When someone purchases a work of art, it can be like falling in love. Earlier this spring I received an email from a man who had purchased “Rocks, Sea, and Sky” where it was on display at a local Brunswick restaurant. He had been dining there with a friend and she couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t paying much attention to her. My piece was hanging on the wall behind her and he just couldn’t stop looking at it. He made a point of telling me how taken he was with the piece, and invited me over to see “Rocks, Sea, and Sky” installed in its new home. We kept in touch and finally, one sunny August morning I took him up on his offer.
When I arrived we met one another and he introduced me to his friend who had been at dinner. I followed them into the house, an old farmhouse by the sea, and showed me in. I was a bit surprised to see my piece hanging over the kitchen sink. I probably wouldn’t have said anything but his friend chimed in, “You know it’s hanging there because he can see it from his seat at the table where spends much of the day working at the computer.” I love the spiral candle lamps that frame it and the wonderfully bold hand stenciling on the yellow ocher walls. It is now at home.
Hearing this story filled my cup to overflowing. When my work speaks to someone, whether they purchase it or not, I know I’m accomplishing something meaningful. I am grateful to this couple who, I’m fairly certain, would prefer to remain nameless, for the chance to meet them in person and to see Rocks, Sea, and Sky in its new home.
Robin Brooks, 2016
What is a Collagraph Print? “Rocks, Sea, and Sky” is an original collagraph print. This is a kind of collage print that I created by inking and printing many small shaped and textured plates over one another onto paper. The wavy circle that makes both the sun and its reflection is one of those inked shapes. I layered the inked shapes until a composition came together that resonated with the forms of the coast. Even though this is far from a literal interpretation, I take a lot of reference photos on my walks along the rocky shoreline that help jog my memory when I am working.
On Falling in Love with a Work of Art: Finding a work of art that speaks to one’s soul is much like the experience of falling in love. It is often an instantaneous connection that is felt deeply by the person but it isn’t easy to describe it in words. An artwork can be felt viscerally and perceived with the senses, but its essence is intangible, the product of a unique human sensibility divined through the expressive nature of the artist’s chosen medium. We are not always in a position to purchase said works but we usually know what we love. The more we look at art across cultures and time, the more our sensibility becomes refined.
Maybe the work we loved as a child or young adult no longer speaks to us. When I was in high school I discovered the paintings and drawings of the American painter Georgia O’Keeffe. Her smooth abstract forms were sensual and her color palette was often soft and pastel. I was drawn to these soft abstracted images of forms from nature like flowers, shells, and bones. While I can still appreciate her work and accomplishment as a woman artist with a bold vision, I have found other muses.
Fortunately, not all original artwork is priced to break the bank. I’ve had the opportunity to purchase some truly inspiring original works of art. I love being able to live with these works of art on a daily basis. Unlike posters which are glossy and fade over time, original works of art, when cared for properly, will last more than a lifetime. I encourage you to connect with art and when you do, spend some time with it, whether in a book, library, or museum. Enjoy art. It can be so very enriching!
© Robin E. Brooks, 2016