History & Fruits of the Spirit

 

HISTORY

THE ART OF ART



In the 19th century Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote the following:


  "Faith in the spirit of God gives man immense scope and gives every moment tremendous significance.  Man will come to see that the world is the perennial miracle which the spirit worketh...he will learn that there is no profane history; that all history is sacred...that the arts has herein its highest value as history."


A JOURNAL BECOMES A VEHICLE FOR SEEING GODS INTERACTION WITH US.  PATTERNS EMERGE, AND YOU CAN SEE MORE CLEARLY THE HAND OF THE LORD IN YOUR LIFE.

YOU CAN SEE HOW HE HAS ANSWERED PRAYERS BY EVENTS IN A QUIET WAY THAT ESCAPED YOU IN THE PRESS OF CIRCUMSTANCES.


Record your history

Have a Book of Remembrance

Keep a Journal

Make tapes of faith promoting spiritual experiences

Record your life story

Record your history in music or in art



"Let me read with open eyes the book my life is writing and learn."


Dag Hammarskjold


"True perspective and understanding ....only by full study of origin, history, and destiny"  THE URANTIA BOOK pg. 215






"Write your history because God is in the details of your life"

 

Write your history because a life recorded is twice precious-first the experience itself, second the memory of it-full and sweet- when we read it later.


Write your history because we can learn from ourselves-from where we have been and where not to go again; what worked and what caused pain.


Write your history because it will give you perspective and direction. "     (Elaine Cannon - Putting Life in your Life Story.)


It is my goal to preserve the past and present;  through portraits, and paintings of special places and things in life.


RECORDING HISTORY THROUGH ART WORK

A Personal Experience given at the Mormon Pacific Historical Society meeting:


One of the purposes of the Mormon Pacific History Society is to teach those skills helpful in recording historical information.  The word History has four dictionary meanings:

1. An account of what has happened, narrative, story, tale;

2. What has happened in the life or development of a people, country, institution, etc.;

3. All recorded events of the past;

4. The branch of knowledge that deals systematically with the past; a recording, analyzing, coordinating, and explaining of past events.


Usually when we say we are recording history as historians, we think of recording with words.  Therefore, to teach skills helpful in recording history, we usually are dealing with written recordings or oral recordings.


However, there are other ways to record history.  One way is through the use of photography which we commonly use to enhance and document written histories.  Another way to record history is through the use of the fine arts---drawing, painting, and sculpture.  It is these latter three methods of recording history that I would like to enlarge upon.  I will not be able to teach you the skills of art in order for you to record history, but rather I hope to encourage all of you as potential artists to make use of drawings, paintings, and even sculpture in recording your personal history.


Some of you will immediately think you do not have the ability to produce works of art.  Others of you will think, Yes, I've always had the desire to draw or paint, I want to try.  All artists have varying abilities to produce works of art:  from the primitive, crude beginnings to the skillful, masterfully executed renderings and all the variations in between.  The limited abilities of the artist need not stop one from recording history.  There is great charm in so-called primitive or folk art which training in art often negates.  All artists have elementary beginnings; it is only with practice that skills are perfected.


Artists are “the reproducers of earth scenes and people and the transient episodes of life for the enjoyment of the present and for the future.” (suggested in the Urantia Book)  Throughout history, artistic recording and reproducing has been done by craftsmen and architects as well as fine artists.  Let me share four examples;


1. In Egypt, the great pyramid of Gizeh was built about 2700 BC  Many artistic treasures were found inside.  One of the treasures was a carved drawing of a man in Egypt.  It was carved on the wooden doors of the tomb.  We know something about the stature and clothing of men of that time because of that carved drawing.  It is preserved in the Cairo Museum.

2. A fragment of a harp was found in Ur, the homeland of Abraham.  It is gilt and inlaid wood with graceful figures of animals on the harp.  It is believed to have been made about  2800 BC and is preserved the London British Museum.

3. Chinese art has historical references from 1100 BC  Pottery, with decorative designs, is though to be 6,000 years old.

4. Polynesian art; rock painting and carvings, date back to 1600 BC Design systems on pottery is traced back to 3000 and 4000 BC 


    There are thousands of art objects in Museums throughout the world which testify to the fact that History has been recorded by art work.  History and Art are inter-related.


