Denis Dutton has got it Wrong

I was looking for inspiration and found it.  With all due respect, Denis Dutton, philosophy professor, tells us in his book , “The Art Instinct”, that we favor certain images on calendars because they remind us of the serenly beautiful African savanna our prehistoric ancestors roamed.  BUNK.  I am surprised at this.  He is a philosopher and (I fear) too much into the “beauty” thing discussed by Plato.

Leo Tolstoy got it right:

“Art is one of the means of intercourse between man and man”

Art is a communication of a thought.  A work can be considered art when a connection is made with another human being and an emotion or thought is communicated.   Some of it may be beautiful, but not all art is beautiful, nor is it meant to be.

Before our ancestors had written language they drew pictures in caves to communicate where or how to kill bison, or the death of kin, or the strength of horses, and that these pictures were understood by the viewers.  Humans communicate with whatever means possible.  We feed on it.  It is what connects us.  No man is an island, and all that.

Every letter in this blog is a work of art.  When I put certain letters together, they produce an image in your brain.  What do you see in your mind when you read this word “human”?  

Does the image below communicate anything to you?  Maybe the artist just likes Red.  Do we think it is an ancient reflection of the blood spilt from a kill or the African sunset?  Hmmm, maybe that is why some of us like the color red.  I’ll buy that.   The instinct, however, is to tell a story – to communicate.  Share, share share.  It is what we are all about.

Auspicious Good Fortune - acrylic on canvas 24x24

Auspicious Good Fortune - acrylic on canvas 24x24


Humanity and hope at the Inauguration

As promised, I have a few photos of the sea of people attending the inauguration.  An amazing thing it was to have 2 million people pushing through streets, tunnels, unsure where they were to go, cold;  wheelchairs, crutches, old, and the very young in slings around their fathers chest.  There is not much I can say that you have not seen or heard on polished news casts.  Something you may not have heard:  Many there in the crowds did not make it to the mall and missed the event due to volumn limits.  Here are a few shots from my perspective. 

The metro ride 7 am

The metro ride 7 am

pushed thru 3rd St tunnel to get to the mall

pushed thru 3rd St tunnel to get to the mall

Judiciary Square - finding a way

Judiciary Square - unmovable mass

Humanity at the Inauguration

At the height of WWII, Winston Churchill was asked if he wanted to cut costs by scrapping the arts program.

“My God … my God … NO. What have we been fighting for?”

The human spirit lives through our art and the humanities. 

The District of Columbia is bustling in preparation for a visit of millions of citizens.  I will be there hoping to catch a few interesting images of humanity.  If all goes well, they will be posted as soon as I get back.    Stay toastie –

Huong’s Peace Mural

In my last entry, I mentioned that I was going to visit the Peace Mural exhibition in D.C.  I went.   My call to action:


Here is a person with something to say.  If you live in the area or will be visiting for the inauguration, take a side trip to see and participate in this “piece for peace”.  

As I entered the space, I was awestruck by the colorful tapestry of canvases and panels.  As I drew deeper into the space, I began to weep at the powerful images and because of the sheer number of them.  I wandered to the second floor.  There were panels and canvases in process, still wet.  I smelled the paint.  The artist Huong, a slight woman, came around the corner and approached me.  She shook my hand and began talking about the project.   I began to cry again.  She hugged me! 

Huong explained that she was a teenager in Vietnam during the Vietnam war.  She said that it was the American Youth protesting the war that inspired and ultimately saved her from that war.  Yet the horrors of it lived within.  This project, 15 years in the making, is cathartic – and it is magnificent.  GO.  Themes include: Voices of Children, Voices of the Troops; Mothers in War, The Peace of all Nations, The Flag at War, The Displaced and the Disabled, The cry of Refugees, and The Tortured.

If you cannot make the exhibition, go here: 
If you are interested in the peace movement, go here:

Art – overload?

Do you realize how much art is out there?  I would love to see statistics: ratio of population to product.   How many of us create or do art formally?   There is a huge body of work out there – people are speaking, writing, painting, sculpting, dancing, composing – expressing.   (Why? Because they have to) Is it all art?  I think so.

“Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known”   –  Oscar Wilde

As individuals, we may not like everything we see or hear. We may be partial to a genre and within that genre have our own preferences.  We like what communicates to us something that may have gone on in our own brain.  We connect with the artist in that way and the artist connects with us.

Art is symbol of thought.  Art is communication of thought.   Some of it is recognized with universal interest. 

I am on my way to visit “Huong’s Peace Mural”, 3336 M St., NW, Washington D.C.  The video captures the artist talking about why she created this body of work.  She made me cry.  I have to see it.