Louise Brady : Art, beauty and the importance of the little things….

In recent discussions with Fearghal, I felt that I had become somewhat blind to the natural world around me and decided then that I would try and pay more attention to my surroundings and overall become more mindful of the little things.

It is easier at this time of year, when nature and its shifts and changes are very obvious – a time when it really makes itself known to us. No one can ignore the mounds of colourful leaves that litter the street or a gust of wind that will carry a shower of them down on us.


To be writing an entry about making a conscious effort to be more mindful about our environment may seem silly to some – as if focusing on these small things is somehow trivial or slightly dangerous. That, in our busy world there are more important things to be focusing on than seemingly insignificant detail in our surroundings.


Cezanne – Mont Sainte – Victoire

This attitude is exactly why we require such an enthusiasm for the simplicity of the natural environment. Sometimes the terrible problems in the world can weigh so heavy on us that we are in danger of slipping into despair or disillusionment.

I then began to draw a parallel between this attention to surroundings and the function of art and the role of the artist in society.


Ellen Gallagher – Watery Ecstatic

Haystacks at Giverny the evening sun

Van Gogh – Haystacks at Giverny, The Evening Sun.

After all, isn’t that what artists have been doing for hundreds of years – representing the seemingly banal and within the act of rendering the object, through drawing painting or other media – they elevate it to a higher level.


Drawing attention to the small, easily overlooked objects or scenes around us can keep us hopeful, empathise with our feelings, help us to stay focused and urge us to keep thinking.


Albrecht Duhrer – The Tuft of Grass Minor

Throughout the years, artists have been teasing out values that have been neglected and highlighting what is genuinely worth appreciating. In a world that is often noisy or easily distracted and one that seems to have developed a distorted sense of what is truly important, artists give a platform to the more quiet and unassuming aspects to life.


Sally Mann – Sorry Game 


Seurat – Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte


Edward Hopper, A Woman in the Sun


Lorna Simpson – Cloud 


Jeff Wall – A Gust of Wind (After Hokusai)

Whatever an artist may choose to present, in that act alone, it is then promoted and demands our attention, to look at it as if you were seeing it for the first time and within that, rediscovering its virtues and values. Artists renderings of flowers, blue skies, friends socialising and a sunrise or sunset are symbols of hope and are there for us to turn to when we need reminding of the beauty in the world.

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