|Detail of "Tulips and Oranges"|
"Joy in the universe, and keen curiosity about it all -- that has been my religion."
---John Burroughs author, naturalist
I don't think you can truly appreciate something unless you know it, and curiosity is the key to starting the process. Through appreciation comes joy in the knowledge and true intimacy with the world. I had a study in oils to do once, in which I chose individual tulips to paint. Each tulip, I chose carefully for its color and shape, then preceded to draw it, study it, notice every inch of it over a course of 3 days, tenderly wrapping it each evening in wet cloths and refrigerating it to keep it as long as possible. I grew to know each bloom millimeter by millimeter, finding 20 shades of color in a yellow bloom. What was a simple, easy to draw flower became a complex world. I gained respect for the flowers' creation, and love for its petals. Through knowledge came joy in the study. Joy in nature and it's creations. An artist has the special privilege of getting to know her/his subject intimately. They learn to look in a different way at the world because of the experience. I look a bit closer at the flowers in my garden these days. I take special joy in drawing or painting something unfamiliar, because I know that even if it is 'just a bug' I will appreciate the complexity of it, the glory of it, all the more when I am done! How happy I am to be an artist!