, drawing, acting, dancing; these give us emotional connections to the people, places and things around us. These connections instill value and appreciation for all creation. “
I really believe this. In making, in creating we weave threads into our relationship with the ultimate Creator. We start to feel our own potential and can see more clearly the infinite possibilities in other people. Art is an extension of our spirituality in a very real and concrete way. My favorite Joseph Smith quote today is “If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves.” Human creativity is at the very core of our divine nature, our inheritance from God– in using it we can come closer to comprehending both.
I’ve been clicking through the 7th International Art Competition at the Museum of Church History and Art. Here’s one of my favorite paintings by Joshua Baird entitled By Design:
Happy Sabbath! Do something creative this week– even if it is making your kitchen sink clean. If that’s the case, really make it sparkle!