What does art do for you?

My husband and I recently visited the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA, to see an exhibit of Impressionist art.  I’ve always adored Impressionism, but I wasn’t prepared for what I found – and I’m not talking about the art itself, though that was breathtaking.  I’m talking about my reaction to it.

I was enchanted, warmed, and enriched.  I was awed by the skill of these artists.  But what I loved most, truly, was being swept away to another place and time.  With once glance, I was in the French countryside or on the coast.  I was taking shelter from a storm or watching a regatta.  I was standing in high grass in my ankle-length skirt, holding a parasol, breathing in the sweet salt air of the sea.

I had forgotten what fine art can do.  I’m sure it’s different for different people.  But for me, it taps into every little life experience I’d ever had that remotely relates to the subject of the painting before me.  In some cases, it even captures my dreams.

Art and I go back a ways.  As a child, I did paint-by-number renditions of Gainsborough’s “The Blue Boy.”  I did jigsaw puzzles of Monet’s “Water Lily Pond” and Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”  I even collected little art prints – I mean, really little art prints, like 2” X 3” prints that I sent for in the mail and then mounted in a scrapbook with black corners.  We used to call these minis such-and-such prints, and I’ve been trying to remember what such-and-such is, but can’t.  Is this ringing a bell with anyone out there?

When I was in college, Keane “Big Eye” prints were the rage, and once I graduated and got married, my husband and I chose art that (a) we could afford (which wasn’t much) and (b) took us places we couldn’t afford to go.  Even after money eased, the requirement that a piece speak to us remained.  Most of the pieces currently in our home are depictions of woods or fields or brooks.  These things drawn us in.  They calm us.  When I redid my office a few years ago, I decorated around a single piece of art – “Allen’s Skiff,” by New Hampshire artist, Peter Ferber.

Allen's Skiff, by Peter Ferber

This print has water, tall grasses and flowers, and a small boat that begs, Come lie in me, feel the sough of the water, see the sky.  “Allen’s Skiff” is the first thing I see when I enter my office, and each and every time, it clears my mind.

Does art do special things for you?  If so, what?

Share this:
Posted in


  1. Rita Albert on March 14, 2014 at 5:18 pm

    I know exactly what you mean about art drawing you in. For over twenty years my husband and I have been collecting the artwork of Trisha Romance. Her works of art evolves around home and family. Her paintings are about the ordinary and simple things in life, like laundry hanging on on outdoor line….you can almost see the clothes waving in the breeze. As we were raising our family over the past years her pictures were an inspiration to me. I never seem to tire looking at them.

  2. Edie Kressy on June 17, 2014 at 11:15 am

    o how you get me thinking….both my husband and I graduated ’58 from RI School of Design…he went on to Yale (I commuted to NYC designing dresses on 7th Ave. BUT I have always felt art to be the center of all creation. When a teenager I went to art classes at MFA and loved that museum so much…all of that marble to hold all those works of art. Awesome…I wanted to live life with an artist…could not believe getting into risd and finding my Chris. His work was always a standout and has evolved to be so more beautiful and joyful…color, shapes, spaces to flow in and out of…and they are not what you would call realistic but an expression of his mindfulness…they come from a place that is within his being…beautiful, loving, energetic…a world unexplored that surprised him upon completion. And this was because we both realized what a gift it is to be able to be an artist, a true blue artist without any criticism (and boy people love to put their 2 cents forth) and to be grateful for this expression of love and understanding for this lovely world we live in. The human soul is so fragile and needs nurturing throughout life. 55 years later. That is the place we are in now. Love, Edie

  3. Kathy Penley on July 20, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Art has special meaning to me because I enjoy painting acrylics of sceneries of the New England coast and old buildings that show charm and life. I believe all types of art tell a story and love visiting museums and craft fairs either reading or listening to an artist tell their own story of passion creating an art piece. The best compliment I received years ago was hearing people of friends look at one of my original acrylic paintings saying they could ‘hear the waves crashing on the shoreline’ and ‘ feel the air blowing in the sky’. This compliment meant everything because these values are what I have felt for many years.

Leave a Comment