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On Beauty

This day is an advertisement for beauty. The air is gently cool, the sun is shining, and the woods beyond my workplace is filled with birdsong. I stood a few moments ago in the doorway, toes outside, heels inside, and took a few good, deep breaths. I want desperately to be outside.

When I was 11, my Aunt Betsy gave me a set of 120 Berol Prismacolor colored pencils. I remember staying up until 2 in the morning drawing birds and using the white pencil to blend all of the colors in the feathers. I remember my breath catching in my throat as the picture came together and the drawing began to resemble an actual bird. As an artist, I live for the thrill that I get when I have succeeded in capturing the essence of an animal or bird or tree. Translating nature onto the page or into sculpture is a difficult task. The natural world is full of subtlety - even in its grandest state. I have an actual physical sensation of joy when I've captured the gesture or nuance of an animal just right. I step back from a piece of work and feel like I've channeled something else entirely. I'm constantly in awe of the work I do. It makes me feel alive.

Which is not to say I don't fail miserably at capturing form now and then. There's a pile of Plumpies that "didn't make it" in among the cat toys. Cat's LOVE plumpies. The wool catches on their nails and they can send a defunct elephant flying across the living room with one swipe. It's especially (NOT) funny when they get ahold of one of my works in progress. Sometimes I'll come back from the bathroom or kitchen to find my art mysteriously missing. The Siamese, who is adorable and thusly forgivable (and he knows it) is usually the culprit. His aqua eyes win me over every time.

All in all, I'm feeling amazingly inspired today by the world beyond the windows and by all of the artists out there in the world who must share that thrill. Communion with nature is a sacred act. In giving thanks and acknowledging the beauty of the natural world, we are soothing our souls. I believe this and feel this with every molecule of my being today.

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