Ralph Waldo Emerson, the great American Philosopher of the nineteenth century, said, "faith in the spirit of God gives man immense scope and gives every moment tremendous significance.  Man will come to see that the world is the perennial miracle which the spirit worketh, and be less astonished at particular wonders; he will learn that there is no profane history; that all history is sacred; that the universe is represented in an atom, in a moment of time."  In his essay on Art, Emerson wrote,  "The artist must employ the symbols in use in his day and nation to convey his enlarged sense to his fellowmen.  Thus the new in art is always formed out of the old.  The Genius of the Hour sets his ineffaceable seal on the work and gives it an inexpressible charm for the imagination.  As far as the spiritual character of the period overpowers the artist and finds expression in his work, so far it will retain a certain grandeur, and will represent to future beholders the Unknown, the Inevitable, the Divine…No man can quite emancipate himself from his age and country…he cannot wipe out of his work every trace of the thoughts amidst which it grew…Above his will and out of his sight he is necessitated by the air he breathes and the idea on which he and his contemporaries live and toil, to share the manner of his times, without knowing what that manner is.  Now that which is inevitable in the work has a higher charm than individual talent can ever give, inasmuch as the artist's pen or chisel seems to have been held and guided by a gigantic hand to inscribe a line in the history of the human race.  This circumstance gives a value to the Egyptian hieroglyphics, to the Indian, Chinese and Mexican idols, however gross and shapeless.  They denote the height of the human soul in that hour.  Shall I now add that the whole extant product of the plastic arts has herein its highest value as history; as a stroke drawn in the portrait of God, perfect and beautiful, according to those ordinations all beings advance to their beatitude.  Thus, historically viewed, it has been the office of art to educate the perception of beauty…The virtue of art lies in detachment, in sequest5ering one object from the embarrassing variety."  In this process, Emerson says, are we able to have deep thought.  "From this succession of excellent objects we learn at last the immensity of the world, the opulence of human nature, which can run out to infinitude in any direction."


       Art has been a part of recording L.D.S. church History since the beginnings of the restoration of the Church in the 1800's.  The Church is currently building a new Museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City just west of Temple Square (Public opening will be June 1, 1983).  There will be several art galleries for changing exhibitions.  In preparation for the museum, the Curator of Collections, is obtaining resumes, slides of art work, and biographies of L.D.S. artists.


The history of the Church in Polynesia is not only the past but is being made daily by us as we live our lives.  We are urged to keep journals and histories of our thoughts and events in our lives.  We treasure our photographs but there is something very special about drawings, paintings, or sculpture as recorded history.  As we endeavor to record the history of people in the Church in Polynesia we should not hesitate to use all methods available to us--written history, oral history, photographic history, and history recorded by art.


I have a quote posted on a wall at home which I frequently read.  It's a quote from Dag Hammarskjold, the Swedish Secretary-General to the United Nations during the fifties:  "Let me read with open eyes the book by life is writing---and learn."  As an artist-historian I often think of how I can illustrate the "book my life is writing" with photography and art work such as drawings, paintings and sculptures.


Art is a sacred commitment in my life, part of a four-fold purpose for being--Family, Religion, History and Art have been my life work.  My parents provided me with a very good first family experience.  My husband and our three sons and four daughters, have provided me with opportunities to learn the art of companionship and the art of parenting.  Tracing my husband's genealogy back 23 generations into China gave me the experience of research and genealogy and recording history.  Having the opportunity to hear and learn the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and being a part of the Church organization has taught me the Art of Living.  Getting my Bachelor of Art degree in World Religions enhanced my love of the religious and the Spiritual.




   (The above was the beginning of a paper presented about recording history through art work.  I went on to present my art history as I showed the art work, and concluded with the following.)


Artists who have a testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ have a special responsibility in their art endeavors.  Art work cannot be separated from the artist anymore than any work cannot be separated from the doer.  There cannot be genuine appreciation and recognition of art without appreciation and recognition of the artist.  Artists striving to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ have high artistic standards to uphold and high ideals to work towards.  Eventually our art should not only record history of earth life, but should foreshadow the goals of Eternity.  This can only be done when the artist has insights into spiritual and eternal values.  This is the only way that religion can spiritualize art.  When religion spiritualizes the artist, then the art is uplifted and spiritualized.


Jesus used parables, homey illustrations, to teach great eternal principles.  The artist may see people, mountains, water, rocks, trees, flowers, vegetation, animals, and objects of our environment, and they may be reproduced as illustrations of eternal symbols.


In viewing art work I hope you will notice how variety is essential to the concept of beauty and art.  The artist is largely involved with unifying contrasts--contrasts of light and dark and of shapes and spaces.  Yet, may I add, there is something greater than all art work---and that is the work of art that can take place in each person on earth!  Each of us can be true artists and unify the contrast of a mortal man or woman with our Divine Spirit.  In the oneness we can achieve with the Spirit; we can move toward our Eternal Destiny to become perfect in our sphere, as God is in Heaven.


A human being in the process of transformation!

A carnal being who is born of God!

The Finite becoming Infinite!

Mortal becoming Immortal!

Man and woman becoming a living work of art--

            a masterpiece!

