There has been much debate about the meaning of the word “art” and I do not want to disparage the attempts at defining such a small but significant word nor would I attempt to solve this difficulty in such a short article.
However, perhaps one can make a start by agreeing with artist Richard Schmid when he says that art is a language. I like that. Underlying this simple statement is the understanding that not all communication can be verbalized. This should be obvious because we are constantly aware of the significance of gesture and symbol in communication with others.
Less than a year ago my wife of 46 years passed away. It has been an excruciating and painful loss. Many people have reached out to me in my grief and that has been so significantly helpful. Often, they say something like this either in cards or calls, “I cannot find the words to tell you how sorry I am for your loss”. Exactly! We cannot find words because those words do not exist in my language or any other language but I have found in my sorrow that the experience of grief is more approximated in art and music. One of the reasons I paint is because of the inadequacy of verbal language. I see beauty in the wilderness or experience deep sorrow or profound joy and I want to express that somehow. That is when I turn to canvas and brush. I paint first of all for myself – to find expression in my own soul.
Learning to paint is like learning a new language and that language is not easily mastered but it has the capacity to enhance your life in ways you never dreamed of or could have imagined.