Monday, June 25, 2012

Joy In Art

Development of an aesthetic sense brings a lifetime of joy.

Denise Low-Wesa (Cherokee)
Hello Val
Years ago I had a friend, Della, who was one of the most ebullient, fun loving people I've ever known. When she laughed, which was often, there was nothing tentative about it. Della wasn't a giggler, she was a laugher. She enjoyed life and she let everyone know it.

I took her to a Broadway show, a comedy, and before the first act was over, she had the entire section of the audience laughing and the cast of six playing right to us. I know, because I'm an actor, those six performers had a great night.

I can remember many occasions when I was overcome with joy in the presence of some cultural achievement that was above expectations and which generated a special feeling of excitement in me.

I attended an exhibit of Van Gogh paintings at a large museum. At first there were a few rooms of his drawings. Then I stepped into a large, circular room of his paintings. It took me a moment to catch my breath. I was in a whirlwind of genius. The energy coming to me and grabbing me from all parts of the room was overwhelming. I was in heaven. I wanted to own all of those paintings.

Eventually I walked up to one of them and began the slow circle around the room giving the most time I could to each one of them. I don't remember how long I was there but I didn't want to leave.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic came to New York for a concert at Lincoln Center. The last piece on the program was the Brahms Sympnony number 1. All the pieces they played were excellent but about half way through the last movement of the Brahms I became aware that something very unusual was taking place. It was a performance beyond the reach of the ordinary. The music was playing itself. A grand, warm feeling of joy was slowly arising from deep inside of me. I was in the presence of something extraordinary. The musicians knew it and so did many people in the audience. Just as the last chords were playing people stood up. Not to put their coats on and leave but to cheer. And cheer we did.

I can't think or write about joy in any aesthetic experience without telling of my own career. After many years of working as an actor I began to realize my own talent, potential and value as an artist. The skill and confidence I gained made it so that I was completely at home and comfortable on the stage. To do a great play with a cast of good, professional actors is a joy that is hard to describe to anyone who hasn't experienced it.

I can only sum it up by saying there were moments when I came off the stage saying "I love this. I love this more than life itself." And that's the truth.

Dana Bate
Vagabond Journeys
Never Give Up


Beth said...

At the Getty Center, they had one Van Gogh, one of his lily paintings. It was one of the big draws, and people were actually getting their pictures taken in front of it. That's some staying power!

Valerie said...

Hello Dana =D! I know what you mean about van Gogh!! I have three books containing his works, one with writings to his brother. He is genius. One is a studio book and it is a prized posession. I pick it up when I want to be mesmerized. What a happy post! Have a good week!

Rose~* said...

Nice to hear that acting gave you such joy in life. And your friend, Della has proven that indeed, "laughter is contagious". (((HUGS)))