The younger of my two younger sisters says wryly that if she ever has a tombstone it should read: “She was organized to a fault.” Mine, should I ever have one, could not live up to that inscription. I’m not the least but certainly far from the most organized person I know.
Still, the other day a friend and I were talking about beauty and what it is in a landscape that makes us recognize it as beautiful, that is, as something to be captured somehow by art (he thought it required a clearing), and I remarked that my husband has a couple Leelanau County views he loves but says neither allows itself to be organized into a painting. Some kind of organization, I said, seems to be necessary. (What this has to say about Jackson Pollock, I leave for others to decide.) Responding to our friend’s thought about clearings, I agree that I do love fields, whether in crops or wild, and I particularly them when bordered by dark trees and interrupted by a curving road.
This morning as Sarah and I were out taking our morning exercise and fresh air, it occurred to me that one of the reason paintings of flowers are so generally satisfying is that nature has already organized each flower. A horizon line very clearly organizes the world of a painting or photograph. The image below is a very ordinary morning scene -- rien de spécial -- but the line separating Lake Michigan from the sky tells you where you are. We are creatures who seek meaning, who make meaning, and for that it is important that we organize our world view.
Paintings by my husband, David Grath, are now on exhibit through September 9 at the Dennos Museum Center in Traverse City. David is well known for his interpretations of beautiful landscape, and admission is free this week during the Traverse City Film Festival.
|Just plain grass is beautiful to me.|
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