She said, "I find things inside that people don't see." I told her I did the same thing.
Marianne and I went to an Arts and Crafts show at a local community college yesterday. We bought one thing. Be hardly ever do. You see I'm not a big fan of all the country stuff that has flooded the market. I am a big fan of talent and creativity. There really wasn't a lot there. Every time we go to one of these shows labeled "arts and crafts" we go anticipating that buried deep inside will be someone with a real talent for art or a true craftsman.
But normally what we find is the same stuff from table to table. All aimed at "country" style decorating. Some the of things are truly manufactured pieces that seem like they have come off an assembly line.
But mixed, few and far between, are true artists who carve, paint, sew, and create. They are the gems.
But then Karen saw things that no one else did. In pieces of wood. Cypress trees to be exact.
Since this was a holiday theme craft show everything she had was Christmas and I love Christmas. But it wasn't just the beauty, or the talent in the details that caught my eye. You see every piece that she created was painted on the original shape of the wood. She added nothing to it nor did she cut anything away. The wood was smooth yet not sanded. (I was told that they boil the bark off) Santa's hat stood tall on one piece and yet curved softly down the back on another.
"You are incredibly gifted," I told her.
"Thank you so much," she replied in a soft barely audible voice.
"I need to ask you how you find these pieces?," I asked of her.
"I sometimes think they find me," she said smiling.
"There's an old story that tells of a great artist who was carving stone. One day someone asked how he was able to carve such beautiful figures from stone. He replied, "I see the figure in the stone. All I do is remove everything that isn't the figure."
"That's beautiful, " she said.
She had pieces of wood that had natural holes in them. There she painted a wreath to encircle it.
"This one with the hole is perfect. The figure of Santa is in the right proportion and height to be holding that wreath. How did you see that before creating it?"
"Well, most people don't notice that on the other side is a larger elongated natural hole in the wood. That is a perfect place for a Christmas stocking. Everything else just fits," she told me.
"But if you took all the of the paint off of all these pieces and asked people passing by what they saw, most would simply see the wood. You see people, figures, things."
"My soul sees what's really inside. My heart pours into the brush and my eyes create what is there already," she said. "Do you understand?"
"Yes, perfectly. You see I do the same thing with people. I write and speak about the things that they don't see. It's not that they can't see them. They really choose to see what they want to see inside of themselves. With all the labels we wear, all the titles we carry we can't see who is really inside any more. Then we whine that 'Nobody understands me.' The sad part is that no one can see past the garbage," I said.
She stopped for a moment re-reviewuating her talents.
"I hope I get this quote right. Jane Porter an English novelist said, "Beauty of form affects the mind, but then it must not be the mere shell that we admire, but the thought that this shell is only the beautiful case adjusted to the shape and value of a still more beautiful pearl within. The perfection of outward loveliness is the soul shining through the crystalline covering."
"Then you are an artist too," she said. "You help them to chip away everything that is not them to reveal what has been there all along."
"I never thought of it that way, Karen," I said.
Then Marianne stepped in with one of the hand painted ornaments on display.
"Look, the Santa face is perfect," she said. "My husband collects Santas. This will look wonderful on the tree."
She held a beautiful hand painted Santa face that had been created on the back side of a piece of bark.
"You see my friend. If I am an artist like you, then you are a philosopher like me," I said.
"How's that?" she asked.
"You show people that beauty is really on the inside. What we see with some people is the rough untouchable bark on the outside. But if we could see below the surface we would see how truly beautiful they are."
"Which would certainly prove that their "bark" is worse than their bite," she said. We all moaned.
"No, only you WOOD say that," I snapped back. The moaning got louder.
"Okay, Okay. I took it too far," I said. "After the show is over do you have a permanent show room? Perhaps a BRANCH office?"
So you can see that I'm not a comedian. But get to know me better. Read what I write. Hear what I say. That is who I truly am. It's all on the inside. Just like the beauty that lies within you.
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