September 7, 2012

Beauty...In Case You Weren't Sure What It Was

Okay, so normally I would never post a paper I have written for a class on my blog, but it was quite thought provoking as I had to think about beauty and what it is to me as compared to early philosophers.  Just thought I would share? I don't know. Maybe that's weird, but alas, I'm posting it. The first paragraph is super boring, but it helps the second make sense. It's not highly profound, just a series of requirements.  Maybe this teacher won't tell me that I need to dumb my papers down and say "In this paper I will write...", because yes, my last professor took off points for me writing a thesis statement... sorry I don't write like a first grader. Small rant, my apologies. 

According to early philosophers, such as Thomas Aquinas, all beauty in art forms is relative or subjective.  Our minds cannot fully grasp the fact that any one thing is beautiful or not beautiful.  Aquinas believed that any form of art must encompass four things to be deemed beautiful.  The first component something lovely must possess is integrity.  If something is lacking a part of its’ whole, it is incomplete to the eyes and the mind.  For example, a butterfly that is missing a wing might be curious to the viewer, but it is not beautiful because it is not whole—it lacks integrity.  The second factor of beauty is called due proportion.  Something that is beautiful has a sort of flow that makes the onlooker feel a sense of harmony.  There is no chaos or disarray within the work of art, there is only what Aquinas calls aesthetic unity.  When art is viewed there is no conflict of the mind as to how they should feel about the piece, because all the parts should relate if it is to be worthy of beauty. The third standard of beauty is simple enough: clarity.  Clarity results from having both integrity and due proportion in one work of art.  If these are both achieved, clarity may also be attained.  Under the umbrella of clarity are luminosity, intelligibility, intrinsic meaningfulness, and sensibility.  Luminosity allows people to feel coherent about the art form, while intelligibility provides an understanding of the piece as well as intellectual pleasure.  Intrinsic meaningfulness provokes an emotional response from the onlooker, as sensibility conjures the mind to be aware of the surroundings that help create the piece of art.  Lastly, order must occur in a work of art for it to receive the title of beautiful.  Order does not necessarily mean organized like a desk drawer, but instead means that it reflects the order that is involved in the universe itself.  These are the wonders that are established by God. If something lacks order it is unpleasant to look at, or ugly.  It invites chaos and change.  On the other hand, something with order is kosmos.   Kosmos is the definition of beauty and orderly arrangement.  Anything that is beautiful is said to have a peaceful, calming, or pacifying effect.   Beauty to Aquinas and the early philosophers was only thought of in works of art and must involve these four standards of beauty, or was otherwise deemed ugly and disturbing. 

My definition of beauty is highly different from Thomas Aquinas.  When I look at a piece of artwork, I am not looking at it to feel a harmonious aura, but instead what the painting or drawing speaks directly to me.  The experiences I have had in life highly shape what I believe is beautiful.  Beauty to me is the things that happen in one’s journey that make your soul flourish with wonder; that stop you in your tracks because you are in such awe of the things you have seen but, yet, cannot utter the words to explain what it is about a piece that draws you to it.  A prime example of this is when the summer turns to autumn and all the leaves begin to fall.  As the wind swirls the leaves right in front of my eyes, I feel a sense of peace and my spirits are immediately lifted, but inexplicably so.  I guess I could agree with Aquinas in the fact that this type of beauty does possess order, even though it is not a work of art, it has a pacifying effect on me for a moment.  Another example of such beauty can be found in the movie American Beauty, ironically, when a character’s favorite video he has recorded is the humble plastic bag, being tossed around by the wind.  That simplicity is beautiful to him.
On the other hand, music is an integral part of my life and I often find certain compositions incredibly beautiful, but they are not necessarily calming and peaceful.  Instead, they are loud, misunderstood, and chaotic.  The sounds that might disturb another speak volumes to me and I find it most beautiful.  Certain melodies are incomplete, and are often are sung with imperfections, but those blemishes are where I find the beauty—in the limitations and the flaws of humans.  Artworks that are different and provoke a defining feeling or emotion that draws me out of my comfort zone are often beautiful to me.  I do not feel as though a piece must be complete and whole, retaining integrity to accomplish beauty.  Some of the most misunderstood, unclear, and unintelligible pieces are the most incredible to me, because it rouses my mind to thinking about what it is that draws me in and captivates me about its’ unpretentious beauty.

August 23, 2012

A Lovely Quote

Everyone who knows me knows that I love to sleep in. I think this just says it all. And now that I'm back in school... I feel this even more strongly. 

August 14, 2012

Farewell Summer Tunes

Summertime is coming to an end.  I realize I just posted one playlist for you, but this was my more upbeat, fun summer playlist.  See if anything fascinates you.  To quote some Dashboard, "So long sweet summer, I stumbled upon you and gracefully basked in your rays. I fell into you, now you're gracefully falling away."

August 8, 2012

Darling Dolls: Oversize Me

I love tiny girls in oversized clothing. It is super comfortable and you can make the outfit go in a lot of different directions. 
I could lose the heels, but I really do like this shirt. 
This is cute by itself or with a belt. 
I enjoy a large top tucked into shorts or skinny jeans. 
Love this top and her jeans or leggings. 
This summer I'm really liking longer shirts with shorts. I wish I could wear shorts to work. 
Happy Wednesday :) 

July 30, 2012

Jams For A Summer's Night

So I've always made it apparent that I love music, and each summer I make a new playlist of songs that I've been jamming to in the car, with friends, at coffee shops, or wherever. This is a list of my more chill summer tunes that I find are nice for an evening drive, chilling under the stars, or having good conversation with a friend.  All the songs are really different, so have a listen if you wish. 

