Wow! Where has October went! It feels like it just started and now its almost over.
Everyone here at the farm has been running full speed ahead with harvest. The boys are FINALLY getting settled into their homeschool routine and I have been working on things for fall shows and Christmas commissions. I have also been managing to squeeze in some projects around the house.
Somehow, what started out as just sprucing up my studio space, has managed to take over the entire basement and has even spilled over into other areas of the house. Anyone else have projects like this? Ugh. They make me crazy sometimes and I think my hubby thinks I am crazy, but it always feels good when they are done. Take my studio for example. I was coming to work to this.
The studio before.
But now I can come to work in this! What a difference a few small changes (thanks to a “hand me down” sample can of paint and a $10 roll of wallpaper) can make! Almost all of this stuff I already had, I just needed to look at it differently. Sure makes me want to show up everyday and helps me enjoy the time that I am here even more.
The studio after.
The funny thing is, I have never been one much for decorating. Not that I don’t love a beautiful home, I just didn’t know how to create it. Each of us have our niche of creativity, and decorating my home was NOT that area. However the last few years I have really been working to make our home beautiful. Mostly because I have realized how much I actually do enjoy a beautiful home. I think a lot of us may have felt that way through the pandemic- If I am going to be stuck at home, why not enjoy it and make it beautiful? But why do beautiful spaces even matter?
Science of Beauty
Did you know there is an entire field of science dedicated to understanding the way that beauty effects the brain? Its called neuraesthetics. It studies anything that is considered beautiful; people, landscapes, art, even our homes, and how it makes us feel. It’s a fairly new, but (at least to me) intriguing field of research. Although, I don’t think it has led to any real major breakthroughs yet, other than recognizing that the pleasure center of the brain is activated when people view objects considered “beautiful”.
As an artist, I often wonder why I create what I do. A comment that I heard many times at my last show, that I genuinely am honored and humbled by, is that people love my “eye” or “vision”. What they were trying to say is they love what I see as beautiful and choose to capture in my work. While I very much appreciate this compliment, to be honest I sometimes don’t even know what makes me think something is “beautiful”. Its really just a gut feeling. I mean, some of the things I find beautiful are often dilapidated farm buildings and stuff growing up in weeds.
But what I do know is that beauty does in fact matter and has very positive effects on us. An article by The American Conservative says that beauty in “the places in which we live matter, and that the cultivation of beautiful spaces has a very immediate impact on the happiness and flourishing of human beings.” It also talks about how pinning down what we find beautiful is mysterious, but essentially helps us to see the good and true things, and in doing so, gives us hope. It reminds me of the bible verse from Philippians 4:8 “finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
I think it’s because beauty reminds us of our creator and how good His creation is. Even He declared it good. “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.” Genesis 1:31
Cultivating beauty around us is truly a higher calling. It enriches us, lifts our spirits, can create in us peace, and gives us hope, especially when that beauty points to our creator.
How will you cultivate beauty in your life this week?