Sunday, May 31, 2009

Drops in the ocean of divinity

For years I've been intrigued by the patience it takes to rake a perfect zen garden. I don't actually have that kind of patience -- or at least I haven't discovered it yet -- but one of my daughters has it, and my father had it for sure, though he never had a zen garden. Perhaps he needed that patience to deal with me!

But I also never quite saw the appeal of raked sand -- though I've seen several of these gardens over the years -- until I photographed this one at the Bloedel Reserve on my trip with Barbara last week. For some reason I really like this image: it's as if a stone had been dropped in the water, and has been creating ripples, echoing outward from the point of impact.

My husband and I went to a lecture on "The Art of Collecting Art" on Friday evening, the first of three installments, all to be held in the homes of local art collectors. Though much of what this first couple had collected had limited appeal for me, some of their pieces were absolutely extraordinary, and the overall impact of the evening was to make me want to trust my judgement more -- and to find ways to acquire more art.

They made it clear they were more than willing to wheedle gallery owners into installment plans -- something I'd never thought of -- and as I listened I found myself remembering several pieces over the years (one in Italy last fall, for example) that I wished I'd just gone ahead and tried to purchase over time. But then I look at that, and I realize that those decisions were based on what is essentially a fiscally conservative stance: we've always been very careful NOT to spend money we didn't have, which means (though, unlike some of our older friends, we do charge things from time to time) we don't tend to carry debt around for longer than 30 days at a time -- something for which I'm grateful now that my husband is between jobs!

And, in fact, most of the art we own was bought with the proceeds of my own art sales: in fact, my favorite scarf -- a gorgeous multi-colored pleated shibori in shades of yellow-green, asparagus, blue and eggplant -- was purchased with the proceeds of my first big sale at our local gallery -- as were a couple of brushed steel vases. It always seemed to me that I was incredibly lucky to be able to pursue my art at all, and that by buying the work of other artists I could make it possible for them to keep refining their craft as well...

So, yes, I still lust after other people's art. But I'm coming to realize that collecting isn't really about spending lots of money and getting the most bang for your bucks, but rather it's about supporting the arts and surrounding yourself with whatever beauty and inspiration works in your price range (hey, sometimes a bunch of wildflowers can be WAY more beautiful than a more enduring work of art to me).

The truth is that what inspires me may not inspire you at all. Love/affection/appreciation felt deeply -- whether for a person, animal or thing -- seems to me to be a very individual thing, arising from the unique spark of the divine that lives in each of us and manifesting itself quite differently from one person to the next. But as a friend said in class last week, the divine in each of us is like a drop in the ocean: each drop is water, but none are the whole ocean. I may have God in me, but that doesn't make me God. And though the drops may vary significantly from one person to the next: somehow the ocean of Divine is capable of encompassing us all -- and that's a good thing!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do you have a photo of the scarf? It's funny you should mention those colors, I have them on my design wall just now. My inspiration is your skunk cabbage photo and Rumi...