V ä v a! V e v e! weaving cloth one thread at a time

Sunday, July 11, 2010

What defines beauty?

Today, looking out my window into my backyard, I see a scene of beauty. The sun haloing the trees in the south, a myriad of greens, yellows, grays, browns, with a blue in the sky that is unable to be defined. So many textures, colors, shapes, sizes, sounds. At first glance there is no rhythym, no symmetry.  It appears as total chaos.  And yet it is beautiful. . . awe inspiring. . . having grace and dignity. . .eliciting emotion from me as nothing else can.

What is it about this scene that makes me decide that it is beautiful?!

It feels a bit like the neo-classic landscape painting by French artist Jean Joseph Xavier Bidauld, (below) sans characters, mountains and mist. 

Just steps out my door I find this. . .
And this. . .
and this...
I have an extravagance of flowers out my back door, but the beauty is not only in the flowers, but in the fact that there are insects that are thriving on this wild rose. And that there is enough sunshine, water, and nutrition for the rose to flourish without any assist from me. So, is beauty defined by the presence of abundance? Health? Strength? Mystery? (as in, "How does something get that way without planning and intervention by humankind?") The earth , our world, is a wonder!  If humankind were to truly respect it, just imagine the absolute beauty our humble earth could achieve all by itself!  Mankind strives to compete with nature in engineering beauty.  And yet, nature is so often the very subject of man's contrived beauty. Architects and engineers mimic nature in their structures, taking cues from landscapes and bees.  Artists copy, interpret, and challenge nature in developing their ideas.  Designers, be they industrial, interior, fashion, graphic or urban, all depend on the elements of design, taken from nature, in developing their designs.

So I can't help but look closer at the landscape out in my yard, and in that inspection, I can see all the Elements that we have deemed to make good design: Line, Shape, Texture, Space, Color, Value, and Form. Then we add the Principles of Design: Emphasis, Movement, Rhythm, Pattern, Contrast, Balance, and Unity; and we have the makings of GREAT design. 

Beauty, then, is defined by our earth.  We have merely put into words what nature brings to us everyday.

So here I sit, staring out my window, and I humbly realize that we are mere students of our Grand Mother Earth.  And I pray that we can take care of her as well as she has taken care of us!

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