Sunday, January 15, 2012

Why Oh Why?

Fellow blogger and watercolor painter extraordinaire Nanci Hersh is doing a series of posts called Artists Collecting Artists. The point is to see what kinds of artwork artists themselves collect and treasure.

 I was pleased when she invited me to participate. As I surveyed our small collection of original art I easily chose some and not others to carry the starry “favorite” tiara. It was a quick decision to pick my favorite corner in our home.
On a desk my grandfather made over 60 years ago sits these 3 pieces:

The collectibles box was made by Mary Linnea Vaughan. Lathe-turned bowl by Harry Adams.  Alcohol reduction vase by Leroy von Glan. Goofy feathers are mine, lending a Dr. Seussian sensibility to the arrangement.

 Then Nanci asked the Sixty-four thousand dollar question: “ Why?  Why are these your favorites?”

Hmmmmmm. Now that I think of it, why did we buy any of the art we own?

Handsome Husband and I discussed this at length. I do know that nothing was matched or accented. Nothing was mentioned regarding any deep meaning or intellectual construct. We own watercolors, photographs, ceramics, and consistency there. Subject matter and style have no thread either. Nor was it the name or reputation of the artist. There seemed to be no real rhyme or reason to our selections.     (Just an aside, several years ago we did purchase a piece based on a growing reputation. I hardly notice it anymore.)
One consistent fact is that we know each of these artists. There is something to that. 

There is a mystique about the pieces we love. I believe it is a connection to a back story, something we share with the artist that neither of us can plan ahead for. It’s something, an immediate knowing that I am willing to empty my wallet to be able to call a hand crafted item mine. The indescribable “It Factor”.

I find myself saying, “this reminds me of…” or “I think I’ve been there…” or “this feels like…” The word resonate comes to mind. A sort of deep oscillation with a secret rhythm that just feels right.

Visual constructions are beyond our limited vocabulary. Isn’t that obvious? We create art and share it to connect in a way beyond words, beyond description, beyond expectation as if there is a delicate web of experiences united unexpectedly across time and language.  There are no words to describe the why. There is no need.

What art do you love?  Do you know why?


Hannah said...

Pretty cool Patty. I think you are getting at the crux of the matter when you say that "visual constructions are beyond our limited vocabulary." Which is exactly why we like art, feel compelled to make it and seek out the work of other artists. Your words "deep oscillation with a secret rhythm" hits home. I spend time every day drinking in the forms and colors of the artists' work in our home.

Nanci Hersh said...

Eloquently written Patty, and thank you for the nod.
Resonance is the word that so aptly conveys what I, too believe moves us towards a piece- especially one that we want to live with.

Thank you for being a part of this series, sharing your work and your insight!

Patty said...

Squeezing out words is so much harder than squeezing out paint.
Thanks to you both for taking time to wade through my musings.

Toni Ruppert said...

This is well written Patty. Thank you for describing the "It factor." I remember the piece I purchased after a good conversation with the artist. I knew I wanted to take a bit of her heart home with me.

Patty said...

Toni, how nice to hear from you! I agree, there is something about knowing the artist that is very important. I love the way you put it. "take a bit of her heart home..." That's lovely.

Karine said...

Love this post, Patty. Maybe I will borrow the idea to blog about the works my husband and I have collected from other artists. You are better at squeezing out words that I am.

Patty said...

Karine, I for one would love to see what you have collected.
It's a great way to support those folks who enrich our lives.