Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Moved by Art

"Gypsy Girl with Basque Drum" by William Bouguereau
This painting moves me. I first discovered it in my mid-teens, and sat captivated by the look in her eyes, the fingers clutching the drum, the hovering tears. I felt those tears, and, as I dealt with all the tumultuous emotions of being a teenager, I turned back to this picture frequently, finding a connection--almost a kinship--which helped me to make sense of my own emotions.

I've always loved the arts, but lately I've found myself yearning for them in a way I haven't experienced in years. Part of that could be how much my world has become removed from them--it's been years since I went to an art museum, sketched, or played classical piano pieces with any regularity. I avoided dance videos for a long time because it was too painful for me to face that area of my heart. I've kept my car stereo filled with things like Tarzan and Ace of Bass (don't get me wrong--these could be considered art, just not the type of art that my soul has been craving).

Saturday, I stopped outside a tourist shop on the Fisherman's Wharf, halted by a clear tenor voice singing in Italian. I stared at a tv screen's image of three young Italians singing their hearts out. I held Cimorene's hand and stared at the screen, transfixed by the music. "Cim, you hear this?" I said to her, pointing at the screen and trying to distract her from the rock she was trying to let go of my hand to grab, "This is music with class. You will learn to appreciate music like this." But how, I realized, was she going to learn that if I didn't expose her to it? Finding the clerk, I asked if she knew who the singers were. She looked at me in confusion or surprise, then said, "Oh, I'll ask." She did, and I discovered that the group was "Il Volo." The Flight. Appropriate, considering the way the song had made my heart soar.

The next day, Ryan asked me to start a Pandora station seeded with Sarah Brightman. I also added Andrea Bocelli and Il Volo. Friends, never have I had a radio station play so exactly what I wanted. It was amazing. In fact, I'm listening to it now, and it's still amazing. And Cim? She now tries to sing the high notes like Sarah Brightman. We'll work on that.

Last night we went to the church for Ryan to teach a Spanish Family Home Evening lesson. We were there for a bit before anyone else showed up, and I started to play the piano. My fingers are rusty. I stumbled my way through half of  Debussy's First Arabesque. It was my very last competition piece, and one of the most technically difficult pieces I ever learned. I found if I closed my eyes, my fingers could still remember pieces of it. My heart remembered it. And I remembered how I used to cry through my fingers when I needed to let out emotions.

For me, these pieces are connected--the painting, the music. The various art forms belong together for me, because they fill me in the same way. And I want them to fill my children. I want my children to listen to "Time to Say Goodbye" by Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli. I want them to know paintings by Bouguereau, Degas, Van Gogh. I want them to appreciate classical ballet. I want them to see art, and be moved by it. And maybe, someday, to create it.

But even if they don't, I want it for me. I want to be surrounded by those things. This weekend, I was reminded of that. It may be one of those things that I have to remember all over again a few months or years from now, but for today, my heart is lighter. Today, I'm grateful for art.


  1. I love this post! I've thought similar things many times. I LOVE classic art... it enriches my life so much. I can't wait to introduce my children to it! Oh, and I just copied your Pandora station. ;-)

    1. Fantastic music, right? :-) And thanks!


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