For Love of Art

Other Cool Birds "Painted Egret" by Gretchen Deahl

Other Cool Birds “Painted Egret” by Gretchen Deahl

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” – Thomas Merton

I’ll admit this up front. I don’t know art lingo. I’m not familiar with technical traits that make a work of art a “masterpiece” aside from the way it makes me feel, and perhaps think, but mostly feel.

Last weekend a new project of mine took flight, one that’s been fluttering around inside the cave of my head for a couple years now. It has to do with my appreciation for art. For the way art impacts my life.

Art in its various forms is an expression of the self, a communication through a unique language (whether that’s actual words used by writers, or images or sounds or movement). I appreciate all types of art, from literary to dance to musical to visual, for the same reason and for different reasons as well. The primary reason, however, is the way it makes me feel.

My new project, called Other Cool Birds, is my attempt to pay homage to artists working in all those aforementioned media through one – visual art.

Not the visual art, I create, but visual art I have come across and have brought together for the purpose of creating a virtual forest where artists gather to share their unique and sundry voices.

Plain and simple, art relies on emotion, evokes emotion, is a means of communicating emotion . . . a way of connecting audience and artist, of connecting the imagination and memory and ideas of one to the other.

I love writing! It’s my one true passion.

For me to actually do as an activity, that is, as a way of communicating with myself and with others. I enjoy going to a museum or gallery, a Broadway show, a movie, a concert, experiencing the souls of musicians and singers and dancers and painters . . . through their special language of choice.

I don’t have formal training as an artist, nor as an art critic. I know what I like. I know what moves me.

“The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.”

That’s how Rodin put it and I think that’s how some part of each day should be spent.

I write as a way of exploration

Being at the page is my deep space voyage, going where no one has gone before. It’s a turning inward and, as a result, an expressing outward.

I tell people, I’m shy. No one believes me. I’ve been corrected in my self-labeling and told that I’m really “an outgoing introvert.” I was told this by a “shy extrovert.” Yep. Here’s what I know. For me, writing is a release. It’s me not just shedding light on the things I see other people experience, it’s also a way for me to make sense of things and to have a voice; to express my thoughts, my feelings about life, about others, but mostly about myself.

It’s one way I am able to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.

Looking at art is another way for me to do that which is why Other Cool Birds became more than a side-project.

Don’t get me wrong, writing is still the one thing I want to do most. My main project and my main priority, as far as living the dream goes, is pursuing a career as a writer.

But another part of my deep-down self that’s connected to the writing, my affinity for sharing with others the things that move me, that make me tremble, that’s what has led the O.C.B. project to become a passion. That is the impetus behind Other Cool Birds.

I want to share something I have come across that has moved me, that many people might not have encountered yet. I want to stand up and raise it high over my head and say, “Hey, if you haven’t seen this yet . . .”

Because part of my hope is that doing so will allow others to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.

If you get a chance, I hope you visit Other Cool Birds.

New birds are winging their way in from all over the globe, like the “Painted Egret” by Gretchen Deahl (the image above), adding color and sound and so much more.

Every two weeks a new bird will join the flock. There will be month-long spotlights on Featured Artists, examining their work and their lives as artists. There’s a special section for fledgling artists, those just trying out their wings. There will be a section devoted to art habitats, and another dedicated solely to my favorite novel, To Kill a Mockingbird.

Take a moment and alight. Catch a glimpse of something special (the art, yes, but also a side of yourself that doesn’t always appear until moments just like this).

View the wonderful art created by poets, authors, painters, illustrators . . . dreamers.

And keep after it, y’all! Keep chasing your dream, whatever it is!

So far there are birds from literary artists like KL Going, Kelly Creagh, Neil Aitken, and visual artists like GC Myers, Marc Rubin, Laura Charles, Colin Darke, and more.