It seems so simple to go to visual artists to explore this, for obvious reasons. How better to express your values than through your art where you live?
Take my long-time friends, artists Beth Pewther and Leonard Breger, who have inspired me over the years. Their shared purpose is to make art.
Their house became an art-house not only because the interior walls and ceilings are adorned with their art, but a couple of decades ago Beth, with the help of a couple of apprentices, transformed the exterior of the three-storey house with mainly donated and scrap tiles.
Not only was the house changed, but the neighborhood has been affected. Over the years murals appear on walls on other streets, and intricate detailed window treatments, unusual color combinations announce the communal value that this is a creative area.
At Number 80, the mail-carriers are used to putting the mail through the jaws of a mythical creature – and how can their day remain unaffected by this experience?
Visitors enter a world of color, texture and pattern as we walk up the front steps to the door. We are surrounded by the vision and purpose of the people who live here and by the time the door opens to welcome us, we are changed by what we have learned.
Leonard, well into his nineties, would greet the morning with “Oh Good! Another day to paint – and to be with Beth!” And paint he did – weaving his sense of humor and endless possibilities into ideas about music, politics, art, science, as well as recording domestic events from the trauma of a fall to celebrating his daughter’s pregnancy. He believed in the power of exchanging ideas.
The last time I saw him he told me that his painting was finished and I understood what he was saying about purpose. Since his death Liz actively represents both his legacy of work and hers and she brings their images into continuing relationship with the world through shows.
She has just taken down a retrospective of her work, which leads the viewer on a journey through many decades, following the path of a woman actively involved in community and the adventures life offers. Her paintings communicate her passion for the importance of anti-war demonstrations, the 60’s and the women’s movement; they depict her rootedness in her faith, her devotion to family and friends, how she brought her sense of design and textiles to important rituals in the life of others. More recently her art reconnects her (and us) with the humor and the whimsical in life.
In Beth’s world, flocks of radishes fly over the hills she loves to hover above moments of tender, affectionate connection between those who share the hills with her.
I invite you to explore more at www.artfools.com
How do values and purpose show up in your life?
More to come…..