Sarah West: Rediscovering the Tangible

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Friday morning drawing has become that moment in the week that all things are brought to a pause. One takes a collection of papers and medium and devotes a series of hours to further study and drawing development depicting physical form. I reach points in the year that my schedule doesn’t allow Friday morning’s drawn pause. Penciled in engagements on my itinerary sharpen and are wound tightly together affording precious few meditative moments for sketching the model. This becomes one of my favored pastimes. Fortunately when time allows dust to settle, I return to this place and time, whether in memory or in real life. I recall opening the studio’s French doors, and walking through the corridor enshrouded in past art. The first drawing on my right always captured my eye. I told myself that one day, I’d make it part of my collection. Just recently it became mine.

I suppose I wanted the work long before I truly had time to contemplate the reasons why. Some call that “love at first sight.” As an artist myself, I know that a person may want a piece for any number of reasons. And at the heart of it, the artist’s heart- that is, we want to know that a collector’s reason reaches much deeper than pigment and paper. Over time, I considered the drawing mentioned. I questioned, “Why this one, among so many…when others could be attracted to works of more recent relevance?” It seems to me, that I quite like dusting things off, and perhaps I find unparalleled pleasures in the beauty of lasting scores etched upon aging paper. They are tangible.

In recent months, I’ve been presented with unique opportunities, and all of them seem to culminate ‘round the topic that I like to call Rediscovering the Tangible. In rural Alabama, the Sarah West Artistic Mentoring Program is taking continued fine art education into local schools. Where in past years these disciplines seem to have been forcibly cast aside, in defining contrast area educators have chosen to collaborate with localized institutions and established independent advocates to cast new light on fundamental values that enrich and inform human existence.

As I addressed a group of new art students at one rather remote elementary school, I asked if they could name any of the resources which continue to provide us with information and education on civilizations that existed before our own. I followed this with explanation relating art and documentation. These being the most predominate and long-lasting forms of tangible proof of existence. I conveyed that in similar fashion, their work stands as record of their life, and provides renewed opportunities to create and pass down works for posterity.

It seems to me, amid the currents of daily life we can easily discount our own records, dismissing the usual as mundane or less significant. As time goes by, things become old; and new, stimulates desire for whatever is fresh and different. Yet, it is we who must prioritize our time to pause and appraise time alone for its value. Current tides shift and bend. They move us in new and different directions. Often during these shifts, artifacts emerge. Light is cast anew and the tangible is rediscovered.

 Art is Life Expressed – Sarah West, owner of the Sarah West  Gallery of  Fine Art