Friday, July 8, 2011

Training the eye...

This is Addison. She's an adoptable dog at MaxFund. Or at least she was, as of the Lucky Mutt Strut on June 26. Maybe she's found a forever home by now. I hope so!

After all, look at that coy glance! That smile! That incredibly admirable TONGUE! It must be the size of a dinner napkin. And not a junky little paper fast-food napkin that you have to take FIVE of just to get by. A REAL linen napkin, the type that you get at extremely overpriced restaurants that could also double as a face towel.

That is a SPECTACULAR tongue.

She's absolutely BEAUTIFUL, isn't she?

I don't know that Addison could be called the Iman of dogs--that would probably be a greyhound, like Dash, whom I met last weekend. Or the Mary-Kate Olsen of dogs--that's definitely the King Charles Spaniel.

(Although my friend, Hillary, who is deeply in love with her King Charles, Kirby, HATES that comparison. It could be Mary-Kate's bulbous eyes and vaguely fetus-like facial composition that Hillary objects to, although I would argue that carries across to the spaniel. Not that it makes Kirby any less beautiful, but once I floated that theory, a LOT of people have come up to me and told me that they find the Olsen Twins' looks somewhat disturbing. Not sure why.)

But there's something beautiful about Addison, regardless.

Or maybe it's me.

I've realized that, since I've been working more in the field of the arts, that beauty is MUCH MORE APPARENT to me than, say, when I was working in research. Or in politics, where what I saw was almost always a small glimpse of a beautiful idea, which was quickly gobbled up by ugliness, corruption, and stupidity.

There's a lot to be said for the whole "eye of the beholder" thing. At an artist's convention last spring, I attended a photography workshop by Michael Doven. Michael had given the attendees some basics of framing and composition and then sent us out for 15 minutes to take photos. I remember when we came back, a friend of mine, a lovely actress, said, "Wow! I can see beauty in EVERYTHING now because I'M ACTUALLY LOOKING!"

I think I realized then that we don't look at things BECAUSE they're beautiful.

Things are beautiful because WE'RE LOOKING AT THEM. REALLY looking.

It's similar to that situation in Men in Black II where Tommy Lee Jones tells Rosario Dawson (who is really the Light of Zartha--and I know my fangirl geekiness is showing--just go with it) "When you get sad, it rains." She says, "Lots of people get sad when it rains."

To which he replies, "It rains BECAUSE you're sad, baby."

Maybe it's kind of silly to think that Men in Black II contributed much to our knowledge bank, but those lines always resonated with me.

Plus the whole thing about pug dogs actually being space aliens...

But back to what I was thinking about--Cause and effect--that's the difference. That's what's great about working creatively. I can actually PERCEIVE the beauty of life, because it's my focus. It's what I'm trying to communicate.

But everybody CAN see this beauty. It's there, despite what the "news" and courtTV may say to the contrary. And it can bring you a lot of joy. All you have to do is look.

So do yourself a favor this weekend.

Stop looking at the television.

The hourly updates on ratings-driven followups to the Casey Anthony trial ARE NOT GOING TO MAKE YOU ANY HAPPIER OR PRODUCTIVE OR ABLE. Neither is the latest celebrity meltdown or manufactured political scandal. So turn it off.

And just LOOK at the real life around you.

Look at your children. Or your grandchildren. Go to a farmer's market and check out the absolute radiance of the red peppers.Look at the beauty of your garden. Go to the park and look at dogs--other peoples' dogs, even. Whatever. It may help to take a camera with you, with the self-imposed assignment of capturing something, some sense of beauty. Doesn't matter what you get--no flunking this test.


And have a great weekend!

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