The Art We Forget About

Glatfelter Sunset

By Nathalia Mazza, Contributing Writer

What is art? Art is an expression of the world around us. It is an expression of our feelings that words cannot describe and an interpretation of what we see and do. Most art is put in museums or theaters or on technology to be experienced. It is enjoyed because it takes unexpected turns. But what about the art that is taken for granted. The art that seems too expected to enjoy. The art, you can only see by putting your phone down and looking around you. Vincent Van Gogh, looked around him and saw that the world was much more complex. He saw that the colors of the world mixed and melted into each other, that the night sky wasn’t just black but rather a mixture dark blues and lighter blues and yellows and whites from the stars and the moon. Why can’t anyone else see that?

I went on a road trip with my family, and I decided to take a stab at trying to see what Van Gogh saw. Van Gogh captured what he saw, felt, and heard in his paintings using swirls and blends of colors. His paintings gave a whole new way of looking at nature. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how amazing you are at any form of art, it is impossible to capture the complexities of the beauty of nature, however, Van Gogh may have come the closest. A photo may capture the amazing colors of nature but it cannot capture the orchestra of sounds, smells, tastes, and physical feelings that, combined with colors create the beautiful art of nature. I’m going to look at nature in two categories; the sky and the land.

The sky is a perfect canvas of colors but also of so much more. During a sunny day, it is a blend of blues, whites, and greys. The colors streak across the sky in straight lines and curved lines and fluff balls and zigzags, the clouds like little islands in the sky. A plane’s trail crossing the sky like an underline of a very important word. The sun, though only a ball of gas, shines, sometimes bright white, other times bright yellow and still other times bright orange. Stems of light poking out of the sun like petals on flower and yet different. The sounds of birds singing alongside bees buzzing and wind hushing and every so often the wind starts howling with rage, the clouds start singing with the sounds of rain and thunder, the birds and the bees hush, and the trees start dancing wildly to the music of the universe. There is some unknown photographer taking photos, the camera flash, we call lightning, the camera shutter, we call thunder.

Rarely, in the middle of the day, the moon’s path crosses the sun’s and for a minute everything goes dark. As the moon crosses over the sun, the lighting of the world becomes eerie, dark and yet not dark as the sun slowly goes out. It looks like the sun is setting in all directions. You can see the stars and instead of a glowing white ball against a dark sky, you have a dark ball with a bright white ring around it, against the dark sky. The song of day turns into the song night. All of the nocturnal animals come out to sing. It’s funny because the birds of day freak out right before the sun goes black. Birds fly back and forth as if they think it’s bed time and they are rushing to get ready.

The land is an expansive sculpture of mountains, hills, plants, and water as well buildings, and other man-made structures. Shades of green, red, yellow, white, grey, blue, orange, brown, and purple make up the sculptures that create the landscape. Nothing is a single shade of color. A single tree has many shades of green because of the shadows. In the fall those shades of great turn to shades of oranges and yellows and browns and reds and when winter comes, the leaves fall off. It turns out that trees have much more complex shapes then the bushiness seen when the leaves are on. Every branch twists and turns and sticks out in its own unique way. No two trees have the same pattern of branches.

The water flows through the landscape sometimes siting still but usually not. Ripples form on the surface of the water like wrinkles on an old person, caused by anything that disturbs the still water. Water pours gently down the entrance of a cave echoing into the darkness. Waves roar as they come crashing on to a beach. The smell of salt water fills your body and creates an overwhelming but calming sensation. A river sings as it rushes down from its source. Foam forms in the water, as it moves faster and faster.

Animals and insects and humans interact with the sculptures of the world with their senses. Some of these sculptures get eaten, others trampled on, still others are nurtured and cared for. Bees participate in the dance of pollination buzzing from flower to flower, rubbing up in the pollen and then spreading it to other flowers. Deer prance along playing with each other and yet staying alert for predators. Cats hiding in the grass, sometimes chew on it and other times search for mice. When a cat finds a mouse, they participate in this dance of catch and release, catching the mouse and then letting them go. As each animal goes about their dance, each one of them adds their own instrument to the orchestra of nature.

I don’t think anyone will ever be able to see the world nearly as complex as Vincent Van Gogh saw it because everyone’s mind is different, but if we stop what we are doing, put everything down, and open our senses to the world, we can all see that the world is much more complex then we think. Nothing is static. People can enjoy the art of nature only when they are willing to give it all of their attention. Next time you are outside, open all of your senses to what nature has to offer. Pretend like you know nothing and ask questions. The more you interact with the world around you, the more you will be surprised by what nature has to offer.

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Author: Gettysburgian Staff

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