July 19, 2012

July 12, 2012

The Dancers In My Head

Obviously God has placed a deep passion in me for music and lately the dancers in my head have been going crazy! Music is a bit of everything: a comfort, a release, a healing calm, a joyous chant, a dance, a contemplative thought.  I often wish I could burst out into a dance in the middle of the street.  And why not? What am I afraid of? Showing happiness? Concern for what people will think? God created that longing to move in my heart, so why do I bottle it up like someone trying to conceal a nervous tick? It may not turn out beautiful, but it's how I feel.  Choreography and movements are the emotions I cannot speak or lack in words.  I hear a chord strike and my head jolts, my body craves, shakes, and contorts.  I can't sit still.  My feet tap, my hair wants to flow, my shoulders contract, fingers make small gestures full of meaning.  It is all kinds of music to, not just one or another that warrants a worthy amount of dance.  I will resolve to dance: to allow myself to truly live and feel intricately.  

July 6, 2012

Hey Look What I Made: Stars & Stripes Shorts

A few months back my little and I decided to head to the Salvation army to get some old mom jeans to turn into some rad Fourth of July shorts. Needless to say, the trip to the dressing room was quite laughable as most of these jeans looked straight out of the 80s and 90s.  I settled for some high waisted, light wash denim for a mere $6.00.  Then we went to Hobby Lobby to get star stickers and Tulip fabric spray paint in red, white and blue. 
First, we folded the jeans in half and cut them to the desired length for shorts. We left a little room so the edges could fray. Next, we taped off all the edges of the shorts that we didn't want to get color on. We painted both sides of the shorts completely white.  Then on one side we laid painter's tape down for the stripes and proceeded to use the red spray paint to fill in the gaps. After that dried, we removed the painter's tape and voila! Stripes! On the other side, we laid down star stickers wherever we desired.  Then blue was sprayed all over this side.  Once it was dried we removed the stickers.  After the paint had dried a little, we took sandpaper sheets to the top to rough it up, give it a vintage look, and make it less stiff. We also washed it after it dried completely.  
I will say, our first mishap was trying to wash the shorts after we had done the first layer of white. Needless to say, somehow one side came completely off (I'm not sure we let it dry enough), and the other side was still perfectly white. Trial and error, I suppose. 
Many of my friends asked me how to do this after we posted pictures from our adventure in stars and stripes. Some of their photos turned out pretty cute as well.  Everyone's looked pretty different depending on their style of shorts, the paint they used, and which way they chose to put the stars and stripes. If you're feeling crafty for a patriotic event, I recommend these. They were easy to do and I got lots of compliments on them! :) Hope you all had a happy fourth! 

June 30, 2012

Darling Dolls: Men's Edition

Oh the hat and colours. 
Good hair. Nice choice in pattern.  Skinny jeans. Shoes. Jacket. Love. 
Cuffed jeans, boots, and a button down. (Not to mention the water behind him.)
I have no problem with men wearing scarves. And that is one nice coat.  Beanies are always welcome, and some guys just know how to pick jeans that look good on them. 
Okay, I could do without the cat and the haircut, but the tattoo is awesome, and I like it (sometimes) when guys wear v-necks that show their ink. 
I love cuffed jeans on guys and these kinds of shoes. 

June 28, 2012

Sunshine & Carousels: Summer

Last week I met with Miss Erin Wilson to take some more pictures for her summer line of headbands and hair accessories.  Thought I'd share a few of those photos with you. Go check out her shop! She started a new children's line too, and her daughter Penelope modeled all the pieces. The pictures are to die for! 

June 25, 2012

A Lovely Quote

We've been talking a lot in a Bible study I'm in about being content in the place that you are in life right now, and embracing every situation or opportunity that comes your way. Sometimes, it's just what you need to hear. 

June 23, 2012

Hey Look What I Made: Macrame & Clutches

This summer I have started on quite a few projects that I've either found on Pinterest or come up with on my own.  I figured I'd share some of them as I go along.  I made these macrame bracelets.  They took almost no time at all.  I think the blue ones remind me of bolts. 
These are some little clutches that I made out of magazine pages.  I laminated the sheets after cutting them into perfect squares. Folded the edges in and then sewed a button onto the center for closure. They're a bit fragile, but good for carrying just a couple of items, or even to put papers in. 
Come craft with me! :) 

June 22, 2012

Things I Love At Work: June

These are a couple of things I get to walk by everyday at work and wish would jump into my closet. 

June 21, 2012

Get On My Body: Tattoos

So, it's no secret that I want to get a tattoo.  I would actually kind of like to do so before my 21st birthday. (Mom, are you having a heart attack yet? Kidding.) She showed me one last night she thought I should have, I almost fell out of my chair hearing her say she found a tattoo I need to get.  It was of a tiny coffee cup.  The problem with getting a tattoo is never what I want, or how to go about drawing and creating it, it's where to put it.  I have a couple of ideas, but I won't share those until after I've actually decided and get it.  The one I get is going to have significant meaning to me and my life story. I hope that it can not only be something that speaks of me, but speaks of my Creator.  Anyway, I thought I'd share a few of my favorite tattoos and placements from my Pinterest for your viewing pleasure.  Enjoy. 
I love this placement. 
This is probably one of my most favorite placements because it can be hidden in a way. 
I'm rather intrigued by the white tattoos with shading. 
Love how this looks on the side of her arm. 
Body artwork. Beautiful. 
Again, I love the placement on the shoulder. 
Simple and sweet, though I would never get birds. Perhaps, a dandelion blowing instead. 
I used to love dreamcatchers, so I really like this one. 
I have always thought about a willow tree, I have just never found a drawing of one that I like, but this is pretty neat.