The Artist becoming an Art!


These are the goals of Human-Divine Art.


FRUITS


THE ART OF ART





THE ARTS TEACH


PRACTICAL SKILLS


SELF-DISCIPLINE


CRITICAL THINKING


UNLOCKS OUR IMAGINATION


AND OUR ABILITY TO PERCEIVE BEAUTY


AND WORK CREATIVELY

IN OUR WORKPLACES AND IN OUR LIVES


FLEXIBILITY


PARADOX


AMBIGUITY


PERSEVERANCE


TOUCHES US IN EMOTIONAL WAYS


ENLARGES OUR SENSE OF WONDER


"BRINGS TO LIFE WHAT MIGHT OTHERWISE

BE ABSTRACT"



(Ted Mitchell, Vice Pres.. J. Paul Getty Trust)




VALUE  OF THE ARTS



Several years ago I read a wonderful article by Alexandra York who was the President of the American Renaissance for the Twenty-First Century at that time.  It was a excellent summary of the value found in the ARTS and I desire to share this in this section on the Fruits of the Art of Art and the Art of Living.


“WHAT ART TEACHES”

By Alexandra York



      “Observing Reality

Making Judgments

Understanding the Human Condition

Expressing Values

Training the Mind

Uniting Reason and Emotion

Being Students of Life



Observing Reality


"We can readily grasp how creating what seems to be the simplest of paintings requires knowledge of drawing, color, shape, composition, and perspective-knowledge derived not only from technical training but also from close observation of reality.  Once a student has learned to render the three-dimensional world of nature in this two-dimensional form, enjoyment and appreciation for the real world automatically become enriched with keener observations.  In order to paint a single tree, a student really has to look at it.  How his sense of seeing will be improved!  What nuances of color alone will he notice in the future because of these acute observations?  What varieties of textures, edges, and shapes gleaned from scrutinizing fragile, scalloped leaf formations will enhance his everyday experience of the patterns made by interlacing shadows, the woven surfaces of fabrics, or the eyelashes of a newborn infant/  To imitate nature, the student must observe nature.


Making Judgments


        Interpreting nature through painting-consciously creating a mood- will benefit the student even more because it required developing a process of selection in order to fulfill a larger intention, that of endowing the work with significance.  Subject matter is then employed indirectly to express something more.  Now questions arise as to which observations are most relevant to that deeper intention.  Those graceful veins in the leaves-- are they important enough to delineate, or should he just suggest them?  What of the bark sheathing the trunk?  Since the student wants a serene feeling, should he apply the paint thickly with light brushstrokes to de-emphasize the rough surface?  In order to create an atmosphere that stresses the mysteries of nature, should he push the blue of the sky toward violet?  Because this next level of art teaches how to formulate a hierarchy in the selection of essentials, it also increases his contemplation of the relative importance of all things in life, large and small.


Understanding the Human Condition


        Inherent in the process of exercising sensory perceptions, the student must by necessity also exercise his mind.  And beyond this first horizon of sense-mind interplay lies the limitless vista of imagination.  Meaningful art is not just a mimicry of life; it is an inquiry into the human condition, an expressive exploration of man's desires, dreams, fears, and fantasies.  Important art is important because it is multi-layered, stimulating the senses, touching the heart, and awakening the mind to great verities and great possibilities.  Aesthetics, then become the means to art's supreme end: content.  Content is inseparable from the underlying theme of a work:  it is that, but it is much, much more: Ultimately, it is the human spirit incarnate--the shimmering breath of light streaming from  a thoughtful artist's mind, hands, and soul.


Expressing Values


        Through meticulous crafting, the content becomes a theme illuminating itself.  It resides within and emanates from the art as a pure result of the artist's purposeful and personal attempt to imbue it with intelligent meaning.  It is great art's "anima," or inner self, both source and sum, it is the substantive realization of the artist's deepest values, true or false, good or bad, beautiful or ugly, and here is where the moral imagination fully enters into the creative process, for even a novice approach to this highest level of art educates the mind philosophically… (I have omitted a section on creative writing)


Training the Mind

        As the visual arts train the senses by honing physical perceptions of the world, so the art of writing trains the mind by demanding conceptual formations and philosophical views of the world.  If the student is engaged in both art forms, what he learns in one will reinforce what he learns in the other, beginning an interactive process with incalculable power to foster discreet subtleties of awareness and sensitivity in every walk of life.  Moreover, the student learns lessons about how to be alone; how to enjoy kairos or the fullness of time so much as to forget time as chronos; how to experiment boldly; how to make learning and discovery an adventure; how to rejoice in the endeavor.



