Something Beautiful is a 2013 self-imposed initiative to find a visual feast for each day of the year.
Always interesting how ideas migrate. Something Beautiful began with no more plan than to find something of beauty to recognize and on which to meditate each day. The first couple of images were top of mind. But, I am by nature and profession, a designer. For me, philosophy is a deeply important part of the design process—purpose, influence, higher meaning—all that defines my voice and what I do as an artist. After the first week, themes began to quickly and spontaneously emerge. Then ruminations about how concepts are linked together . . . what and who influenced whom . . . why do ideas evolve the way they do. Why did I feel compelled to undertake this yearlong initiative and what should I be learning from the unfolding process?
I know. Enough to make your head hurt on a Saturday morning, but that is what I’ve been thinking. As I have considered Morris’ work this week, I see an artist focused on design. That it is informed by nature and reality is secondary. Focusing on why the Morris designs appealed to me got me thinking about the important role of design in what I am drawn to. And that got me thinking about design in my own paintings and influences on my work. Which brought me to Toulouse Lautrec and the painting I offer for today’s beauty meditation.
Lautrec was both designer and painter. Unlike Morris, story and reality were the focus of his work. But how he executes the telling of his artistic story is highly stylized and prominently features flat shapes and unaltered fields of solid color—hallmarks of graphic design.
As line is a strong characteristic of my own work, I am attracted to and fascinated by the distinctive quality of Lautrec’s. But Toulouse has offered much more than form, color, and line in this piece — enjoy the vibrance, energy, and humor. Take a few moments to imagine the back story of this beautiful work.