Happy Mortal

This life, well-lived.


Sitting in a coffee shop drinking a small soy latte, I look up and see some art. Nature art. Then I look out the window and see city nature. Now, today is not an ordinary day. It’s Fall, and it’s beautiful. Crisp, golden, leaves turning, falling, Seattleites in thier prime. Layers and hot coffee are back. And then my eyes wander back to the nature art staring back at me. Yikes…nature art?! You know the kind. Blue and green acrylics combined in the truest ways to replicate a snap shot from a hike, nature walk, or your back yard. The shading is perfect, the reflection in the water is reminicent of a mirror, and the twigs and branches exude detail.

This leads me to a question about art. What kind of art satisfies you? To some people, the most beautiful painting is one that is nature art, or maybe a painted portrait. To others, impressions of the subject are the most satisfying. I like this. I like that we all connect to different avenues of the creative. It’s amazing to me that someone could have a transcendental moment with a nature painting…as it is amazing to that same person that I love Van Gogh.


  1. I’m totally with you about Van Gogh–he is my all in all, forever and ever amen. “Realism” makes me throw up little chunks in my mouth. I am surprised by people who love realism the same way I am surprised by uber-concrete thinkers (SP’s in Meyers Briggs lingo). Yes, I’m glad they can build a perfect birdhouse, but I can’t make my mind work that way.

    “I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.”
    -Van Gogh

  2. Two of my favorite artists are Andy Goldsworthy and Banksy.

    Goldsworthy’s art is largely about manipulating the natural world, forcing it into artificial symmetry, but then walking away and letting nature take it’s course. Most of his art is ‘destroyed’ by the next good rain. Taken in context, even his stone works are semi-permanent, we just won’t live long enough to see nature re-claim them.

    Banksy is a British anarchist largely known for his graffiti stencils, but he recently opened this ‘pet shop‘ in New York. (Watch the sausages video. It’ll disturb you long-time.) His work is extremely powerful in context and almost meaningless outside of it.

    That’s the art that satisfies me. Art that admits, within it’s very structure, that it really can’t tell us anything absolute about the universe, other than to comment on impermanence. I appreciate the novels, the music, the Van Gogh’s of the world, but I look at one Goldsworthy photo and think, “Right, right. THAT’S how it all works.”