On Beauty

Peonies in Provencal Pitcher, 12 x 16", Oil, © Ann Trusty
Peonies in Provencal Pitcher, 12 x 16″, Oil, © Ann Trusty

What is beauty, and why is it so important to us as human beings and as a society? It is a fascinating and endlessly debated question. There is no single, easily tweetable answer to that question. Being an irreducible intangible has its advantages, kind of like the question, What is Art? The deep and profound experiences of beauty and art are at once highly personal and yet, often universal. We can agree when we see something beautiful that it is so, without being able to say exactly why. Describing a list of its attributes is not the same as appreciating its inherent qualities and often demeans the very experience of it.

Beauty is irrational – it lies beyond, and sometimes violates human logic. We painted our peonies this spring and in admiring their lovely shapes and color schemes, wondered why they are so beautifully made? A flower only needs a bit of the right color and scent to attract its pollinators, not the explosion and profusion that we find in nature. Our orange colored plastic feeder suffices to attract the hummingbirds and nectar moths, but we would not describe it as beautiful! Why then does nature expend so much energy this way? We’re not implying that nature seeks to please us – beauty exists on our world quite independently of us. It appears to be in the very makeup of the universe to create beauty. We can’t imagine our existence here without it – at least not a happy fulfilling existence.

We consider that beauty can and should always be at the core of our creations. Not a generalized beauty, either, but a personal vision of it. There is beauty around us all the time, no matter where we live. A flower will bloom through a crack in concrete. The best and most truthful place to start is right in our own lives. Beauty in fine art painting? Paint the people around you, the objects in your house, pets, the view out your window when the light is just-so. Anything that strikes you in a way that you cannot put into words. Therein lies the beauty in your own heart, the personal artistic vision of your own soul. Then share it with the world. That is how we will change the world for the better, one little picture at a time.

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–John and Ann



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John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

About John Hulsey and Ann Trusty

John Hulsey and his wife, Ann Trusty created the website, The Artist's Road - Painting the World's Beautiful Places.  The Artist's Road inspires with practical art tips and painting techniques for the traveling artist, video painting tutorials and demonstrations, workshop resources, artist profiles and interviews and remarkable painting locations.  The Artist's Road is an artist community for oil, watercolor and pastel artists.  Articles cover intriguing art travel experiences artists have had while painting the world's beautiful places. "I believe I must speak through my art, for the preservation of Nature and the natural landscape from which I take my inspiration and living." John Hulsey is an accomplished artist, author and teacher who has been working professionally for over thirty years. In addition to producing new work for exhibition and teaching workshops, Mr. Hulsey continues to write educational articles about painting for national art magazines, including Watercolor magazine and American Artist Magazine. He has been selected as a "Master Painter of the United States" by International Artist Magazine where his work was previously chosen to be included in the top ten of their international landscape painting competition. He was awarded residencies at Yosemite, Glacier and Rocky Mountain National Parks. "I strive in my art to celebrate the mysteries of Nature - the fleeting light on the landscape, the unimaginable diversity of creatures, the beauty of each leaf and flower." Ann Trusty  is an accomplished third generation artist whose work embodies the natural world and is created through direct observation and translation of her subjects into her paintings. She has found inspiration in the dancing light across the water of the Hudson River (where she had a studio for ten years), as well as the big sky and waving tall grasses of the open plains of the Midwest (her current home). Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States, France and Turkey in both museum and gallery exhibitions, and has been reviewed favorably by the New York Times.