Agnes Martin was famous for her serene, meditative abstract paintings, but she was also known for being a student of Zen-Buddhist and Taoist spiritual philosophies. I read a retrospective of her life and art a few years ago – it included a selection of her writings as well as her paintings.
Her thoughts on beauty have stayed with me . . .
“Beauty is pervasiveAn excerpt from “The Untroubled Mind,” Agnes Martin
inspiration is pervasive
We say this rose is beautiful
and when this rose is destroyed then we have lost something
so that beauty has been lost
When the rose is destroyed we grieve
but really beauty is unattached
and a clear mind sees it
The rose represents nature
but it isn’t the rose
beauty is unattached, it’s inspiration – it’s inspiration”
“We respond to beauty with emotion. Beauty speaks a message to us. . . . The message is about different kinds of happiness and joy. . . .An excerpt from “Beauty is the Mystery of Life,” Agnes Martin
“When a beautiful rose dies beauty does not die because it is not really in the rose. Beauty is an awareness in the mind. It is a mental and emotional response that we make. We respond to life as though it were perfect. When we go into a forest we do not see the fallen rotting trees. We are inspired by a multitude of uprising trees. We even hear a silence when it is not really silent. When we see a new born baby we say it is beautiful – perfect. The goal of life is happiness and to respond to life as though it were perfect is the way to happiness. . . .
“Beauty illustrates happiness; the wind in the grass, the glistening waves following each other, the flight of birds, all speak of happiness.”
Beauty, I think, is a lot like love – it never really goes away. If we pay attention, it’s always looking for new ways to show itself to us.
**Top photo flower layer via the Word Swag app.