Training more than the Eye... / by Jeannine Cook

I was thinking further about examples in the art world of kindness and courtesy, after blogging about West Fraser's Painting in a Tree programme. There is a further dimension, I decided, to being being an artist, and Vassily Kandinsky said it beautifully. (At right, one of Kandinsky's wonderful paintings in the Composition series he did periodically; Composition VII of 1913, image courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art.)

Kandinsky remarked that "the artist must train not only his eye, but also his soul". It is a succinct statement about the whole frame of mind in which an artist must live and work, one which again can contribute, or not, to the general well being of the community. It is not just visual artists like Kandinsky with belief systems about how art can convey spiritual values but creative people in general who can make a huge, positive difference. Think of poetry, music, theatre, literature in general... Granted, many claim that the public and the marketplace demand works that are sometimes less than uplifting. There are indeed all tastes, but I do believe that each of us can contribute something that gladdens, interests, amuses, sustains.