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Art and Admiration

My niece recently called urgently to my sister-in-law Fiona: “I need some help here! I need some help here!” Fiona rushed over and asked what was going on. Imogen said, “I need some help admiring my art.” I love that Imogen understands admiration as the final step of creation -- and knows that assistance is helpful. I find that when creative work approaches completion, the critic often takes over, pulling my eye to the places I’m not thrilled with, noisily pointing out gaps between my intention and results, and just generally smashing the window we created to let a sliver of new light into the world. Classes at Chrysalis conclude with a mutual admiration party, each of us pointing out what beauty catches our eyes, finding inspiration, and asking how this or that was accomplished. Early on I worried that this might come to feel facile or forced, always having to find good things in new prints. In fact, the opposite has happened. We have so much practice in our daily lives identifying problems, criticizing, articulating frustration. Having time set aside to simply look for and appreciate beauty is a rare gift. At times it may be necessary to forage a bit, but that’s the miracle: it’s always there, and when you find it, it blossoms before your eyes. Finding beauty in the monotypes above and below requires no stretch. Their creator, Mary Windram, said she’d struggled to get the stencils where she wanted them, and each image has some aspect she hadn’t intended – but by the end of our appreciation, she was swept by their beauty as well. They’re truly magical.

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