Beth Markel

What is Art? Part II

Posted on December 3, 2013 by Beth Markel

I have had so many conversations and emails regarding “What is Art” I thought I would continue the dialogue.  A talented graphic artist told me the other day, “I hate modern art.  It doesn’t have any meaning!” and the same afternoon another artist told me that, “Modern art expresses emotion on a gut level, and should always move you.”  Wow, if that isn’t the gamete, I don’t know what is.

One of the things I’ve discovered is that people apply words like “artful” and “artfully done” to everyday objects, and are quite adamant when questioned if that beautiful bouquet is “art” or “artfully arranged.”  One watercolor artist argued that when the beautiful bouquet was painted with oil, acrylic, or watercolor, THEN it became “art” and not before – while it was a beautiful bouquet, it was ‘inspiration for art’ and NOT art itself.

Yet another conversation stemmed from the introduction of graffiti onto some of the local park signs.  I think there is some personal aesthetic that appeals to me when I see the NYC trains covered in graffiti – it’s the most basic of communications, even though I have no idea what a lot of the symbols represent nowadays – it really began with young people writing their names in highly stylized ways – and the most basic of messages…I’m here.  See me.  Hear me.  And isn’t that where art comes from?

Another recent experience was at Woodside Bible Church, Troy, MI, where a remarkably talented guy, Marc Eckel (Splat Experience) did his art during worship service.  I don’t have that on tape, but he did another similar piece in California, and yet another in Australia….!about-us/cq7o


So the discussion continues….

Art is bold.

Art is film.

Art is colorful.

Art is form.

Art is words.

Art is inspired.

Art is instinctual.

Art is ___________________.

Art is ___________________.

Art is ___________________.

Art is ___________________.


Finally, I’ve had numerous conversations and polite disagreements with some quilters about what ‘Art Quilts’ should look like.  First, beware when someone tells you, ‘You SHOULD use a certain color’ or ‘you SHOULD have done this….. Differently.”  I am looking for what moves me, what inspires me, where I find ideas and my motivations, and that will be different FOR EACH OF US!

I find beauty in the everyday.  I look for inspiration in different places – inside, outside, words, poetry, music, painful memories, happy memories, antiques that were hand-made, old quilts, and modern sculpture.  Look around, and be inspired to create.

Some of my favorites this week:

Parsley in my kitchen windowsill for winter

Cherrywood Lime Parsley in my kitchen windowsill for winter

Cherrywood Lime


Parsley & Rosemary

Parsley & Rosemary


Cherrywood Grasshopper

Cherrywood Grasshopper









Cherrywood Loden Green

Cherrywood Loden Green




And yes, I have a thing for Cherrywood Fabrics – they are FAB to work with.  That’s it.  I have no affiliation with the company, etc., etc.  They are a wonderful weight when sewing and quilting, have a beautiful, smooth hand, and are uniquely colored to give “depth” even when sewing with “solid” colors, which I do quite a bit. Make something today. Beth<(((><


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