Uniting Reason and Emotion


        Lastly, but perhaps first in today's world of rampant subjectivism and temperamental indulgence, the arts educate the emotions.  Not everyone is passionate--passion is the fervent intensity of emotion a person experiences only when he is exhibiting the highest level of devotion to values--but everyone has feeling, if only instinctual fears or desires.  And all feelings, whether complex or primitive, mentally inspired or physically excited, can be conveyed productively and safely through the structure of an art form.  In this way, the pubescent youngster in particular can learn to deal constructively with feelings often so strong he doesn't know what to do with them; he can actually "work them out" through the creation of art.  This doesn't mean he wallows in an "Express yourself!" state of mind nor does it mean he needs psychotherapy.  It means he is displaying healthy emotional flowering and psychological growth.


All art training nurtures this, but music is indispensable for guiding psychological development because it speaks directly to the sentient consciousness.  One might say that music is emotion--because feelings are its primary themes.  The instrument chosen to channel music's emotional flow, whether it be piano, clarinet, violin, or voice, is not important.  Learning to master the instrument is.  The discipline of serious music is exact and exacting, teaching the precision of mathematics in a poetic realm as well as the exhilarating balance and the exalted integration of "reasoned harmony" (music's form)  and emotions (music's content).  It is not often in our culture that children are taught to unite reason and emotion.,  Tonal and melodic classical music does this for all of us.  So the competence to hear it and to appreciate it as a practitioner can be a rare source of indescribable pleasure and a safe emotional release.


    Like life, musical passages  contain highs and lows, fast and slow tempos.  The musical vocabulary includes dissonance and resolution, tumult and sublimity, all emboldening a student in the process of making music to feel to his heart's content within the security of a confined experience.  There is no way to fall out of control because the rhythm keeps the music going.  The notes must be played on time, and to orchestrate emotional content through so rigorous a structure, the student must learn to merge reason and emotion; otherwise, the resulting music will be cold and sterile, mathematics without the poetry.  Classical music is too mentally demanding to permit the flailing and screaming incited by much of rock 'n 'roll.  It forces the musician to control his emotional output, offering him the experience of cathexis (concentration of psychic energy) rather than catharsis (purging)


Because music deals with broad abstractions--triumph, defeat, love, loss--it also allows a musician to personalize the universals of the human condition, to feel on a grand scale both the hope and the hurt that necessarily accompany an individual life fully lived.  For the teenager, it unlocks gateways to mature excursions into the ecstasy and the vulnerability of love, the headiness and the hazards of risk.  Once he begins to understand the value of classical music, he may turn to it in moments of emotional need to help him experience deep stirrings that may not make it to the surface of consciousness by themselves.


Students of Life


    So we begin to see the vital importance of fine arts education, the invigorating and reinforcing spiral of experience inherent in learning the various art forms.  From art form to art form and back and forth between real life and art, the senses, the intellect, and the emotions flow together, charging each other along the way with powerful images, sounds, and ideas.  Students of art become students of life.  Once they experience the arduous bliss of creating art, some will pursue it as a profession, of course.  But the purpose of art study is not to make artists of our young people, it is to help them become complete human beings.


    Youth is forward motion.  And the arts can forever inspire this forward motion because they are open-ended and can continue to absorb our natural creative energies indefinitely.  No art form can ever be entirely mastered because the techniques can always be further expanded and exploited.  Skills and appreciation learned while we are children can serve us as adults.  As we grow and develop as human beings, we can continue stretching our capabilities through artistic expression, if only as casual hobbyists or spectators.  Our bodies will age, and our physical prowess will diminish, but our minds and our imagination need never grow old.  Practical knowledge of the arts can keep us forever actively mentally and emotionally  We can forever learn, grow, and advance--the hallmarks of youth.


    Clearly, art education is not a luxury, it is a spiritual necessity.  At its apotheosis-aesthetically, philosophically, and psychologically--art provides a spiritual summation of integrating mind and matter.  It allows abstract values to be perceived by the senses.  And when form and content are exquisitely unified in art, they are capable of communicating universal truths through beautiful physical presentation in the most technically proficient manner.  Art offers an experience of complete continuity, a harmoniously integrated experience of mind, body, and soul--for its makers and its worthy beholders.  Thus it is the very souls of our emotionally abandoned, value-starved youth that we can rescue through art education--one at a time.  For it is art that best inspires the moral imagination.”





FRUITS

THE ART OF LIVING


Loving service

Unselfish devotion

Courageous loyalty

Sincere fairness

Enlightened honesty

Undying hope

Confiding trust

Merciful ministry

Unfailing goodness

Forgiving Tolerance

Enduring peace


These are the fruits of the Spirit as Jesus presented them, as he appeared at the close of a meeting of believers. in Tyre, on Tuesday, May 16th A.D. 36

Jesus’ 18th appearance.




 
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